Friday, 12 April 2019

Exacts In the Theatre of the mind

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picture from Wonder Momo via  Hardcoregaming101 though the page seems to have become unfindable by me

 Well g+ got put-down and I have not a lot strong feelings about it.
Other than maybe comparing the user built connection networks to soil.
As you may or may not know uncultivated (cultivated meaning dug up, worked over or otherwise human messed with) good soil has the majority of its properties due to the work of micro and not so micro (i.e invertebrates s visible to the naked human eye) organisms.

Organic matter is and has been broken down into small pieces, tiny little tunnels have been dug, a certain amount of biofilm is also clumping the soil together.
Because of this good uncultivated soil has a good amount of available plant nutrients , holds water but has drainage, lets air into the top layers, resists water loss and erosion due to sun , wind and water action.

If you got some earth moving equipment, dug it all up and dumped it somewhere else the soil would then compact down due to the collapsing of the microtunnels built by countless little critters and no longer have the water and air permeability as good. If was repeated wet and compacted it would have worse and worse ability to let water and air through.

But as long as nutrients were available , its biome of flora and fauna would gradually return it to is former pristine state.

A social network platform closing is somewhat like this. The networks and awareness of others that makes a social network good are collapsed if the network closes. The users of it can certainly start again somewhere else and reestablish the connection they had previously but like the soil, it will take time.

Slowing down the process is if the users don't use same name and profile picture with their new account.

Not so much a problem with people that you spoke to often but more with the people who you didn't but  the awareness of formed your network.

This network is a map of everyone you disliked (but didn't necessary blocked), the people you disregarded, the people whose opinion you valued but rarely had anything to talk about directly.

The sum total of that is what motivates or deters one to bother reaching out or contributing to.

So that is what everyone (everyone who was using it on the regular anyway) has lost with google plus gone.

Where and if people start their new networks depends on a multitude of factors , but some of the most important I feel are A regular source of interesting and Not having To Interact with Worthless People.

I don't have the time and interest right now to settle down on some other platform and try and point forth content to help grow the nexus (the network of networks) or even search other platforms adequately to find growing ones.

So the next bit of that importance is currently of theoretical value to me; the Not Having To Interact With Worthless People.

I won't try exact define worthless here , but in general I mean people acting in such bad faith or who value internet conflict so highly that they negatively add to any conversation going on.

Domestic Abuser Zak Smith wrote alot about his rules for determining worthwhile people and how to push out Worthless people.

Towards the end his application of these were so blatantly about control that's it hard to remember having ever held them in regard at all.

Never the less it will be interesting seeing where creative and productive places happen and if any of his theories hold up in regard to them.

His stated goal of having better social spaces online that were still critical (i.e not just endless affirmation hug fests) is still one of merit, and I hope the conversation around it can continue without his malign influence.


So you aren't using miniatures or a hastily drawn battlemap, instead you are being a loose-goose and keeping it all "theatre of the mind" .

If someone is attacking someone they are beside them , if they aren't they aren't. If they are on something or behind it then that's where they are. Otherwise it doesn't matter.


Because there's a number of tactical options that new players will often try and then abandon when the dm seems to not really care that they are doing that.

These options get represented by more tactical systems and/or any with miniatures,  but are often overlooked by theatre of the mind play.

Which is a shame because they are fairly intuitive and can be fairly  crucial to survival.

Basically these are the positions that should matter , or at least be considered , with theatre of the mind.

Hiding behind something:
And that something being relatively static. This is easily supported by the existing mechanics but its important to not just think of it of something thieves can do.
Not just always assuming the monsters can detect and easily access the characters
Giving players information about this

Staying out of the way/Staying at range
Moving out the monsters reach and keeping there. This is far less supported directly by the mechanics
even when using miniatures, as for convenience moving and attacking often both happen in the same turn .  So a slow monster can move up and attack if it has initiative, and then the character that can move much further goes and moves out of range and (missile )attacks. While explainable in some situations is rather odd if generally the case.

