Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Words, Magic, and How to Kill an Idea

Sit down. I'm about to take you on a trip.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has, in addition to its Giant Robot and Secret Advanced Tech elements of science fiction, one that involve language via sound-activated parasites. Speak that tongue? Die horribly. The scheme was to modify said parasites to target Anglophones, and thereby disrupt power in the world by overthrowing the dominant tongue (and the ideas it best spreads).

Daddy Warpig has, at a site about a tabletop RPG called TORG, gave the most useful definition of magic yet: "Magic involves people causing effects by manipulating symbols that represent the desired effect."

It gets better. He expands on it immediately after that:

Let’s expand. A symbol can be anything: a word, a picture, a gesture, or an activity. An effect is a specific desired end: cause injury, cure an illness, bring good fortune. In magic, people manipulate symbols that represent the effect and by doing so, cause the effect to actually happen.

(Bold is original. Underlining is mine. Pay attention to the emphasized words.)

Words. Language is made up of words. Words are symbols used by Mankind to communicate what he knows about his world, past and present, to his fellow man. Speech, language, is therefore powerful because it is the primary method of symbolic manipulation used to create effects in the world, including upon his fellow man.

It is known that most magical traditions have an origin in religion, but with a turn away from service and towards mastery (in the sense of domination). It is common to depict a magician as being charismatic, beguiling, or enchanting in his speech because their practice of magic has them routinely commanding things with a forceful, willful presence. Summoning demons, calling forth angels, and other supernatural staples have a booming, commanding voice involved. Casting spells and performing rituals rarely lack the use of language as a key component.

From there we see why Rhetoric--the art of persuasion--is often hated as "sorcery", as it uses language to manipulate emotions in order to get the audience to do as the speaker wishes. Confidence artists, politicians, salesmen, etc. are all put down for their skills with language, while those who condemn them are praised for theirs and put in authority. It is no accident that many a religion condemns sorcery, and not for cynical reasons necessarily (as any father of a willful child, or husband to a foolish wife, comprehends).

So, Mankind--in a very real way--is an inherently magical species. How do you control such a species? We have ample evidence of many methods, but none work so well as control of thought. No means of thought control--of mind control--work so well as control over the symbols themselves. If you corrupt a word or phrase so that it loses its meaning, it also loses its power; this is the truth powering parables such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf. By destroying the power of a word, you destroy what it represents and thus kill the idea behind it. Thus do you kill things immaterial, but real nonetheless: Ideas.

That's what the parasites in MSGV:TPP symbolize (there's that concept again): the power to control thought via control over communication thereof via language. If you can choke out all symbols (words) you don't want spread, you can choke out ideas by killing propagation of them. This is how and why Rhetoric gets its bad reputation, because this is one of its applications. "Thought-terminating cliches", and similar Rhetorical weapons, are the real world versions of those parasites and they have the same goal: to terminate propagation of targeted ideas via degradation of the words and phrases used to spread them, silencing them into death and extinction. It's memetic warfare taken to its logical conclusion.

And now you know why Free Speech matters, and why you need to know what Madison Avenue does and how it does it. (And if you don't understand what Madison Avenue symbolizes, then you've already experienced the consequence of language destruction.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Legion Hype: It's Here (Please Go Smoothly)

I learned long ago to never be in the first wave when a World of Warcraft expansion launches. So no, as of this post I've not gotten into Legion just yet. I'm going to post this, eat dinner, and then go into it.

The reason is that there is always a bottleneck of some sort or another, which results in issues that don't abate until that surge in traffic does. Past expansions dealt with this by having multiple input paths so that player traffic doesn't bottleneck immediately, only to run into one later, and that did not always work due to some bug that got overlooked or ignored during Beta testing. (Warlords had a bug crop up with one doodad Horde players had to use to finish the introduction series by establishing their Garrison. Wrath of the Lich King had everyone work out of one city, causing horrid lag.)

When new races or classes got introduced, those also served to reduce traffic at first by providing an alternate way to get into the new content. (I did this a lot.) Those folks made new alts and waiting for a later time to take their main characters into the new content. Legion messed with that somewhat by allowing pre-orders early access to the new Demon Hunter class, and it follows Warlords policy of giving a free level boost to all who buy into it, but so far it hasn't resulted in making things worse.

The streamers I follow reported a smooth launch so far, but there are issues with some questing zones cropping up and we're being funneled into one city again, so I expect old issues therein to return shortly. In the meantime, I will not hurry to the new level cap; endgame content won't be accessable for a few weeks, so hurrying only to wait is dumb. And that's all the rambling I'll do about it now. Time to face the Legion.

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Legion is Almost Here (And None Too Soon)

Yeah, I'm talking World of Warcraft again.

