Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Random Thoughts: The D&D War, Avalon Hill’s Censorship, Rules as Written, Raising a Gamer, When Chain-mail Bikinis are Okay, and Reductio ad Absurdum

Deja Vu All Over Again: their game convention was forbidden because the The Utah Association of Women convinced the mayor that playing D&D caused people to become witches. — “Think about it from their standpoint. They are a political group, out to swing public opinion. They cannot afford to look silly — and that’s just what will happen if you stand up to them and look halfway intelligent. Besides that, they have other issues they want to wrestle with — sex education in the schools, fluoridation in the water, censoring cable television, and regulating pinball arcades. Their style is political blitzkrieg, blasting one target and then turning to another … and if you refuse to be blasted, they may just decide to quit and go pick on someone else.” —  Space Gamer #61

“Avalon Hill’s letter may or may not be a threat to free speech. It is, at the very least, arrogant and insensitive. It is also, unfortunately, in keeping with the bureaucratic bullshit which we have come to expect from Avalon Hill. If necessary, The Wargamer will purchase its review copies on the open market, rather than submit to any form of publisher censorship.” — Keith Poulter, editor of The Wargamer, Space Gamer #75

Playing “Rules As Written” does not necessarily work against immersive play, though a lot of people have gotten the idea that it would. I know in my minimalistic B/X games, the rules eventually become invisible. They’re so simple, but they define the stakes and shift control of the game into the players’ hands very quickly. Actual rulings are generally so irrelevant to the tone and course of play, I can hand those decisions to a new player that doesn’t know what’s going on without changing the nature of the game! The game is that robust! Playing “RAW” in that case lets me fade into the woodwork, lets the players experience the world that is implied by the rules (the implied setting and the implied campaign), and it allows them to make enough informed decisions that they can develop their own adventuring tactics and strategies to suit their tastes. Fixing the game willy nilly gives them “the game in Jeffro’s head” with “the outcome Jeffro already has in mind.” In the hands of competent referee, RAW allows an entire world of action to unfold before his eyes, without him having to baby it all along at every point. An anti-RAW attitude can destroy the very thing its proponents claim to want!

This may be another of those rants at a point that was not actually made, but let me be clear about something. As a parent that happens to be a hobbyist, I am not raising a geek or a gamer. I am raising my kids to be adults. Yes, I do want to share my favorite games with them. Yes, I do intentionally make them read a few old books just on the principle of exposing them to things that have been exorcised from the wider culture. But when they grow up and go onto bigger and better things, they’ll get no argument from me. “Geek” is a stigma, not an identity. I’m not going to train them to take pride in the fact that they have to, in effect, sit in the back of the bus. Games are fun, but they are neither an end game nor and end unto themselves. Gaming is a pastime, not a religion.

People have this impression that the seventies was about disco or psychedelia or even punk. It wasn’t. Those other genres were just a flash in the pan in comparison to the singer-songwriters that completely dominated the period. People like Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, John Denver, Carol King, and Neil Diamond… they owned it. If you think otherwise, you either weren’t there or else were on drugs for the better part of the decade.

“Your right to protest silently is one that ends just where the mob of naked, screaming hooligans begins.” —  Zechariah Chafee (updated 2014)

A child’s education should begin at least one hundred years before he was born. Edgar Rice Burroughs is about as good a place to start as any.

Mondegreen in Action — This song caused almost incalculable harm to my psyche when I was a kid. Your PARENTS only love you when they’re playing. Yeah… so they… they don’t love me when they’re not playing? Like… when they are at work, they just sit there thinking about how much they hate me?! This is terrible news!!

In honor of Jacob Marley and the season’s festivities… the ghost of nerd rage past presents… the original proposed covers for GURPS Fourth Edition! Oh, yeah!!!

It’s not the masterpieces that inspire people to become game designers. It’s the godawful piles of garbage that hurt peoples’ brains and make them say, I could do better than that.

For those trying to keep up, the comments on this post are illuminating. Firstly, a woman satirizing the chainmail bikini trope is hilarious. Also, if a woman wants to revel in being objectified by the male gaze for a few hours, she’s free to go to a con in that sort of getup whenever she wants. But if a guy wants include chaimail bikini pictures on his blog posts, that’s okay only if he includes the right kind of comment with it. A chainmail bikini image on a magazine cover would not be problematic at all if it were done with an obviously satirical intent, but if the magazine includes an article that is deemed to have offensive content, suddenly the cover becomes serious business!!! Does that all make sense now? Good!

Every artist type person that I went to college with would have taken it as a point of pride if they succeeded in offending someone, particularly prudish homebody types and ordinary laborers. Now the artsy-fartsy crowd lives to remove things they find offensive from the public sphere while vilifying the creators. Seriously, how did this change so fast…?! I don’t get it.

This guy is rolling in Kickstarter money, but he doesn’t know what a Reductio ad Absurdum is. (Hint: it’s not a logical fallacy. It is a method of proof, also called an “indirect proof.”) I guess you don’t have to know much in order to both gin up a hysteria and profit from it.

Milo Yiannopoulos: I’m Writing a Book about #GamerGate

I guess this brouhaha is such a big deal at this point that it merits a book being written about it. But it’s too current, too emotionally fraught, and too related to violence to be an appropriate subject for a satirical card game. I mean, there’s just certain lines we shouldn’t cross at the table top, you know? The important thing is that guys like Steve Wieck make it clear to all of us just where it is. I think that’s something that we as a game community can all get behind.

Blog Watch: That Lovecraft Statue, Everything Wrong with Star Wars, the Genesis of the Great Tarot Panic, the Moral Policing of Everything, and Taking a Flying Leap off the Fun Mesa

Game Design (The Escapist) Shigeru Miyamoto Says His Rivals Are Boring, Samey — “They want to tell stories that will touch people’s hearts. And while I understand that desire, the trend worries me. It should be the experience, that is touching.”

Dungeon Design (Semper Initiativus Unam)  A Missing Link: A Miniature Megadungeon — “It condenses into 3 levels most of the principal ideas that underlie the Gygaxian megadungeon. There are multiple entrances, multiple connections between levels, different types of terrain, sloping passages, and generally everything you’d want from a complex dungeon, all in three neat levels. None of which is to disregard Tom Wham’s great Skull Mountain diagram, but Holmes manages to do a lot with a few levels.”

