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On that basis, does it make sense for a stranger without children to sacrifice himself for a pregnant woman he doesn't know?
Depends on the social stratum of the animal.

No, it doesn't.
Not necacarily.
The stranger just eliminated their genes from the gene pool.

That assumes the stranger would get to breed anyway. If the alternative is they both die, then being selish doesn't make a difference. While advanced social higharchies are rare in the animal kingdom, humans are not the only ones to have pure competative higharchies.
They went through hall the proposed examples of animals that might have demonstrated behavior where they sacrificed their own individual genetic legacy for an unrelated or weakly related collective. None of them panned out. There were alternative and valid explanations for all their actions -- for instance, a reasonable assumption that they were sacrificing themselves for a blood relative. A human samaritan is a complete outlier among vertebrates.

I'm treating rationality as taking the most effective steps to maximize one's goals.
Goals are not rational. In addition this assumes a degree of 1 step thinking. That all goals only work if directly followed.
Yes, I've argued that point many times in this thread. Our motives are fundamentally irrational. Rationality is the logical attempt to maximize the achievement of those goals.

I've also argued multiple times that a degree of irrationality is how humans have escaped a local maxima of purely rational and selfish behavior.
Are your orcs capable of breeding with humans? This can make a big difference.
So why a torus? A spinning ring with sufficiently high walls won't lose much atmosphere, so why bother with a top?

I can think of a couple possibilities. The first is that the torus might be much smaller on scale than the Ringworld. It would still be immensely huge, because we're still talking about a structure that circles a Sun. But it wouldn't be as wide. The torus might only be a couple hundred meters in diameter, or a couple hundred km, or even a couple hundred thousand km. Yes, even the last is small compared to Niven's Ringworld, which is 1.6 million kilometers across (and 1,600 km high). Working out the math, a 300 m wide torus would have the surface area (on the bottom half of the torus) of about 0.90 Earths. A 300 km torus would be equivalent to about 900 Earths, and a 300,000 km torus would be equivalent to 900,000 Earths (approaching but not equaling the Ringworld's 3 million Earths).

If we assume the torus spins for gravity, this would create an interesting geography. The bottom of the torus would be relatively flat, and where all the water collects. There might be a massive ocean-river running down the center, and massive water redistribution systems would probably be needed. But as you go up the sides, the ascent would become steeper and steeper, effectively turning into mountains or cliffs. A lot of people would have to learn to live vertically. Think terraced farms and cliff-cities. If large enough, the upper section of the torus would have very thin air. It would be a good place for a mass transit rail or tube system (or systems), as well as high-speed flights.

Another alternative is the torus is full. This could be water, creating a vast Sun-encircling ocean. Or it could be air. In the latter case, it would make most sense to lower the spin, and effectively make the torus a microgravity environment of flying creatures. In that case, you could easily steal from another of Niven's works, which is explicitly set in a Sun-encircling torus: The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring.

What's the biggest problem with a giant tube? Punctures. You need a system to deal with them. Ships are traditionally designed with bulkheads, which allow parts of the vessel to be sealed from the rest of the vessel, preventing catastrophic flooding from a minor hole. Another solution sometimes used in things like gas tanks is sponges that keep the liquid from draining out quickly. Or think human circulatory systems, where blood clots on exposure to air. The module system is one possibility, and you could come up with variants like giant bubbles that connect and interconnect and slide across each other, but stick to each other. giant tube around the sun might filled with a foam- or sponge-like material, that creates pockets or bubbles, and vast networks of paths or tunnels from one pocket to the next. Massive differentials in pressure would cause them to collapse, sealing off damaged areas. Or the materials used to design the tube might be reactive, and quickly form or grow patches when a puncture occurs. There might be giant protrusions or plasts, where ancient damage was repaired.

I was organizing some campaign notes, going over campaign files and so forth, and I unexpectedly came upon--or was inspired even--by a somewhat disturbing dynamic. I have some tribes of barbarian Orcs that dwell amidst some northern and eastern regions of a major and central continent that is enormous. I have some human steppe barbarian tribes that live amongst the broad steppelands southwards from the mountains and forests where the aforementioned Orc tribes make their homes. Meanwhile, further to the East, there are powerful human steppe tribes that have united, and proceeded to launch huge invasions of several human kingdoms and empires. The Eastern human kingdoms and empires of the Eastern region are Asian-themed, with a large China-like Empire being very prominent.