The next expansion, Legion, goes live in North America on Tuesday. Of course I've spent time enjoying the run-up to this launch; these Demon Invasions have been the most fun I've had in this game in years. Been leveling many an alt, and my core stable of alts are all at Level 100 and about ready to go. I got around to rolling my Horde Demon Hunter alt last night, and he should be ready to go on time.

So, looking back on Warlords of Draenor, it is clear that this was a filler expansion whose real objective was to cover up the need to bring back the most hated (for good dramatic reasons) villain in the franchise: Gul'dan.

What I think happened is that the fallout for the game's business after Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria saw sub numbers plummet from 12 million active accounts to below five million, lead to a move internally (coupled with Project Titan's failure and salvaging into Overwatch) to conclude that most WOW players stuck around only so long as leftovers from Warcraft 3 remained. Wrath of the Lich King finished those off, and Cataclysm lacked appeal so millions quit (and proper-hard Heroic Dungeons at launch did not help, as these folks were casuals so they would never Git Gud; they hit a wall in character progression and gave up).

They had to do something, as World of Warcraft was the company's cash cow. They did a lot of somethings, as this push also produced Hearthstone and Overwatch in order to find other revenue streams, but in terms of World of Warcraft it would lead to the conclusion that a lot of long-demanded features and a casual-friendly baseline for content difficulty while Git Gud folks get funneled into the highest tiers of difficulty. In short, Legion is a Hail Mary play and Warlords was a stall move to set up best possible odds for success.

But what that leads to is this question: if Legion meets Blizzard's expectations, then where does the game go from here? Another post-climax clean-up (which, thematically, Cataclysm was) won't cut it; they have to follow-on from the logical conclusion to Legion's climax (i.e. Azeroth wins) or whatever gains gotten will fade just as fast or faster. That means taking on the challenge of leading players to the true Final Bosses: the Void Lords (as defined in the setting bible). Yes, this means finally smashing the Burning Legion for good is NOT the end. Old Gods next, then their masters (said Lords), then the end comes. That's at least three more expansions, if not four or five.

Any of which they could fuck up, and WOW can't take another fuckup like Cataclysm or Warlords of Draenor. No matter if Legion is a hit and succeeds or not, any follow-up that fails can and likely will end WOW; it's not as resilient as it once was and the gaming world is not what it was in 2004- alternatives to MMOs (not just WOW) are a lot stronger now and former WOW players have viable options to pursue. As WOW is MMOs what D&D is to tabletop RPGs, ruining WOW is likely to ruin the entire genre and medium, so the devs have to be careful going forward.

So even success doesn't end the game's problems. Much like defeating the Legion anywhere but its home plane doesn't kill it for good. We'll see soon enough if WOW has what it takes to permanently kill the threats facing it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Media Lies: Social Justice is a Death Cult

YouTube user Kraut & Tea, a German giving a non-PC perspective out of Germany, is on holiday this week and (as Sargon of Akkad did) had a series of guests put videos on his channel. Today's video is from EdgyptianSphinx, tying the insanity of the Social Justice death cult to Black Lives Matter and the Muslim invasion of Europe into what it is: a deliberate engineering of a global civil war in the countries of the West between the native nations and the invading aliens and foreigners, intended to permanently secure the Globalist elites' power in the West before taking on the Orient and Russia. Subscribe to Kraut & Tea and give his guests a try also.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The CON Confirming the Storm: Anti-GG Exposed

Recently, chat logs involving the core of the SJWs opposing GamerGate got exposed. One of those involved, Ian Miles Cheong, confirmed these logs as accurate. These logs confirm that Anti-GamerGate, as a distinct entity, existed and was indeed guilty of all allegations. Of course there has been multiple livestreams going over them. The Honey Badgers' stream is what I'm putting in below.

If you want something written, Bonegolem has you covered. His article processes the raw logs and nails down all of the facts contained within them. The SJWs are guilty; they lied about it all, projected all of it on us, and doubled-down when called on it. They're doing it now. Praise Kek, and Happy (2nd) Birthday GamerGate!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What Classes & Levels Do (Briefly)

Classes and Levels are tools of organization. Levels organize by splitting things apart and putting the parts in a hierarchy. Classes organize by gathering parts together and lumping them together into a distinct whole entity of an archetypal or iconic sort. Splitting and lumping; that's what they do.

So, what you want to ask when considering them is to ask what you want to lump or split, and why. Just having them is nothing more than taking up a Cargo Cult mentality of "When Gygax and Arneson did it, they succeeded. We want to succeed too, so we do it." and then wonder why folks (like me) go "It's just D&D with house rules." and ignore it. (Dressing it up never helps.)

No, you need to pretend to be an architect or engineer and think through what you want to do and how to do it. Don't worry about mistakes; worry about learning from them--fail faster--and implement revisions quickly.

