Monthly Archives: August 2015

Humanity is now doomed

Posted without comment.

Humanity is doomed.

Bored, bored, bored.

I have been pretty lazy about updating this site recently, it has been a couple weeks since my last post. August has been a bit of an off month for me in general, not a bad month, just off. I tried to write a couple of posts, but when I re-read them I decided even I was bored, so I trashed them. Anyway, maybe next week.

RE: Ages of RPGs

In the D&D 5E forums on ENWorld there is a discussion about whether or not 5E is ushering in a new golden age of roleplaying games. I think most of the posters do not really understand what “Ages” of “Something” really means. When speaking about ages, we must understand a couple of things first.

There is only one Golden age of whatever you are talking about, there was only one Golden Age of comics, there was only one Golden Age of Rock & Roll, there was only one Golden Age of Greek Literature. Subsequent ages are designated as Silver, Bronze and Iron.

It is nearly impossible to designate a Golden Age while it is happening, most people, even those involved do not realize what had happened and its significance until years later. In the case of RPGs, we know when the Golden Age was, the first time it peaked was around 1980, when D&D came into the mainstream consciences and why there are so many people of my age who played D&D at least a couple of times. I lived through this period and I can tell you, none of us were talking about this being the “Golden Age” of RPGs. It was not until 1988 or 1989 when I think we realized it was over with and things would never be the same again.

Ages tend to be a generational thing and tend to coincide with a new set of artists and writers, as well as a new generation of people enjoying the hobby. In Comic books, the Golden Age was driven by he Great Generation, the Silver Age was Baby Boomers and the Bronze Age of the 80s was GenX coming into its own. Each of these ages was separated by a decline, which is not to say everything sucked, only that the hobby was in decline for 6-10 years between each of these ages.

So the real question is, are we currently in the Silver Age or perhaps the Bronze Age. I have written about this in the past and I have changed my view on it. Originally I felt the Silver age began around 1990, because that was the time period Vampire The Masquerade came into its own. However, looking back on those old posts, I now realize that AD&D2E and Vampire were really signaling the end of the Golden Age. In my revised opinion the Silver Age did not start until 2000 when D&D 3E came out along with d20 and the OGL. I can see this now because the Silver Age is now coming to a close. Just as the end of the Silver Age of Comics was heralded with Green Lantern/Green Arrow 85, the end of the Silver Age of RPGs is being signaled with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.


Windows 10???

So every time Microsoft updates their Windows OS there seems to be a resurgence of the Windows vs Linux debate on the internet, specifically on Slashdot. I long ago gave up the fight for Linux on the desktop, for a variety of reason. I really don’t care what operating system other people choose to use just as long as they do not call me when it breaks. So here is my official opinion slash stance on Windows 10;

“If it came pre-installed on your system and I don’t have to fuck with it, I think Windows 10 is great!”


Attributes: Roll vs Point Buy

There has been a debate about the best method for generating attributes since the earliest versions Dungeons and Dragons. There are two camps of thought here Roll Randomly and Point Buy, also grouped Point buy, standard array. Those who like to roll the dice and play what they get claim this makes for a more diverse group of characters who have individual strengths and weakness. The Point Buy camp will tell you, Point Buy allows players to get the character they want to play and levels the playing field so no one ends up playing a sidekick character.

My problem with rolling stats is no one REALLY wants to roll 3d6 in order and play what they get. Sure we claim that is what we do, but frankly I have seen too many fighters with an 18 strength to believe that is what is actually happening. The earliest house rules I remember were ways to generate better characters; Roll 4d6, take the best 3. Roll up 6 characters and choose the one you want. Roll each stat 3 times and take the best roll.

My problem with Point Buy is characters start looking a awful lot alike. Once you figure out the best build for any given niche, players will tend to follow that template. If you look on the GURPS forums or the D&D 5E forums, you will see much the same conversations around optimizing character builds. I have seen arguments unfold around people who would refuse to play in the same game as a person who decided to play a two weapon fighter instead of a great weapon fighter because the great weapon fighter would average 1 more point of damage per hit over 20 levels of play.

I think personally, I am coming down on the side of Point Buy. I think most game groups who are still rolling, if they examine what they do, will realize they are not rolling randomly. It just seems to me that Point Buy takes the pretending out of the process and lets everyone build the type of character they want and I will just have to trust to the players that they will make new and interesting PC’s instead of retreading old character concepts.

More genre conventions in the old home town

So apparently my home town of Billings Montana is not having just ONE!, but TWO! Sci Fi/Fantasy/Comic convention this summer. Alternacon was July 10th to the 12th, now apparently we also have FantasyCon taking place August 21st to the 23rd. I am a bit surprised by this, I mean 30 years and NOTHING, now suddenly two in a single summer. Seems like there was pent up need for this sort of thing.

As a side note, GenCon was this weekend and as every year, my Twitter feed fills up with people having way more fun than I am. Sadly, I think I will have to wait until retirement to go, not only does this suck a week of your life away, there is no way to do GenCon on the cheap, it is going to be expensive no matter what you do.

Computer Hacking in RPGs Part II

In the last installment of this series I discussed the possibility of working up an easy to use system for determining if the PC Hacker has successfully hacked any given system. I identified 5 things that could potentially affect the hack. The draft of my idea is simple, the hacker has to roll a 7 or less to determine if he has some level of access to the system in question. The the target roll can be modified by the following factors:

-3 to roll Wealth – Dead broke
-2 to roll Wealth – Poor
-1 to roll Wealth – Struggling
No modifier Wealth – Average
+1 to roll Wealth – Comfortable
+2 to roll Wealth – Wealthy
+3 to roll Wealth – Very wealthy and above
+1 to roll for each 6 levels of Research skill
+1 to roll for each 6 levels of Fast Talk
+1 to roll for each 6 levels of Computer Programming
+1 to roll if the characters has Hacker Allies and makes the frequency of appearance roll
-1 to roll if the characters has Hacker Enemies and makes the frequency of appearance roll
+1/-1 to roll for each level of good or bad reputation and makes the frequency of appearance roll

Example: The team Hacker “Tappen” has been working on penetrating Evil Corps mainframes for the last 3 months. Tappen makes a pretty good living at hacking and gets a +1 for his comfortable wealth, he has no Reasearch skill, but he does have Fast Talk at 12 and Computer Programming as 14, this gives him another +4. Tappen belongs to the RedMoon hacking group and he makes his frequency of appearance roll for them and gets another +1. Unfortunately Tappen has a bad reputation among hackers as being an asshole, he has recently pissed off some other RedMoon members, because he fails his bad reputation frequency of appearance roll and gets a -1 to his roll. His total modifiers to his target roll are +5, so he must roll a 12 or less on 3d6 to determine if he has access to the system. A critical success roll of 3 or 4 would give Tappen root access to the system, a critical failure of 17 or 18 would mean the target has discovered his hacking and reported him to the authorities.

Next, is this too boring?