AD&D (Don’t Split the Party) Monsters from the Id!! — “That’s right – those long duration divinations that allow you to look for good, life, charms, invisible creatures, etc. also make it more likely that some horrible monster is going to suck your mind dry!”

Appendix N (The Guardian) World Fantasy awards pressed to drop HP Lovecraft trophy in racism row — “People have been debating whether Lovecraft being a racist matters or whether it’s his writing that should be at issue. I’m saying: both matter. After decades and decades of deeply embedded racism being prevalent in the fantasy genre, it’s time to make courageous moves against racism, and that includes not championing a vile racist.”

Adventure Design (D&D with Porn Stars) Like Playing Monopoly With Squatters — “For me, creating a game world or plot events is less like building a sculpture and more like designing a playground. Yes, you want to bring your creativity to bear in that small world of jungle gyms and slides and animals-on-springs, but you have to remember that the fun isn’t just going to come from what you make but from what happens when real world contemporary people with sneakers and jeans use it and are on it and are contrasted with it and slide down it.”

Appendix N (The Black Gate) Sofia Samatar Confronts the Elephant in the Room — “This is how you win arguments. By being simultaneously more articulate and dignified — and funnier — than everyone else in the room. I know who gets my vote to replace Lovecraft’s visage on the statute. Perhaps they won’t even have to modify it all that much. But trust me, when they’re done, it’ll be a lot more beautiful.”

Moral Panics (God and the Machine) The Fake History of the Occult Tarot — “Antoine Court de Gébelin (1720s-1784) was an intellectual, Protestant pastor, Freemason, and occultist who traveled in powerful circles. He believed that there was once an ancient, advanced civilization that spanned the globe, and that the wisdom of this enlightened culture is at the root of common elements of symbolism and language shared by all humans.”

Appendix T (The Black Gate) What Old Futures Can Teach Us About What SF and SciFi is Really For — “The Dumarest books are awesome, like reading the Traveller campaign you wished you’d played in. It’s Robert E Howard (or Harold Lamb) in space with a hero that sits on the spectrum somewhere between Conan and Solomon Kane.”

Movies (The Escapist) Broken Movies — “The idea that every piece of narrative storytelling needs to function wholly self-contained is still rooted in the pre-digital, pre-internet, pre-democratization of information view of the world.”

Gamergate (Breitbart) An Open Letter to Bloomburg’s Sheelah Kolhatkar, on the Delicate Matter of Anita Sarkeesian — “Never in the history of public life has abuse been so professionally advantageous or financially lucrative—an observation that tells its own story…. Your piece fails to mention that not a single arrest or prosecution has been brought as a result of alleged threats in which the GamerGate movement has been implicated—without, I should point out, a shred of evidence linking any GamerGate supporter to any threat. And it fails to acknowledge that radical far-left pseudo-academic feminist troublemakers use threats as currency online in a perverted sort of Olympics, showing off to one another and begging for funds with each round of new insults that, in many cases, observers suspect they have sent to themselves.”

AD&D (Geek Dad) A Tale of Two Dungeon Master Guides – 1979 AD&D and 2014 D&D — “The AD&D DMG was invaluable as a source of reference during my early DM days. It offered up plenty of hooks to get my players involved, and there are an amazing number of pages in the book that are almost worn thin from the number of times I probably referenced them. (Plenty of handwritten comments and underlined bits, too.) It’s real power, though, was in how serious things got when I pulled the book out of my bag. It signified game time.”

Adventure Design (Dungeon Fantastic) This sounds like a job for . . . Player Characters! — “From a purely meta perspective, the game world is there for the players, not the NPCs. The PCs have the most interest, the most resources (man for man), and the most to gain by solving these issues. They are the heavyweights on the scene. They are the ones who, for better or worse, will make the most impact. What’s the point of a game world where the PCs are marginal? I’d rather have the world full of opportunities the PCs can take advantage of.”

Star Wars (Medium) Everything Wrong with the New ‘Star Wars’ Teaser — “Like the heroes of ancient mythology, the characters of Star Wars have always inhabited a narrative bigger than themselves, and as such the details of their human suffering go unreported. Cut by a lightsaber? They don’t bleed. Tortured on some weird electro-table thing? They don’t scar. Lost in the desert? They don’t sweat. You’ll never see a close-up on Luke Skywalker’s pores, or a POV from Han’s blaster. Interesting as these shots may be, they make the epic tale of Star Wars into a subjective, personal experience, and that’s just not the scale at which the drama of Star Wars occurs.”

Ogre (The Black Gate) The Classic Games of Metagaming: Ogre — “When you sat down to play a game of Ogre, you weren’t just pushing cheap cardboard counters across a piece of paper, and rolling a d6 you stole from your sister’s Clue game. You were a participant in a mini theater of the imagination. The stakes were perilously high for your human defenders as they valiantly surged across the blasted landscape towards an unstoppable enemy of mankind, and almost certain death. Every game brought surprises, and the kind of high drama and excitement that kept you and your friends talking for days — or at least until the next time the board came out.”

Star Wars (The Escapist) This Is How You Defend The Ridiculous Crossguard Lightsaber — “You can argue that with enough training, someone can learn to not kill themselves with a lightsaber. Perhaps so – but we don’t see Luke using a practice lightsaber before going blindfolded and becoming a danger to himself and everyone around him. No, the only way we can logically reconcile that the Jedi Academy isn’t filled with amputees is because their attunement with the Force grants them some form of sixth sense that allows them to safely wield their signature weapon. And given that, it doesn’t matter how many more blades you stick on the damn thing, or in what configuration – we’ve already conceded that the answer is always: the Force.”

D&D (Bat in the Attic) Delving into the 5e DMG, Final Thoughts — “There is just too much reference to story and too much borrowing of concepts from writing and scripting. The strength of tabletop roleplaying is in its ability to be a pen and paper virtual reality, its ability to place the players within a experience rather than to be observers of an experience. No other form of entertainments is as easy as a tabletop roleplaying game in creating experiences to participate in. None are as flexible in accommodating all the crazy things a player could come up with. If tabletop roleplaying is to survive in the 21st century this flexibility is what RPGs must emphasize. Especially in the face of the alternatives, like CRPGs or MMORPGs, that are easier for a player to become involved in.”

Role-Playing Games (RPG Snob) Kids Want Structure — “This doesn’t end with players, though. GMs, like me, will tell you that there’s nothing finer than a unified rule set, one that’ll let you play in any genre, any time period, any way you like. And then we’ll sit, stymied by choice paralysis, trying to decide just what the hell kind of game we want to run!”