A possible mechanic support for mind-theatre is some kind dex contest (but also modified by the rate of movement)  to determine if a character can stay out of the reach of the monster. Say die+dex mod vs die+ dex mod. With the die being Slowest d4 , Average d8, Fastest d20

SO: still good idea to be clear to players if a monster can reach them in its turn and if they want to do something about that

Using long weapons
Can get very mechanically complicated if you want to, but my main point is a new player will often expect it to matter if they have a long spear they are prodding something with and will be confused when the monster just effortless is beside them when it needs to be.
A possible simple mechanic : Resolve longest weapons first regardless of initiative 
Attempting to keep a monster always at spear length is more detailed of a combat matter than I'm getting into in this post

Either let players know that the chaos of the melee , unsteadiness of the footing , terrible light etc, makes the length of the spear matter little or have a mechanic to make it matter.

Intercepting/Keeping someone between you and enemy
The old Fighters In front of Mages / Marching order  deal. But also includes where someone is trying to cut off an exit or get between the tied up sacrifice and the Great Bile Toad Of Go'r'r
 For the amount you can mechanically support this one need only to consider Attacks Of Opportunity in 3rd edition.
A simple approach is when players state they are trying to do this have their attack resolved first and if succeeds the monster can't resolve their attack on anyone other than the interceptor.
Additionally where someone is trying to be a meat shield and circumstances are favorable, allow them to dive in-front of an attack resulting in that attacker having advantage to hit and damage them (even after a failed intercept).

Waiting for something to move before doing a thing

aka overwatch. Simple enough, the player resolves their attack when that happens. However in some cases, like waiting for the lizard man to close before striking, individual initiative might be still appropriate to see who goes first.

 The Basics:
Is Character above or below this?
Are they near or far from this?
Are they ontop of this?
Are they/ can they pay attention to this?

I've tried to keep this to just the most basic situations that still require some consideration and avoid stuff that is more like a stunt or specific combat tactic.
For example , climbing on giant things. That is a topic I will come back to at some stage though.

If you can think of anything else that seems like it isn't considered enough with MIND-THEATRE comment below!


Sunday, 3 March 2019

liKe TEARS in tHe Rain

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Here's brief selection of my  g+ posts that weren't good enough to be a whole post.


the only bad animals are pigeons and centipedes .

By pigeon I of course only refer to Columba livia domestica

cats are fine, except a lot of the time it's a person reincarnated as cat. The cats people talk way too much are actually their future soul prison send back in time.

These cats are terrible.

All primates should considered human , not animal, and thus judged by the same standards as we judge ourselves. So chimpanzees and monkeys are v.bad, but only by human internal standards.
By animal standards they are not animals , they are human.
This was mentioned previously.

Ants would be bad except fungus keeps them in line . However they are not to be trusted.

Wasps are bad but good inflicted on other animals, so this balances out.

Mosquitoes have killed more people than people have killed people , this counts as a good thing , ecologically speaking.

Ducks have been warned, but for now, are not bad.

Metaorganism such as corporations and some religions count as a subset(overset?) of human, and are not animal.

Future revisions might include them as virus .

Future revisions are considering have a 2 axis system , with Bad (Pidgeon) as the X axis and Bad (Centipede) as the Y axis.


Instead of werewolves people turning in giant hands that crush people

Instead of Frankensteins A Very Large Toddler

Instead of The Mummy , A Murderous Painting that rests inbetween murders inside art and takes on different properties depending on what it just rested in

Instead of A Dracula , Sinister Spider Teen Gang

Instead of Fishman , the Ratking

Instead of Zombies, Skeletons that pull peoples skeletons out 


"This eye wreaks destruction when opened. The Cath Maige Tuired calls it a "destructive" and "poisonous" eye that no army can withstand, and says that it takes four men to lift the eyelid. In later folklore it is described as follows: "It was always covered with seven cloaks to keep it cool. He took the cloaks off one by one. At the first, ferns began to wither. At the second, grass began to redden. At the third, wood and trees began to heat up. At the fourth, smoke came out of wood and trees. At the fifth, everything got red hot. At the sixth...... At the seventh, the whole land caught fire"" 

"The baneful eye was at him. This eye was opened only in the field of fight. Four persons were necessary to raise an eyelid of his eye by four polish rods passed through eyelids. The army which would look in this eye, could not resist, even if be in many thousands by number"."