Classes are a lumping of traits which, combined, form a whole intended to be discrete playable entities. This includes D&D's (and its clones and derivatives) classes, templates (TORG, Feng Shui), and soft "types" (as in Champions and other point-build games). The discrete unit allows users to quickly figure out what that character can and cannot do, much as discrete vehicle models or software programs do; it is a thing inherited from wargames.

Levels split things apart to establish a hierarchy within those parts. You want to use this tool to take things that should be so arranged. Wargames used them to arranged power gradients, so when fantasy wargames arose magic got put into levels to arrange spell potency in that manner to go with hero and commander potency hierarchies. It works well when used as intended.

Misusing Classes happens when you proliferate them past the quantity that your game requires, usually meaning that your class design is too rigid; we see this when "Archer" and "Knight" are both distinct mechanical constructs and swapping between them is too difficult or impossible. (D&D did this right: "Fighter" allows both archetypes, and for one character to do both without unneeded mechanics to swap between them.)

Misusing Levels happens when you fail to establish a hierarchy that exists in the milieu; if a character can't perceive what "level" represents as he can perceive gravity, then you're doing it wrong (and many of you, for decades, have). Using levels for a metagame purpose, such as to lock off content, is a cheap and lazy shortcut that's better done all-around using more fitting alternatives.

I leave to you how specific implementations succeed or fail to use these properly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blog Recommendation: The Alexandrian

Justin Alexander runs The Alexandrian, a blog that I've read and followed for some time now. He and I do not agree on a lot of things, but I am wholly in accord with--and supportive of--his efforts to bring back old forms of running tabletop RPG campaigns back to a wider audience, and in doing so explain how and why things work as they do (or did). In particular, I am a big fan of his Open Table posts and Megadungeon posts. The rest depends on if you're into what he talks about, but that? Golden.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Why Do You Need Classes or Levels?

It blows my mind that RPG makers act like a Cargo Cult about this, especially outside of tabletop RPGs. Class is a tool that does specific things. Level is another tool that does specific things. A competent designer recognizes this fact and considers what things he wants done out of his design, and then he considers what tools can be used to achieve those ends.

If you're using Levels as a gatekeeping function for content access, why not consider Achievements? If you're using Classes, what are you using them for? Occupations? Iconic Archetypes? Artificial division of team labor? Why do you need that function out of Classes? You see what I'm getting at: you have GOT to consider what you want the mechanics to do when players use them. Call of Cthulhu, Amber, and Traveller have neither classes nor levels, and those RPGs are proven classics. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Life in Fandom: The Corruption of the Culture in a Picture

The entirety of my commentary about the CHORFs, Pink SF/F, and what they do to a civilization:

From this episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, one of the "filler" episodes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Legion Hype: Sweet, Sweet XP!

So, I've been playing with the Demon Invasions on the Live servers. At first I intended to just get Achievements on my capped characters, but then I read about (and then watched) folks leveling sub-100 alts via this method. So I watched a few videos, and had to give it a go.

Ho. Lee. Shit.

This is insane, especially after the most recent hotfixes, and it shows in the crazy level gains. My long-languishing Monk? Ten levels over two events. My three Mage alts? 9 or 10 levels from ONE event, reflecting my better understanding of how the mechanics work. A LOL Gnome Hunter I rolled just to see how nuts this is? 10 levels with ease in one go. My Dwarf Warrior alt? 10 levels in one go.

I have the advantage of full Heirlooms, but no other XP boosts. I want to see how fast this can go, with three points for me to stop leveling: 60, 90, 100. At 60, that alt qualifies for the Veteran Bonus should I boost to 100. At 90, I can speed-run that alt through Draenor; the means and the route are well-known now. At 100, that alt can go direct to the Broken Isles. If I want to set up a Demon Hunter on another server, getting an alt to 70 is the goal, but I'm good as I am so that is not a consideration.

The key is to tag every mob, and then not die; the latter matters be XP-for-mobs isn't a thing while dead and you get a lot of it. Mobs in these events scale, so tagging works great and it's open tagging so slap all the things. Mad gains to be had, and if you go all out on the XP boosts you can speed-level in hours.

Also, save the chests until that alt dings 100; gear gotten from them also scales to your level when opened, like Timewalking gear does.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quinn's Deal is Dunked

I saw this reposted with permission at The Ralph Retort, but here is the original post. In short, Zoe Quinn's original publishing deal is defunct and now she's at a shit-tier outlet and the follow-on movie ain't gonna happen.

May sound great, and grifters gonna grift. But here’s the thing. It was supposed to be a memoir, published by Simon & Schuster, with a film deal. Simon & Schuster is one of the Big 5—a company with half a billion in annual sales or whatever it is, capable of getting you on the Today Show and The View and NPR and so forth. PublicAffairs, while based in NY, has been in limbo for years.

