Master Han Del of the Web's page

737 posts. Alias of Han Del of the Web.


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I mean, the 'General Discussion' forum is pretty much flooded with threads about CS issues at this point. It's really kind of embarrassing.

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
emky wrote:
Congrats Jim. Good luck! Hopefully you can help to get the company back on track.

Hopefully that means 'maintaining the progress made thus far' on important things like bigotry, hatred, and marginalization of select sections of the gaming community versus a backslide to 'better days'.

And in addition to the above hope, striving to do better.

Apologies for cynicism, I've read the above message once a day for the past three days and my perspective hasn't changed -- hoped stepping away would give me a better perspective but if anything it got darker.

Big same.

I've mostly stepped away from the Paizo forums entirely but just about every time I've poked my head back in I've seen something miserable. We just had yet another person decide this was the place to post their transphobic rant before getting banned.

I hope Jeff recovers but I also hope anyone does the right thing and hustles him fully out the door. I've got very little interest in pulling punches these days and people are still thirsty to see an iota of accountability at this company. Ultimately Jeff is in a position of incredible luxury and privilege that to be allowed to step out of his role as president due to health concerns and still get a consulting gig. A kindness I highly doubt would be extended to the rank and file of the company.

Jim, good luck, between Jeff's actions and the major competition in the space being WotC the bar is set relatively low but I hope you leap over it. Please listen to the union and please try to make this company into what it promised it was for so long.

Firearm level? (Advanced, early, etc)

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Atlas2112 wrote:

1) The game tries to do an old school Battletech type of initiative, where one PC goes, then an NPC villain, then a PC, then another villian. This does -not- work in PbP. Stick to standard group initiative, where the PCs go, then the monsters, then the PCs. Let the cards fall where they may, but don't do it as originally stated.

2) The game "can" get political. It's sprinkled throughout, and it can be easy to step into it. It's also easy to leave it where it is and walk around it completely. This is best. Most just wanna do stuff in space and fight with giant fighting robots. Leave the politics to the politicians.

A couple of points I'd like to bring up to further elaborate on Atlas's takeaways, having played in a couple of failed Lancer PBP games myself and generally kept abreast of the game's development and creators.

1) Initiative: This game uses alternating initiative, allowing a PC to go and then an enemy and letting the party choose which PC takes their turn in what order. As such, I HIGHLY recommend a smaller party (3-4 max) and setting up a Discord for the OOC chatter as that goes a long way to keeping the players engaged in what is happening in combat and not just on their turn.

2) The game is political and wears its politics on its sleeve. While it would be relatively easy to ignore that aspect of the game's setting, if you do not agree with left-wing politics I suggest using your own setting as you'd be running in contradiction to the game's core assumptions when it comes to worldbuilding. (Personally, it's the only TTRPG setting I've actually ended up invested in as it is the only one I've seen that can seamlessly switch from mediations on power dynamics to GIANT ROBOT FIGHTS to examinations of cycles of inter-generational trauma)

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Dang, okay, I'll start looking into some alternatives then. Thanks for the insight.

I tried asking in an older thread but so far haven't gotten a response but does anyone know if there are any plans to release a themed dice set for this AP?

I really enjoyed being able to buy the Dead Suns themed set for my players to use in the last session of that AP and would like to be able to do the same with this one, especially because three of my players have never been in any kind of long-running TTRPG campaign.

Power Armor Jockey increases the land speed by 10ft and Experimental Armor allows you to eventually add movement types including a 60ft fly speed.

Unfortunately, I am specifically working off a Stellar Mystic Solarian so I've got partial BAB and can't qualify for PA Jockey.

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Hey, my google-fu might just be failing me here so forgive me if this question has already been exhaustively gone over elsewhere, but does power armor benefit from movement speed buffs or is your speed always effectively capped at what the power armor gives you?

I was looking at building a power armor solarian with the electrical attunement alternate class feature. The energy mode says 'While energy-attuned, your speeds all increase by 5 feet'. Does this apply to movement speeds given by power armor?

I, too, would like to know this. I splurged on sets for all my players to use in the final session of Dead Suns and would like to do so again for Fly Free.

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Elegos wrote:
MurderHobo#6226 wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

Now, if they come out with Drift 2.0 that could be kinda neat.