OSR (Save Versus All Wands) Femen Demonstration — “More than twenty demonstrators stood silently for ten minutes with slogans etched in black marker across their chests, such as ‘Take your Clothes Off My Body!’ ‘Imagine the Hell Out of It!’ and ‘Fight On!’ They then unfolded a card table and proceeded to ‘role play’ a game of what one demonstrator called ‘Holmes Basic’, led by an activist wearing nothing above her waist except a three-paneled cardboard screen emblazoned with the words ‘Dungeon Mistress’.”

D&D (Random Wizard) B10 Nights Dark Terror — “This adventure is a tour de force of the lands of Karameikos, the same setting presented in the ‘Known World’ Expert Set and X1 Isle of Dread as created by David ‘Zeb’ Cook, but fleshed out in a level of detail that is neither too heavy nor too light…. I have often stated that my style of running a game is more in line with the UK series of modules. In OSR circles, there tends to be a emphasis on the older modules with their bare bones, sandbox like settings. And there is a definite vibe that Tracy Hickman’s later Dragonlance adventures are the anti-thesis of old school play. But I feel the UK modules are a nice sweet spot, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between freeform and story.”

Adventure Design (Bleeding Cool) Artist And Game Designer Zak Smith Talks About A Red And Pleasant Land — “The game is primarily about the players and GMs inventing things, not buying stuff. In the beginning of the hobby it pretty much had to be that way–there wasn’t a game you could buy so these wargamers had to make one. They cut up plastic dinosaurs with kitchen knives and glued new heads on them–that’s it right there, that’s the heart of the game on every level: you put something out and then other people build on it and send back something even better. So rather than giving people completely finished game stuff which substitutes for a lack of imagination, I want to give them the bag of toys.”

Gamergate (Spiked) #Gamergate: we must fight for the right to fantasise — “The world of fantasy is being invaded, tut-tutted over and in some cases cordoned off by the new moralists who don’t only say ‘You can’t say that!’ but also ‘You can’t imagine that!’. It isn’t only in videogames. The moral policing of culture, especially pop culture, has become weirdly and wildly fashionable in recent years. Where once it was only the most tyrannical of regimes – think the GDR’s Stasi – that monitored culture for political wrongness and rightness, now a whole new generation of activist and journalist devotes its moral energy to assessing whether culture is ‘problematic’ (their favourite word) or okay.”

D&D (The Tao of D&D) No Price Tags — “Everything about gems defies that sort of comparison. To begin with, they are very rarely cut. Historically, most gems, especially big gems, were at best polished, and that is how they remained for centuries after being found. Diamonds can’t be polished; there’s no grit in existence that will wear a diamond down, so for most of history – until diamond-cutting was developed in the 14th century – diamonds were fairly worthless, used as grit to polish other stones. A big, faceted jewel such as those commonly depicted by Hollywood in the caves of Arab Princes wouldn’t have existed – a large, rounded, beautiful stone like that in Conan the Barbarian was the norm.”

Science Fiction (Fritz’s Wiki) Ancillary Justice (review) — “I had heard that it hearing that it had on a Hugo, Nebula, and an Arthur C. Clarke Award and was curious about a novel that had won all three awards previously noted in one year by a debut author. Very impressive indeed. I was also intrigued by the idea of an AI main character that was a fragment of its original self. I started listening. And listening. I wondered what all the fuss was about. Honestly, if Ancillary Justice hadn’t won the awards it did and I hadn’t been listening to an audiobook, I wouldn’t have made it past the first few chapters.) Why had this book won so many awards? I was bored, but I persevered, hoping that I would stumble across a plot or find some reason to care about the main character. Or any character, frankly.”

Video Games (The Escapist) A New Commandment for Developing Games With RPG Elements — “My point is, there’s got to be a middleground between alienating the minimalist player and leaving large chunks of gameplay free-floating separately from the all-important difficulty curve. If you sacrifice cohesion, then the game takes on the qualities of a toybox, or toddler activity centre for grown-ups, where all the activities exist solely for the sake of completing them, and not as part of an arc. Maybe that’s not an utterly invalid design philosophy, maybe there are players who do just want to idly mess about with the shiny stones on the beach. I can only speak for myself, and my investment in video games lies in my love of interactive narrative, in both the organic and inorganic sense.”

Appendix N (Monster Hunter Nation)  Fisking the Guardian again, this time for HP Lovecraft. — “I once got a negative review that said ‘though Correia uses some Lovecraftian themes, he is more of a modern Robert E. Howard’ and he meant it as an insult. Personally, I wanted to use that as a cover blurb.”

The Crazy Years (The Harvard Crimson) Protest at Primal Scream Leads to Chaotic Exchange — “After failing to quiet the students with a megaphone, Khurana was lifted onto the back of a half-naked man, from where Khurana tried to quiet the crowd again. When the streakers continued to talk, the protesters broke their silence, chanting, ‘Silence. Silence.’ Meanwhile, shouts of ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.!’ erupted from the group of runners, drowning out the calls for silence by the protesters.”

GURPS (Gaming Ballistic) You poured rules lawyer all over my fun — “If you note that I have an exasperated tone in this post, you’re not wrong. Because much as in another parallel thread on the exact parsing of the wording in Committed Attack, I think discussions such as this, that turn on a near Clintonesque view of what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is do not help gaming in general, and GURPS in particular, draw in new blood and new fans. I’m not even sure they help resolve the issues at hand, because they’re so very particular they require a level of system mastery and textual precision that takes a flying leap off the fun mesa, landing messily in the burning abyss below.”

Appendix N (S. T. Joshi’s Web Site) Reply to Charles Baxter’s “The Hideous Unknown of H. P. Lovecraft” — “Among his sixty short stories, novelettes, and short novels, I have counted only five that have racism as their thematic foundation, and only one of these—’The Shadow over Innsmouth’ (1931), where the unwholesome mating of fishlike creatures from the sea with humans is generally interpreted as a metaphor for Lovecraft’s disdain for ‘miscegenation’ (intermarriage between members of different races)—is a major tale. And yet, this remains one of Lovecraft’s great narratives, an imperishable account of regional decay worthy of Faulkner.”