Short version of this is its parent company went bankrupt a decade ago. The firm was able to stay afloat with injections of capital from George Soros and the like, but was unprofitable and on the market for several years with no takers. It and certain other imprints were bought up cheap by the French conglomerate Hachette, however Hachette was mostly after other titles already published by the firm, sort of like buying a grab bag of comics at a convention for a few prizes you could see therein.

Tedious inside-baseball crap, but, tl; dr: PublicAffairs ain’t paying her a six-figure advance, and if she goes on TV, she’s paying for her own hotel and Uber fare. They’re not gonna put marketing muscle behind it. The book will do far worse than Michelle Fields’ epic, whose failures the great Mike Cernovich describes in detail.

Quinn is a fraud and a grifter, and not one as good at it as Sarkesian is, so she doesn't think in business terms. She will not accept that she is now responsible for promoting and selling this book, and that means that she'll half-ass it if she does it at all. She won't earn out any advance, putting her on the hook for the remainder. She relies on others to get anything done, so if the publisher ain't doing shit for her then she won't make it happen. Deal is dunked, and so is that movie; no way will she or Pascal take those risks now that the worm's turned.

Remember that she did that tweet covering her ass on the 29th of June, a Wednesday, when new comics hit the stands and some bookstores also put new materials out. She couldn't be bothered to set herself up at Amazon, or even at Lulu, and do it herself- like Cernovich did. She couldn't be bothered to build herself up, something you'd think she'd leap at, but nada. Not a peep. That, right there, should be all the tell you require to see that this is deader than her credibility.

"Blowy Zoey" indeed. All hot air and no substance.

Gamergate's second anniversary was a good one indeed.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: How Each D&D Table Can Vary Widely

I find it interesting that a lot of people don't realize just how different D&D can be from table to table. I will use my own campaign to illustrate this.

New Model Colony is a campaign setting of my design, intended to be run using the West Marches model and operated as an Open Table, and informed by Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft articles on worldbuilding. (The key seven rules summarized below.)

  • The First Rule of Dungeoncraft: Never force yourself to create more than you must.
  • The Second Rule of Dungeoncraft: Whenever you design a major piece of the campaign world, always devise at least one secret related to that piece.
  • The Third Rule of Dungeoncraft: Whenever you have no idea what the probability of success should be for a particular situation, consider it 50%.
  • The Fourth Rule of Dungeoncraft: Always challenge both the players and their characters.
  • The Fifth Rule of Dungeoncraft: What's done is done.
  • The Sixth Rule of Dungeoncraft: Simple, easily identifiable characteristics are the best tools for portraying NPCs.
  • The Seventh Rule of Dungeoncraft: Running a good campaign is about building a world, not building a story.

And, following good practices that get desired results as explained here I cut away things that take away from speedy play at the table, and then more from the pre-Tolkien pulp fantasy theme I'm after.

  • Roll 3d6 in pre-3rd Edition order: STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHA. If none of the first four are 9+, raise STR to 9; you're playing a Fighter.
  • Class Options: Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Thief.
  • Race Options (for when using AD&D): Man only. (Note: I use "Man" and not "Human" in my fantasy gaming.)
  • Power Options (spells, et. al.): See DM.
  • Vitals: Roll randomly for HP, minimum 1 HP/die.
  • Gear: Firearms are available; see DM for details.
  • Alignment: Yes.
  • Table Rules: No adventuring (etc.) in town; town is safe. Expanded player-character options must be won in-game; they are another form of treasure. XP only for treasure returned to town.

I don't allow unfettered selection of spells, and religion is monotheistic (which influences Clerics). I emphasize exploration, location and recovery of treasure. Getting to Name Level matters because it pushes back the frontier by making a new town to operate from. Finding the best treasure means solving the setting's mysteries, and that lore is only found where the dungeons are. Learning new spells requires mastering in play the symbolism behind the spell's intended effect. (No mindless play at my table.) And so on. Rules-As-Written is NOT A THING HERE.

This is so different from what you see on Critical Role, or MissClicks, or Acquisitions Unlimited, or what the Gaming Dens demands. Yet I am using the same D&D materials as many others, and to onlookers it will seem no different; only if you play do you grok the differences, because you are only in a position to comprehend it properly when playing.

The rules are not the game. The table is the game. The observer cannot grok what is seen. Only the participant can.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How I Feel About the Metal Gear Franchise Post-Kojima

Komani, just shut it down. Making a co-op zombie shooter as a Metal Gear game is a joke that ruins the brand and the IP. Just stop.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Spectating Tabletop RPGs Ain't Cutting It.

I've seen it said that folks can learn all that there is to Dungeons & Dragons by watching live shows, videos or livestreams.

Not even close.