"video games are a unique artform that can be used to tell stories in new and exciting ways"
->makes video game
->neglects or actively suppresses any video game aspect beyond what you would find on a next generation encarta


I mean the opposite of sub-realm would be a super-realm but why not call it a dom-realm



if the rules of the contest mean it has to be 200 words exactly then assume I typed the word "rat" enough to take the word count to 200

alternate tag-lines from VEINS OF THE EARTH

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Obituary for Zak Sabbath

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So looking back at my  regard for him as a friend and my  defending him, and the times that I would look at the evidence of his evil ways people would (very rarely even show) produce and would wonder if it was possible look past one's bias enough to make it worth the pretense of it.

Often this contemplation of biases would come after (fruitlessly) arguing with him about his bizarre refusal to acknowledge tone in online conversation or countless other shit.

Like .. is this guy actually insane? What would it take to convince me?

Turns out Mandy revealing just how fuck awful he'd been to her would indeed convince me:

I'm a little curious if the insight Zak showed towards people ( even , stomach emptyingly, about the experiences of woman)  actually came from a place of genuine emotion.
Then all around that grain of care, layers and layers and layers of rationalization , in order to let him be an absolute cruel shit in pursuit of what ever he fucking wanted.
(so A Narcissist)

Or if it was just him just seeing a puzzle solution with no empathy or care about another human being?
(so a Sociopath)

I've seen plenty of people perform wokeness while trying to mask a callous disregard for others but that was always done in such formulaic and obvious way .
Never seen someone have genuine , intelligent shit to say about all that and simultaneously be evil.

Well, now I have. What a fuck. What an absolute wretch of a fuck of a little maggot of a man.
I thought for a while about a final confrontation before posting this but you  , Zak, deserve so very little now, and I can't see any outcome from that leading to decent reduction of your  chance of hurting other people in future.

And you do love the chance to talk in your defense , with your vast array of sophistry and term defining sleight of hand , I can't help but gleefully deny it to you here.
 I never did get why you gave so much of shit about your woke image being tarnished by slander, especially  if you were indeed a sociopath.
Is it because you had done too much work gaslighting and rationalization  and shield recruiting (hey welcome to my blog) and it was an affront to your pride to have it undone by some anime profiled weebs making shit up?

Like you have worked so hard to bury , contain, and invalidate any evidence, that the idea of people just making stuff up must of seemed so shocking to you.

Anyway, goodbye forever . I hope now only for an outcome in which you never hurt another person again.

Friday, 8 February 2019

DInosaur Naming Conventions

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Dinosaurs and other extinct mega-fauna are great.

They are big and large and dumb and you can use them as super beasts or dragons without feeling like you are cheating the mythology by just having them being large bastards that eat or step on people.

However they often have long ass hard to say names that can feel out of place amongst  the other monster and animal names.

So Now I will Talk About the Merits of Various Nomenclature for Megafauna  In Rpgs

This is arguably a redundant point considering  the amount of language groups and mythologies involved in the monster manual or even just a regular zoo. Surely one will adapt in time?

Possibly! But there's a certain satisfaction in this (small) aspect of world building .

For example the  rareness or familiarity of said dinosaur /mega fauna to the main culture groups is going to be reflected in the name. 

So something that a culture talks about a lot is unlikely to have a long name or one with unusual sounds.
If the name used is a loan word from another language it can often becoming shortened or simplified to fit that language.

I.e Tyrannosaurus Rex becomes T-rex, Orang Hutan becomes Orangutan (and not even said like how it's spelt here) .

Names of things very familiar to culture for a very long time tend to be short and simpler (cow , sheep, goat, dog)  and sometimes have words created from them  (dogged , doggerel)

 To mimic this you can retro-fit words for a creature, i.e called a brontosaurs a bridge, the idea being bridges were named after brontosaurs.

