Intellect Devourer

Gailbraithe's page

Organized Play Member. 1,179 posts (1,181 including aliases). 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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Liberty's Edge

nosig wrote:

wait - I know I shouldn't step in here but...

"That is why I think a good GM should explain that the helpless and unwilling creature is not subject to the penalty because like a God for clerics and paladins, the Spirit of Nature, etc, see the act as being forced upon and therfore as long as they take their action to remvoe the items they would not be subject. "


Samson got his hair cut... but it wasn't his fault. so... no that's not right. AH! Samson must have been WILLING to get his hair cut. right.

the helpless and unwilling creature is STILL subject to the penalty, that is what Atonement is for.

Using the example of Samson is a bit of a case of apples and oranges. Samson's hair was the source of his power, so when he lost his hair he lost the source of his power. Also, it was entirely Samson's fault he lost his hair. He let himself be seduced by Delilah. It's not like Delilah knocked him out cold and cut his hair off. She just batted her eyelashes and cooed at him, then asked him if she could cut it off. And he was clearly too busy thinking about touching her boobies to think that one all the way through.

Also, some of us think that the Old Testament God wasn't a particularly fair or reasonable guy, so aren't convinced by arguments that show God being unfair and unreasonable.

I mean, if I put Old Testament Jehovah in a campaign, he'd totally be Lawful Evil. He's pro-slavery, pro-killing sexual minorities, oppresses women, and routinely calls on his followers to commit genocide. This is not a Lawful Good god in D&D terms.

Liberty's Edge

bugleyman wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Novel, this means fiction, please try and keep this and non fiction separate, it keeps one from having delusions.
Aside from the "delusional" part (low blow -- quit that), surely you recognize that fiction is often social commentary, and as such is written about very real situations? To classify a work as fiction in no way implies it has nothing important to say about the real world. In fact, I would argue that having something important to say about the real world is a requirement of good fiction, but that is obviously a matter of opinion.

It's particularly silly in this case, since Robert Anton Wilson's fiction is always about philosophy first and narrative second. The Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy is basically a bunch of characters discussing the meaning of life and the human condition for 1000 pages as reality shifts from one possible world to another around them, with them largely unaware of it. There is no actual plot -- there is a plot structure, but because reality keeps shifting the characters, settings, motivation and goals constantly change. By the time the protagonist reaches the end of the novel, the protagonist has been more than a dozen different people striving for a dozen different goals. It's a very experimental novel.

As fiction goes, it's kind of horrible. As a vehicle for explaining many of the concepts RAW developed over his lifetime, it's brilliant.

I'm not going to bother to respond to CJ's arguments, since you and thejeff have already done it for me, but I would ask CJ to actually go read the wiki article on domestication, which includes this gem:

Mutation is not the only way in which natural and artificial selection operate. Darwin describes how natural variations in individual plants and animals also support the selection of new traits. It is speculated that tamer than average wolves, less wary of humans, selected themselves as domestic dogs over many generations. These wolves were able to thrive by following humans to scavenge for food near camp fires and garbage dumps. Eventually a symbiotic relationship developed between people and these proto-dogs. The dogs fed on human food scraps, and humans found that dogs could warn them of approaching dangers, help with hunting, act as pets, provide warmth, or supplement their food supply. As this relationship evolved, humans eventually began to keep these self-tamed wolves and breed from them the types of dogs that we have today.

Hey, that looks familiar. Maybe its because its what I said upthread.

Liberty's Edge

Dude, Norse, you and I disagree pretty strongly on some gaming issues, but that was bad ass. You rock. When I become Emperor of Earth, you can have a position in my ministry of trade. I'll make you ambassador to China and you can go explain to them that we have an SUV and they have a smartcar, so they better shut up, sit down and do what we tell them.

Liberty's Edge

bugleyman wrote:
Gailbraithe wrote:
No, it wouldn't have been a better choice of words. I fully intended the unpleasant implications of the word domesticated.
So, I agree with most of the unpleasant implications you listed. However, in the strictest sense, the author was taking liberties when he used the word domesticate. Domestication requires that someone do the domesticating. I suppose you could argue humanity has domesticated itself, but it's a stretch. I have no idea if that has anything to do with why people are taking exception to the phrase, but I maintain that it did not convey the meaning you intended.

I'm not so sure he's taking liberties. Think about this: the concept of domestication was developed by gentleman farmers and educated aristocrats. They tended to imagine themselves as masters of nature, rational beings who were separate and distinct from nature itself, and tended to imagine humans of antiquity the same way. So naturally they invented a concept of domestication that imagine rational man recognizing the inherent potential of animal power and, in an entirely rational manner, harnessing that power by capturing and selectively breeding wild animals to mold them into the domesticated animals we know today.

But chances are good that isn't what actually happened. Consider this: Humans domesticated the dog 40,000 years ago. We then didn't domesticated anything else for about 28,000 years. That's probably because we didn't decide to domesticate the dog - it just happened. If you look at wolf social groupings and primate social groupings, there are a lot of similarities to how both socialize. It's easy to see how wolves or a similar canid could be domesticated accidentally over the course of hundreds of generations.

First the wolves start hanging around the outskirts of human encampments, sneaking in at night to steal scraps of food. The humans occasionally toss scraps at them, and yell at them to bugger off, but don't make an effort to kill them outright. The wolves become less and less afraid of the humans, the humans become less and less afraid of the wolves. Eventually the wolves are practically living in the human camps. Sometimes a wolf bites at a human child, and that wolf gets killed. Over generations the wolves become less and less aggressive as aggression becomes the prime cause of removal from the population.

But at no point is a human in control of this process. No one is recording anything, and human memory isn't long enough to witness the whole process. By the time the wolves have become dogs, the humans have always seen them as dogs.

Does that all sound reasonable? That's basically the current theory on how dogs were domesticated. Accidentally, through the normal process of natural selection.

And if dogs can be domesticated by their accidental interaction with human communities, perhaps humans can be as well. Perhaps once we realized that we could plant seeds in the ground and grow food, and started settling into semi-permanent communities, some of the more violent instincts of humanity became increasingly problematic. Maybe we started unconsciously selecting for humans that could go along to get along, by killing and exiling those who couldn't. Perhaps, with no conscious intention at all, we domesticated ourselves at the same time, and in the same way, we domesticated the wolves.

I don't think that's much of a stretch at all.

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Kryzbyn wrote:
Well if you made 50k a year, got fired, and could get 30-35k a year unemployment for almost 2 years, how quickly would you be motivated to look for work? I'll be honest, it wouldn't be a top priority till around week 80 or so if it were me.

That depends a lot on what your living expenses are. If you earn 50k a year and spend 51k a year, as many Americans do, then living on 35k a year for two years will leave you $192k in the hole.

I'm guessing from the fact that you don't think shaving $15k off your budget would be a big deal that you are unmarried and don't have kids. The median household budget in America is about $30k. The median income is about $50k.

If you're the head of a single income family, which describes a lot of blue collar working class men, and your income drops from $50k to $30k, your quality of life takes a huge hit. You're still getting by, you can still afford housing, health care, food, transportation and child care -- which are the things accounted for in the average family budget -- but you can no longer afford anything but the basics. You're not going to spend the next two years sitting on your duff waiting for the bennies to run out, because scraping by and having nothing for yourself at the end of the day is not a good life.