Watching Critical Role, or Acquisitions Unlimited, may get you on the board but it won't teach you everything because the game changes at every table. My table is significantly different from the D&D assumed by those two aforementioned campaigns, or the MissClicks campaign, etc. as it has far fewer player-accessible options for making and developing their characters while using Early Modern instead of Ancient or Medieval Europe as its inspiration. (Yes, that means guns and gunpowder.)

Is your table Open or Closed? What races and classes are allowed? What weapons, armor, spells, etc. are allowed? Is this a sandbox game or a themepark? Alignment used? If so, what is allowed? Where does the campaign take place? When? How are the acquisition of new capabilities handled? How is the economy handled? What other elements not in the rules must I know, and what rules are either not as-written or not used at all?

That's just dealing with the rules and setting. Now comes the real difficulty: the full experience of a tabletop RPG cannot be had by just watching. Just as the only game that exists is the one at your table, the only engagement that exists is by those at that table playing it. Watching or listening does not cut it. Much like fucking, you can't grok it until you do it and once you break through you won't ever ungrok it.

That's because the power of the medium doesn't rely on external audio-visual stimulus. It relies upon your imagination of being your character, living his life in that moment. The entire "What do you do?" feedback loop is the foundation of the medium for that reason; you are compelled to put yourself in that position, acting only on what your character perceives of the situation and has at his disposal to address the problem before you, and a competent Game Master will push you for time as your character would so as to keep you properly immersed in that moment and thus have that virtual life-experience that you--the player--can learn from. It's different when it's your (virtual) ass, and spectating can't deliver that.

So, instead of saying that watching is equal to playing for getting curious normies to try out TRPGs, be smarter than that and read this far more useful article on Open Tables as a normie-friendly way to get them playing instead.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Legion Hype: The Demon Invasion Event

The full array of pre-expansion events are now live in World of Warcraft. However, the one that matters to most players is the Demon Invasion. This is a series of repeating scenarios on a (for now) four-hour timer, but participants below Level 100 can participate due to scaling technology being implemented. What this means is that this event is not just good for gearing alts at the cap, but to level up alts below the cap really fast; if you're going to change to a new class in Legion, and it's not a Demon Hunter, this is the time to reroll and get ready. I'll embed WOWhead's video of the Azshara invasion as well as videos by Asmongold and Bellular on how to level alts efficiently. Enjoy, and make the most of this opportunity. Here is WOWhead's guide.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Alternatives to Current Official D&D

This is my follow-up to my Step 1 post of a few days ago, in an attempt to spread word of the non-converged alternatives to Official D&D (including Pathfinder for this purpose). These are the most popular clones.

  • OSRIC is the clone of AD&D 1st Edition I mentioned. Even if you use the official rulebooks, having this on hand is useful as it clarifies the language.
  • Labyrinth Lord is the clone of the Moldvay-Cook version of Basic D&D (the one before the famous Basic D&D set of the 80s that broke D&D into the mainstream). Two supplements allow LL to clone AD&D and Original D&D.
  • Dark Dungeons is the clone of the more famous Mentzer version of Basic D&D (the "BECMI" version, collected as the Rules Cyclopedia). Print versions can be had (in the US) at Lulu, and there are multiple options. (Search by author for full list.)
  • Swords & Wizardry clones Original D&D.
  • Basic Fantasy is a very cheap variation on Basic D&D. It's also the only one available at Amazon if you want a print copy, along with a great array of supplements, and all are $5(US) or less. PDF is free.

From there you'll be more than able to make or find whatever else you want.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dealing With the Converged: Step 3 - The Eye of Normie is Upon Them

It does not matter if you are dealing with the convergence in tabletop RPGs, in comic books, in SF/F publishing, in film/TV, or whatever. There is one constant, and that constant is a pants-shitting terror of normies seeing the SJWs for what they really are (and usually by seeing them act as they really are). There is something instructive about this pattern: their reaction betrays their knowledge that what they do is wrong, and if they can't keep the normies bamboozled with Narrative Warfare then they lose.

As you work on the choke-out, you need to keep the Eye of Normie on the SJWs. You need that to make the SJWs stay on the backfoot, instead of sallying forth to disrupt your encirclement of them. Normies reliably turn on SJWs when the latters' real nature is revealed, and by fixing that gaze on the SJWs early and often you force them to either clean up or run away lest they be burned away by the gaze of the Eye of Normie. They are too busy doing damage control on their Narrative Warfare if you can stay inside their heads and get the Normies to see their bullshit before they make it stick.

So embrace the Normies. They're your allies.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dealing With the Converged: Step 2 - Choke Them Out

Step 1 is easy because it is something that you can do on your own, so you can do it as you like and on your schedule. Step 2 is where it gets difficult. No, not because of any serious external challenge, but simply due to the tedium involved in keeping up a long-term persistent effort. I compared this to a siege for a reason, and this long-term haul of tedium is where the novelty wears off and a lot of people drop off here.

