Still Banging the Demi-Human Drum

I’ve asked this question repeatedly, and very rarely get an answer other than, “Uh…holy shit, dude.”

Describe how playing your character race is different from playing a human character, but don’t give me stat modifiers or a physical description.

It’s amazing how the wealth of character race options in D&D has stunted the creativity of players.  Every single dad-blamed character race is the exact same at the table as every other.  Once character creation is over, very few people ever really stop to think about their race ever again.  It’s just a non-factor.

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Diversity.  It really does make everything worse.

If you’re playing an elf, then you’d better have elfen goals and follow elfen tactics.  I know it’s hard – Peter Jackson himself couldn’t even get it right – but it’s worth doing.  If you’re playing a dwarf, make that worm of the earth bastard stubborn to the point that changing his mind is like moving mountains.  If you’re playing one of those masturbatory half-demon things, then you damn well better expect to sleep in the barn when the tavern-keep recognizes the scent of brimstone about you.  You better also be motivated by something that couldn’t possibly motivate a vanilla human (the best kind of human) – something like trying to earn your soul back from Mom and Dad (“I didn’t asked to be born damned, okay!”).

Say what you want about those half-wits who play kenders, within five minutes of watching their game you know damn well what race HIS character is.  Say what you want about that one trick pony Terry Pratchett’s right-wing-stand-in dwarfs, they acted and thought very different from the rest of the Mary Sue races that live in MarSue’s Magical Discworld of Strawmen.  You can do better than either of those hacks at your table.

Let’s try to do better out there, people, mkay?

 

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Roll To Decide How Big A Tool You Are

Critical success!
untitledThe old Alt-Right DM* keeps banging on the #TrustYourDice drum.  Far too many people out there complain that the dice won’t behave and give them the story that they want.  So why, dear reader, does your third-person-referencing host turn right around and kvetch when people look to the dice to answer every little question that arises at the table?

Even assuming that humble-brags like those that inspired the image to the left are jokes, you can’t swing a dead #dnd-cat around the Twitter-hood without some numbnuts tweeting about their roll to find out whether or not they managed to fall off the log.  The dopey rainbow haired lard-o’s out there boil every dumb little decision down to a die roll.  And then brag about how wacky the results were – it’s like a shortcut to creativity.  You know, kind of like Volo’s Guide.  (Do I detect a trend here?**)

This isn’t hard.  You’ve got a DM for a reason.  Let him do his job for a change, bub.  He’s got a lot more information at his fingertips than you do, and if you don’t like his decision then maybe sit back and wait a while.  He probably has a good reason for his decision.  If it later turns out that he’s a total expletive-verber, you can always bail on the game and find a new DM.

Why would you think he’d make decisions just to spite you, anyway?

Oh…yeah.  SJWs always project.  You never see shitlords bitching about the DM’s decision.  The SJWs can’t abide handing power over the screen because they know if they were there, that they’d abuse it.  Which means they assume the guy there now will abuse it if they give it to him.  Which means…that every new rule set that’s come out since 1980 has moved in a direction stripping the DM’s ability to make the game more interesting by stripping him of the ability to make judgement calls. WHICH MEANS that the game is worse off for everyone.

Really, people, this is a game that requires you interact with other humans.  If you have problems doing that like a normal person, maybe this isn’t the hobby for you.

Which isn’t to say that the dice can’t help when the DM doesn’t know or just doesn’t care. Hey, you’re reading words written by a guy who still uses Saint Moldvay’s Reaction Table, after all.  But let’s just leave that sort of thing as a spice to add flavor to the game instead of a default assumption, mkay?  Trust my beefy munificence, it’ll make your games so very much more tasty.

* Reminder for the newest members of the alt-right penis gallery – the blog name is just a hold over from a couple years back before the alt-right was a thing.

** Yes.  Yes I do.

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Well That Was Harder Than Expected…

locked

So what was it?  What was that last tweet that broke the camel’s back?  Yo, check it:

lastone

Go figure.  Slag on the nerds all you want, but level one tepid slight at corporate America and it’s aaall over!  Shame really, hard to believe triggering #dnd nerds on Gab.ai is going to be nearly as much fun.

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Be A Hero

“It means, if you want to be a hero, act like a hero.”

Somewhere in my 27 years of wandering on this planet some media property threw that (probably mangled) line at me.  A professorial type was explaining to some ditzy co-ed that, “If you want to be a hero, act like a hero,” was the theme of Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Brief aside: Don Quixote is one of the earliest works of fiction that follows Poe’s Law.  Although it is fiction, Cervantes swore up and down that it was based on a number of oral traditions and sketchy sources.  There’s a great RadioLab episode on it, here.  It’s public radio, so it’s pretty twee and smug, but it’s worth a listen anyway.

untitledThat line, “If you want to be a hero, act like a hero,” has stuck with me.  You wouldn’t think this is something that needs to be discussed with respect to role-playing games, but we live in a world given over to the Father of Lies and in a time when his forces are ascendant.  The army of Mouths of Sauron who perch high atop the mountains of media production have embarked on a long journey full of slippery-slopes and incremental baby steps, all of which generate positive feedback loops and push our culture and individuals further and further from the healthy attitudes that built America and put a man on the moon.  Today, thanks to their efforts the collective judgement of the masses is clouded to the point that they believe empty calories are healthy, empty media is fulfilling, and empty games are meaningful.

