Showing posts from December, 2022

OSR Rules Families: FAQ & Methodology

Thank all y’all so much for the kind words and feedback on my big math problem! Let’s just get into it: in this post, I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions and also describe the methodology of the project. Click here to view the previous post . Frequently Asked Questions Q1: What do the dimensions on the graph represent? I don’t know, you tell me! The graph does not visualize any specific dimensions or variables, but only the relative distance between each ruleset and the average of each ruleset cluster. It's technically based on principal component analysis of the different dimensions, such that the percentages on each axis represent the percent similarity encoded by that axis—but it's not very useful at a glance, since it's based on a mishmash of different dimensions with different weights. However, you could still extrapolate some relationships between rulesets on different sides of the graph, especially because whatever is on one side is different fro

Happy Holidays!

I’m visiting my partner’s family this Christmas, and it has been the loveliest holiday season I’ve had in a very long time. It’s actually caused me to reflect a lot on what having a family means, and how important it is to be with other people who love you and want you to be around. It had been a rough year with my family haha, so I’m just really thankful and happy. I’m not able to respond to any comments while I’m away because, as per usual, Blogger doesn’t like my phone. Still, thank y’all for the kind feedback on the recent stats post! I’m happy and maybe even relieved that others found it as fascinating as I did. I’m still working on writing an FAQ and rewriting the methodology, but I’m trying to give myself time to chill. I wish all y’all a happy holiday season! Keep warm if you’re in the upper hemisphere, or cool otherwise.

OSR Rules Families

So, here’s the thing: originally I wrote this like a fucking research article with a hypothesis, a methodology, and all that stuff. I’m not even a scientific research person. That’s my partner’s job. Not mine. So, instead of walking you through every single step I took, I’m going to take the journalistic approach and start with the big picture before I zoom into it and tell you about the little details. I read, reviewed, and statistically organized 38 different rulebooks considered to be OSR or OSR-adjacent. These include four rulebooks from TSR-era Dungeons & Dragons , as well as ten rulebooks from the 2000s and 2010s. The remaining 24 rulebooks postdate the closure of G+ in early 2019. Please refer to the bibliography at the bottom of this post for more information. After having collected and organized a dataset with ~90 variables, I found the statistical similarity between each pair of rulebooks based on that data. Finally, I ran an algorithm to determine clusters of these bo

OD&D’s XP Penalty is Extraneous

There is a somewhat frustrating rule in OD&D that experience points gained in lower-level dungeons (relative to character level) result in less experience points for characters of higher level. For example, a second-level character who gains XP from a first-level dungeon gets 1/2 the experience points they would have earned from a dungeon of their own level. The reasoning is that this penalizes characters for trying to grind treasure and monsters on lower levels, instead of seeking out a worthier challenge. But this feels like the most complicated approach to balance. The increasing experience requirements of higher levels already make lower level excursions less valuable than higher level ones. To take a simple case, assume that most monsters on a first-level dungeon have 1 HD and most on a second-level dungeon have 2 HD. These monsters earn 100 or 200 XP respectively, by nature of their HD value. Consider then a typical character who requires 2,000 XP to advance from first to s


I think the overwhelming response to recent changes by Wizards of the Coast in the ongoing One D&D project something like: “Cool new word! It’s still race science. Maybe worse.” As it should be. It’s been litigated elsewhere before, so I don’t want to throw my hat into the ring because I don’t have anything else much to say about it except that you should read C.W. Mills’ essay “The Wretched of Middle Earth”, about how J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings encodes race fantasy by mythologizing it [1]. Consider that, and then consider how Dungeons & Dragons is a significant degree worse by barely even mythologizing the racial aspects of its fantasy. It’s almost impressive. On a totally unrelated note, I have been really into my favorite Minecraft survival multiplayer (SMP) server—Hermitcraft. That’s right, motherfuckers: emotionally and mentally I am much more attached to these family-friendly Minecraft YouTubers than to D&D or anything related to it. Their videos have