Putting people on unemployment is a band-aid at best, not a fix. How do you get people who run businesses to hire more workers? How do you actually create real jobs?

The government puts a lot of people to work, they start buying stuff, that causes companies to hire more people, and the system bootstraps itself back into functioning. Once labor shortages start becoming an issue, you cut back on the government jobs.

Liberty's Edge

pres man wrote:
Ok guys, let's get off his back. Maybe he is just trying to take it back.

Now that is truly twisting what I said. I didn't call anyone a porch monkey. I'm not talking about race at all, except in the sense that I'm talking about the human race.

Trying to twist what I've said in the way you're trying to twist it is just disingenuous BS.

bugleyman wrote:
All humans are primates. Like it or not, that is a simple statement of fact.


We do not, however, meet the strict definition of "domesticated." That word also carries some unpleasant connotations, especially when misapplied to humans. "Civilized" would have been a much better choice of words, both because it is less likely to perceived as an insult and because it is indisputably true of anyone posting on these boards.

No, it wouldn't have been a better choice of words. I fully intended the unpleasant implications of the word domesticated.

Here's a passage from Robert Anton Wilson's excellent novel "The Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy" in which he uses the phrase (he's the author I borrowed the phrase from):


Benny had actually read Darwin once, in college a long time ago, and had heard of sciences like ethology and ecology, but the facts of evolution had never really registered on him. He never thought of himself as a primate. He never realized his friends and associates were primates. Above all, he never understood that the alpha males of Unistat were typical leaders of primate bands. As a result of this inability to see the obvious, Benny was constantly alarmed and terrified by the behavior of himself, his friends and associates and especially the alpha males of the pack. Since he didn't know it was ordinary primate behavior, it seemed just awful to him.

Since a great deal of primate behavior was considered just awful, most of the domesticated primates spent most of their time trying to conceal what they were doing.

Some of the primates got caught by other primates. All of the primates lived in dread of getting caught.

Those who got caught were called no-good shits.

This metaphor was deep in primate psychology because primates mark their territories with excretions, and sometimes they threw excretions at each other when disputing over territories.

Am I insulting people? Sure, but let's be clear: If I'm insulting one person, I'm insulting all people, myself included. I am making a cynical assertion about the entire human race, not just poor people, and not just the people who are getting offended.

And I don't recognize anyone's right to get offended, because it's pretty much impossible to argue that I'm off-base here. I mean, you have to be deeply deluded to convince yourself that human history isn't a shocking mess that makes a lot more sense when you stop assuming that the greater mass of humanity is acting from enlightened self interest. The last 6000 years of human history -- i.e. the part we recorded -- is an absolute horrorshow.

Which makes a lot more sense when you realize that humans and chimpanzees are different in the exact same way that dogs and wolves are different. We're not civilized, we're domesticated.

Most of us are fairly well trained at playing our social role, and for most of us our social role is materially, spiritually and psychologically rewarding enough that we do not want more. We don't want to be Jesus or Buddha, and strive for true enlightenment. We're happy to be cogs in the machine, sheep in the herd, going along to get along, entertaining ourselves with the kind of banalities we're all engaged in on these forums, releasing stress through the socially approved ways that we can afford, until we die.

But when it comes to the poor, things break down. Because the rest of us -- the middle and upper class -- have basically decided that the proper social role for the poor is one of quiet, dignified suffering. And we punish them for anything else. They have no outlet for stress that isn't criminalized, and they have to deal with far more stress than the rest of us.

It doesn't work, and it leads to a significant percentage of people in poverty lashing out in various ways against society. Not in some enlightened, rational way, but in a raw, unconscious emotional way. Just like an abused dog who bites the hand that feeds it and ruins the carpets. The wolf or monkey or whatever you want to call it that we evolved from -- that is still buried deep inside us -- knows when it is getting a jacked deal, and even when the animal in question can't understand in a rational manner how he is jacked, he knows he is jacked. And because it lacks the information to make rational decisions about how to respond, it lashes out and bites the hand that feeds it.

Hence criminality, hence vandalism, hence rioting.

That doesn't mean every poor person is going to grow up to be a criminal, nor does it mean that people born into poverty are lesser beings than people born into the middle and upper class. It just means that poverty is a bad scene and that developing a sense of enlightened self-interest and gaining a meaningful understanding of the world is harder when you grow up impoverished.

Liberty's Edge

Mothman wrote:
Gailbraithe wrote:

Stuff about primates, education, poverty and ignorance.

A lack of education is a sad thing, but it does not make one less than human. Humans (even poor and ignorant ones) are capable of making rational decisions.

I never said it makes one less than human. I never said that being poor and ignorant made it impossible to make rational decisions. I'm just saying that being poor, ignorant and stressed out is not conducive to making good decisions. Every sociologist, psychologist and anthropologist out there keeps making that point.

People in this thread just seem really thin-skinned and hyper-sensitive to me. Nothing I'm saying is offensive or demeaning of other people, this is just who we are as a species. We are not homo economicus, born from the womb as fully realized rational beings. We are homo sapiens, a species of bipedal, tool-using apes with strong social instincts that shape much of how we perceive and relate to the world. No matter what our background, we operate primarily on instinct and social conditioning. It takes intense effort and dedication to rise above that base nature of ours, and many people never make that effort.

For the impoverished, many don't even get a chance to make that effort. Many don't have the luxury of developing themselves.

That's not a dis on poor people. That's just why poverty is a bad thing.

I seriously don't get how anyone can find it offensive that I'm pointing out that poverty has an effect on people.

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Crimson Jester wrote:
You maybe a domesticated primate, but please do not speak for the rest of us.

You're a domesticated primate too, Crimson. Everyone is. The truly self-aware are capable of recognizing it. If you think you're a completely enlightened being who never, ever does anything for an unthinking reason, then you're probably just deeply deluded.

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Chubbs McGee wrote:
I am familiar (as in I know of the author and the book) with Thomas Hobbes and Leviathan. I admit that I have never read Hobbes' work, yet I also admit that there are many, many books in the world that I have not read. May be your elitist background ensured that you have read every single work of fiction and non-fiction extent on this planet?

You are taking my comments way too personally, and its causing you to overreact in a way that makes it hard to respond to you.

In your view, only poor people suffer from ignorance and irrationality.

That is not what I have said. I have said that poor people are more likely to suffer from ignorance and irrationality, not that they were the only ones who did so.

I don't understand how you can deny that, unless you want to make the claim that education is completely and absolutely useless.

My position is this: humans can make rational decisions in any circumstances and from any economic background (even without the time to gain your definition of 'enlightenment'). Humans can make an irrational decision followed by a rational one (no matter their education or financial background). Being poor and ignorant does not rule out making rational decision-making, such as obeying the law and living an ordered life. It can make it harder (most often due, in part, to external influences), yes, but I have heard of many 'privileged' people who exhibit irrationality and poor judgement as well.

Your position doesn't contradict my position at all. You and I are in total agreement.

My position is that growing up poor, being denied an education, and being constantly stressed due to poverty, are not conducive to developing intellectually. I really don't understand why you (or Mothman) is getting so offended by what I'm saying. You're twisting my words something fierce, but you both seem to agree with me at the end of the day.