Especially if Triune went "Wait, all the Drift travel is based on having ONE network hub. That's incredibly problematic if the hub crashes/gets corrupted." and then had to shut things down because some space goblin crossed some wires in the wrong server room -- y'know, like the Paizo Website has been known to do every so often... :>

The blockchain Drift.
Drift is moving to Proof of Stake any day now we swear

Please ignore the fact that every time a block of transits are processed, another star winks out. We're looking into alternate power sources.

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It's ALMOST like concentrating all your staff for an online storefront in one time zone isn't exactly the best plan.

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There's also the Wrecking Spells Mystic Epiphany and the Harmful Spell magic hack. Each add 1/2 level to damage as an untyped bonus if I remember..

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Does Spell Sergeant or any of the other methods of improving spell damage not work with scaling cantrips?

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Except that's not really what's happening. The objective morality they have attempted to produce and reinforce in the setting has generally been sold as following a generally moderate/left and relatively progressive bent. It's been more or less the stated goal of the creatives and of the company.

What is being called for here is greater internal consistency both to appease the customer base and to provide a higher quality product.

On top of that, not everyone is really willing to engage with media that props up objectionable material as 'good actually', especially not media that actively requires personal participation and interaction with it.

If the goal were to provoke that sort of tension between players and setting as is the case in, say, Warhammer 40k, then it would have been better signposted.

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BobTheCoward wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Why can't we have Good racists?

Why can't we have Good homophobes?

Why can't we have Good slavers?

Why can't we have Good torturers?

Why can't we have Good rapists?

Because when you have the big G on someone who partakes in any of those horrible things in a game where objective morality is a thing you're saying they're good, they're okay, or they're so minimally bad they're okay.

Bigotry isn't good and there should be no desire to portray it as such. "Oh it's a game" is a deflection that's attempting to shut down a conversation, you're absolutely failing in trying to defend the issue when that is brought up. It doesn't make the bigotry go away, or okay.

"Oh it's okay cause they're fictional humanoids that aren't humans"
"Oh it's okay cause their skin color is different"
"Oh it's okay cause this one group of them is bad so they're all bad."
"Oh it's okay cause this other author said they were bad."

The above are all attempts used in the real world, have been used, to justify bigotry.

Drow, Goblins, and Orcs aren't unthinking monsters in P2 so trying to use any of the above to justify in-game bigotry at them is you falling in to espousing bigotry, a rather glaring dog whistle, pushing for "safe" and "accepted" bigotry.

But the objective good morality of the game setting doesn't have to align with my morality.

The objective morality of this game world is not actually good in real life? So? I'm already roleplaying a setting with objective morality when I bet many of us do not think objective morality exists. What does the contours of that fake objective morality matter?

Again, this is pretty much a Thermian Argument, I'm going to suggest watching a Folding Ideas video to illuminate why people would have a problem with this line of reasoning:

Ascalaphus wrote:
for convenience

I promise it isn't very long

Ascalaphus wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
To everyone sorting through this thread, I highly recommend looking up Folding Idea's video on Thermian Arguments as to why in universe explanations do not somehow give this a pass.
for convenience

Thanks, I'm posting from my phone and doing links on a touch screen is pain for me

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Not engaging and actively refuting faulty and often dangerous arguments allows for a false perception of tacit endorsement by the community at large, which, by my metrics is far, far worse.

To everyone sorting through this thread, I highly recommend looking up Folding Idea's video on Thermian Arguments as to why in universe explanations do not somehow give this a pass.

Personally, I am always supportive of efforts to either reclaim or recontextualize problematic coding in fantasy and sci-if media. If it can't be salvaged, it should be ditched. If there is going to be dwarf prejudice against orcs and goblins, it should be represented realistically with complex facets to the conflict and active movements to fight such prejudice. Any god of the capital g 'Good' cannot also be a god of prejudice. There is no such thing as a 'good racist'.

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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Ah, begun the process of winding forums down has.

Certainly feels that way. Paizo seems so disinterested in actually maintaining the community they've courted for years.

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Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
Also - I just realized today that I’ve been pronouncing TNG as “Gorbachev” in my head this whole time.

Somehow the name still works.

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Gotta love the idea that we're actively seeking out random threads and performing loyalty tests on unsuspecting forum goers. I've certainly restricted myself to relevant threads and only brought things up when they are either relevant to the conversation at hand or someone has come out with an impressively bad take.

Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
This thread just can't keep on the topic but perhaps that's how it best illustrates where we are :)


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Andy Brown wrote:
didn't we have this discussion already?

Yup, but some people refuse to listen and allowing their bad takes to go unchallenged creates the false appearance of acceptance by the community, functionally shifting the Overton Window for the site and encouraging others with equally bad or worse takes to come out of the woodwork.

It's a war of attrition, but these things have to keep being said. Hopefully, the ones with truly heinous opinions will go mask-off and get themselves banned. At the same time, they're hoping to sap the mental and emotional energy of the rest of us until we're too tired and frustrated to continue. This is how bad faith arguments are used.

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My statement was actually intended to be neutral. Sara Marie was fired, Diego left and that created a vacuum. She took some actions and now has to step up. I'd be interested in hearing what she plans to do and the steps she plans to take in good faith but I'm not about to start celebrating her.

For better or worse the damage is done and actively seeking to drive her off achieves nothing, it certainly won't magically restore the jobs and goodwill of Sara and Diego. A lot of people are exceptionally dissatisfied with Paizo and the directions they are choosing to go in. Chief among the reasons is the utter lack of transparency with the community they actively chose to foster and profit from. Hearing from someone, anyone, and seeing them act upon stated plans and goals would be good for the community.

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There's this post from the 'Paizo, it's time for a change' thread, made on Nov 15, 2021:

Diego Valdez wrote:
To clarify, Tonya lobbied for and was given the Director of Customer Service and Community position. This was in effect a demotion for Sara. A few weeks later Sara was fired by Tonya. I quit when she was fired.

So... yeah, not exactly a flattering reporting of events.

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A bed was made and now someone must lay in it.

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Okay, yeah, the slavery convo is getting way off topic. If no one else steps up, I'll make a new thread after work tonight.

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FallenDabus wrote:

Yeah, I think this is where I pull the plug. Will think it over tonight, but this is yet another misstep, yet another time writers with concerns have been ignored, and yet another sign that Paizo needs a total management overhaul. So I expect in the morning I'll be cancelling my AP subscription for good.

And to be clear, this ain't a boycot until things improve. This is the last several months having sucked all joy I get out of something I loved. And I honestly don't know if that can be fixed or the trust repaired at this point.

Maybe I'll come back at some point in a vague undefined number of months. But now is the time to put my money and time into games that make me happy. And doesn't make me feel sick to my stomach.

Man, I'm sorry it came to this for you FD.

Sadly, this is something I predicted when I first heard about the mis-management coming to a head. I said it then and I'll say it again. When people start cancelling and leaving, it won't be for a short-term boycott, it will be because they are burned out from having their trust abused and will be leaving permanently.

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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

Wait, did Absalom only abolish slavery because enslaved people helped them win against an external enemy?

Yeah, that's pretty bad.

Almost hilariously tone-deaf.

There are so many more compelling stories you could tell to give the reason for the end of slavery in a city-state. The end of slavery for the end of slavery's sake is a good first step. In a setting where there are literally gods of good around, abolition movements should have been around from the jump.

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I would think the 'vague bugbear' would be something more akin to Phantasmal Killer but far less lethal

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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
When you can do the bare minimum but don't, your pulling a Paizo management.

When you can do the bare minimum but don't and then hire someone known for doing the opposite, you're pulling a Paizo management.

Fixed it for ya.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
Indeed there is a TTRPG company that does this

Isn't that only because the law says that they have to, because they are a publicly traded company?

Maybe doing more than the law says you have to is a good idea?

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I'm getting tired of arguing this point.

Hiring lawyers that do not explicitly specialize in DEIB is a transparent ploy.

Hiring lawyers at all is just an effort to cover their asses against legal action by those they hurt.

This is a very public and familiar playbook.

The policy was transphobic, the upper management is toxic, there investigation done.

If they want their efforts trusted, get the union involved or make the sort of organizational changes that would prevent things from getting this far again in the future. Hire the sort of people that explicitly specialize in his stuff to get the job done or don't bother telling us about it.

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Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
"Master Han Del of the Web” wrote:
This is the execs realizing they have profoundly screwed up the situation and circling the wagons against accountability before their opposition is fully organized.

Hey, nothing I am going to say is going to overcome raw cynicism. Yes, a firm hired by the the company is going to look out for the best interests of the company.