The Chilling Effect (RPGPundit) Is the Apocalypse Fast Approaching?? — “Until now, the fact that OBS was the largest game in town (in essence, the only game in town, in the sense that if you’re shut out of OBS, you stand to lose an enormous percentage of your PDF profitability) was not really a huge problem, because they seemed committed to being a neutral all-access content aggregator. Now, with this decision, they can’t claim that anymore.  And I think it is only a matter of time, having chosen to abandon their neutrality once, before they abandon it again, or are pressured/coerced into abandoning it now that a precedent for doing so has been set and can be used against them if they even try to claim neutrality in the future.”

The Chilling Effect (Save Versus All Wands) Review: Gamergate the Card Game — “They want to bring their smutty, dirty politics and Brown Shirt bullying tactics into tabletop gaming. You and I don’t want that. But what do we do? If we don’t resist, they win. If we do resist, we dirty ourselves by getting ‘political’, just like them.”

The Chilling Effect (FOX News)  Campus turns on Muslim conservative who penned satire — “There are times when I say to myself, ‘Hell yes, I should have written that! And there are times when it’s like, never in my dreams would I write it again, given the reaction I have had to deal with.”

On the Table: DLE1 In Search of Dragons by Rick Swan

“When I’m playing an RPG and I take a risk with a character, it is awesome because it can go bad. The higher the stakes, the higher the tension. The more that turns on a single die roll the mores eyes around the table that are glued to it as it stops. This tension is where a lot of the fun comes from in an adventure!” — Searching for Magic

Okay, I’m going to pick the opening stages of this module apart. I will be completely merciless. Harsh even. I am going to say some really mean things here, but I can’t speak for the complete module itself as I haven’t read it. This is purely from a player’s perspective. Maybe the Dungeon Master failed to present the material well and I didn’t get the real Dragon Lance experience that everybody’s been talking about for so long. That’s possible. The guy was obviously new at running the game and us players weren’t exactly kind to him. My feeling is that not only is this module inherently bad, but that it also actively prevents novice game masters from learning anything about how to get a good experience out of a role-playing game. It’s not just terrible… it’s actively harmful to the hobby! (As such, I will of course be pressuring OneBookShelf not to carry PDF’s of this one….)

It was a cool group, though. Three veterans from my Isle of Dread games were there. A guy I had played Hellenes and Pacific War with was there. Everyone had their own copy of the first edition AD&D Players Handbook to reference. We were looking up stuff in the totally real first edition AD&D Gary Gygax Dungeon Masters Guide. And get this… some random Pathfinder player wandered up to ogle the proceedings and my group was the kind of group to encourage him to pull up a chair and take a pre-gen. That had never happened to me when I was in a similar situation as him, so I was glad to be with a group of gamers that wasn’t like most role-players I’ve seen that end up playing publicly in a game store. Yay us!

Getting read to play….

So we start off in this crappy town at some sort of crappy civic group meeting. One of the items on the agenda was to talk about the Red Dragon Armies. All of us were like… dang! Red Dragon armies?! What the heck?! Nobody in town was concerned about them, but we asked how this made sense… what’s the sort of geopolitical situation here where anything could matter if there were freaking armies of Red Dragons doing stuff. We never got an answer and we decided the NPC’s were all smoking crack.

Well, there was this thing that was supposed to happen in this town: a plot point that triggered the start of our adventure. We were completely terrified of it for some reason. We knew something was up and we wanted to extract every possible advantage we could get before it went down. We figured out that my cleric’s Detect Evil spell could basically be used on every single person at the fair grounds due to its area effect, range, and duration. All we got from it was a general sense of evilness in a particular quarter. We sent the thief in to investigate and he came back telling us about this dead silver dragon that was hidden under a tarp. This scared the crap out of us!

So there were these Knights of Oofus Boofus playing music on stage. I didn’t like them. Too much like bards for my tastes. I cast Know Alignment when they went to talk to us. They couldn’t tell us anything about the setting and they were Lawful Good, so we kept looking around. The fair’s organizer turned out to be Lawful Good, too. Also useless. We went to the Mule Wrasslin’ event and a couple of us tried it, but no one could win. (Fortunately the party’s druid was selling dream catchers or something at his booth, so he couldn’t complain about the animal cruelty.) I kept asking if we could roll on the random harlot table, but there was not single darn harlot in the whole town.

Somehow we got word that some eight foot tall bald green dude was coming to speak. It sounded like the thing that was supposed to happen that everything was foreshadowing and we expected the worst. Our magic-user cast fly and haste on himself and went to check him out before his entourage could arrive. We expected some sort of army that would kill us all arbitrily. Our mage saw them coming, but for some reason, there was nothing we could do except let whatever was happening go ahead and happen. (Is that a common theme in Dragon Lance modules? I bet it is!) So we all picked our spots where we’d be on the map, calculated ranges, and let the big green bald dude show up and speak.

He got to talking on stage and it was like some sort of snake oil salesman medicine show. He preached the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The stars and the moon were going to darken, the gold and silver and bronze dragons were going away. The silver dragons were cursed by the gods! Haha! But the awesome demonic people were all going to make the world a better place without that silly meddling from Lawful Good monsters. The crowd ate it up. “Them dragons is bad for the economy anyway. Har har!” Suddenly on stage was the dead silver dragon. We were all like, huh?! (How did they move it?!) Then the magic-user cast E.S.P. and got a couple of extra hints about the adventure premise. The green bald guy left town before we could react. (?!) Then the town leader took us aside and showed us his magic Blackberry and used it to show us more about the situation. We had to go two days march to find some dragon expert to find out what was wrong with the silver dragons. (Designers and game masters: that was the real start of the adventure right there. Just sayin’!)

We had this beautiful map to look at and plan our journey. It was really nice… nicer than anything I normally get to play with. But to us… it was full of crappy small towns with nothing in them and idiot people that we didn’t care if they died. And really… that map gives a false impression of choice… band infinite possibilities… but we all knew we were heading to the next plot point because that was the only way forward. So the wide open freedom implied by a hexcrawl scenario was nearly abusive all things considered. Perverse even….

And lemme tell ya. We were pissed. I mean, we were trying to cooperate with the game. But we had pulled every wacky stunt we could think of to create a choice or an advantage or to interact with the game world beyond playing the little dipstick games at the fair booths… and nothing freaking mattered. The whole time it felt like we were trapped in the opening chapters of an unbelievably stupid fantasy novel that was written by someone that had not read a book published before 1980. Everything about the world felt like a 12-year-old’s D&D campaign. It was just stupid. At some point, I was like, “dang it this is AD&D… can I just freaking kill something already?!” I was completely of a mind to take out all my frustrations on the innocent peoples of the game world itself and not the bad guys that we were “supposed” to go after.