When something is discovered or introduced later to culture (and the existing name is unfamiliar or unsuitable) a quick or throw away description often becomes the name.
The name is created by modifying the word for something familiar and/or a closes resemblence to said thing
The familiarity seems to be more important than the actual resemblance (pineapple, sea mouse).
Then a word that references something else it resembles (mole cricket , crab louse)
a differing property from a familiar form (red pine, water melon, sea turtle)
 its region or environment (Barbary ape, Canadian goose, Sea snake).

While d&d has a lot of "giant" animals with the giant in the name (giant beaver, giant rat, giant bat etc etc), this doesn't come up a lot in real word naming conventions (obvious exceptions include giant squid, giant clam and a few others).

Probably because its rare that you have a giant animal and the regular animal in the same place , so the resident population would just see the giant animal as regular size.

Even when there is 2 similar animals of different sizes (Rabbit and Hare, Rat and Mouse, Gazelle and like one of those dozens of animals like a gazelle but a different size and horn shape) it's rare that one of them gets called giant.

I think it only gets done when some explorer or discoverer type is trying to impress people back home.

Sometimes when the name is a loan word used, the loan word can just be a common description in that language (orangutan meaning Man of The Woods, though there is possible a touch of reverence here) .

Where a loan word is used and its not particularly simple , its possible because the named creature was particular exotic or impressive and someone was trying to impress everyone back home.

Something particular impressive can then loan its name as new verb or adjective (mammoth ). This can be an excuse to name a beast after an adjective or verb in your world (the Mighty,A Wiggle, Flung)

When new names are created for extinct megafauna in fantasy one awful habit is  doing a weird fake tribal "part+ thing the part resembles", i.e Dagger Tail, Hammer head, Whip Tail.

Though the latin name of dinosaur are often this , there's few real world examples of this being used as a naming convention.

To my ear these names tend to be too long for something familiar to culture and too banal if its something unfamiliar and impressive.

Here's my list of megafauna I'm using and the names for them. They are mixture of different language groups, bad puns, descriptors, archaic words , and mashed together combinations of the above.

T-rex: Tyrant , Tyrant King, Tyrant Lizard
(medieval bestiarys had a habit of trying to name one particular animal as the King animal of that type. The basilisk was referred to as the King Of Poison which I always liked)

Ankysaurus: Fortoises
(assuming namers of it would compare it to tortoise and some wag would have made this joke. The only thing close to a real world name created portmanteau syle like this  that I can think of is the old word for giraffe "camelopard". Referring to it having spots like a leopard and a neck like camel)

Gyphadont: Armadazo
(armadillo means little armoured one , this means big armoured one. It's an excuse to mix up the language origins without straying too far from the familiar)

Pterodactyl. = skinbird
:small: skinhawk
Medium , ridable : Picador

(these are common enough to even be a steed. Picador refers to the military unit that uses them and has become a name for the animal itself.)

Quetzalcoatlus  Emperor Skin Bird

Stegosaurus: Massif
(a geological term meant to be referring to the shape of its back. I won't be able to say this without thinking about the "Because da Jungle is MASSIF" joke but that's not a problem.

Triceratops: Trino
(Micheal Raston of Lizardman diaries came up with this and it's fucking gold)

Brontosaurus: Behemoth
(it's good word and I wasn't using it for a super monster. Doesn't have enough mythological richness for me personally to "waste" on just being a big animal)

Velicoraptor: Raptor (popular culture has done the work here already)

Megatherium: Slothlord (More because it sounds good than applied real world naming conventions)

Paraceratherium: Indrik, Hummock
(Indrik is mythological creature that these were named after at one point. Hummock is type of hill and nice mouth shape word)

Mosasaurs; Devil-whale (The Vikings had a lot of "evil whales" and some of them are described pretty similar to a Mosasaur. I would use one of their names but I can't pronounce them easily)

Plesioaur : snakefish, brinewyrm. tideworm
(I feel I can get away with the slightly inaccurate and unimpressive "snakefish" this as there isn't a lot names like this here and marine animals tended to get named like this , "whale shark", "sea lion", "sun fish". Plus I like the incongruousness of it being called a snakefish? 