But looking out for the best interests of a company doesn’t necessarily mean sweeping issues under the rug. A good firm going to gather evidence, evaluate facts, and advise their client on a course of action.

Let me say for clarity: I am not arguing that this is a good firm to handle an investigation, or that the outcome of the investigation will be the “right” outcome. And Paizo could get good advice and choose to disregard it.

But if your argument is that BECAUSE Paizo hired a firm it is PROOF that they are acting in bad faith, well, you are wrong.

Don't ascribe attitude based on whether you agree with my analysis. If we start shouting 'cynic' and 'naive' back and forth nothing is going to get done.

The fact of the matter is that they were not hired by the company, they were hired by the execs. Execs do not solely compose the company or even make up a notable percentage. If they did worker strikes would be meaningless. The body that specifically works to represent the vast majority of the people in the company (ie the 'company') is the union and they were neither consulted nor (to my knowledge) endorse this move.

To be clear, my argument is that the execs have interests that are in opposition to those of the workers and a significant number of us, hiring the law firm without bringing the union in demonstrates a level of bad-faith, and that this all follows a corporate script that ends with them trying to sweep this all under a rug. It's not cynicism, it's a healthy dose of Marx mixed with having watched this sort of thing happen repeatedly in the video game industry.

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MaxAstro wrote:
Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
Any group hired on solely by the execs is going to have a vested interest in making their clients happy.

This is not - strictly speaking - the problem you make it out to be.

If, for example, the client recognizes their mistakes and the need to fix those mistakes and honestly wishes to avoid those mistakes in the future, then performing an honest investigation is making the client happy.

The problem of course is that we don't exactly have compelling evidence that is where Paizo is coming from.

Bolded for emphasis

I would argue that we have compelling evidence that the position of the Paizo execs is, in fact, the opposite. Between the repeated allegations of toxic upper management and the exceptionally hollow corporate apologia. Where the problems of the company are coming from is painfully obvious. They don't need a bunch of suits with little to no skin in the game to identify whether something is transphobic or not. They need to listen to trans people and trans people have been very clear.

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Any group hired on solely by the execs is going to have a vested interest in making their clients happy. That vested interest represents a distinct conflict of interest with the stated goal of performing an honest investigation. However, it does not create a conflict of interest if their goal is merely to give the appearance of doing something while protecting their clients' interests and possibly making sure they are legally protected against any potential lawsuits from the people they have hurt and exploited.

The only way I would trust a law firm hired to perform an investigation as a neutral third party is if they were hired as part of a joint action by the execs and the union or just the union.

This is the execs realizing they have profoundly screwed up the situation and circling the wagons against accountability before their opposition is fully organized.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Yeah, bad lawyers are illegal over here.

... or they charge an arm and a leg.

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Viggi wrote:
I guess managers/owners who abuse their power and don't respect their workers hire people like themselves for the other management positions. To me this reads like a company producing RPGs and seeming to occupy one of the very few inclusive spaces in the TTRPG industry which was actually the opposite in the way it treated its employees. As if that whole persona was a lie and mask has been ripped off.

Execs and their flunkies are not and never have been the whole company. They're just parasites latched on and benefiting from the work of others. I'm not going to try to tell you to spend money on a company you aren't comfortable with supporting but the people that worked hard to make Pathfinder such a wonderful and inclusive game are still there. I'm still hopeful the union can hold those responsible for the abysmal conditions to account and push for real change, change that might see the return of at least some of the wonderful folks who the execs have chased off. If we keep raising a stink about the creeps in power, we might even be able to force change there too. This isn't Activision, they don't have the power of someone like Bobby Kotick.

My ideal world is definitely seeing Paizo reorganized into a worker-owned cooperative but while the union was a heck of a surprise, I think that might be a bridge too far.

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Nightfox wrote:
SnowHeart wrote:

Yet even with all of that, yes, SKR's take says a lot to me. There are serious problems at the top. While I actually think hiring a law firm to do an assessment is a good step (this is my professional background so I see it differently than some others), there will only be positive results from that if senior management is willing to implement them. I may well be late to the party on this, but I'm not seeing a capacity to enact meaningful change after what sounds like years of mistreatment and indifference.

