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Topics - jhkim

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1
This was touched on in the recent thread on race - but that was much more focused on politics around the calls. This is about having half-orc wizards, or halfling rangers, or gnome monks, and so forth. I can think of a few different approaches:

(A) In Basic D&D, there isn't a separate choice of race or class. Each race (except human) is its own class. (EDITED: removed OD&D, which has restricted combinations)

(B) In AD&D 1st edition, race and class are picked separately -- but many race/class combinations were banned. You couldn't play an elven cleric PC, because that combination wasn't allowed in the level limit chart. Other combinations were allowed but heavily discouraged by level limits, while a few were allowed unlimited.

(C) In D&D 3rd and later, those limits were dispensed with. However, because of ability score modifiers, some combinations result in less effective characters on average. Unless the GM rules it doesn't fit the setting, I can choose to play a half-orc wizard, but my PC is notably less powerful -- though a half-orc paladin works just fine.

(D) Other games don't have the equivalent. For example, in Fantasy HERO (4th) and I think in GURPS (4th), race doesn't change effectiveness much. So if I play a half-orc wizard, I still get my points worth of abilities. A GM can discourage some combinations as not fitting the setting ("I'd prefer you didn't play that"), but if a player does make such a character with GM permission, they're just as effective as other PCs.


Do people have a preference about this? Personally, I definitely preferred (C) to (A) and (B). However, as I think it, I am coming around that (D) makes more sense. Outside of race/class combinations, I've generally felt that using *power* to balance *unusualness* is a poor bargain, because it yields inconsistent results depending on the mindset of the player. Frequently, I'll see a party where half the players are power-gamers with optimized and boring characters, and the other half are experimenters/role-players trying out quirky options who all get overshadowed.

My preferred way to deal with unusualness is on a social level - especially by having a session zero where we come up with who the PCs are as a group, to avoid both too much unusualness overall, and also unlikely matchings of characters (i.e. paladin and assassin).

2
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / What to do about social media corporations?
« on: January 13, 2021, 04:23:51 PM »
This was a side topic in the political debate, which I thought maybe should be its own topic. Trump had vetoed the defense spending bill to demand that it overturn the Section 230 protection that social media corporations get. In general, the problem is that social media corporations have far too much control over the public debate than many people are comfortable with, but also, many people don't like the idea of regulating them to substitute government control.

From the other thread:

No, online platforms should NOT be responsible for anything anyone posts in their site, and they are NOT good at detecting and shutting down copyrighted material precisely because they consistently shut down fair-use of music and other media. It is not the role of tech companies (or of self-entitled users within their platforms going after people they personally don't like) to make legal determinations about ANYTHING. They're not lawyers, they're not legal scholars or judges or law enforcement and have NO role in the government or legal procedures. These are NOT functions that fall within the purview of fucking monopolistic tech giants. It is not their job and they are not properly equipped to determine whether or not a supposed "tHrEaT oF vIolEnCe" or any other questionable post is legally actionable material. That is the job of the FBI, or equivalent agencies when it comes to users outside of the US. It's supposed to be THEM who make that determination, not our self-appointed tech overlords. That is why section 230 exists, and their insistence on stepping beyond their bounds is precisely why we're on this mess.
What do you think about Trump's calls to remove Section 230 protections for social media?

https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/trump-ndaa-veto-section-230/

I'm not sure exactly where I stand on how to reform Section 230, but I do think that it is *not* simply the purview of the FBI and police to handle all lawbreaking. Citizens have a responsibility to report crime and not participate in it.

For example, someone tells me a slanderous rumor about someone else - I then write it up and send it to a newspaper, which prints it. I think both I and the newspaper have some responsibility here - both legally and ethically. Just mindlessly repeating what one is told is wrong. People should be responsible for what they say and publish. That is a standard that newspapers are held to, but social media companies get a special legal loophole.

That said, I'm not eager for social media companies to be the determiners of truth. *If* we give them a legal loophole to avoid responsibility, though, then there need to be strings attached that make the social media more functionally public and allowing of free speech.