They’ll tell you that orcs and lizardmen and even devils aren’t really so monstrous.  They’ll tell you that evil isn’t really real.  They will try to convince you that role-playing games can have drama without really having good guys or bad guys – just different sides with different aims and goals that conflict.  They’ll tell you the best solutions can be brought about by talking and compromise.  They’ll tell you violence should only be used as a last resort.  Most of all, they’ll tell you that no one is really bad, just ignorant or different from you.

The games run by these reality denying agents of evil feature all sorts of little nods and winks to the alternate reality where evil is just misunderstood.  They’ll feature plot lines where defense of the indefensible is the order of the day.  They’ll even run scenarios specifically designed to reinforce the notion that the universe is a dark and uncaring void and nothing you do in this life really matters.

It’s a poison apple, and while it is true that eating of it can provide you with a new perspective, that perspective is that of a cancer patient discovering the joys of their body rotting away one cell at a time.

Happens all the time.  Many a time has your humble host pushed away from a table when it was revealed that the campaign world was nothing but darkness and evil with no hope of glory, or where the point of the adventure was a catch-22 with no viable third path between Scylla and Charybdis.  We were supposed to choose from the lesser of two evils – the classic “accept that evil is necessary for the greater good” gambit designed to inure people to committing small acts of evil the better to weaken their resolve not to commit greater acts of evil.

You know these things happen.  You’ve seen them, and that part of your conscience that hasn’t been worn to a dull edge feels it, deep in your gut.  These are games that leave your soul drained and exhausted, that leave a bad taste in your mouth even when you do successfully follow the DM’s story to its ordained conclusion.  Even when you beat the odds and win victory through might of arms and clever tricks.  They don’t feed your soul in the same way that winning out over true evil in the game does.

We are shocked to learn that what’s in the box is Brad Pitt’s wife’s head.  We accept it with a weary fatalism and shock – it’s a way of cutting our psyches just to feel something, so blunted has our sense of righteousness become.  But we cheer for the death of Sauron because it is in our nature to loathe evil and ugliness and destruction.

If you want your games to really sing, make sure they follow the heroic model set down by the authors who inspired the game – not the degenerate model that wallows in immorality set down by far too many creators working in the RPG industry today.  Be better than they are, it’s a really low bar to clear.

If you want to be a hero, be a hero. Even, and especially, at the game table.

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Volo’s Guide to Special Characters

Great news, kiddos!  Wizards of the Coast has done it again!  They’ve packaged up a nice thick book chock a block full of trophies that you can give yourself at the start of your next D&D campaign.  They call it “Volo’s Guide to Monsters” and a full third of the book’s contents are rules for character races.

Now stop and think about this for a second.  Back in the day – before teh RPG community demanded instant gratification and rewards just for bellying that big ‘ol belly up to the table – if you wanted to run a demi-human, you had hope the dice came up right.  You had to qualify for the honor of running a character with a few extra bennies.

These days, running a demi-human is as easy as flipping open a book and plonking one pork-rind stained pointer finger down on a page that lists some stat bonuses and penalties and hey, here’s some more special abilities that will see you through danger because we know you haven’t got the skills and brains to solve problems on your own.

You see the difference?  Yeah, here’s my alternative take on Volo’s Guide:

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I have scads more respect for these two chaps than I do for people running firbolg or lizardman PCs.  At least these guys did something to earn those medals more than buy a book.

Everybody gets a trophy!  All carefully balanced so everyone is the same, because no one is special unless everyone is special!

This. Is Ruining. Your. Game.

All these special rules and all these freebies are crutches holding you back.  You’ve been sold on the idea that these races will spark your imagination, but they don’t.  They stifle it.  You aren’t really playing something new and different, you’re just playing a stat block.  You’re not creating, your imitating.  That’s why the shine wears off so quickly.  That’s how you get trapped on the never ending treadmill of splatbooks.  You run this for a bit, but without the effort of earning that cool little benny, without the game-time and investment, it just doesn’t resonate deep down in your vastly overworked heart, buried there under that pair of droopy, double-D manboobs.

Think about that dragon hoard you scored through some great strategy and a little bit of luck.  That felt great, didn’t it?  If the DM had given you that gold for backstabbing one kobold whore – *record scratch*

This is a thing, God help us all:

Well, thank god the heroes showed up to ensure that the kobold hookers choosing to polish a zoo line-up of knobs are safe and that the mean old man isn’t forcing them to sell their dog-faced little bodies on the black market.  That’s what passes for heroism in our world these days, and they wonder why some of us harken back to days when fighting evil meant breaking up prostitution rings, killing pimps, and forcing sex slave rings to hide from the light of truth, beauty, and justice.