As to the law firm hiring, I also view this as a decently good move to protect employees. I was under the impression that now that there have been revelations with possible discrimination issues and/or sexual harassment, Paizo (who is missing an HR person) needs to investigate these allegations themselves, because if they don't and something comes up in a future court case, they will be held more liable.

I too hope that there are some major changes in how the company is run.

The law firm is pretty obviously a cynical move. Someone did some checking into them (too tired to remember who at the moment) and what they found is not encouraging. Expect to hear a lot of corporate waffling and refusal to take responsibility.

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Man, it really sounds like the execs are profoundly toxic and incompetent and this company is operating in spite of them and not because of them. Some SERIOUS changes need to be made.

Eh, the only published setting that really seized my imagination was the core setting for Lancer. A lot of TTRPG settings just feel like the side notes of someone else's campaign scrubbed of certain specifics to me

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Regardless, institutional knowledge is a thing and if someone's role is rendered redundant by an org-chart alteration, you are frequently better served by retaining that person and finding a new role for them in the company. At the very least it allows you to keep that institutional knowledge on hand.

The way this has been handled just reeks of an ill-conceived power grab.

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Watery Soup wrote:

Role-playing games are the perfect vehicle to understand weird perspectives, and I pity anyone who's made a whole bunch of character clones, and double pity anyone who's only made characters cloned from themselves (or their fantasy versions of themselves).

What's it like to be a theist if you're an atheist IRL? What motivates a cranky old bartender*? What if you had the ability to change your appearance? RPGs are a great way to explore that. And everyone make some mistakes and step on some toes, but better to do that for an easily-changed game character and get gently corrected by friends, than to go out and get wrong assumptions called in a real-life situation by strangers.

The theist/atheist thing is actually something I really appreciate. I'm pretty profoundly agnostic IRL but the dialogue between my philosophical understanding of faith and how it has been presented in TTRPGs has really led to a much deeper understanding of the subject. I've only gotten more tolerant of religious ideologies IRL but, ironically, I am increasingly loathe to play a character of faith in TTRPGs because of how having an 'actual factual' god feels like it cheapens acts of faith.

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I held off on reading this all day so I wouldn't spend my whole work shift fuming. Seems I was right to do so.

What we got was a lot of corporate apologia complete with an impressive non-apology for an objectively transphobic policy and no real public-facing efforts to visibly address obvious problems apart from an executive-lead investigation into problems reportedly caused by the executives and upper management. It makes you sound like Ubisoft. You do not want to sound like Ubisoft.

You even now have an organization that could perform that investigation without nearly as egregious a conflict of interest. The Union.

Congrats, you failed successfully.

Essentially unless the union backs up your efforts and cosigns them, I'm back to assuming the 'Leadership Team' is out of touch, if not overtly exploitative. Hopefully UPW can force some healthy changes here.

This token effort was barely enough to buy some more time from me, mostly so I can stay apprised of the efforts of the union, but you have likely permanently lost the trust and respect of many people that thought you had their interests at heart. You've certainly lost mine.

My sympathies go out to those who feel betrayed and hurt by this profoundly mediocre response.

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It's almost like people want to see their values reflected in the products they buy and the companies they patronize or something.

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Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Humor can be a lot like food; not everybody gets it.

Also like food it can do serious harm if not approached with care.

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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
keftiu wrote:
Grankless wrote:
Shoutout to the Lancer RPG's discord for having a public ban log (mostly full of spam bots) so people can clearly see that bigotry/general chud-ism is unwelcome.

The Lancer devs are also outspoken about their politics, which I imagine filters out the chuds pretty well.

It doesn’t hurt that make a damn good game, too.

For serious. At this point Lancer is the only d20 game that I hold a high opinion of. Also give props for their layouts while we're at it.
A dear friend of mine does their layout!
Tell them a random guy in the internet loves it. Seriously, I find it bizarre RPG layouts aren't a solved problem at this point, but clearly it isn't so I give all my thanks to those who do a bang up job.

Lancer is great, Massif Press is great, their community is amazing. A lot of the gaming industry could stand to learn some things from them.

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No, that's fair, my irritation is getting the better of me. I've been taking a break from this whole thing for the sake of my wellbeing and I think I'll give it another week before stepping back into the trenches.

Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
43 days and counting

52 days and counting by my measure.

Just popping in to drop this fun note into the thread and check up on the situation to find... nothing substantial. Have we tried serenading him? Probably won't work but I'm willing to try anything at this point.

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