Andrewsarchus: Kingpig
(I might be overusing the King thing here but Kingpig is good word)

Chalicotherium: goat-ape, knuck-cuu

 (as its not as terrifying as some of the others I feel it can have more mundane name like goat-ape. Knuck-cuu ; like a cow but walking on its knuckles

Monday, 28 January 2019

Weapon Proficiencies

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Weapon Proficiencies:

A weird lumpy limb that wiggled forth somewhere in d&ds many lives.
Often disdained, but generally forgotte.

 And not something I've seen anyone try to  "OSRify" . 


I will do something with its wretchedness. 

If you have spend anytime reading homebrew content you will have encountered numerous house rules for making weapons more complicated and differentiated . 
So that it matters that a spear is long and an axe chops and a warhammer is really good for punching holes in plate etc.

The other thing you might read is rules for people doing tactical stuff in combat like "full dodges", "suppressing fire"  , "shield bashes" etc

The trouble is these are often over looked, forgotten or neglected by players.

Which is BAD if you are perpetual tinkerer dm who wants to try out all these little mechanic options.

And you don't (and shouldn't ) want to have constantly remind the players about them.

However there is going to be some players that do care about it, and chances are they are playing a Fighter.

So making use of all this underused potential is give Fighters a form of Weapon Proficiencies.

Except I'm calling them Training Regimes , (Regime  for short) 

The Dempsey Roll might be known to a boxer , but unless they have trained , sparred , and keep themselves in condition they will be unable to apply it to its best potential. 

A regime means the fighter has studied and regular trains in the use of particular weapon, weapon technique, marshal strategy, special move, new foot work , esoteric stance , etc

A Regime will allow a fighter to , for example, not just use a spear like everyone else, but use it with those weird reach rules you came up with.

They have one per level actively undertaken and practiced enough for it to be as second nature to them as drawing breath.

They can know far more than this, but they limited on how many they have available in their muscle memory and reflexes.

More regimes can be learned from studying books, sifus, weapon masters , secret schools and sometimes their own experiments. It will take anywhere from a week to a month to learn one.

They can swap a regime over, but it requires a week to get up to speed again with the techniques involved.

Examples of Fighter Training Regimes:

Desperate Defense : The "shields will be splintered" rule

 The Long Stance : Always resolve your attacks first when you have longer weapon

Opportunity Knocks: Free attack with a shield bash if your opponent misses twice in a row

Cloud Step : If fighter does nothing but move and avoid attacks their base armour class is their dexterity instead of 10.

Le jeu de la hache : while using an axe 2-handed or axe type pole weapon , if this fighter reduces an opponent to zero or lower hitpoints , they can make immediate additional attack against someone/thing in reach . The benefits of this regime can only be used once in a round

This assumes any class can use any weapon or classes have a set list of weapons available to use. It's not another thing to spend proficiency on , but I guess it could??

Its also very similar to feats; however they can be swapped in and out in downtime and shouldn't stack or provide passive bonuses like feats. Some feats could be repurposed to this system though.

All Regimes don't have to be in equal in power, and some could even be better versions of more common ones.

 The time and resources it takes to learn a new regime is going to vary on how rare and/or powerful it is as well.

Let how much you make wizard players sweat to learn new spells be your guide for how expensive or difficult it is to learn a new regime.

Sunday, 20 January 2019


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Volatility :

I've been trying to come up with a formula for "volatility" in a location and location.
By volatility I mean a setup that will change in complex cascading ways  in respond to nearly any player action or inaction.
Something that can give the most potential for adventure and campaign material for the minimum of content.  

The "complex and cascading" ways don't need to be directed at the players , they just need to create change in the campaign world and be "chaotic" , i.e difficult for the d.m to foresee the future results more than 1-2 steps and with early minor factors capable of causing disproportionate results.

An example with limited Votality:
Secret Grove that if the players stumble on the Blood Druids will be freaked out and try and kill them unless placated etc.
 It's a fine encounter or hex filling but the results and potential interactions are not as rich as I want for an adventure.

An example with Volatility :

Lizard people and toad people in a landscape of swamps.
They are  evenly matched, distrust each , but have to share a rich fishing spot because neither can risk or afford the loses caused by conflict.

Especially as there's a small border town nearby that would love to clear the swamp and build a trade route through there. However they lack the martial might to do so , but can find investors to hire mercenaries if the numbers of swamp people are depleted first.