To explain a little more about the "public" thing -- I've used the analogy of making a town newspaper to today. In the past, if one had a printing press, one could stand on the street beside the newsstand, and have similar visibility to the main newspaper. However, on the Internet, there is essentially no public space - no public visibility. Visibility depends on private companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter linking to you. If they refuse to post links to you - then no one can find your site.

I'll try to address other points in following posts.

3
I've been continuing to work on an Incan fantasy setting for D&D. I posted about it in a previous thread. (And I've been taking time to read a book recommended in the earlier thread.)

https://www.therpgsite.com/pen-paper-roleplaying-games-rpgs-discussion/no-politics-incan-fantasy-in-dd/

One issue that has come up in cosmology is that D&D has an assumption about the four elements as air/earth/fire/water. In Andean cosmology, though, it seems more fitting that there are only two elements: earth and water. Within D&D, one approach is that water would include sub-elements of ice, mist, and air. Earth would include sub-elements of stone, metal, and fire. That means there would still be air and fire elementals (along possibly with others), but some assumptions still would have to change.

Would this mess with the assumptions of D&D for players, do you think? Should it be skipped for simplicity? Or could it work for adding flavor to the world?

4
Currently I'm playing through the massive classic campaign book in 1920s Call of Cthulhu (name omitted to avoid spoilers). It's cool to play a classic. However, I thought it would be somewhat more disconnected adventure segments like different dungeons. Instead, possibly because of our choices, it seems like there is a broad and large cultist organization that we are dealing with.

Logically, I feel like our characters would try to recruit more help -- these are really bad people, and we could collect evidence against them if we wanted. And we did hire a bunch of thugs as extra muscle for the last job. But on the metagame scale, I feel like it's breaking the game if we focus on getting other people to fight evil rather than the PCs fighting evil directly. With monsters, there's more of an idea of doing library research and finding their weakness -- but with cultists, it's more like sheer numbers and firepower are most important. In D&D or some other systems, we would go up in level and eventually shift to more of a leader-of-armies campaign. But even in D&D, there can be times when low-level PCs are faced with a larger evil organization, and the move that makes the most sense is to get other people to fight them.

I think in Call of Cthulhu, it's particularly an issue since PCs gain less in power as they advance. But it's a potential issue in many games. How do you prefer to handle it? Last session, I broke character to say something like "The logical thing to do here would be to recruit more, but out-of-character, we'll just move on to focus more on fun adventures." We mentioned some excuses for doing so, but it was a little unsatisfying - though better than intractably arguing, which I've seen in some games.

5
The thread on Oriental Adventures made me think some about how I prefer to handle Asian-themed fantasy. I find that my approach to Asian fantasy is different from how some approach it. So I thought I'd talk about ways that I prefer to do things in a positive sense.


1) I use genre references to a mix of genres, not just martial arts or other popular purely Asian genres.

I've run two main Asian campaigns - a pulp game (using Spirit of the Century) set in an alternate 1860s Korea, and an ongoing Amber Diceless game set in a variant Chinese-themed version of the Amber universe. Both of these referred some to Asian sources, but they also had a lot of genre plot points from Western genres like pulp and Amber. Having different genre references can mix up the stereotypes and expectations some. I love martial arts films, but they're a very narrow window to view things - and Asian films themselves have a mix of genre influences - like how Kurosawa was strongly influenced by American Westerns, and vice-versa.

I'll still refer to period material. Like for the 1860s game we watched the Korean film "Blood Rain", and Amber Diceless has a lot of wuxia references. But there's also a lot of other genre references.


2) I concentrate more on fun characters and action, rather than pretending to be authentic.

A number of Asian fantasy games have a lot of material about how to get into the mindset of another culture. But - with due respect to the few fantasy games that try to be medieval authentic - most fantasy RPGs are not about trying to really understand and be true to 12th century Italian culture or whatever. They're about killing monsters and being heroes. Thus, for example, I wouldn't consider a system for collecting honor points, which doesn't strike me as either particularly fun or authentic.