Fast forward a bit, and the human steppe tribes have captured and enslaved millions of Chang Empire humans, with many being marched off and sold into slavery to other peoples and cultures. I assumed that the Orcs would be eager buyers of such slaves, and created the dynamics where the human Steppe barbarians essentially sold several million Chang Empire humans to the savage Orc tribes of the northern regions. This kind of lucrative trade relationship benefits everyone involved--the Steppe Barbarian Humans, and the savage Orcs alike. It of course is horrible and terrifying for the Chang humans, but that is what happens to conquered people.

Now, the Chang Empire is sophisticated, organized, disciplined, and highly advanced. The Chang Empire possesses high levels of education, the arts, medicine, technology, politics, philosophy, economics, and of course, magic.

Essentially, take a large group of Orc tribes, mix in 5 or 6 million Chang human slaves, and in two hundred, or five hundred years, what would you have?

What would the Orc societies then look like? I had nightmares of Chinese magic, Chinese science, medicine, and learning causing a total transformation of the Orc tribal culture. *laughing*


I refrained from crafting a wholly-transformed Orc society, but instead created three main cultural responses--some would embrace fully, another group would embrace new knowledge in a limited degree, and a third faction would be hyper-conservative, and reject the "Ways of the Foreigners!"

The potentials are very interesting, I think. What kind of elements and dynamics do you think would be good to establish?

Have you considered such enormous cultural transitions in your own campaigns? For Orcs in particular, but not necessarily limited to just Orcs. In other regions, I have other kinds of more or less traditional Orcs, along with some variations. This major cultural shifting dynamic is restricted to this particular region of Orcs in my campaign setting of Thandor.

What are your thoughts, my friends?

Semper Fidelis,

I got this book yesterday. And it actually had material in it that the books it replaced did not have. Some PC races that were never listed in Volo's Guide To Monsters. So yeah. I think this is a book that was worth getting.

Bear in mind. I do not feel one bit happy about those other two books being voided. I spent good money on those books. And considered them good books. But I will keep them regardless because of the fluff.
I could've sworn this (or some variant of it) started as an expression in hang out culture sometime around the late 90s or early 2Ks. I remember a friend of mine using some variation of "so random" decades ago, usually whenever recounting some over the top, crazy humorous event that happened, usually involving something someone did while drunk, or some random "character" who showed up unexpectedly while they were hanging out and it was memorable to them somehow—usually, more memorable to the people who experienced it (often while they were drunk or high or both) than to the people hearing about it later on. You had to have been there to really get how "oh, so random!" it was.

I often hear women use that expression as well when remarking about some crazy thing "que random!" ('How random" in Spanglish).

I could see certain occurrences that happen in play as being "Oh, so random!", like when someone does something unexpected that sets the rest of the group laughing with incredulity. But I'd rather that sort of spontaneous occurrence be the only time that "Oh, so random!" things happen, rather than it becoming a standard part of play or something that people purposefully incorporate into their characters, like they're trying (too hard) to be "wild" or funny.
News and Adverts / Re: Radical High: A 1980s RPG
« Last post by Dan Davenport on Today at 04:53:59 PM »
Hello, Cathode Ray! I run the Randomworlds RPG chatroom and hold Q&A sessions for game authors there. Would you be interested in coming by to discuss Radical High?

Past guests include Kenneth Hite, Robin D. Laws, Greg Stafford, Greg Stolze, Marc Miller, Jonathan Tweet, Margaret Weis, Mike Pondsmith, Ken St. Andre, and Mark Rein•Hagen.

This is a free service, although tips are welcome at Your Q&A will be promoted on my Facebook feed, at six Facebook groups -- nine if it is a Kickstarter -- and on three major RPG web forums (TheRPGSite, RPGPub, and Enworld). In addition, the log of the Q&A will be maintained on my blog.

Here's the schedule:

(The standard time slots are 7:30-9:30 p.m. Central, Monday-Thursday except where otherwise noted. However, I can sometimes manage to do a session at other times with enough notice, including times to accommodate guests from outside of the United States.)

Here's the shortcut to the chatroom:

Here's my blog, where I save the Q&A logs:

And here's the Q&A format:

I should also mention that game authors are always welcome to hang out with us and discuss their products, and we have quite a few authors who do so on a regular basis. A Q&A simply gives you the floor to yourself. :)
@DJ I’m honestly not bothered at all of the SJG staff are prickly about the Vehicles book.

It’s what almost two decades late while they either keep wasting time on IPs like Mars Atracks or Discworld. Then Wonder why both books did poorly.

Besides Dungeon Fantasy they seem to be interested in not giving what many fans want imo. If they want people to stop asking release the dam Vehicles book. If not I don’t care if it bothers them.

Yes while they have released some excellent sourcebooks for 4E most who don’t want that level of complexity don’t care. If their rules lite generic rpg can do it they stick with it,
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