A beautiful map… chock full of places no player character would want to go!

So there were stupid random encounters in every hex. (I’m not sure the dungeon master was supposed to roll for every hex. We could go maybe five or six of those 2.5 mile hexes in a day. He started to run out of encounters after a while…!) It was like twelve of them to get to the NPC that knew what we needed. Sometimes it was normal people giving us a window into the wider situation. We didn’t care because it didn’t have anything to do with our objective. Sometimes it was a hint about our upcoming battles, but we didn’t care because even when we pulled every stupid gamer trick in the book, it didn’t affect our status vis-à-vis the game anyway. Sometimes it was monsters who were so outclassed by us, we had to wonder why they didn’t flee when they first saw us coming. Sometimes it was the obvious foreshadowing encounter that we couldn’t otherwise do anything with. Sometimes it was the white stag that signaled we were going where the adventure designer wanted us to go. Other times it was goofy peasant encounters that were meant to give us minor clues while showing off enough local color that we could (presumably) be dazzled by the vast amount of detail in the Dragon Lance setting. But every attempt on the designer’s part to fold in detail and background information was undercut by the almost insane lack of coherence from either gaming, ecological, or demographical contexts. It was completely bizarre, and any questions we had about how it would make sense for anything to be the way it was were brushed off, ignored, or deflected.

As we closed in on the plot point in the town, we were surprised by rocks suddenly falling from the sky. Our magic-user flew ahead to check it out– it was gnomish tinkers firing their catapult. Our druid continued to charge up his Call Lightening spell while the rest of the party closed in. They were peeved about not getting paid for helping make a Dragon Model in the town hex next to them. We let them live even though they were annoying. (We might need them as allies later?) As we walked into town, we noticed rocks everywhere and we had to wonder why the townspeople had not formed a mob and burned those gnomes’ damnable catapult to the ground.

The NPC we were supposed to meet in order to move the snail-paced plot forward another notch… he was unavailable. His two zero level stooges told us he had gone into the Dragon Model a couple of days ago and not come back. They were worried about him. We asked why no one had gone in to check on him and they said they were claustrophobic. Both of them. (The dungeon master could have showed us that this was in the book exactly like that.) I snapped. My character was a lawful good cleric, but I took one of these dudes, twisted his arm behind his back, and made him go first as we made our way into the Dragon Model. I threatened him, mocked him, and intimidated him constantly. I peppered him with questions but he just so happened to not really know anything.

We began exploring this “dungeon” and opened one door and cow blood flowed into the room. We went another way and heart heart sounds. We went another way and detected some sort of trap. I made our zero level “friend” open the door and he was stabbed to death by a piston of some kind. I then took over the party, getting the group to pin down a marching order. I set up a routine where (with the players’ consent) the thief would check for traps and then the ranger would open the doors. We then went through passage after passage and trap after trap. Although the traps were basically unavoidable, they were not a threat to such high level characters. They were just scenery… a nuisance and an indication of just how juvenile the module designer was. I have never seen anything as utterly retarded in a fantasy story as this stuff. I can’t believe how awful this is given how slick the covers are and how nice the components are. It’s a travesty. The poor saps that bought this back in the day… I just feel so bad for them….

We passed some rooms with pulleys and levels which we ignored. (We worried that we would accidentally kill the person that could push the plot forward.) We then found a gelatinous cube powered garbage disposal. We ignored that, too. (The dungeon master said there were no magic items in it, so meh.) After mapping a dozen rooms or more, we finally heard knocking on a door. We talked to the guy inside, figured out it was our man, opened the door, made him eat and drink something, and then headed to his abode to get the information we needed to actually begin adventuring in earnest. He wasn’t too bothered when we walked past the body of his hireling. He could always get more! (My kind of scum right there! Are you lawful good? Me, too!)

The guy was so stupid that he was capable of locking himself into a room with no way to get out. He would have starved to death had we not showed up because the only people in town the could have done anything for him were claustrophobic hirelings that couldn’t go into his awesome dungeon-ish Dragon Model. And of course, he lived in a crappy “no horse” town… and thus couldn’t afford to pay the gnomes to finish the construction work he’d hired to create this thing. And the town was liable to leveled because no one there could be bothered to stop the gnomes from lobbing rocks at it. And yet… why would the gnomes take such a weird job in such a piss poor town to begin with? How could they possibly have thought that the job was worth taking on in the first place?

Yes. These idiots had the information that an epic group of heroes ranging from levels six to eight could not get for themselves. With all our magic items, arcane knowledge, all around savvy, and even easy access to clerical spells like Augury and Divination, we needed to go begging to these moronic dunderheads to please give us something so that we could follow along in this abominable “adventure.” None of this made any sense. None of it! And yeah, the dungeon master could maybe have finessed some of this… fleshed some things out, ad libed some kind of rationalization to cover up the weaker parts… or maybe even been a bit more subtle with some of his hints. He could have done more to create the illusion of player autonomy. But watching him, it was clear that he was running this thing as straight as he could. The most bafflingly maddening stuff came directly from the adventure designer! Argh!!!

Well, new knowledge in hand, we set off to the north hoping to hook up with a few gold dragons that might help us kick the butts of the uber-nasty bad guys before the bad guys could link up, merge like the Wonder Twins, and become more powerful than we could possibly imagine. We randomly encountered a floating eyeball monster, but the encounter text specifically stated that it went away before we could react to it. (Oh, like none of our spells or movement rates mattered? Really?) A few hexes later, we sighted some bronze dragons flying in a direction that would take them out of Krynn forever. Our magic-user cast haste and flight on himself before the dungeon master could say we couldn’t do it and intercepted them in order to pick their brains.

It turns out… the dragons really were leaving. Sorta like the high elves in Lord of the Rings. They were useless and didn’t want to help us fight or anything. We asked were the gold dragons were and they pointed us towards some mountains in the east. We asked for a lift– it wouldn’t take them long. Besides, if they were acting like Tolkien’s high elves, then maybe they knew about Tolkien’s use of the giant eagles as sort of a deus ex machina. They said no and then flew away.