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Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
America has no natural enemies - it borders only two nation states and both have such small armies that they are literally incapable of invading the US. If either tried they'd run out of troops to garrison their conquests after a few hundred miles - an American citizen militia would simply toss them back out.

A very angry Canadian once told me that the US wouldn't win if we invaded Canada. Naturally I scoffed at this suggestion, but he made a compelling argument that before we got thirty miles beyond the border (and had thus overrun 50% of the Canadian population) they would have blown up all their bridges, airfields and oil refineries. So we wouldn't get anything of significant value when we invaded.

It almost broke my heart to explain to him that when someone commits suicide in response to your attack, and thus you can't defeat them, that's not actually "losing."

Liberty's Edge

Mothman wrote:
Yes, humans are primates, I understand evolutionary biology, you understand it, we're both very clever.

Do you really understand what it means? Do you understand that most human behavior isn't rational, it's instinctual and subconscious, programmed into us by millions of years of primate evolution?

And I'm not talking about criminal behavior, not killing and assaulting and other "bestial" behaviors. I mean like when we look in people's eyes and when we don't, how high we hold our heads, how we walk through a room, how we feel about the oncoming day when we wake up in the morning, whether we want to commit suicide or conquer the universe, so much of everything we do is stuff we do because we aren't actually thinking about what we're doing.

It's because we are a species of primate that domesticated itself. It's sounds odd at first, but if you look at all we know about the development of humanity, we went from being tribal hunter-gatherer apes to tribal hunter-gatherer humans and remained that way for tens of thousands of years, just going on instincts, until we discovered agriculture. And that's when we started domesticating animals, and the process started domesticating us.

So let’s replace ‘primate’ with ‘human’ in your quote.

No, dude. You're not getting it if you do that. A domesticated primate is a human that doesn't think for itself. It just follows the rest of the herd and does what the herd does. It learns survival skills, but it doesn't learn to think.

Domesticated primates exist at all levels of society. Its why I call people in congress "congresscritters" on occasion, because many representatives are domesticated primates. Monkeys in suits, trained to smile and spout platitudes.

I'm not replacing the word primate for the word human, I'm contrasting the concept of a domesticated primate against that of an enlightened human being.

And what I'm saying about the poor is that a disproportional number of people in poverty are wicked stressed out monkeys who haven't been trained to be useful to society (generally because that would require the rich to have a little less than ALL OF IT), so its not really a big shocker when occasionally they go crazy and tear the joint up.

Poor people are generally very badly trained domesticated humans that are under too much continuous stress have any real awareness or enlightenment.
It still sounds awfully elitist and discriminatory man. Maybe you didn’t mean it. It doesn't sound like you to imply that some people's circumstances makes them better than others.

It depends on how you define better. The more opportunities for intellectual growth one has, the more likely one will experience intellectual growth. Some people are born into better circumstances for encouraging that kind of intellectual growth. So not better so much as luckier.

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Chubbs McGee wrote:

However, the implication that you are "poor" makes you lack "real awareness" or do not possess "enlightenment" is the problem.

Actually, it makes you sound ignorant.

Really. Well, okay. I'm not really sure how to respond to that.

All I'm saying, to put it in the simplest language possible, is that if you grow up in poverty in the Western world, you will tend to be surrounded by ignorance and irrationality, and that environment is not conducive to developing a person from a domesticated primate into a realized human being.

I'm using enlightened here in the same sense that Thomas Jefferson would have used it, to mean a person who operates from a detached, semi-objective and rational point of view. In the sense of "enlightened self interest," but also in the sense of having intellectual curiosity and creative aspirations (whether they be artistic, scientific or entrepreneurial).

And the reality is the more luxury (as in freedom from toil) you have, the easier it is to develop that enlightened self interest.

This is kind of why poverty is bad. Poverty isn't just lack of money, its lack of access to one's own culture and intellectual heritage. If you grew up with academically challenged and anti-intellectual parents, and went to impoverished schools that lacked even basic textbooks for students, where the classrooms are full of dysfunctional and abused children who act out and turn the school into a prison for poor kids as much as an educational facility, then the chances are you didn't get the exchange above between Robert and I about Hobbes and Leviathan. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of things you don't get if you don't have a decent education.

People in poverty tend to also be people with a lot of ignorance. People in poverty also tend to be under a lot of stress all the time, for all the obvious reasons. Being ignorant and stressed out does not contribute to a whole lot of personal growth and development.

What's your position? You think that being poor and ignorant tends to lead to people making a lot of rational decisions and having generally stressful lives?

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Mothman wrote:
Gailbraithe wrote:
Poor people are generally very badly trained domesticated primates that are under too much continuous stress have any real awareness or enlightenment.
I can’t believe you wrote that. Do you actually believe it? Am I misunderstanding you, because that sounds really horrific man.

Yeah, I actually believe that.

What, is it news to you that humans are primates? That we are animals?

It's kind of old hat.

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Mothman wrote:
However, I firmly believe that ‘society / my situation made me do it’ is never a good justification for violence.

And you're still not getting it. It's not a justification, it's an explanation. There is no justification for rioting. Rioting is pretty much a universally bad option to exercise. it will never make your situation better, and will almost always (without fail) make it worse.

I am very surprised that you have no sympathy for people who’s homes and shops have been burnt and looted, especially given that many of them are in, from or serve the same sort of disadvantaged regions that the riots began in. And if they are ‘Middle Class’, that does not equate to ‘opporessor’. One of the problems with a riot is that it is indiscriminate, it will hurt people who are sympathetic to the plight of the rioters just as much as those who are not.

All of these problems we have? Fixable. Why aren't they fixed? Because for the most part the Middle Class would rather kiss the ass of the rich and dream of one day having the same wealth and power, rather than actually fix the problems.

I guess I have a little sympathy for that tiny, tiny slice of people who have really dedicated themselves to solving these problems and get hurt. But your average small business owner, even if very liberal, still consistently votes for unserious reform and a do-as-little-as-possible attitude towards the desperately poor.

I wonder how the poor and disenfranchised of London would feel about you categorising them as animals? While I agree that ‘society’ has a lot to answer for for creating a situation where people can feel justified in such a riot, or feeling that they have no other outlet, I think you are SEVERELY overstating the case in saying that they are kept ‘just this side of starving’ and ‘confined’ and ‘poked’. Most of the rioters you will find are not living in extreme poverty, but are living in difficult situations, in a difficult time, and feel understandably frustrated by their apparent lack of options. They are not cornered, hungry, abused animals as you categorise them.

I dunno. I've seen council housing in London, when I was living there. It looks a lot like a gussied up prison to me.

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bugleyman wrote:
So here's something I've never really gotten about the "don't have kids you can't afford" bit. Sometimes people have every reason to believe they are ready to have kids...they have a good job, decent savings, stable household, etc. So they have a child...and then things take a dump. They get fired. Someone gets very sick. A spouses leaves. And suddenly they can't afford to support their children any more. The point is, situations change, a fact that seems to get routinely glossed over by the "don't have kids you can't afford" crowd. As usual, things aren't that black and white.

Yeah, and here's the other thing I notice: The "don't have kids" crowd is almost always male. And generally straight males at that. Which means they don't really know what its like to be a woman and the pressure that men exert in order to get sex.