3) I used English rather than borrowed terms.

For example, I would refer to a long sword as a long sword rather than a gum, jian, or katana. I'll refer to figures as knights rather than xia or samurai, and casters as sorcerers or shamans rather than shugenja and such. First of all, this is more consistent. I don't use terms like spada or chevaliere in a European fantasy game - I'll just say sword and knight. More significantly, people have a tendency to get weird about these things. Some are just completely stupid about katanas, for example - when it's just a fucking sword. But even if they aren't completely stupid, there is still a tendency to treat them as weirdly different when they're just fucking swords. Likewise for other terms.


4) I avoid accents or stylized speech.

So, just "Greetings, Lord Fong, we've brought the assassins." rather than "Honorable Fong-san, these wretched ninja in chains we give to you."


There's probably more, but these are the points that come to mind for me. I'd be curious about if others do anything similar, or alternate approaches.

6
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Perception Gap Study
« on: July 21, 2020, 08:41:53 PM »
I thought it would be interesting to discuss last year's study of the political perception gap, by the "More In Common" institute.

https://perceptiongap.us/

The key finding they have is that among both Democrats and Republicans, extremists are less able to predict the poll numbers of the opposing side. That is, extremists Democrats cannot accurately predict how average Republicans will respond to polls, and likewise extremist Republicans cannot accurately predict how average Democrats will respond to the polls. However, politically disengaged people are the most accurate among the groups. To me, this is a key point. As the study overview puts it:


Quote
Overall, Democrats and Republicans imagine almost twice as many of their political opponents as reality hold views they consider "extreme". Even on the most controversial issues in our national debates, Americans are less divided than most of us think. This is good news for those worried about the character of this country. The majority of Americans hold views that may not be so different from your own.

Quote
In one of the largest national studies of America's polarization ever conducted, More in Common's Hidden Tribes report identified seven political "tribes":

Progressive Activists / Traditional Liberals / Passive Liberals / Politically Disengaged / Traditional Conservatives / Devoted Conservatives

The Perception Gap study builds on these insights. It finds that the most partisan, politically active Americans – a group we call the "Wings" – have deeply distorted perceptions of the other side. The two groups with the widest Perception Gaps are the Progressive Activists and the Devoted Conservatives--the most ideological and committed groups of Democrats and Republicans.

And which is the most accurate segment? Surprisingly, it's the Politically Disengaged. They are fully three times more accurate in their estimates of political opponents than members of either of these Wing groups. The V-shaped Perception Gap shows that the less invested you are in politics today, the less distorted your perception of politics.


I'd be curious what people think of this, as far as their political opposition.

7
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Vote by mail
« on: June 30, 2020, 12:39:19 AM »
From Post #250 in the civil war thread,

Quote from: jhkim
There are both left-wing and right-wing democracies, and there are both left-wing and right-wing authoritarian states. Most of Europe is left-wing compared to the U.S., for example, but are not authoritarian states like Chavez. The simple answer is: follow the rule of democracy.

Quote from: SHARK;1137046
Right, Jhkim. Democracy. However, the Marxists have been seizing the machinery that controls the "Democracy". The Leftist politicians--the Democrats--have already admitted to how they are going to change the entire system to ensure Leftist political rule in America. Ever heard of their desire to get rid of the Electoral College? How about mass "Mail in Voting"? Both such measures and MORE--are precisely designed to secure political power for Leftists--and in that process, kill our democracy.

"Voting" will be entirely irrelevant, and merely a charade.

OK, this is one of those that I find strange. Every state in the union allows some form of vote-by-mail -- independently approved by each state government. It's been going on for decades. President Trump himself votes by mail - as confirmed by the White House in 2018,

Quote
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have cast their ballots in the 2018 midterm elections.
 
