Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Bankrupt Nihilism, Psychological Whores, Po-Faced Tolkienery, and the Sad Truth

Appendix N (Breitbart) The Bankrupt Nihilism of Our Fallen Fantasists — “In the case of the fantasy genre, the result is a mockery and defilement of the mythopoeic splendor that true artists like Tolkien and Howard willed into being with their life’s blood. Honor is replaced with debasement, romance with filth, glory with defeat, and hope with despair. Edgy? Nah, just punk kids farting in class and getting some giggles from the other mouth-breathers.”

Adventure Design (Dungeon Fantastic) Armor, Travel Speed, and Players — “Nobody sprints to the heavyweight title fight. Nobody brings a light tank to a heavy tank battle, no matter how much faster the light tank is. If the fight will always be waiting for them, it behooves them to bring the heaviest and most effective combat loadout possible.”

Fandom (Difficult Run) Lots of Hugo Losers — “At this point, the reasonable thing would have been for prominent critics of the Sad Puppies to concede that the Sad Puppies were reacting to a legitimate grievance. The insular sci-fi community is highly susceptible to favor-trading (aka ‘log rolling’) and the high percentage of social justice warriors in the community made an unwelcome atmosphere for conservatives or libertarians and could certainly have had an effect on the composition of the awards in recent years. They did not. Instead, the critics of the Sad Puppies launched a truly breathtaking campaign of slander and intimidation that focused on calling the Sad Puppies campaign misogynist, racist, and homophobic.”

Appendix N (PJ Media) How Tolkien Ennobled Popular Culture (While Star Wars Degraded It) — “Tolkien reconstructed a mythology for the English not (as Wainwright and other suggest) because he thought it might make them proud of themselves, but rather because he believed that the actual pagan mythology was not good enough to be a predecessor to Christianity.”

D&D (Searching for Magic) The Problem With Damage In RPGs — “The Fifth Edition of D&D embraces this model by allowing characters to recover some Hit Points merely by taking a break to rest and recover and get them all back with a good night’s sleep. Barbarians of Lemuria is similar, allowing the recovery of half of what is lost in a combat merely by taking a break to have a drink and rest. If Hit Points are just a matter of staying power and not actual serious wounds, they should be easy to recover.”

Comics (Dr Xaos Comics Madness) Spawn of Zap — “And that world is gone. Gone in the haze of social coding that grabs this-and-that from prior subcultures, in the morass of reboots which stun the collective memory with lies. Authenticity is unknown, replaced by the psychological whore called sincerity, itself reduced to a mere commodity.”

Star Fleet Battles (Mad Genius Club) A matter of canon — “Gene Roddenberry was far more interested in the ‘free love’ aspect of his 23rd century star navy — a navy Gene denied was a navy at all — than most of the fans, many of whom were interested in the star navy; as an extrapolated future military. In fact, Star Trek and its Starfleet became the personification of military SF storytelling for millions of fans. I am pretty sure Gene never intended it to be that way. But that’s how it worked out.”

Game Design (Rpg Review) Interview with Lewis Pulsipher — “In addition, there will always be the occasional person you never heard of, who inexplicably has it in for you – I’ve even been called an ‘elitist’ lately, which is something I’d never have seen 30 years ago, I think. I am both blunt and not politically correct, and have a fairly thick skin. I despise the rampant egalitarianism – that everyone must be the same, instead of everyone must have the same opportunity – that’s dragging down the country.”

D&D (Creighton Broadhurst) Living the Old Gamer Dream With B2 — “Gaming with kids is certainly different to gaming with adults. There’s less focus, more messing about and a lot more chocolate. Rules aren’t as important. They worked together, they helped each other out in combat (although the cleric kept accidentally healing the goblins) and (even) treasure distribution was surprisingly amicable. They had a blast even though we really didn’t get that much done. And I don’t think that was the point. When they were fighting the goblin raiders or the mad hermit, they weren’t thinking about the larger picture of the caves they were totally embroiled in the here and now. That kind of focus is refreshing.”

Games (Cirsova) The Challenge — “Though the box’s disclaimer ‘Warning: Don’t Play This Game With Your Friends’ is silly and childish, it could just as well read ‘Warning: Don’t Play This Game With Eurogamers.’  The only way you’re going to win at this is to be unafraid to throw an axe in someone’s face.  Just make sure you’ve feigned with a Sword-3 or something to draw out that Parry before you drop the Axe-7 on them.”

T&T (Sarah Newton) A Few Thoughts on Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls — “It’s recognisably the same game, with that very specific T&T fantasy vibe (very swords and sorcery, much more Fafhrd and Conan than D&D’s slightly more po-faced Tolkienery), yet with a rules set that was quite revolutionary even back in the 1970s, when, to be honest, we didn’t really realise quite how revolutionary it was.”

Books (Abyss & Apex) Human Wave Science Fiction — “Escapist fiction is frowned on by the establishment? Well, new technologies like POD and distribution through Amazon, B&N, etc. bypass the establishment gatekeepers and if escapism is what the readers want, writers can give it to them. Take a look at the NY Times telling us that eBooks are declining or have plateaued, and then look at the figures if you include the metrics they exclude: the Author Earnings report tells a different story. (AAP Reports Own Shrinking Market Share, Media Mistakes It for Flat US Ebook Market). Complete sales figures point to a public who want ebooks, from small presses and indies. And in the genre much of this is Human Wave.”

D&D (Semper Initiativus Unam) Arneson Day — “The difference between Arneson’s dungeon maps and Gary Gygax’s fascinates me. Arneson focuses on weird, lengthy corridors, occasionally huge rooms, but mostly small chambers and hallways. (Room 9 at the top has a total of 60 goblins – tight quarters!) It feels much less ‘crowded’ and each room can be totally purposeful, while the dungeon as a whole is instinctively nonlinear and interesting to explore. ”

SFF Magazines (Clarkesworld) Editor’s Desk The Sad Truth About Short Fiction Magazines — “Did you know that there are only three genre fiction magazines that completely support themselves from the revenue they generate? These are Analog, Asimov’s, and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, collectively known as the Big Three. Others, like Tor.com and Subterranean (now closed), are supported by the revenue of their parent companies. Below them are four more groups: the non-profits (like Strange Horizons and Beneath Ceaseless Skies); the hobbyists or beginners (typically characterized by low or no pay for authors); the aspirants (they pay authors SFWA-qualifying rates or better, but haven’t found reliable way to cover that cost); and the conceivable (the aspirants that have learned to generate enough revenue to cover costs, but not adequately compensate their staff).”

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