I don't want to go all Andrea Dworkin and be like "all heterosexual intercourse is rape," but the radical feminists are right that men -- even good, decent, honest non-rapey men -- can exert a lot of pressure on women to put out. And men don't always think about the consequences of that.

Which is how a lot of women end up with kids they can't afford. Because some guy said he loved her, but then he threatened to leave if she didn't put out, so she put out, then she got knocked up (because he didn't want to use a condom that one night, and she was too afraid of him leaving to argue), and then he dumped her.

Or, you know, she's a minority, and the father got arrested for one of the many "crimes" that is only illegal if you're not white (you know, like drug possession or trespassing).

Liberty's Edge

Chubbs McGee wrote:

Sorry, after I read what you wrote I have to say it is a load of crap. I grew up in a poor family, in an economically challenged area surrounded by wealthier areas, and we were far from "badly trained domesticated primates" thank you very much.

If you have not noticed, from the lofty perch you reside on, far above the real world, that even the "better classes" in society are as capable of abhorrent behaviour? Why because "daddy had a Porsche" and sent Billy off to "the fancy private school" that he is somehow better bred, more socially "domesticated" then those of us who did not have that privilege?

Billy is a domesticated primate too. He's just one that lives in a gilded cage and is given license to indulge his base nature without it being criminal. He also has every opportunity to better himself, and easy access to enlightenment, so I judge him a lot more harshly for failing to enlighten himself than I would the poor kid surrounded by gangs and poverty who doesn't undertake the rather heroic task of enlightening himself.

Don't misunderstand me. Everyone on this planet is a domesticated primate. That includes you, me, the Prof, Shifty, Robert Hawkins, and everyone else in this thread. All of us were poorly trained to some degree or another, but most of us had a lot of opportunities to grow and develop.

The desperately poor are just deliberately denied a lot of those opportunities, and not allowed to act out like the wealthy are, which leads to explosive conclusions like rioting.

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Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
Nasty brutish and short eh? How very Hobbesian of you.

Leviathan gets a big ::thumbs up:: from me.

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LilithsThrall wrote:
Gailbraithe wrote:

Why does a abused monkey fling itself against the bars of its cage until its broken and bleeding? Does it think that will accomplish anything?

Comparing the poor to monkeys now?

The sense of noblese oblige/white man's burden you feel must weigh heavy on your shoulders

When you boil away all the poetry and self-flattery, human beings are just domesticated primates. Truth hurts, but that's all we are.

Poor people are generally very badly trained domesticated primates that are under too much continuous stress have any real awareness or enlightenment. Not all of them, obviously, but that is the consequences of poverty. It leaves you morally, spiritually and intellectually impoverished, and thus closer to the animal nature that underlies all human behavior.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a liberal because I've got a big bleeding heart that cares for everybody. I'm a liberal because poor, stupid people annoy the crap out of me, make life tiresome, and I'd like to see them eradicated. Since you can't just kill poor people, you have to do stuff know...educate them. Give them work to do. Help them become fully realized people.

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Mothman wrote:

On the other side of things, how hard done by and disenfranchised do you have to be, exactly, to justify brutally bashing and robbing a foreign student during the riots? Society has treated me so poorly, I think I’ll break this recently arrived exchange student’s jaw, threaten him with knives and steal his stuff ... then when he was lying there in the gutter, another group came along and stole more of his stuff. Nice.

And then there’s the people / persons who drove over and killed three guys trying to protect their neighbourhood (as mentioned above). Social justice? I don’t think so.

I don't understand why its so hard for you guys to understand this:

The poor and disenfranchised who riot and destroy their own neighborhoods aren't protesting. They're rioting. Thanks to society's neglect, they are underemployed, undereducated, stressed out, and have no outlet for their frustrations.

No one out there is thinking logically. No one is acting in a rational manner. They're just going nuts. Because that's what happens when you take a bunch of human beings, keep them just this side of starving, confine them, poke and harass them, treat them like crap, and otherwise ignore them. You deny them everything that makes people better, and you end up with a bunch of dumb animals.

Why does a abused monkey fling itself against the bars of its cage until its broken and bleeding? Does it think that will accomplish anything?

NO! It just needs to do something, and its only option is something self-destructive.

Shifty's right, I'm not very sympathetic to the shopkeepers and middle class folk that are victimized by these riots. That doesn't mean I'm sympathetic to the rioters. The rioters are a bunch of dumb, animal thugs acting out of exuberent, festive violence. They're acting exactly like I'd expect abused children to act.

Society doesn't want to deal with these people, so it ignores them. This is the cost of ignoring them. This is chickens coming home to roost. Are the rioters sucky jerks? Yes.

So is everyone else in the world.

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ProfessorCirno wrote:

The only 'social conditions' these vermin will accept, is 'You fools work all your lives, and I take everything you own, before pissing on the rest'.

And even then, they'll be whinging that they're 'held down by the system', or some such crock of BS.

That is a fairly accurate description of the rich, yes.


I think I have a man-crush on you, Prof.

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thejeff wrote:

I'm not sure how entitlement program make people dependent on them. SS and Medicare are what are usually called entitlement programs. Pretty much everyone over 65 is dependent on Medicare, since private healthcare would be unaffordable at that age, unless you're still working at a good job. Which isn't possible for everyone indefinitely.

More retired people have at least some income beside SS so some might be able to survive without it, but very many do not. Or don't have enough.

For most American families, it would mean a return to multigenerational households as your parents move in with you when they reach retirement age. But it would be far more horrific than that implies, because the last time Americans typically lived in multigenerational households, old people rarely lived past 75 or 80, and there was little that could be done for them medically.

Now, with current technologies at current prices, families would be forced into making the impossible choice between seeing their entire life's earnings being sucked up by their parents health care costs, or putting their parents out on an ice floe.

No American family should have to choose between keeping grandma alive or letting junior go to college, but that is exactly what would happen if we killed social security and medicaid.

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Bascaria wrote:
But the aversion to metal is the very core of the druid's ethos. In order to get metal the earth must be ripped open and burned. The pristine beauty of nature destroyed in an armaggedon of flames and violence.

Which is why a Druid wouldn't choose to use metal shields. But describing being forced to hold a shield for six seconds because of a spell as a "traumatic experience" is still silly.


On the subject of flasks of vinegar and cups of acid and how the victim knows what to do with an object:

If I pull an Acid Flask (10 GP, 1 lb) and use beguiling gift to hand it to an enemy, I would expect him to throw it at me. Because, unless otherwise stated, I assume that an acid flask (10 GP, 1 lb) looks like every other acid flask and not like anything else, and the character being handed the flask knows what it is.

Likewise, if I hand a victim a vial of poison I don't expect him to drink it, because it is clearly marked as poison unless stated otherwise. But if I pour that poison into a mug of beer and hand that to him under the spell, he'll drink it. Because that's what you do with a mug of beer.

Now, what if you just hand them a vial with an unidentified liquid in it? Do they drink it? Throw it? Pour it over their weapon? None of the above. What would you do if someone handed you a vial of unidentified liquid? You'd hold it up, look at it, and ask "What is this?" In other words, they would attempt to identify it.

I would totally let a player using this spell make a Bluff check to convince the victim that they were being handed something specific. If a player has a spare, unmarked glass vial and pours some acid into it and later hands it over via BG while saying "This is a potion of haste," I'd have him make a Bluff check to not give away the gag, and then the poor sap would drink it. Which I think would do a lot more than 1d6 damage, since its basically ten times worse (at least!) than a shot of drano, which will totally kill you.