A White House spokesperson said Friday that both Trumps voted by absentee ballot in New York "a few weeks ago." That means they will not have to travel to the state, where they are registered to vote, to cast a ballot in person.

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/414549-trump-first-lady-cast-votes-by-absentee-ballot-for-midterms

Among the U.S. states that freely allow vote by mail are Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and many of other Republican-dominated states. It's also used in many other First-World countries. Switzerland has 90% of its votes cast as vote-by-mail.

I'm not even especially arguing in favor of vote-by-mail. Personally, I vote by mail myself and I like it. However, even if you're opposed to it, it's not some sort of shadowy liberal conspiracy to destroy our way of life. Among other things, it's been passed publicly by many Republican-dominated state governments for years. In 2016, Republican Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox of Utah credited vote-by-mail with the state's high turnout.

Quote
Cox credited this year's higher turnout to two main factors: presidential candidates paying more attention to the state and greater use of by-mail voting.
(...)
Cox noted that 21 of Utah's 29 counties voted by mail this year. Every one of the by-mail counties achieved higher voter turnout than the eight counties that used only traditional in-person voting on Election Day.
(...)
Besides boosting turnout, Cox said by-mail voting also appeared to improve voter education "because they actually have the ballot, and they have the opportunity to research what is on the ballot -- instead of just getting in the ballot booth and finding out there are three constitutional amendments they had never heard of."

Cox noted that the Legislature ordered his office to study by-mail voting, including whether it should continue or how it should be improved.

Source: https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=4645875&itype=CMSID

As far as security goes, I'm more concerned over electronic voting machines than vote-by-mail. The key is having a confirmable record. In any paper ballot, if authorities suspect some sort of fraud, they can look over the physical evidence. There are records of who voted, and you can go to the supposed voters and confirm that they voted when and where they were recorded as having done so. If someone has committed fraud, it is traceable. I support investigating to find more cases of fraud. If there really are millions of fraudulent votes being cast, then we should be able to catch and prosecute at least a few hundred of them.

8
So my son ran a one-shot adventure set in a fantasy version of the Incan Empire, and now he's thinking of expanding it out to a full-fledged campaign. I've been trying to think of resources to recommend for him, and/or ideas to suggest. I know about The Yaurcoan Empire for Totems of the Dead (Savage Worlds) -- which I just picked up.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/100928/The-Yaurcoan-Empire

But I don't know of much else. The game is very much D&D (5th edition), only lightly re-skinned to fit with Incan traditions. The standard races and classes are all roughly the same, though there are some twists. This was his intro for the one-shot game:

Quote
Our adventure takes place in the Northern Quarter of the Solar Empire, in the Land of New Horizons, during the early years of the reign of Emperor Huaman Capac. It is a prosperous time for many, as the war between the Empire and the Dragon Lords of the North has ended at last. A mere two and a half centuries ago, the Solar Empire was just one of many small, feuding, highland kingdoms; now, civilizations of diverse races and creeds, from the coastal hills of the West to the wild jungles of the East and the arid deserts of the South, have all been unified under the Imperial tassel. Of course, unified doesn't mean that everyone is happy - so, during this time of peace, the Emperor and the nine Ancestor-Kings have been sending out their Imperial Agents to various provinces all across the land in order to assess & find solutions to any problems that may have arisen since they joined the Empire.

You (the players) are all Imperial Agents, who through one means or another wound up in the service of Ancestor-King Pachakuti, the father of the current Emperor who, after his death, was turned into a special kind of Lich through ceremonies known only to the royal line. Though some you Agents are truly Incan by blood and were recruited from the ranks of the Capital itself, most of your kind are actually the champions of various fringe provinces, whose labor was originally sent in as tribute when they first joined the Empire. At this point, you are an established team which has been adventuring for some time, and should already know each other fairly well (though that doesn't mean you can't keep secrets from each other, if you so choose).


Notably, undead aren't inherently evil in this game - and there are wise mummies and lichs from the past who serve as resources for the present empire.

I'd be especially curious for resources to recommend, but general ideas and reactions would be cool too. (Just no politics.)

