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Messages - Null42

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1
You can argue about some of the really early works as fantasy given that they were probably closer to legends--they believed in the siege of Troy but didn't really think the gods came down and made people do stuff, etc.

"Hey, tell us about great-great-great-great-granddad's getting lost again!"

"Well, he got blown offshore and ran into...a giant! With one eye! And he wanted to eat him, but first he asked granddad's name!"

"What did he say?"

"Nobody! So when granddad stuck him in the eye, and the other giants asked him who was hurting him, he said 'Nobody'! 'Well, they said, if nobody's hurting you, shut up and leave us alone!'"

(ancient greek laughter)

"All right, that's pretty good, give him supper."

2
I missed metal in the 80s, but I'm pleased to see that it went in and out of style without being destroyed and now that it's a counterculture again is still happily churning out stuff for people who like it.

3
I think the point is that if enough people get in with certain views to a critical mass, they can then change the culture of the hobby and then you can't open a book without getting hit with politics.

Frankly 20 years ago I never thought I'd see the day D&D got political, as it didn't happen in the real world, and you can make any social change you want in your game world by fiat. Oh well.

Also an increasing number of people insist that the producers of any media they want to consume share their politics, which I find a little silly. Though as a semiconservative watching media I was used to having to tune out the 'message'. (Look at all the trouble Milius got into after making Red Dawn.)

4
Design, Development, and Gameplay / Re: Boss Mechanics in D&D and the OSR
« on: October 22, 2020, 08:50:15 PM »
For early-edition D&D, I would think undead immunities (paralysis and poison, sleep and charm and fear) would prevent an anticlimactic instakill.

Having the monster be immune to everything except some particular weapon is a classic of folklore, though it may be a little too railroady for many gamers.

5
Quote
While Dahl’s reputed anti-Semitism has raised questions about his legacy as an author in the years since his death, James and the Giant Peach remains a favorite among kids and parents alike nearly 60 years after it was first published, thanks to its vivid imagery, vibrant characters and forthright exploration of mature themes like death and hope.

It’s as if they have to mention any and all potential triggers, even if it is “reputed” and not present in the book.

I agree. I mean, if it isn't even in the actual book, the it winds up being about subjecting every author of the past to the moral standards of the day, which is IMHO ridiculous. What's going to happen in 100 years if the population of the earth is 20 billion, everyone had to become vegan because we no longer have room to grow livestock, and they start throwing authors out because they ate meat?

I'll come clean. I'm half-Jewish (by descent, and I don't practice any religion, and as should be clear by now I am substantially less woke than your average NYT columnist).  Am I supposed to not play Call of Cthulhu, because of Lovecraft's prejudices? Oh, wait, maybe I shouldn't read Shakespeare either, because of the Merchant of Venice or those lines in Macbeth. Can't read 'The Waste Land', because Eliot wrote some nasty stuff. Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Celine) is out too... Maybe I should ring the Spanish Academy and have them censor the epic of El Cid because of the scene where he rips off the Jewish moneylenders...

I admit I didn't like Wagner, but I just couldn't get into the music--too slow and ponderous.

I don't know man, I'm too old. The kids all think like this, and they're the future, so what am I supposed to do?

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Plus, there's the old chestnut of "Amateurs borrow. Professionals steal."

"If you copy from one book, that’s plagiarism; if you copy from many books, that’s research."

--Prof. Wallace Notestein (later used by Walter Winchell and Tom Lehrer)

7
It's more the 'trigger warning' psychology. You might be emotionally damaged by seeing sexism or racism, etc., so they have to mention it so you don't get unsettled.

Having to mention that a book of medieval Islamic folktales had the expected prejudices of the era, well, I think people have gotten too sensitive.

They're probably trying to get a non-Western historical work on there would be my best guess--that's why they put that one in and left out Beowulf, the Odyssey, etc.

You do see the exclusion of the pulp/sword-and-sorcery tradition. Well, we've got Appendix N. ;)

8
That was an awesome game. I still remember playing it in the arcade. Always felt vaguely RPG-ish, what with the powerups.

9
From what I've seen a short and early text seems to be the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming (available for free at Lulu).