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TheWhiteknife wrote:
Gailbraithe, we agree on something? How the hell did that happen. I guarentee you we disagree on why people arent buying anymore, though.

I think it's because they don't have jobs. What other possible reason could it be?

Pres Man wrote:
If you want to invest in infrastructure because we need it (bridges collapsing, roads undrivable, etc), I'm all behind that. But using infrastructure as a means of increasing the labor force or getting money moving, I have to disagree. During the Great Depression, I'm sure it worked well enough, but nowadays, you don't have 800 guys working to build a project by hand, instead you have 8 guys running machines. You now get the average cost of a job created by such things as $200,000 per job. Because all the money is going into largely expensive projects, but not into large individual salaries or large numbers of smaller salaries.

This is a good point, which is why we need a carefully structured stimulus package with a Buy American clause that directs the money for the machine towards American manufacturing jobs.

Like right now, here in Seattle, we're planning to build this massive tunnel to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct (a major commercial traffic route) because its a huge raised highway that was damaged in the quakes we had a decade or so again, and it'll likely come down San Francisco style if we have another serious quake. And the biggest single expense is, of course, the tunnel boring machine. Which we're buying from Japan. Now, I actually don't really have a problem with that, because Japan is cool in my book, but I'm patriot enough to wish it had gone to an American company with American factories.

Since a lot of the manufacturing in America is gone, one thing we could do is create investment bonds to fund a manufacturing bank, which would be under private ownership -- specifically worker ownership -- to build the tools and machinery we need for these infrastructure projects. Then they could expand and reinvigorate the American manufacturing sector by competing with these destructive transnational corporations, which could lead to a permanent solution to many of the problems of corporatism, while preserving both the free enterprise system and the benefits of corporate economies of scale (whcih are key to meeting consumer demand in a nation of 300 million+).

The Mondragon Corporation is a model of the sort of thing I'm talking about. It's basically a worker-owned corporation rather than a share-holder owned corporation, so its produces far more social stability than the nearly sociopathic megacorporations we've come to know and loathe. And it's a 100% free market entity, so its not a growth of government at all, which should make conservatives happy.

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LilithsThrall wrote:
how long has your family business been operating?

Seventeen years. My step-dad started it when I was a senior in high school, so that was 1994.

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LilithsThrall wrote:
We need to stop stacking the deck against small businesses - they have historically been what has pulled America out of recession. But they are severely hurt by the credit crunch which the nanny state created.

As someone who works for a family owned small business and is intimately familiar with the workings of such animals, I'd just like to point out that this is 100% the opposite of my experience.

If you think credit is what small businesses need, then you really don't understand how an economy works. My family's business has excellent credit can borrow far more than we need - what we don't have is demand. We're staying afloat, but its lean and until people start buying again we have no reason to expand our operations.

You want to help small businesses? Invest in infrastructure. Put a bunch of people back to work building bridges, highways and high speed rail over the Rockies. All of the money has accumulated at the top, and the top can't spend it fast enough to keep the economy going. There needs to be a huge transfusion of wealth into the working class so that they can buy things so that small businesses like my family's can sell things so that we can expand production and hire more people.

I said literally -nothing- about whether small business thrives or not in regards to the strength of the social net. One of the issues I was sort of alluding to is the ton of regulations the federal government piles on business (many of which make no sense and raise the barrier to entry for small business). But I never implied that the only way to provide a strong social net is to clog up the market with a tangle of regulations.

In twenty years of business, we haven't once encountered one of these so called onerous regulations. I'd love an example of one of these horribly onerous examples.

In fact, the only time our business has had an issue with government regulations, it was over some large rocks we installed along the perimeter of the law to keep people from parking on it (no sidewalk or curb). The city said we couldn't, but our lawyer sent them an angry letter and suddenly we had a waiver.

At our operation we have a 28 ton press that is almost completely unregulated. We had to have a state qualified electrician install the power converter to kick it up to 220, but its not like we were ever considering hiring some unqualified schmuck to install something that could set the building on fire.

The only other regulation I can recall us dealing with is we can't dump some of the paint and grime strippers we use in the sewers, because they're technically acids. We have to bring them to a special transfer station (it's about 15 blocks away), and there's no cost involved. Onerous!

Government regulations surely do keep some operators out of the market. Mostly its the operators who would reduce costs by increasing externalities like pollution and worker injury. We don't actually want those people in the market.

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People who don't want Lovecraft in D&D are, no offense, displaying quite a bit of ignorance about where fantasy fiction comes from.

Fantasy as a genre would not exist if not for a small handful of pulp writers. One of the most important of these writers is Robert E. Howard, who created Conan, defined the sword and sorcery genre, and more or less created the adult fantasy genre. The only person who has had the same impact on fantasy as Howard is Tolkien, and Tolkien wouldn't have gotten Lord of the Rings published if Howard hadn't created the genre of heroic fantasy adventure. So, without Howard, we would likely have no Tolkien, and we would almost certainly have no D&D.

But Howard wasn't much of a fantasist. He didn't actually care much for fantasy - his tastes leaned more towards historical fiction, westerns and stories about boxing and sports. He did heroic fantasy for the money.

So where did he get his ideas for Hyborea and the fantastic elements of Conan? He got them from his contemporary, H.P. Lovecraft. That's what most of their correspondence is about, how to develop a fantastic setting. And if you read that correspondence, its mostly Howard asking Lovecraft how to do this thing he has to do.

And Howard was far from the only fantasy writer that Lovecraft influenced - another was Lin Carter. Now, Lin Carter wasn't a great writer (I like his stuff, but he's the definition of a hack; nothing he writes is original, its all pastiche of better writers), but he was a fantastic editor and literary historian, and had a huge impact on the development of fantasy as a genre in the late 60s and early 70s. Guess who his two favorite authors were. Lovecraft and Tolkien. Guess who the two most influential fantasy writers of all time are. Lovecraft and Tolkien. That's Lin Carter's influence right there.

So when people say they don't want Lovecraft in Golarion because it doesn't feel right, I just have to laugh. Lovecraft is a lot more than Lovecraft's own stories, and Lovecraft is everywhere in fantasy. You know those demon summoning wizards that are behind so much of the evil in fantasy worlds? That's Lovecraft's influence. In Lovecraft's stories, men of reason and science are driven to madness by confrontations with such supernatural evils. But that's just one take - Howard wrote stories featuring entirely Lovecraftian horrors, he just feature them in stories with Nietzschean supermen who respond to such evils with a sword. That's totally D&D.

And for all of Cthulhu's cosmic terror, try to remember that when he rises in Call of Cthulhu, he's driven back and defeated (for now) by ramming him with a large fishing vessel. Sure, everyone on the ship goes hopelessly insane, but still. They knocked out Cthulhu with a boat.

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It's also worth noting that for all of Ron Paul's talk of freedom, he really only means freedom from the federal government. He supports state's rights to engage in all kinds of curbs on individual freedoms, from defining marriage as between a man and a woman only, to outlawing divorce, to mandating school prayer and teaching creationism. His version of libertarianism would allow Texas to become a Christian theocracy.

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James Sutter wrote:
(That means no space hippos in admiral outfits. Sorry, Bulmahn.)