9
So inspired a bit by the thread Essay: "GURPS and the Fate Accessibility Toolkit", I'd be more curious about what cool gaming situations people have had that involved disabilities. This is a thread about what's been positive about gaming, though, rather than complaining about other people's takes.


Thinking back, the first campaign that I GMed back in undergrad was a Hero System superpowered game in a more realistic setting. One of the PCs had electrical powers - and he had been shot in the back and was on the edge of death. I ruled that his spine had been severed - but over the course of his recovery, he found that he could still use his legs by using his powers, but that would require constant concentration. We re-worked his disadvantages and stats to reflect this. That gave his character a really interesting arc over the rest of the campaign, including how his girlfriend and he dealt with the change.

My favorite case, though, was a one-shot game from a few years ago based on the sci-fi TV series Alphas -- where the main characters had low-level neurologically-based powers, each with an associated psychological/neurological downside. When all my players created their own alternate team, it made for a fascinating struggle for them to cover for their weak spots.

Among others, the PCs there included one who had perfect muscular control but couldn't relax and thus was always exhausted - only able to walk with a cane. Another had perfect accuracy paired with OCD. Another was able to recognize patterns but had a fear of crowds. They were investigating a new age woman who could cause hallucinations, who lived in a urban hippy house - where a big crowd of hippy-like young people were living in this old run-down house. Without realizing it as GM, suddenly the players burst back at me that this was a perfect trap for them. As I described it, the old house had steps with no railings, plus it was dirty and cluttered, and crowded with drug-taking people. Having those tightly-linked down sides gave a new perspective on what was challenging for characters.

What are other people's cool experiences of disabilities in games?

10
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Religious Freedom Acts
« on: October 07, 2019, 08:57:26 PM »
In a now-restricted thread on the main RPG forum, there came a side discussion of religious freedom bills such as the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act_(Indiana)

Pundit mentioned it was interesting even while closing down, so I'm bringing it up here. Some selected discussion of the point from the other thread, for context:

Quote from: Naburimannu;1108009
Most "Religious Freedom" bills absolutely are the religious right and "Oklahoma parents" attempting to coopt government, not to appease the left.

Quote from: Dracones;1108010
I don't really understand how the Indiana bill is co-opting the government when it literally removes government power over the individual.

Quote from: jhkim
As for the law itself, it doesn't remove government power, but rather grants greater rights to individuals *only if they are religious*. That's really a privilege for religious people, rather than a reduction in government power. If this were constitutional rights, then a law that was seen to violate the Establishment Clause should be struck down as unconstitutional -- rather than granting a special case exception in the law for religious people. According to most constitutional interpretations, atheists should have all the same rights that religious people do. So, for example, if a religious person can refuse to serve a gay couple, then an atheist should also be able to refuse to serve a gay couple.

Quote from: Dracones;1108050
It'd appear that atheists would be covered under the bill. Atheism is a set of religious beliefs and an atheist would have legal protection from denying burdensome service that violates those beliefs. If you were billboard designer and sued for not creating a custom Intelligent Design billboard(Moses riding a T-Rex), it looks like you'd have protection.

Quote from: jhkim;1108099
Even if your example were true, that's still different rights depending on what one's beliefs are. As I note, an atheist who opposes homosexuality doesn't get the rights that a Christian does -- because only religious belief is protected, not philosophical or scientific or other belief. I think that most atheists would say that atheism is *not* a set of religious beliefs. And indeed, from what I can tell, atheist organizations are generally opposed to these acts, precisely because of the logic I say. The point is that these laws are being driven by the Religious Right, showing that they still do have power. For example, here's a petition from atheists.org:

https://www.atheists.org/2019/03/do-no-harm-act/

Maybe you think the religious freedom laws are correct, and Christians should be able to refuse service to homosexuals, but atheists can't. But the point is that these bills are supported by the Religious Right, and opposed by the Left along with atheists and other groups. Their passage shows that the Religious Right still has significant power.