Principles are:
Rulings, not Rules
Player Skill, not Character Abilities
Heroic, not Superhero
Forget about 'Game Balance'

Basically, you make stuff up as you go along rather than looking for page 356 of the manual, you have to think to check for hidden doors instead of rolling 'spot hidden', you are Batman not Superman, and nobody says there can't be a beholder on the 1st level of the dungeon behind that line of statues of screaming adventurers.

Have I got it?


10
After d12 come 2d6, then 3d6, 4d6, etc. I haven't found much need for these except for Titans and older dragons.
Eh, so multiple dice-per-level? Aside from the fact that I personally find that aesthetically icky, the scale is a bit strange because it jumps up by 1hp on average until d12, then half a hp at 2d6, and then suddenly 3.5 additional hp at each size category thereafter. That's a tough one for me to swallow. I wonder if that scale could be done better and still kept as simple.

It might not be worth going to much effort there though, since meat dice seems pretty elegant.
For that kind of thing, I find that the Fibonacci Sequence gives me raw scaling that I like, but that it doesn't always align with dice code that well.  Also, the standard sequence takes off really fast, at 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89--not giving much room for multiple levels.  (Starting at the technical beginning of the sequence doesn't help much, either.)  What I've done instead is have the dice code hit every other level in the sequence, and then pick something in the middle that is close enough--with some judicious rounding for dice averages and a small modifier to handle not having much gaps in the early part of the sequence.

For example, let's use average dice, rounded up, with a flat modifier of +2 to the sequence.  Putting a die code on every other sequence gives 4, 4, 5, 6, 7,  9, 10, 13, 15, 19, 23 (going up to 21 in the sequence where it starts to go crazy, though you could go 2 more results up to 34, 30 & 36 for really big creatures).  Do a little judicious rounding down at the lower end to start at 1d4, 1d6, 1d10, 1d12, then start adding modifiers -- 1d12+2, +4, +6, +8, +12, +16, etc.  After all, at the upper end of the scale, 2 extra points doesn't matter a lot.

The Fibonacci actually does turn into an exponential sequence if you take it far enough--the exponent is half (1+square root of 5), or about 1.618034. The number has the fun property of being 1 more than its reciprocal. The ratio is known as the 'golden mean' and wound up in Western art quite a few times. So it has a pedigree.

11
Seems like at lower levels you're going to have to be more worried about the fire/cold/electricity aspect of attack spells?

Reskinning the iconic fireball and lightning bolt as an earthball and steam geyser would go a long way toward establishing that 'this world is different'.

12
Merlin isn't usually seen of as evil for having demon blood in him, for example - just weird.

Merlin was baptized. If something like that exists in the world in question that might be one way to go.

13
As many have said, the bard exists in an aliterate culture, and in standard dungeon fantasy the know-it-all role is already taken by clerics and wizards.


Still, they seem to have slid the monk in, which was mostly based on kung fu movies (specifically, the Destroyer novels by Williams and Sapir). I'm guessing the monk fit well as an alternate fighter, whereas the bard tended to be done as jack-of-all-trades, and hence master of none.

14
I think we have to face the real problem here.


Many orcs have problems being strong enough for orc women. These weaklings can only lift small stones and are weak hunters and weak fighters. So what do these weak orcs do? These orcs find human women and make babies with them. Babies have gross round ears, pathetic small tusks, sickly-green skin, and are not very strong, though stronger than wimpy humans.

Humans try to claim orcs take advantage of their disgusting-looking human women. I don't know why any real orc would want one of those things that can barely give birth to one baby at a time unless he had no other choice. What kind of warrior would an orc with human blood in his veins be? Sure some become shamans, and that's good for someone who can barely lift an orcish axe.


But overall, it just shows how humans like to blame other races for things they don't want to admit. The difference between an elf and a human is that the elf can't help lying. But the human, they do it for a reason.


--taken from the Words of Gronk, Hand of Gruumsh, battle captain of the Bloody Tusk orc tribe

15
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Re: Forgotten RPGs
« on: September 30, 2020, 10:44:36 AM »
From what I read Powers & Perils was still too stuck to wargame-style simulationism (makes sense since it came from Avalon Hill) and failed to compete with D&D 1e. Kind of like TSR blowing themselves up with Spellcraft trying to compete with Magic...


I rather enjoyed reading Synnibarr, oddly enough. The dude had a fertile imagination, even if it didn't work as a system.

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