Well, we were ticked. We talked about going straight to those mountains, but the dungeon master said that we would die if we did that. I was thinking, “but this adventure is so stupid, none of cares if this thing ends quickly in a total party kill!” I don’t even know where we got the idea anymore, but somehow we took off to the west to go to some ranch for some reason. I guess it was just the next stop to make the story come out like it was supposed to.

Well we get there and it’s another mornic NPC that does completely idiotic stuff but that happened to be able to help us even those he was useless to himself. It just so happened that while we were there, big fat ugly demon woman’s face appeared in the sky and demanded money that the guy couldn’t pay. We were like, “why is she bothering with a crappy ranch like this?” If she could give a bunch of player characters like us a run for our money, why is she messing around with pathetic peasant folk?

The yellow d20’s are the dragons. The orange dice are the eyeball monsters. My cleric is the red d4!

Well, fire rained from heaven burning up all the goats and stuff and two black dragons appeared along with six floating eyeball monsters. We about wet our pants. The bad guys won initiative and the dragons swooped in and attacked/// these two towers instead the people that could, you know, kill them. (?!) (It made no sense. Not that we complained…!) The eyeball monsters also converged on the two towers and cried poisonous acid tears of death on them. I think we argued about how to adjudicate it for thirty minutes or so because none of us knew where the grenade scatter rules for AD&D were or if applying something like that in this case was even the right thing to do. (That’s what happens when half the players are dungeon masters on the side.)

Well, the druid went up to the dragon that happened to land right next to him, succeeded in a touch “attack” (Roll against AC 10, right…? another big argument!) and cast the reverse of neutralize poison on the thing. The dragon missed his saving throw by one and died. I dunno exactly what else happened, but we all whooped up on the other dragon and maybe even killed it that turn. I can’t remember. The crying eyeball monsters attacked again and nearly killed our five allied archers that weren’t as tough as us. Our NPC that knew where the next plot thing had to happen was dead, though. Our druid cast faerie fire on all six eyeball monsters. Our magic-user then ruled for himself (with the dungeon master’s assent) that a really good to-hit roll on his part would get all three eyeball monsters at his tower within the burst radius of his fireball spell. He rolled… and it was only good enough for two monsters… but with the faerie fire bonus, it was enough to actually get all three of them. Damage was kind of mediocre, but all three monsters failed their saving throws and died. Mopping up the rest wasn’t too hard given that the archers finally started hitting. I think the last eyeball monster had six or seven arrows stinking out of him.

The fight was over, but we had this dead NPC that knew what was what. I asked the dungeon master if he was using the AD&D rule where hit points could go down to negative ten. He said it was okay, but the magic-user’s player then butt in and suggested he be required to make a system shock roll… which the dungeon master declined to enforce after I argued against it…. Yeah, that’s how we roll…!

Okay, there is an adventure structure that was popularized in the mid to late eighties that S. John Ross calls a “string of pearls.” The sample adventure in the old GURPS Humanx world book is a good example of this. There is this scene that you throw at the players and they have a relatively large amount of freedom within it. Then it resolves and things are kind of wide open for a while. The players might investigate some stuff until you throw another scene at them. The scenes are the “pearls” but they are strung together with more free form interactions that can include just about anything the players want to pursue. There’s a lot of things the players can do to shoot themselves in the foot, but there’s also a lot of perks and advantages they could work up in and between scenes if they are both lucky and smart. This is a pretty good way to give the sense of complete autonomy without having play bog down into a static mode were the players are all wondering where the “real” adventure stuff is. Also, even though there is enough plot there to give the feeling that the players are participating in a real story, there are still consequences for both good and bad play. It’s a compromise between the two extremes  of “sandbox” and “full railroad.” It works. People like it.

Now, what we had in this Dragon Lance session was three “pearls.” We had an opening scene with this dumbassed fair where we could wrestle mules, shoot at puppets, and listen to boring NPC’s. We had a middle scene that was basically a dungeon crawl that arbitrarily buried our NPC plot-pusher away from us. Though there were plenty of “traps,” there was nothing there that could either harm us or challenges (that we saw anyway) and it was a complete waste of time. Finally, at the end we had this combat where the monsters behaved so stupidly, we had only the smallest possible chance that we might lose a player character. Even then, with the negative 10 hit point rule and my massive amount of cleric spells, even that wasn’t too much a threat. This is not a “string of pearls.” This is a string of crap! The net effect of all this is that basically each of these scenes appear to be engineered to be impervious to not only our biggest conceivable screw ups, but also our most cunningly devious plans. If that’s how it’s going to be, you might as well save everyone a lot of hassle and just tell them the story…! We couldn’t mess it up then!! Aigh!!!

Now… the biggest “lie” in this module is… that it purports to be an AD&D game. It might have been fine if it had been adapted into some sort of game book or something. Maybe one of those Middle Earth type game books that had a hex map with short “choose your own adventure” type thingies for each of the hex locations. But to put this in an AD&D module and then to engineer everything so that every stinking class ability and spell that the players have at their disposal is completely irrelevant… if that doesn’t infuriate a crack team of dungeon hackers, I don’t know what will. I get the feeling that the guy that made that would have looked upon my Isle of Dread and Keep on the Borderlands games with derision. “Hrumph,” he might say. “You think you’ve got story…? Bah! All you do is hack and slash!” Never mind that the kobald cave invariably produces hilarious action that’s worth retelling years later. Never mind that the journey to Dread’s central plateau rivals Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in my mind. And hey, I may be biased, but this guy Rick Swan either never had experiences like mine or else he really decided he could do better. Either way, this module came off to me like a monumental train wreck. And I’m not just saying that because of the railroad…!

The biggest problem is I don’t look at any hex on that map and think, “oh boy, I want to go there!” I just don’t get it. I mean, what kind of person is mule wrestling, animatronic fluid-filled dragon model, and two tower goat ranch supposed to appeal to? These are utterly worthless situations that cannot be salvaged without a complete rework. Firstly, the opening scene needs to be cut completely. We might start at some arbitrary podunk town, but please… let that ridiculous fair be over with. If an AD&D party makes it to seventh level or so, let ‘em prop their feet up at the inn, smoke some pipe weed, and roll on the random harlot table already. And I’d rather just have the archeypical “old man with a map” set everything up for us in advance. All the player characters would even pretend to like each other even though they just met and have no reason to trust each other!