Oh, and just by way of reinforcing the point of this blog post: If your kobolds are just little funny looking hookers, congratulations, you’ve made them less mysterious and fantastic than people who treat them as nothing but 1/4HD critters worth 5 XP each.  Good job, you imaginative creative types, you turned monsters into people!  That’s not just erasing the uniqueness of kobolds, but it’s also great world practice for when it comes time to support Lena Dunham and the owners of Comet Pizza.

*places needle back on the post*

– then you wouldn’t get nearly the satisfaction out of the game.  You know this.  There’s a widely recognized term for it – the Monty Haul campaign.  Volo’s is the Monty Haul version of rolling up a character.  You should have outgrown DM Monty about the time you outgrew hairless genitals. Don’t rush back to that style by throwing money at Volo’s Guide to Monty Haul Character Classes.

Resist the urge to cheapen the game by taking shortcuts to satisfaction.  You don’t need rewards before the first initiative die is rolled.  The game will reward your efforts on the painting side of the DM screen if you put some time and energy into it.

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Stick it to The Man, Man!

Ydaou want to get all up in the leftoid’s grill?  Here’s a way to do it that will make them madder than a land-whale too broke for rainbow-colored hair dye.  Just nominate 2016’s greatest RPG title for the Dragon Awards BY CLICKING THE SHOUTY LETTERS!

Close your eyes.  Imagine all those smug and smarmy poindexters on the left, so sure that they had won a final victory over the forces of normalcy and decency, seeing the Alt-Right DM’s name right there on the list of nominees.  Turn that smug pinched face grin upside down, Twink, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s waaaay more popular than you mincing noodle wrists will ever be.

It’ll be like a hot Trump shlonging right in the face of our corner of culture war.

It’ll force them to take action.  Right now, they’re all hiding behind Twitter blocks, pretending that the Alt-Right DM, and the things for which he stands, don’t exist in fandom.  Once my name is on the ballot, they’ll have to face their fears.  They’ll have to rally around a Puppy-Kicking Style banner to keep the Dragon Awards

This will, guaranteed, push that crowd past “First they ignore” way past “Then they laugh” and all the way over to “Then they fight you”.  And those of us who have been in the trenches fighting the good fight for the last 20 years know what comes after that!

Hat tip to the guy who reminded me that this sort of popularity contest is a thing:

Also, you should nominate Cirsova: The Enmagazining for Best Shitter Magazine Reading.

[edit:  Turns out that isn’t a real category.  What are those amateurs doing over there?  That’s my favorite way to read.]

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Cripples and Gimps and Schizo’s, Oh MY!

Holy cats, leftists who like D&D sure get prickly when you try to engage them in conversation about D&D rather than the current buzzword hotness!  I’ll spare you the gruesome rainbow-haired details, the important thing about the convo was the inciting incident.  I blundered into two blokes, and I use the term loosely, trolling Twitter with an Alt-Right DM-worthy discussion about how to make D&D less ‘ableist’ by including deliberately gimped characters.  “Hoo-ha!” thinks your host, “Here’s some fine mockery through amplification!”

Not so.  They were quite serious.  Quite serious indeed about the need for a way to incorporate cripples, mutes, and retards.  Such a novel idea that so rarely appears in the game, they fellated.  Things got oddly hostile when I pointed out that such things were as old as the Three Brown Books.  As is the Morlock’s wont, they launched into schizophrenic personal attacks and threats of online sexual harassment, and the conversation devolved into naughty little Reagan laughing at the monkeys into rubbing poo in their rainbow colored hair.

The things I put up with to bring you these incites, people, they oughtta raise a plague in my name.

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> “A plague, I think you mean -“
> “That’s not a typo, Arvind.”

Once again, this serves as an example of the leftist hivemind destroying one of the great aspects of the tabletop RPG hobby, stinking up the place, and then re-introducing the very thing they drove out in a glorious fanfare of brilliant imaginative creativity.  But it’s cool this time, because it serves the Demon Nar’rative.

These mincing faggots have the audacity to whine about the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ style of play that THEY foisted on us and demanded as the default assumption at the table.  They shrieked like harpies about their precious character’s narrative arc.  Now that the game lacks drama and meaning, they return to the Old Magic, but reclaim it as their own.

Despicable.

If you want to incorporate cripples, gimps, and ‘tards into your game, there is an easy way to do it, and all you have to do is look back to the Sacred Texts brought down from the peaks of Lake Geneva by the blessed prophet Gygax:

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Here at the Casa de Wright, we’ve been playing characters with all sorts of debilitating since long before games like GURPS offered to pay you to do it.  Trash Gordon, the brawny fighter with a 4 INT.  Old Man McGillicutty, the feeble wizard with a 6 STR.  Timmy Junior, the preternaturally aged and infirm cleric with a 3 CON.

We don’t take these maladies for the elite-skills their points would grant us.  We don’t take these hindrances in order to virtue signal about how inclusive we are.  We just took the hand the dice dealt us and made do the best we could with them.  Kinda like we do in the real world.

Huh.  There’s that concept again.  Playing the game in a way that reinforces a healthy view of life, the universe, and everything.  It’s almost like playing D&D the way God, Reagan, and Gygax want you to can make you a happier, healthier, and wealthier person.

I’m trying to help you people, here!

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