Oh yeah? OH YEAH?


And hamsters. Giant space hamsters.

::gleeful cackle::

Oh yes, they will all suffer.


What were we talking about?

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Hudax wrote:
So what's a sane conservative to do?

Vote Democrat. I mean, as a liberal I kind of hate that voting Democrat is actually the smart thing for a sane conservative to do, but that's basically what the "blue dog democrats" are: sane conservatives.

To invert Ronald Reagan (may he burn in hell): "I didn't leave the conservative party. The conservative party left me."

Well, you know what they say: politics is a pendulum. The left got pretty radical in the 70s and made the rise of modern conservatism possible as a backlash, but things have swung way too far to the right and a sane conservative has got to recognize that.

Consider the New Deal. It's worked for 80 years, virtually eradicating elder poverty and freeing up succeeding generations from the high costs of elder care, which has had a huge stimulative effect on consumption. Everyone who is serious about economics, left or right, American or European, agrees that social security works.

At the same time, the "conservatives" in power want to place all of the money from social security into the stock market. You know, that thing that destroyed a couple of trillion dollars in the last week? That's not a conservative idea, that's a radical idea. I'm a pretty out-there progressive, and nothing I'd propose actually doing is as crazy as that.

Sadly, I almost feel the same way about the dems. We stuffed the government with them in 2008 and they failed hard with a clear majority. The problem is, every single Republican tows the party line without fail, while the dems pull the rope in two different directions. The result is, regardless of a majority, we go where the Republicans want, just more slowly.

But the Democrats never had a majority in the Senate, thanks to the filibuster rules. They needed 60 votes to get a vote on anything of importance, and due to a whole host of factors (the incredible delay in appointing Al Franken and the death of Ted Kennedy being the greatest factors) generally only had 59 votes. This meant that the three moderate Republicans left in the senate (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins for the most part) with tremendous power to leverage their votes for cloture. Now that the split is 54-47, the Democrats have no chance of passing anything without caving entirely to the Republicans, who have decided that taking the American economy hostage every few months is a kewl tactic we can expect to see a lot more of.

Meanwhile, in the House, Nancy Pelosi had one of the most effective and progressive congresses in decades, and passed a huge amount of legislation, almost all of which died in the Senate.

Pretty much everything that sucks about the Democrats right now can be laid at the feet of Harry Reid, who just doesn't seem to understand that Mitch McConnel is a lying, cheating dirtbag whose only goal (as he has said) is to make sure Obama doesn't get a second term, which means making sure that nothing gets passed. Reid should have killed the filibuster when he had the chance, or at the very least killed the stupid "secret hold" nonsense that lets one senator from the minority stop any bill from getting an actual vote.

The only solution is to vote for Democrats in droves, retake the House and get at least 61 Democrats in the Senate. Then Republicans can just be ignored. Which is kind of the only reasonable option left.

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TheWhiteknife wrote:
See, I disagree about conservatism. I believe that there are more than 1 type of conservative...

Sure. Given a broad enough definition of conservative, I'm a conservative.

When I say conservative, I mean the modern conservative movement exemplified by the Tea Party, the Republican leadership, FOX News and the right-wing establishment. You know, the guys who are responsible for pretty much every bad thing that has happened in American politics and the economy in the last thirty years?

You know, those guys? The ones that are conservative right up to the moment where they completely screw everyone, and then suddenly they were never conservative? Like George Bush. He was a conservative until the economy imploded thanks to conservative policies, and then suddenly he was a liberal all along.

Myself, I do want to see the government cut, but just the programs that hurt us. Things that really do curtail our freedoms. Not things like social security or Medicare, but things like the Military-Industrial complex. I do want to see a lifting of many regulations. Not the important ones that we need (like clean water), but the ones that are written by the big corporations and passed into law by their cronies in Washington, only for the purpose of stifling innovation and curbing new competition.

Great. Me too. I 100% agree with what you're saying. I'm a liberal Democrat.

And if you vote for liberal democrats, what you'll get is exactly what you're asking for. You want sensible reform of regulations? Democratic party platform position. You know who oversaw the most dramatic reduction in the size of government and elimination of burdensome regulation since WW2? Al Gore, liberal Democrat. That's what he was doing while the right was distracting everyone with impeaching the president for getting a hummer and not gloating about it afterwards.

Do you think you'll get any of that voting for the people who run as conservatives? Do you? Because if you do, I have a bridge to sell you. It's in Brooklyn. It's amazing, great view, real cheap.

Yet, you lump all of us into "Fascists" and "loonies". I dont deny that some conservatives are, but we all aren't. So I guess that I agree that we probably will see more violence in the near future, but its attitudes that stereotype people who have a different viewpoint as fascists or arsonists that will certainly lead to it.

Allow me to offer you a different interpretation: I'm not the one lumping you in with the crazies, you are. You're the one who has decided he's a "conservative."

Do you hate gay people? Do you support legislation that targets gay people for discrimination or protects the rights of oppressors to discriminate against gays?

Because if you vote for the politicians who call themselves conservative, that is what they are going to do. Screw over gay people.

Do you hate women? Do you think a woman's proper place is in the home, pumping out children, and not in the workplace? Do you want to remove women's real choice from them, and force them to choose a career and celibacy or a love life and the family that will entail by denying them access to sex ed, contraception and abortion?

Because if you vote for the politicians who call themselves conservative, that is what they are going to do. Screw over women.

Do you hate black people? Black people are far more likely to be unemployed than whites, and blacks who have middle-class incomes are far more likely to be government workers than middle-class whites. Massive cutbacks in federal employment rolls disproportionately affects black communities, who are already in a precarious position due to centuries of institutional racism.

Because if you vote for the politicians who call themselves conservative, that is what they are going to do. Screw over black people.

Should I go on? You want to destroy medicare? Because if you vote for the politicians who call themselves conservative, that is what they are going to do. Destroy medicare. And social security. And unemployment insurance. And the schools.

Do you want to see a crippling loss of infrastructure, watch our schools fall further and further behind the rest of the developed world, and give huge tax cuts to the Koch Brothers?

Because if you vote for the politicians who call themselves conservative, that is what they are going to do. Screw over everybody to help the increasingly international and unAmerican rich at everyone's expense.

I don't think you want any of that.

But that's what the politicians who call themselves conservative are offering you. Ignore all the rhetoric, all the slogans, and all the posturing, and just look at the legislation they actually bring up and pass.

If you support that, then yeah, you're a fascist. Sorry. Hate to break it to you. If you don't support that, then for god's sake man, why are you calling yourself a conservative?

This is the thing that blows me away, every time. You find self-identified conservatives on the internet, and 9 times out of 10 they don't support anything that conservatives in power actually do. Half the time they actually support a moderate Democrat position.

And then they go vote for Michelle Bachmann, as if she'll deliver anything but tax cuts for the rich and Christian dominion for the rest of us.

Liberty's Edge

bugleyman wrote:
The compromise Pres Man suggested is better than what we're likely to get in real life...yet you would reject it. You don't see how that makes a compromise impossible? Or do you just not care, and would rather watch it all burn?

I don't think compromise with the modern conservative movement is possible or desirable. I don't think you can compromise with lunacy without getting crazy all over you. Look at the whole debate this thread was instigated by, the debt ceiling debate. Its insanity.