Seriously, though…. These are people that have cleared dungeons and are getting ready to clear wilderness hexes and establish domains. What the heck are they doing playing carnival games?! Cut that crap out. Also, don’t tease them with a closeup look of the main bad guy and then let him exit before the party can react. That’s crazy! If he has to pass through there, please… let him have left a couple days ago after doing something suitably horrific. Tell us the situation so we can start play in five minutes. Don’t makes us watch an opening act that takes an hour or so to play out. And that dragon model. Cut, cut, cut! If we come to town to meet someone that has key information and we play along… you are really asking for it if you bury that dude and then make us deal with an hour or so of stupid people instead of him. And good grief, if we travel to a town, why not put something there that players like instead of forcing us to “enjoy” the idiocy of a crappy mid-eighties fantasy writer that probably hasn’t ever read anything by Robert E. Howard? Oh, but there needed to be some “challenge.” Well great, toss out the pointless encounters that we had on the road and replace them with something scary. Maybe a “push” in the form of something monstrous chasing after us. (Think the Nazgul in the Fellowship of the Ring.) And hey, we might actually like the NPC a little more if we’re having a hard time and he sends some assistance to us to help us make the last leg to his sanctum. Just a thought.

And that bit with the dragons that didn’t want to help us, that couldn’t fly us anywhere, and that gave us intel that could kill us or break the game if we acted on it. Now some of this might be about a novice dungeon master and not the module itself, but lets say that going to the mountains to find the gold dragons too soon would ruin the game. Are you seriously telling me that there is not one encounter between our location and the mountains that would have given us a clue that this was the case…? If we ignored them and went there anyway, are you telling me that the adventure scenario could not possibly handle a moment like Frodo had at the black gate when he realized that he was going to have to backtrack and try something completely different than what he originally had in mind? Did the guy who made this thing really have no concept than an epic adventure might even require that sort of thing just because it was that challenging and awesome?

Well I wouldn’t know without reading the module from cover to cover. But I do know that the battle at goat farm was completely absurd. Is it too much to ask that the monsters be played somewhat intelligently? Wouldn’t they talk first? Threaten us? Intimidate us? Or maybe they’d hit and run– try to kill one of our PC’s and then run away before we could decimate them. Or maybe they would try to do that, bloody our noses, and then run away when they fail a morale check. Maybe they’re the ones that are going to decide to find some allies and then try again. Maybe there are places on the map were we can get some decent help and we actually have to go there to replace the people we lose along the way. Is it really that hard to stock a hex map so that it’s possible to have things go completely, crazily wrong and yet still have some semblance of the intended adventure?

Maybe it is hard. Or maybe… the kind of person that is going to try to impose a completely worked out story onto classic AD&D characters and monsters and hexcrawls is by definition incapable of setting things up in such a way that a story emerges that nobody at the table could have expected. Maybe someone that knows how the adventure should end before the players even roll some dice has no concept of just how pointless and irritating it is for people to try to play in it.

It’d certainly save a lot of time if the designers of this sort of thing had just played it for us. I mean, it would save us gamers that don’t know what’s “supposed” to happen having to hear from every single NPC in the game why it is that what we want to do is the wrong thing. That is what Krynn pretty well boiled down to to us. It’s no wonder that we wanted to join forces with the bad guys and then completely destroy the place. That’d be more fun than wrestling a greased mule anyway….

Bah!

Gratuitous display of gaming awesome…!

A Dumb But Potentially Awesome Idea

Okay, y’all.

This is maybe a dumb idea, but I’m posting this just to get a feel for it. Bear with me here as I explain.

Now.. the other day I posted my list of top ten gaming blogs. It was a bit of a prank to some extent… and yeah, I felt like the existing awards failed to acknowledge the greatness that exists in the gaming blog scene. I was kind of surprised when it sort of became a thing, getting attention outside of the hard core role-playing community. Anyway, Peter and Doug– the top two winners– mentioned that it’d be cool if there was some kind of badge they could display for it.

I thought about that. And I thought… well… maybe I could make something like that… but really, I’m no artist. And hey… it’s probably better to have nothing than it would be to have something crappy. So I thought… well… what if I just hired Denis Loubet to draw it? But what would it be a picture of…? Well… I thought of all the Denis Loubet characters I love. The body armor guy from Deluxe Car Wars. John Nowak’s “Doppelganger” from the cover of that awesome issue of ADQ. The demon from the cover of GURPS Fantasy first edition. One of those lizard man guys from Cardboard Heroes. The really cool octopus warriors he did. That really hot chick from the cover of Dragons of Underearth. The naked elf chick from the pages of Space Gamer…!

And I remembered the back of the second edition GURPS Basic Set that had the hex with that crazy collection of characters in it. And I thought… wouldn’t something like that really represent the the best that gaming has to offer… especially if it had all of those iconic Denis Loubet characters I just mentioned in it…? Wouldn’t it perfectly encapsulate a lifetime of enjoyment that game designers and artists have provided for us and which is reflected in the all around awesomeness of these game blogs that we all read every day…?

That’s what I was thinking. But the thing is, such a thing doesn’t come cheap. Just using Denis Loubet’s guidelines for his Draw My Character service, I’m looking at a couple hundred bucks at least to get this done in color. (I dunno if he’d charge more for the big ensemble or not.)

And, uh… well… let’s just talk for a second here.

I don’t talk money here very often, but let me just lay my cards on the table here. This blog is a hobby project of mine. I have never bothered to monetize it. I don’t have the hotlinked Amazon thingies that me earn a cut every time you shop there. I don’t have the big boobed “guys only” MMORPG ads that everyone else seems to have. I am not up on Patreon where I can actually see what the exact value is that the market would put on each of my blog posts. I don’t think I even want to know what that number is….

And hey… if this little art project was so darn important, you know… I could have set up those little income streams a year ago and maybe taken in enough money to buy it myself by now. Who knows?! But for some reason, I never felt right about doing that. Not that it would be “selling out” or anything, but… well… I just don’t know why I was uncomfortable doing that. Maybe I was just too lazy to do it, I don’t know. Probably I was holding out for the chance to “make it on my own” after getting ahold of some kind of preposterous lucky break. Eh.

So anyway… that said… I would not normally blow a year’s gaming and convention budget on a project like this. And yeah, if I really truly wanted this, I could have “earned” the money for it by now if I had wanted to. And hey, it’s not like there’s a hurry on this anyway. I could start selling body fluids and doing side projects until I had the cash for it if I was really serious about it. Maybe I will.

