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Breaking News: Psychoanalysis Is Falsifiable!

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Exaggerating a little. This article came to me twice—on Twitter where it was posted by @ pourfairelevide , and again when my friend John B. of The Retired Adventurer shared it with me directly. " Phallocentricity in GPT-J's bizarre stratified ontology " by Matthew Watkins describes an experiment where the author generated a semiotic map of definitions used by GPT-J and found the meaning most likely to lead to any other meaning—as it were, the most specific definition to which others can be relative—is "a man's penis". I recently posted an article about Freud being 'literally correct', i.e., about the Oedipus Complex being the most accurate model we have of heterosexual socialization. There I mention Lacan's abstraction of Freud, that unconscious desires are not necessarily structured around the literal male penis (of the father) but around the phallus (to be specific: the symbolic phallus of the desiring-subject which compensates for the lack i

Speed-Based Initiative

Had a thought: speed rates in Fifth Edition pretend to be in five-feet increments, but they're really in increments of 1 sq. This means that a speed of 30 feet is really one of 6 sq. What if we used this as an initiative bonus instead of dexterity or intelligence? I'm eager to throw out the vestiges of the original D&D war game , but before then I had the thought of a simple armor table (which already exists in FMC Basic , but which I was also ready to re-employ for my 5e heartbreaker because it's easy to keep track of): Armor Type DC SP None 10 6 Leather 12 5 Chain 14 4 Plate 16 3 This means that an unarmored character moves 6 sq. (double in FMC Basic ), whereas a character in plate is half as fast. But what if you also want individual initiative while not wanting to introduce ability bonuses? Why not use one's speed, so there's a trade-off between being better protected or being quicker to move? That sounded intuitive, but

d20 Bonus Relative Efficacy

While simulating an idea I had for speed-based initiative , I realized that the results had implications for bonuses on d20 rolls in general. When two characters roll off, how good is a relative +1? Column A is where the more capable character breaks ties, and column B is where ties are broken with more rolls. Bonus Results A Results B Relative +0 50% vs 50% 50% vs 50% 100% +1 57% vs 43% 55% vs 45% 125% +2 61% vs 39% 59% vs 41% 150% +3 66% vs 34% 64% vs 36% 200% Those are really intuitive odds, actually! A character whose ability bonus is 3 pips greater than another is doubly capable. This contextualizes ability scores and modifiers in 5e proper: a character with an ability score of 16 is twice as capable as a character with a score of 10 in the same ability. Compare this to B/X where you need a score of 18 to get that +3 bonus. Then I simulated for a group of characters with bonuses ranging from [+0, +3]. Bonus Results A Results B

d20 Character Icebreaker Questions

When playing Trophy Gold with my friend Alex of To Distant Lands as the referee, I was delighted at how he subverted a classic D&D trope. Instead of "starting at a tavern", going through the motions of meeting each other and stumbling onto some quest or other prospect—Alex asked us each how our player-characters act when drunk as part of introducing them. Are they a raging drunk, or a sleepy one? Do they go all out or do even they drink at all? The icebreaker was like alcohol, distilling and exaggerating our characters' personalities to their very base. It was so fun! After introductions, we had a good idea of our characters, and could go straight into the adventure proper. Whereas the tavern starter feels very played-out and insincere, the icebreaker hones in on what is really important for a first session: getting to know each other's characters and how it feels to play with them. It could also serve as a prompt for role-play if characters already know each o

D&D Pride Flag

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Have been reading Levi Kornelson's series on modeling the play-style of D&D , which has been really fantastic and full of fun graphs! Each time ones comes out, though, my friends joke that each new graph is also a pride flag. With their help, I've finagled this beautiful work of art based on Levi's graphs and color scheme. While I have a soapbox: one criticism I have of the articles, though I really enjoy them and have mostly agreed, is that the rows of the graph-turned-flag correspond to the frequency of ability scores and their applications. I feel like it would be more representative if they represented play activities instead, whether OSR modes of play or the modern notion of pillars (role-play, exploration, and combat). After all, the ability scores he discusses overlap in their applications between these play-contexts, and are not as specific to D&D as the game's play procedures are. Plus, too, I feel like magic is so strict because of how it must be hi

The Value of Art: Decommodification

Written in March 2022, written in light of the reception to " Steps to Demonetize the TTRPG Hobby ". Was never happy with it, but rereading it now it isn't the total worst. Just wordy. I got better. Art is, at this point, whatever you want it to be. Humans produce things that are meaningful to them, and which are shared with others. If art is just meaningful things, then there's nothing at stake here. However, when we discuss art as something which is usually expensive (in terms of time, resources, effort, etc.), then we're obviously not talking about things which are just meaningful to people. We're talking about something that is valued by society as being worthy of social investment. This could be because society finds it meaningful. It doesn't have to be, but it's not an unfair assumption to make; it just doesn't factor into the production and distribution of art except as the pretense of both of those social processes. Maybe we like to make a

Cinco: Group Combat

While inactive but lurking, I saw someone on a Discord have a question about handling groups of figures with two-sided melee rolls (where partial success may mean both hitting and getting hit). There's some answers on the Dungeon World side of things , but I wanted to think about what a dynamic ruling would look like were I in the driver's seat. When multiple players target the same monster: Everyone rolls. Successful hits accumulate, but only the character with the lowest roll takes damage if they would otherwise. Everyone gangs up on a living scarecrow. Alice rolls 16, Bob rolls 3, and Claire rolls 8. Only Alice rolls enough to land 1 hit, and would usually take 1 hit in return, but only Bob takes 1 hit from the scarecrow for rolling the lowest. When a monster would deal multiple hearts of damage : They may deal 1 heart of damage up to that many characters. Hearts of damage in excess of characters cycle through again. Alice and Bob attack a dragon, rolling 15 and 17. Bot