I don't want it to all burn down, but for liberal/progressive Democrats the current options seem to be two-fold:

1) We can compromise with the arsonists on the right and engage in a semi-controlled burning down of our entire society while taking all of the blame for the complete and abject failure of conservatism or

2) We can just throw in the towel, let them have the matches and gasoline, and hope enough of us survive the fire and that those idiots burn up with the house.

Neither option is particularly appealing, but revoking all of their voting rights isn't on the table, so I guess we're stuck with dealing with them until the country either sobers up and realizes that conservatism is 100% stupid BS that has made our society progressively worse the more we try it, or it actually blows up in our faces.

Frankly, I think we're headed towards civil war. Probably not armies versus armies, but I expect a big uptick in violence over the next five years. We're going to see a deepening recession, probably a full on depression, with inner city riots, which will fan racial tension and push the right into full blown fascism, and then **** will really hit the fan.

And with each passing day, I care less and less. Its all so stupid, maybe it would be better if we just started shooting each other.

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GM to one of the PCs: "You wake up in the middle of the night feeling an intense need to pee. You stumble out of bed and into the privy, making use of the chamber pot. When you're finished you stagger back to your bed and the sweet embrace of sleep. That's when you notice an assassin standing over your bed, dagger in hand. He seems surprised to see you out of bed. Roll for initiative."

Doesn't punish the player for not thinking like a paranoid bastard, but allows you to realistically use an assassin. Also, it's generally a huge wake-up call to players who forget that they have to be paranoid bastards to make it to level 20.

Remember that the PC will be unarmed and unarmored when s/he fights the assassin, so make sure its not a high level assassin. The first one usually isn't. And have the assassin be smart - have him run when he's sighted. Just finding an assassin in your room is wake-up call enough, and there's plenty of good reasons why an assassin who found his target awake would choose to flee rather than risk getting caught up in a fight long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

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pres man wrote:
It is also what adults say...Sorry if you feel insulted that someone implies that people should act like adults. I realize that because we all play roleplaying games, we might feel like we have a right to behave in childish manners, lay on the floor, banging our feet, and holding our breath, but that behavior does not solve problems...

Yeah, we're done talking. Get back to me when you can have a *ahem* grown-up conversation and knock of the *ahem* childish insults.

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bugleyman wrote:
I agree that pres man's post was needlessly insulting. But .25% vs. 5% is still very progressive. Can you really refuse that and still claim in good faith to be willing to compromise?

Yes, of course I can. I'm letting you cut spending, which is going to increase costs for me. If we lower medicare payments, my parents have to spend more of their money on my mother's post-cancer medical treatment -- once she got cancer it became impossible to get her insurance -- which means less money they can devote to expanding the business and raising my wages. It also means I'll have less to inherit.

But apparently we have to cut medicare in order to pay for thirty years of tax cuts for millionaires. And you want me to pay higher taxes on top of that?

"We'll only pay our fair share if you pay more than your fair share." is not a "compromise." It's a "hah hah, I am screwing you."

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pres man wrote:
Fair doesn't matter. Life is not fair.

Oh, well, in that case, I'll just go grab my gun and shoot you. I mean taking your wallet is a lot easier than going out and getting a real job. I mean, sure, it's not fair. But life's not fair, right? Fair doesn't matter.

That's how criminals actually think, you know. People see the authority figures as being unconcerned with fairness, and they see that they are the ones being treated unfairly, so they decide the entire system that the authorities support is corrupt and that it's a sucker's game to act with any consideration for others.

It is time to grow up and put on the grown up pants and deal.

That's insulting. It does nothing to support your argument and everything to discredit it. It's just a lame personal attack, a broadside swipe at everyone who disagrees with you.

As long as people are more interested in punishing the rich...

And this is more of the same. How is making the rich to pay the same share of their income in taxes that I do right now punishing them?

It's not. But accusing people who disagree with you of being motivated by class-envy and a petty desire to "punish the rich" is a great way of denigrating anyone who disagrees with you.

...than dealing with the issue it will continue.

But the issue is that the rich aren't sharing the wealth that we all created, so forcing all of us who are already paying our fair share to pay more if the rich are going to pay more isn't dealing with the issue, it's perpetuating the issue.

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Andy Ferguson wrote:
The bolded part seems to indicate that they will react to a fog filling the room, if instructed...

That sounds like introducing complex tactics, which the same bolded section says they are incapable of following.

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pres man wrote:
I for one agree with this, but I feel everyone's taxes need to be raised. If we are "in this together" and we need to address this issue head on, then we need to stop the class warfare. Everyone puts in together. Maybe you only raise the low end by 0.25% and raise the upper end by 5%, but don't tell me we need to increase revenues and then say, "Those people have to pay for it all." If you can continue to mooch off of others, you'll never have to get your own house in order, but if everyone has to pay for spending, then it is everyone's best interest to get it under control.

But in reality lower and middle class people pay more in taxes (as a percentage of income, not in real dollars obviously) than the upper class thanks to payroll, sales, and state taxes. Also, its the upper class that controls the largest share of the wealth and (this is the most important point) its the upper class that has received the lion's share of tax cuts over the last thirty years.

We spend thirty years cutting the taxes on top earners and running up debts, and now that "we've" decided we have to pay back those debts, everyone's taxes have to go up? How is that fair?

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ciretose wrote:
A theoretical Wizard has all spells at all times, memorized as many times as they need it that day.

You forgot that the theoretical wizard didn't have to go through 20 levels of actual gameplay, which is the biggest cheat of them all. The spell list of a wizard grown organically and one built at high level will always be extremely different.

I strongly suspect that the people who think wizards are the best class ever haven't actually farmed a lot of wizards, more likely they're starting out at high levels. Because that will give you a very different impression of wizards than watching them spend level after level of being hilariously useless and made of glass.

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

t I would like is for those who enjoy those sort of things to simply not do it here. There are at least a dozen major websites and many many smaller ones who focus on discussions about real-world religion, economics, classism, racism, poverty, politics, etc. Heck, you can even go to ProBoards or Yuku and open your own messageboards for free.

Is it really so much to ask to have one place on Internet to discuss and enjoy the RPG hobby and tangential interests without all the real world GRAR?

I really don't understand your position at all. I get a sense that I'm one of the people you're complaining about, because lord knows I love going off into tangents about real-world religion, economics, classism, racism, poverty, politics, etc. But those are all things I consider tangential to gaming. I honestly don't think I would give a poop about any of those things if not for gaming and the need for world-building. I like talking about those things with gamers, because gamers will understand why I'm constantly shifting between game references and real world references and discussing things in the sort of abstract terms that are necessary for world-building.

Also, political boards suck. If you go to the liberal ones, the only people to talk to are people who agree with you and paid conservative trolls - that is, if you can find one of the few liberal boards that isn't run by conservative trolls. And if you go to the conservative ones, you'll be permanently banned the second you say anything that isn't conservative dogma. I got banned from the hannity forums for asking what the punishment for getting an abortion should be once abortion is criminalized. I was told the question was "trolling" and "too hypothetical to answer."

Really, the only places on the internet where you can have productive and meaningful conversations about these kinds of issues are places like this -- places where people are drawn in by something other than their opinion on real-world religion, economics, classism, racism, poverty, politics, etc. Something like gaming. Because then you get an actual cross-section of the population, instead of a bunch of people self-selected for their particular opinion.