The Lizards and Toads will monitor the pcs moving through their respective territories but only resort to conflict if they pcs interrupt their fishing (as they take turns fishing and can't afford to lose their allotted time).
If the players kill enough Lizards or Toads , the other faction will attempt to drive the rest out. If they manage to kill an even amount of both they wouldn't.

Regardless, after the players leave the swamp and (assuming) they go to town , the town will ask them for (and offer to pay for ) information , as detailed as possible.

If the players refuse to give any information the town will kick them out.

They will then send scouts to confirm if the information  was legit.

The Lizards and Toads then freak out , assuming an attack is imminent , (even if the town decides not to ) , unite , and start a process of guerilla warfare , with a high chance of wiping out the town.

Potential Future consequences (  even if the players ignore everything)
-A new trade route where the swamp was makes the town grow
-Lizard and Toad refugees show up in other places
-The town being wiped out
-and depending on if there/where the survivors end up and how much influence they have , the kingdom the town is part of might send a retributive force and/or resettlement
-this might trigger escalating miltary tensions with the kingdoms neighbours

So a basic framework for "volatility" could be

Stasis between intelligent agents.
Too Expensive/risky or unable to change status quo

Must be a fulcrum /resource that players could conceivable want , the "conceive" might only exist in the minds of the intelligent agents.

Always least risky for the intelligent agents to assume any new activity involves other party.

and possible  a third factor  (can be intelligent or unintelligent) that will leak in if status quo changes?)

I've been milling over this post for a while , trying to have more to add , but I don't .
Was going include 2 other under sized posts  but I think there's enough here to chew on , so y'all get those posts sooner than 3 weeks . Huzzah

Friday, 28 December 2018

Veins Of The Earth Cultural Specific Murder Objects

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I asked for some fantasy races people wanted me to speculate some weapons for and numerous Veins Of The Earth cultures came up.

And funnily enough I had done some sketches for some spitting balling an EON ago.


unfortunately I've lost any notes I wrote about what the fuck these do

It's the knife with the creepy antenna fingers.
I think it stabbed you in the feelings as well as the meat and could feel out your thoughts about it

This was human spine cord with the brain partially replaced with skull cup of knives. It shot hate at people I guess? I think it did something better than that like it pumped self destructive intrusive thoughts and suicidal impulses into you?

 all I got for these guys is my concept sketches for their knights armour


The Dvagir got something like predecessor to the Old Mate except its more of a hook and has this handy eye so one Dvagir can stick a vector hook and a bunch of them can then pull on an attached rope and gut something open.
Or use then as anchors, exoskeleton removing levers , picks etc.
Good luck trying to read that writing on the picture.
The first picture was me trying to come up with these multitool climbing shapes.

Some pictures of these bows made it into the book, but here's some me developing the idea 

  Also I think there was some kind of nightmare axe that was made up of dreams of axes? Fuck I wish I could find the notes for these
No idea what my idea for that spear was

These had these modular spears that could be assembled into pikes from single spears and then dissembled again.
Spears would be a mini-submarine sized liability to carry around underground but if you had them there then they would rather effective.
Consider a tunnel that opens up into a larger one. The larger one contains a dozen gnomen with long spears. Anyone trying to make through is going to have to be literally crawling up spears to get their.

The other idea was a Resonator , a stone bell tongue that could cause destructive and lingering vibrations in rigid matter. Additional it could be used for seismic solid body sonar.

It's a flat tear drop shaped club made from some hard stone like malachite, greenstone or serpentine.
Its edge has groove in which are attached (via fish glue) various teeth.
These can either be loosely attached to break off in a wound (sometimes with poison) or to a permanent fixture, especially ones from powerful or significant enemies.
The choice of teeth can be used communicate a wide range of cultural insults  , the most obvious is embedding the teeth of an enemy ancestors into their own flesh.

Underwater the No-Swallow Jaw are used with jabs and pull-tears. Swings are only really effective out of water.

The 100 sting spear is just a lot of barbs and stings from various venomous animals at the end of a bone shafter. Like a poison cluster bomb.