I'm definitely on the side that one should have the same rights regardless of one's religion or lack of religion. If a law is overreaching and overly limits exercise of religion, then that limit should be struck down as unconstitutional for everyone - not kept as something that only applies to people who don't have the right religion. i.e. If we think that a Christian should be able to refuse service to a customer for being gay, then an atheist should be able to do the same.

I think a constitutional amendment to make the Establishment Clause more concrete might be reasonable -- but I don't think a bare majority law is a good compromise.

11
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Gendered behavior, bullying, and feminism
« on: September 25, 2019, 03:48:30 PM »
In the thread "New Flash: RPGs are Different From BDSM" on the RPG forum, people had some differing views on gendered socialization. It's gotten off-topic from RPGs, so GeekyBugle suggested the discussion continue here, if Pundit is interested.

The starting point of disagreement was this post by Cloyer Bulse, where he said:

Quote from: Cloyer Bulse;1105712
So-called safety rules and conflating rpgs with bdsm are all about our culture trying out this experiment where we blend the gender hierarchies. Men gaming with men, or men working together on oil rigs for that matter, don't need special safety rules or safe words. Men bully and harass each other as a natural way of weeding out useless, dependent males. It's only natural that women would find such behavior threatening. Feminists demand that men socialize according to female rules.

I've watched girls role-playing with each other and it's not something I want to be a part of any more than I want to watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Let them have their fun. Let us men have our own fun.


My initial reaction was:

Quote from: jhkim
Bullying and harassment among men might well be natural and around for millenia -- but that doesn't make them a good thing. Stuff like democracy, free speech, tolerance, and forgiveness may not be in our genes -- but they're positive changes in human behavior from recent times.

I don't want my male-only games to be full of bullying and harassment. That's not behaving like women, in my opinion. That's just behaving like a decent human being. If a disabled man joins our group, maybe the evolutionary instinct is to weed him out by bullying him until he breaks -- but that's not behavior I want in my game.


Later, GeekyBugle replied:

Quote from: GeekyBugle;1105864
For starters I don't think there are gender hierarchies, not in the sense him and you are using the term.

I would like to know what he and you call bullying and harassment before talking on it. (because now a days buddy ribbing buddy is termed bullying by many.

Feel free to open a thread on pundie's forum so we can talk about feminists and their demands.

Mean Girls Cliques were a thing well before any feminist wrote about it, and I bet you even before the gender integration of schools women talked about it.

We should kemosabe? Yo do what you want and I'll do like wise, I don't find that my groups of friends need any major behavior adjustment, which is why they are my friends.

And before you keep talking about harassment and bullying you need to define those terms and give a few examples of what you consider falls into them. Best done in Pundies forum.


Spinachcat also had his reply:

Quote from: jhkim
Bullying and harassment among men might well be natural and around for millenia -- but that doesn't make them a good thing.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1105908
It's a phenomenally good thing. It toughens the weak or weeds them out. Bullying and harassment teach toughness, resilience and the drive to fight back and succeed, and swiftly identifies the weak who either learn to stand or get ostracized. Without it, we get the current generations full of weaklings.

Quote from: jhkim
If a disabled man joins our group, maybe the evolutionary instinct is to weed him out by bullying him until he breaks -- but that's not behavior I want in my game.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1105908
Most disabled people either shatter or become steel. Disabled who maneuver outside their homes are usually tough hombres. There's nothing any bullying can do that compares to challenge of living 24/7/365 with a real disability (not the online wankery "disabilities").


I think this is a significant point of disagreement that anyone's welcome to weigh in on. I'll post more commentary in reply to GeekyBugle if this is approved.

12
So I just got back from a family vacation where I ran the original I6 Ravenloft module using 5E rules over several days for five players: my son, two nephews, one niece, and one brother-in-law. We'd done some role-playing before, but this was more gaming than we'd previously done.