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Top Five Monsters

I think these things are one of the creepiest looking creatures in the game, and definitely one of the best monsters from 3rd Edition - vastly superior to the Piercers they replaced. At low levels, darkmantles are completely terrifying.

4) Iron Cobra
One of my favorite constructs, these things just plain look awesome (in 1E at least). They are just so metal (no pun intended), looking like they just slithered off an Ozzy Osbourne album cover. I love putting these in treasure chests. I'm mean.

Once a party I was running a game for encountered a tribe of kobolds. These kobolds begged and pleaded for their lives, offering the PCs a tribute of gold if they would just leave them alone. The PCs accepted their tribute - except the chest wasn't full of gold, it was full of springloaded arrows that captured the entire party in its meager 60 degree arc of fire. Kobolds 1, Players 0.

Encounters with otyughs in my campaigns are almost always role-playing encounters, and I always play otyughs as extremely cheerful and happy, if mildly retarded. Giant cuddly poo monsters that just want to hug everyone.

You know what's really funny? Otyughs with hand puppets.

Gotta love an underdog. I always thought these guys were hilarious and made for a great joke creature, but with the expanded background paizo gave them in Misfit Monsters Redeemed they instantly became my favorite, and now I want to have major NPCs in my campaigns be flumphs. Flumphs from across space to warn humanity of the doom that is coming.

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It sounds to me like Poles enjoy some positive stereotypes in England, then. Which would go a long ways towards explaining why they get hired and others don't.

I know here in Seattle an African immigrant will find it much easier to get a job than an African-American born in the city. Because a lot of (white) employers in Seattle think African immigrants are hard-working and don't complain, but that African-Americans are lazy and criminally minded. Never you mind that there are lazy African immigrants and hard-working African-Americans.

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Ross Byers wrote:

I removed some posts.

Mothman wrote:

For f#@#’s sake people, grow up.

This should be a discussion about a very real, very current and very tragic series of events that have no one simple answer or cause and room for opposing but reasoned views.

It is not the time or place for Internet Oneupmanship 101.

The Mothman, he is wise.

Thanks for the crap moderationjob as always Ross.

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Arevashti wrote:
What gets me is the sheer volume of "crunch" that they also decided to sit on. It seems to me like that kind of defeats what I've been led to believe was the original purpose of the OGL (that is, the ability to "outsource" less profitable ventures such as modules).

This +1.

After HASBRO bought WOTC and they started deliberately introducing power creep in the non-OGL material to make it impossible to use 3PP adventures, I really soured on WOTC. Especially when it started to become obvious they weren't going to support their own material -- Tome of Incarnum and Tome of Magic would have sold a lot more copies if 3PP support for them had been possible.

A big part of why I jumped on the Pathfinder bandwagon was because of the fact that Paizo can never lock 3PPs out of using splatbook material, which means that I don't have to hope that paizo will keep supporting new classes I like even if they turn out to not be broadly popular.

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amethal wrote:
Thoth-Amon the Mindflayerian wrote:
One more thing: I hate wotc.

I love WotC. They created 3rd edition of D&D, which I had countless happy hours playing. They also made almost all the monsters in the Monster Manual open content, and added a swathe more to open content when Necromancer asked if they could incorporating them in the Tome of Horrors.

They have a vast amount of intellectual property; I'm not going to complain if they keep some of it, or even most of it, to themselves. They didn't have to make any of it open.

Yeah, I love WOTC too. Long before D&D 3.5, they kept Talislanta alive, and put out a lot of great stuff. Even Magic:TG was pretty cool for the first couple of years. And we can never forget that WOTC is the company that let Ryan Dancey put out the 3.5 engine under the OGL, and the OGL is the most awesome thing to happen to gaming since polyhedral dice.

The guys who made WOTC into a contender were no different than the peeps at paizo. They were hardcore gamers who did it for the love of gaming, and an important part of the industry and hobby.

If you're going to hate, hate on HASBRO. They're the bad guys. They're the ones who saw D&D as nothing but a property, and didn't give a rat's patooie about gamers or the gaming scene. They're the ones who sucked out WOTC's soul and replaced it with a World of Warcraft AI.

Liberty's Edge

Abraham spalding wrote:
NPC Dave wrote:

In any case, you and a few others shared opinions on how useful government workers are. So I shared my opinion.

Are you suggesting my opinion is wrong?

And considering Pareto's Principle in any business or organization 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. So if you count 80% of the work as useful then you really can't expect more than 2 out of 10 of your workers to be doing mostly useful work....

Absolutely I'm suggesting your opinion is wrong. Doesn't mean you can't have it but I don't think its right.

However if we are going to accept Pareto's Principle then it does no good to reduce anything.

Also at the point that we are engaging Pareto's Principle then the government isn't going to be doing any worse than the private sector since Pareto's Principle applies to all work forms (and forces) -- therefore there's no reason to complain about the government behaving exactly like everyone else.


Liberty's Edge

Serisan wrote:

Suppose for a moment that you are Iomedae. Your champion on the material plane proves himself so weak as to not only lose to his adversary, but become a pawn of that adversary.

Would you seriously not be mad at that weakness?

If I were Iomedae, I would not be mad. If I were Asmodeus, I would be mad.

Side note, as has repeatedly been said, why would there be a specific bit of text in Atonement to deal with exactly this scenario?

Because the rules support the DM being a dick to players? I'm not arguing what the rules say, I'm just saying how I would rule. My table, my rules. Rules As Overwritten.

In my game, the gods know what is in the hearts and minds of their followers, and reward and punish them for that, not for things they were compelled to do. If someone plays a Paladin, I'm not going to have a wizard dominate them and force them to loudly renounce their god and all that god stands for, and then laugh at the player for having failed his will save and losing all his powers. That's just dickishness, and I'm not a dickish DM. Even when the rules give me the right to be.

Liberty's Edge

Richard Leonhart wrote:
was I the only one who didn't notice that the ninja was female?

I had no idea until I read her bio. I was thrown off by the lack of gratuitous cleavage. Besides, everyone knows that the female ninja is the sluttiest mammal known to man (seriously). You don't expect them to dress modestly.

Liberty's Edge

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Bascaria wrote:

The rules (and common sense) say exactly the opposite.

The rules I quoted above, both in their class descriptions and in the atonement spell.

Common sense has also been argued above. If you are a paladin and somebody dominates you and you fail the save, then they send you to slaughter some orphans, you will still feel guilt for that. You will still feel responsible. Their blood and the stain of the sin are still on your hands. It is easier to be washed clean, but you still must be washed.

My common sense says that's wrong, so nyah. Sure, the paladin may feel guilt, but that doesn't make him actually guilty.

The paladin might need therapy, but not atonement. His god isn't going to be angry at the paladin, he's going to be angry at whoever dominated the paladin.

Liberty's Edge

I wouldn't allow it, for the same reason that I don't allow people to dominate clerics into acts of heresy: I don't think the gods are that dumb.

I think if you handed a druid a metal shield and he equipped it (and I agree that beguiling gift would cause him to use it in the sense of equipping it), then it only becomes an issue once he regains free will. If he doesn't drop the shield at the first opportunity, then he's in violation, but I don't think he can be held responsible for choices he was compelled to make by magic.

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