But before I decide how to handle this or if I even do it at all… I want to know what you think. Is it a dumb idea? Or would it be awesome? Is it something you’d like to see happen? Do you think it’s a fitting honor for the top gaming bloggers and a nice tribute to one of the great illustrators of gaming…? Is it an awesome enough idea that you’d make a… donation… to help make it happen. (Eh, I’m embarrassed to even use the word…!)

So, hey, no matter what you think, let me know in the comments. And no, I have not committed to the project and I have no idea how we’d handle collecting the money and getting it to Denis Loubet. But if this was a thing and if you did want to throw money at it to make sure that it happened… if you can let me know about what you’d be willing to pay just so I can decide whether I should move forward with this. I won’t hold you to it. Heck, I may not even be able to take peoples’ money for this at all if it came down to it. I’m just putting out a feeler here and I it won’t hurt my feelings if no one wants to put good money down to pay for something I should be able to do for myself.

Just let me know what you think, y’all. (And yeah, I’m totally expecting crickets on this post. Of course… that would let me know everything I need right there! I could walk away and stop worrying about this…. But hey, I feel like… given that there probably ought to be badge of some kind for these bloggers… it’s worth at least taking a stab at hashing out what it’d take….)

Oh, and… if you want to just give Denis Loubet all your spending money simply because he is that awesome, here’s his Patreon right here!

Edit: It just occurs to me that these characters may all be the property of Steve Jackson Games anyway and that this is all a moot point. Yep. That only now just occurred to me. No, I have no idea if that presents an insurmountable obstacle or not.

Random Thoughts: “We Need to Talk”, Trouble in River City, Competition Among RPG Companies, Death of Games Journalism, Hydra Cosplay, and the Chilling Effect

Notice the chain of events here. It was not just a “we need to talk about this” tweet. Portraying it that way is completely disingenuous. It starts that way, sure… but it is followed by this slightly more ominious “DTRPG has some choices to make” line. (I imagine a baseball bat in his hand: “nice store ya got here; be a shame if anything happened to it.”) Then, almost immediately, DTRPG pulls the product. An Evil Hat customer complains, Fred Hicks immediately piles on the guy, more or less saying, “if you are not with us, then you are against us… and we can do without the business of filthy people like you… so piss off!” No, Fred Hicks was not the only person out with a torch and pitchfork here… but is clear that he was brandishing them. I think that’s problematic.

Trouble in River City — Notice that he has to establish his gamer bona fides before he can begin to vilify them. Also notice that he stands to benefit directly from the hysteria.

Rob Donoghue writes:

If you think that RPG publishers are in competition with one another, you are overlooking that we are all in a desperate battle against the vastly more popular “none of the above”.

This is not to say that every RPG publisher sees it that way, and hell, it might not even be true in certain very selective slices of the market.  I won’t rule out the possibility of walled gardens.

But taken as a whole? That idea that we’re in competition tends to be  naive, toxic or both.

Oh please. This idea that hobby gaming publishers all sing kum-ba-ya together died with SPI. David Trampier might have been a simpleton for not reading the fine print, but he found out real quick exactly what kind of hippy skippy collaboration process he was a part of. And Fred Hicks, of course, represents the sort of warm welcome anyone can expect if they don’t toe the party line.

Get a grip, man!

On The Death of Games Journalism: They could afford to do this because they simply weren’t making it. The field is currently a dead end job done mostly by twenty-somethings with blue hair. They had no incentive to clean up their act because they could not compete with amateurs that actually had the trust of gamers. That’s why they could attack and slander their own audience with impunity: it was a way to signal their bona fides as part of their job searches.

Joseph Bloch asks, “do you think that cosplaying a Hydra officer from World War 2 (using the SS-type uniform from Captain America and Agents of SHIELD) should be acceptable, or not?”

My answer: Our social sanction needs to be focused on the people that act like Nazis, not the ones that dress like them.

Okay, let’s talk about “chilling effects.” This is a term that free-thinkers, journalists, and artistic types would have frequently invoked back in the eighties but which they have gradually forgotten about in the decades since. If you would like to see an example of it in action, watch the guy on +Courtney Campbell ‘s upcoming Hack N Slash TV episode where he attempts to briefly summarize what   #gamergate is without saying anything that smacks of badthink. He can barely explain it because he repeats several times that people have lost their jobs due to saying the wrong thing about it. He almost quakes in fear. He was suffering an acute case of Chill and is desperately afraid of ending up like Brendan Eich or Zak Smith.

Who did this to him? Well… people like Fred Hicks. People have pointed out that Evil Hat pulling out its products could barely impact the bottom line of the guys at DriveThruRpg. But that is not what they are afraid of. When the torch and pitchfork mob indicates they are displeased with something you’re doing, they are tacitly threatening you with a smear campaign, scathing op ed pieces through their media megaphones, and relentless character assassination through social media. Even if later proved innocent, you’ll carry the stigma of political unreliability for the rest of your life. No one wants to go through that. That’s why most people back down when faced with the prospect of such a threat, even if it’s just an implied one. We all know where the lines are and who not to cross.

One more thing you’ll see in apologists for +Fred Hick’s actions is a pedantic, almost Pharisaical approach to free expression. Oh yeah, Fred has free speech to talk about stuff he doesn’t like. Oh, sure, OBS isn’t required to carry everything. You really don’t understand the first amendment; congress isn’t involved here. Well no it isn’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that the torch and pitchfork crowd is a bunch of bullies looking for easy prey to terrorize. They don’t care about free speech at all. They are self-appointed thought police, and given that people like them dominate media, academia, and bureaucracy they really do have the power to make good on their threats.

They are cretins, yes. But they are also cowards. That’s why they are picking on +James Desborough . And they spend so little time around people that are different than them, they have no idea just how repugnant their behavior is. (They’ve already blocked their friends that would quietly pull them aside and tell them they’re acting like a bunch of dicks.) I think it’s time they got the message.

Note: I am not calling for boycotts of OBS or Evil Hat. (I have not ever sent a letter to the advertisers of Gawker or Gamasutra, either.) But my enthusiasm, say, for pointing people towards their sites on Recommend has cooled; I’m happy to dig into my backlog of todo items to promote the work of other designers and web stores that don’t have the eyeball share of OBS. I am not calling for “war”… but I am calling these people out.

I have not yet heard back on my complaint to DriveThruRpg. I will share if I hear anything.

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