From my teenage years until 5E, I had generally played other RPGs - only occasionally playing D&D. I've had renewed interest in 5E, though, mostly because of the increased popularity. So under 5E, I've been trying several twists on things. Previously I tried a post-apocalyptic campaign and then an alternate-races campaign. For this, though, I went back to an old 1983 module that still is a big departure from a lot of D&D tropes.

For one, the players all made characters that had strong connections to the gothic material. The PCs were:

- A conjuror entertainer who assumed the identity of his late Romani wizard friend. So a mysterious magician like Mr. Dark.
- A Van-Helsing-like cleric of light, dedicated to hunting down the undead.
- A guilt-wracked Shadar-Kai monk, who owed a life debt to a family in the region.
- A down-to-earth human ranger, defending his home and family.
- A gentlewoman arcane trickster, who steals from the nobility she poses among.

Other than that, I kept most of the Ravenloft material very close to as written - with a dynamic background based on the card reading, Strahd as the dynamic villain, and exploration of the complex castle map. They were interested in the setup, got into the whole castle exploration, and had three clashes with Strahd ending in his destruction. The Daylight spell in 5E was crucial for this, and might have made it a little too easy. Still, I had 3 of the 5 PCs down at different times, including an actual death just barely caught by Revivify. So I don't think it was too easy.

My main conclusions:

1) Having PCs who are really bought into a strong genre helps interest a lot.

2) There have been a lot of Ravenloft spin-off products over the years, but I think the original module is justly famous for good design. I think in particular the setup and the card reading combine with the castle exploration - which nicely merges the gothic horror genre with D&D action.

13
Media and Inspiration / Avengers: Endgame Spoilers thread
« on: May 09, 2019, 02:55:22 PM »
Do people feel OK with having a clearly labelled thread where spoilers can be discussed? Anyone interested in such discussion? I thought there was some interesting stuff in the film to talk about, potentially.

14
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Excalibre Games race controversy
« on: February 03, 2019, 04:24:31 PM »
There have been a couple threads about campaigns against various figures in gaming. One that caught my eye recently was from Excalibre Games. They posted on their Facebook channel about what they call a smear campaign against one of their contributors, Robert Mosimann. The controversy is over his posts about the IQ difference between blacks and whites.

cf. https://www.facebook.com/ExcalibreGames/posts/1816479985148049

(I apologize in advance for the all-caps. It hurts my eyes, but it's how Excalibre Games writes.)

Quote
RECENTLY A SMEAR CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN ORCHESTRATED AGAINST ONE OF OUR CONTRIBUTORS AND INDIRECTLY AGAINST EXCALIBRE GAMES ITSELF.

THIS SMEAR CAMPAIGN WAS LAUNCHED SIMPLY FOR CITING EVIDENCE AND CONCLUSIONS FROM MAINSTREAM SCIENCE SUCH AS THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.

EXCALIBRE GAMES WILL NOW RESPOND TO THIS SITUATION.

EXCALIBRE GAMES AND ALL PEOPLE WITH US HAVE THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF QUALITY, FAIRNESS AND ETHICAL CONDUCT.

WE HAVE PRODUCED SOME OF THE FINEST GAMES EVER MADE INCLUDING 2 GAMA BEST GAMES OF THE YEAR, ONE GAMES MAGAZINE TOP 100, A FIRE+MOVEMENT 5 STAR GAME, ETC ETC ETC.

OUR COMPANY STANDS FOR QUALITY, FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY AND SCIENCE.

THUS WE SUPPORT ANY INDIVIDUAL'S FREEDOM TO CITE VALID MAINSTREAM SCIENCE IN THEIR PERSONAL LIFE WITHOUT SUPPRESSION OR SMEAR CAMPAIGNS.

WE SUPPORT DEMOCRACY IN WANTING A WELL EDUCATED POPULACE RATHER THAN ONE WHICH REDUCES ANY ISSUE TO MERE PETTY POLITICS, INSULT AND INCITING OTHERS TO INSULT.