You need your alternatives to make this work, and your alternatives need to be more than hot-swap replacements for converged stuff. As the saying goes, you can't solve the problem with the same level of thinking that caused it. So it goes for dealing with converged entities.

Let's move this into something folks can act upon. We're talking about tabletop RPGs, especially D&D, in terms of both the hobby culture and the businesses that serve it. Convergence involves centralization of influence and control. The hobby is inherently decentralized; each table is an island unto itself, and need neither a stream of "official" product nor the walled garden of forums to be healthy and full of creative fun. Thus, to choke out the converged, emphasis upon decentralization is my suggested theme to you.

Decentralization is how you win here, but what does that mean?

  • The end of Organized Play campaigns and the influence they exert on the hobby. Each table is its own thing and rules itself.
  • The end of officialdom: no more "official modules", no more endless product releases, no more catering to passive-minded people.
  • The return of Tinkerdom: more homebrewed content, rulings over rulesets, player-created stuff shared online via blogs and similar outlets.
  • The end of giving attention to conventions, publishers, etc. like they're actually better at this than you. No, they're not, including the "professionals"; no one actually competent at game design makes a living in tabletop RPGs, so you really are no better than Mike Mearls or Chris Pramas by default- and if you actually know what probability is and how to model it in a form that a tabletop RPG can handle, you ARE better than those two (and damn near every other "professional" in tabletop RPGs). No one needs these or them to play tabletop RPGs.
  • The end of giving these SJWs anything other than the gas face. You don't have to let them play at your table. You don't have to go along with their insanity. You don't have to give them your money (the rules for many D&D editions are free online, and legit to bookmark or download). You can play, for free, forever, with whomever you like and however you all can agree upon. You don't have to any SJW bullshit.

What does this look like? A much quieter scene. You're playing the table's campaign as the game, and not whatever rules are used; think "I play Greyhawk." or "I play New Model Colony." (the latter being my campaign) than "I play D&D." As each table is its own thing, each table's rules and rulings are different, much as the city-states of old were separate and distinct from one-another even if there were some broad similarities among them.

If you need a pop-culture reference, then think of that episode of The Simpsons when the mascots animated. Just deny the converged your time, your money, and--most important--your attention. That's why this is tedious; it takes time--significant time--for this shunning to have that desired effect. That's why many successful anti-convergence moves use this as an opportunity to refine and present alternatives, so as to speed up the process while maintaining morale, because it takes that attention and puts it to something useful to the choke-out effort.

So, really, what this amounts to is realizing that--more than most--the SJWs in TRPGs really do rely on you not realizing that they are utterly dependent upon you and you don't need them at all. Cut them off, and keep them cut off by showing everyone just how pointless they are; the Eye of Normie will make them wither, and normal business phenomena will finish the job. Once the converged collapse, salt those ruins so nothing grows again. Tabletop RPGs should never have been more than a tinkering hobby game, and that's how you save this brilliant medium of entertainment from the death cult- by casting off an irrelevant edifice.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dealing With the Converged: Step 1 - Cut Out and Choose Alternatives

When SJWs converge a business or non-profit, it will be turned towards promoting their death cult. The first reaction should be an immediate and total boycott of that converged entity, cutting it off from as much revenue as you can to slowly strangle it to death. For tabletop RPGs, this is a very viable option; being print and not digital or tied to hardware, old RPGs remain viable competition well after they fall out of print. Because of this, newer editions are in competition with older editions of the same RPG, and the wise are aware of this fact.

Tabletop RPGs are notoriously bad businesses. Smart people, if they must, use the tabletop RPG as an IP hothouse through which they build up a brand. Once they have the brand, they use it to move into more profitable (by comparison) niches. However, no such TRPG-based brand of IP has yet to escape the need to keep that original business going to sustain that growth. Kill it, and the entire edifice collapses.

That includes Dungeons & Dragons, the only TRPG that matters.

So, as Wizards of the Coast and Paizo Publishing are demonstrably converged by SJWs (as is all of the Seattle-based gaming orgs and corps), it is necessary to cut them out. Fortunately, D&D is one of the most widely-cloned TRPG out there, so alternatives are easy to acquire and many of them are dirt-cheap or free. (Also fortunate is that TRPG PDFs are widely pirated; if you have to have a SJW-converged game, there you go.)

The point here is that by going with these alternatives, you remove yourself from their extractive model- which they continue to tie to the convention scene and their Organized Play scheme, which they want to us to centralize control over gameplay culture by normalizing specific habits and norms through that scheme (and then use that centralized culture to push the Narrative).

So, let's restate for clarity:

  • Cut out the SJW-Converged Product or Service. Dump their stuff, and don't use it thereafter. For D&D this includes Pathfinder, 3.X, 4th, and 5th Edition D&D. Dump them, don't play them, and cease involvement with their Organized Play schemes.
  • Choose Alternatives: In addition to Original D&D, the Moldvay (B/X) and Mentzer (BEMCI) Basic D&Ds, and both Advanced D&D editions you have OSRIC (clone of AD&D), Dark Dungeons (clone of Mentzer Basic), Swords & Wizardry (clone of OD&D), The Black Hack (another OD&D clone), Labyrinth Lord (clone of Moldvay Basic), Astonishing Swords & Sorcerers of Hyperboria, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and more in that vein. Form your own group, or run an open table, and enjoy.
  • Promote the Forks: Get the word out. Do it, point others to it (post those links), show them what it is and how it benefits them.

This establishes a space for Step 2: Choke Them Out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SJWs Always Double-Down: The Retreat to Tabletop RPGs.

I warned you. I fucking warned you that the SJWs would retreat to tabletop gaming in general, and tabletop RPGs in particular, now that they're taking losses in videogames, SF/F publishing, and feature films. I warned you that they would use the convention scene to centralize influence and power over the business and culture before pushing back out.

GenCon just happened. They're doing it.

The Social Justice cult has had this niche for years, because they held the "cities" (online communities) and through them entered the big companies (Wizards of the Coast, chiefly) to use to enter into videogame outfits. The fan conventions are the means by which they first hopped to videogames, with aide from their position in SF/F publishing (which tabletop RPGs also aided in converging with the post-D&D wave of authors). Now that they're losing elsewhere, they've retrenched here.

No. No safe space here for them.

They think they've saved themselves because they're in a city, a walled city. They don't realize that they've retreated into a deathtrap. As Caesar did to Vericingetorix at Alesia, so must we do to them now. Take their walled gardens and turn them into asylums. Encircle them, cut them off, and wait. They'll inevitably revert to type and act out, and when we do we put the Eye of Normie on them.

"Muh Diversity!" - no, you're just another fucking racist and sexist, and you're delusional to boot.

"Muh Representation!" - no, you're just another moralizing fraud devoid of empathy and imagination.

"Muh Empowerment!" - no, you just another lying hack who has to rip off or ruin because you can't create.

"Muh Oppression!" - no, you live in the West; you are NOT, and NEVER HAVE BEEN, oppressed.

Gawker's fate will be theirs, and that of what they converged, once the normies see them for what they are. Start up the Disrepectful Nods, add them to the SJW List, and start taking away their friendly spaces in the convention world. Cut off their funds, cut off their attention, undermine their relevance, and watch them eat each other like ravenous sharks to avoid oblivion. Then, when they sally forth, break them!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Bi-Annual Plea to Vote Absentee Fellow Americans

Today was Primary Election Day in Minnesota (and several other states, but I ain't an election judge there). Neither of the notable races in the state were ones I had any say in, so do excuse me for not paying much attention to them right now. What I can say for certain is that being the guinea pig for the new technology used to check in registered voters, register new voters, and refer errant voters to where they ought to be will need a little tinkering to make it work smoothly in November.

Which reminds me: if you can vote Absentee in your state, DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! The General Election is going to be a fucking madhouse from sea to sea. You do NOT want to take part of that hassle if you can avoid it. Get your ballot filled out and turned in well before the fact, and then treat that day in November like any other. Eliminate the stress, the hassle, and the bother of going to the polls; you'll be glad you did, and so will the election judges and other officials.

Vote at home, in your pajamas, over breakfast and a fresh cup of coffee while looking up information on candidates down the ballot of the Presidency. Especially for local officials, initiatives, and referenda. You need not have to make rushed, ill-informed decisions while on your lunch hour. In Minnesota, you need no excuse anymore to vote absentee, so put in the request and be like me: Vote Absentee. For the rest of the U.S., check your state statutes.

Monday, August 8, 2016

SJW Convergence is Bad for Business

Social Justice cult gushes over Nu Ghostbusters. Movie tanks and flops.

Social Justice cult freaks out over Suicide Squad. Movie is #1 in the US and cleaning up worldwide.

Social Justice cult freaks out over Beach Body ad campaign; gets political assets to wield power to eliminate competition.

The conclusions are clear.

The money is not with Social Justice. Convergence is bad for business. Purge the cult from your organizations and blacklist them for life, or lose all you have to be sacrificed by them for power.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ahoy Presents: Zombies

Ahoy is one of my favorite guys on YouTube, and with each video he shows his growth and development as a video maker and presenter. This is a fantastic review of the zombie tropes in popular culture, and how it persisted through to the present day. For you Hugo folks, able to nominate for next year, consider this man for the same category that Razorfist is up for this year. Ahoy's work speaks very well for himself, so watch this video (and the rest in his catalog) so you too can see what I'm on about.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Legion Hype: The Tomb of Sargeras (Audio Drama)

Now this is how you make efficient use of existence assets to promote your new release and bring the hype levels up, something Blizzard is actually good at doing, and with a significant in-house production capacity for stuff like this they could easily throw this together with a few phone calls and proper scheduling. If any of this is brought up in-game when Legion goes live, even better.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Return of BaconBits!