WE SUPPORT SCIENCE AND EVIDENCE ADDRESSING ACTUAL ISSUES INSTEAD OF MERE SMEARING POLITICS SUPPRESSING THESE.

WE THUS LOOK FORWARD TO THE CONTINUED SUPPORT OF OUR SUPERB PRODUCTS WHERE AUTHENTICITY, QUALITY AND INTEGRITY ARE FOREMOST.


And in that post, they included a comment clarifying his views.

Quote
TO AVOID ANY MISUNDERSTANDING HERE IS AN ACTUAL SUMMARY OF ROBERT MOSIMANN'S ACTUAL VIEWS CONTRARY TO SMEARS AND IGNORANT HYPE.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ACTUAL CURRENT POST OF HIS PERSONAL PROFILE
SMEAR CAMPAIGNS, RACE AND IQ.
***********
RECENTLY AFTER DISCUSSING THE SCIENTIST JAMES WATSON BEING SMEARED DUE TO HIS VIEWS ON RACE AND IQ, I MYSELF BECAME THE TARGET FOR SUCH SMEARS.
THUS I PRESENT HERE MY VIEWS WHICH ARE RELATIVELY ORTHODOX ON THIS SUBJECT MATTER TO COUNTER THESE RABID ATTACKS.
I cite the 2005 work:
30 YEARS OF RESEARCH ON RACE DIFFERENCES AND COGNITIVE ABILITY
by Rushton and Jensen
This work was chosen as it is readily available for free download on the internet.
**********
TO SUMMARIZE MY OWN VIEWS :
1
IQ TESTING - WHILE NOT PRECISE DOES GIVE A GENERALLY VALID MEASURE APPLICABLE TO ALL GROUPS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
(I cite the comments on page 241 concerning the consistency and validity of test results)
2
THERE IS A CONSISTENT RACIAL GAP IN THE UNITED STATES WHERE WHITES SCORE ROUGHLY 15 IQ POINTS HIGHER THAN BLACKS AND ALMOST 200 SAT POINTS HIGHER.
THESE RACIAL DISCREPANCIES ARE NOT CONTROVERSIAL AND ARE GENERALLY RECOGNIZED BY STANDARD SCIENCE
(I cite page 236 where it is explicitly stated that these differences are not a matter of empirical dispute.)
3 CONCERNING INTERPRETING THESE RESULTS, MOST SCIENTISTS AGREE THAT BOTH GENETIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS EXIST IN ACCOUNTING FOR IQ DIFFERENCES.
I CONSIDER THE SOCIAL FACTORS OF NURTURE AND EDUCATION TO ACCOUNT FOR 70-80% OF THIS RACIAL GAP WHILE GENETICS IS ONLY A MINOR FACTOR.
(I cite page 250 where it was found that combined Genetic and Environmental models work best in explaining US racial IQ gaps rather than strictly genetic or strictly environmental models)
*******
THIS COMPLETELY ORTHODOX SCIENTIFIC POSITION OF STANDARD MAINSTREAM SCIENCE IS MY VIEW ON RACE AND IQ IN THE UNITED STATES.
THUS ALL OF THE RABID SMEARS NOW GOING ON ARE POLITICAL FABRICATION BASED UPON MERE HYPE AND IGNORANCE OF STANDARD SCIENCE AND A WILFUL DISREGARD OF THE ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC ISSUES.


How do people feel about this issue?

15
I've been refreshing myself up on Greyhawk while developing my own campaign world that is an offshoot of it.

Something that stood out to me was how dominant humans are across the whole setting, which is in part deliberate. Evil races like orcs are a minority everywhere, and there isn't a place like Mordor in Tolkien. This seems weird to me, because it means that its hard to have humanoids be a credible threat to humanity. It runs counter to the theme in Tolkien where humans were threatened by being overrun with orcs.

I'm curious about other humanocentric settings people play, including homebrew and published. In your setting, is there something like Mordor, so some force is a real rival to humanity? Or is humanity's dominance unquestioned?

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