BaconBits roars back to life with Oliver Campbell, Professor F and EVEN MORE DADDY WARPIG! SJW talk, Prof talks ComicCon and #Auglivesmatter all at 8.

'Nuff said. Just hit the button and listen. It's a good time. I was there for the live show, and I enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Legion Hype: Choosing a Raid Class for Legion (Finale)

This is a follow-up from this post in June, and you should watch that video first so you know what Preach is talking about and you're able to follow along with him in this video that I embedded below.

Did you pay attention to his reasoning? He chose to raid as a Mage according to criteria that allowed him to be the reliable team-player that he finds necessary to be a successful raider, tempered with the realities of his life away from the game, and further informed by his sense of euludos and aesthetics.

If you follow his process, you will not likely arrive at the same conclusion. I will raid as a Warrior, again, maining Fury- as I have since Icecrown Citadel in Wrath of the Lich King and keeping up a Protection offset for when the raid needs a third tank. Arms is not a priority for me, but I'll keep up that Artifact on the off-chance that Arms is worth playing over Fury. Also, I raid as a Female Troll; troll melee animations haven't been a problem for me for over 10 years, and not changing yet.

So know your circumstance and your preferences before you choose so you can make an honest, informed decision. Your teammates will thank you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Life as a Shooter: The Colt M1903 Hammerless Pocket Pistol

I love classic guns, moreso by far than the new hotness. I have an Acquisition List going over two pages (hand-written) of classics I want to collect, own, and use. Every so often I see a video or an article that has me thinking of moving around the priorities on that list, and about a month ago one such thing came up in my YouTube subscription feed. It's the video embedded below.

Not every firearm has to be tactical, or conceal-carry, a safari rifle, or whatever. This? This will sit in a safe most of the time, be brought out to shoot at a range or used as a live costume piece (meaning that it is a fully-functional prop), and put back after maintenance. I could use it as a pocket pistol, as it was built to be, but even at the affordable prices for originals you can get ($300-$500 as of this post), I could instead get a new(er) pistol in a more potent caliber that does the same job with equal or greater capacity.

But this? This pistol has style, something a lot of those newer pistols lack. You have to get a Beretta 81/84, a Makarov, or a CZ-82/83 to find that sort of classy, subtle, understated style to it that the Colt M1903 has. It's that Second Kind of Cool that Nutnfancy talks about, and that's why--despite newer models being available--I'd have no problem putting this 113 yr. old classic back into service as a self-defense pocket pistol. Yes, even one chambered for .32 Automatic Colt Pistol.

So, since I have a birthday in just over two months, mark this: if you're want to wow me, make a gift of one of these (and don't forget ammo, a holster, and a spare magazine or two). Or FN's M1910, for that matter, since we're talking classic early 20th century auto-loading pistols.

Monday, August 1, 2016

This Day in History: MTV Goes On The Air (1981)

On this day in 1981, MTV came on the air. Time for a reminder of the first video ever aired.

I expect a fair number of you don't remember pre-MTV popular music. Hell, I expect a fair number of you weren't around when MTV was actually about playing music videos commercial-free (instead of the shithole it is now). I will direct you to the pile of documentaries, long and short, on the massive shift in the music business that MTV forced upon all ends of it as I won't recount it here.

What I will say is that you should not discount MTV's continuing influence. While the rise of platforms like YouTube have had a significant impact, the fact remains that the weight of MTV's impact is still crushing down for those who get (to borrow old newspaper lingo) "above the fold"--sufficiently popular to be known to normies and thus susceptible to the influence of the media establishment--and I need only point to known pop music acts since 2001 (the last 15 years) and how every last one either conformed to a media-friendly image makeover or got shitcanned to show this to be the case.

Also, fame was already fleeting before MTV. After? Even moreso. The Buggles disappeared shortly after this video's prominence. Many others of that day also fell the wayside; they failed to make the transition, they couldn't stay relevant in the faster cultural cycle post-MTV, or they just wore out and wanted to end it. Many who were big before MTV and after had a fallow period right about here as they had to make wholesale changes to complete adaptation to the new normal, and for some this moment was the beginning of a decline that wouldn't end them for years yet.

That's why this moment matters: MTV changed the entire world of popular music and entertainment media in exactly the same way that TV changed how politics is handled by making the visual element of equal or greater importance than the audio (or live performance). Mark that, folks, because we're already in such a moment now and only after the fact will its full impact be known.