Showing posts from July, 2023

Peter Kroptokin's The Conquest of Bread: An Informal Review

I’m not even going to grace this book with a photo, and it’s totally not because my nails are overgrown and I need to get them redone. I alluded earlier to the online proxy war between J. Sakai’s Settlers and Peter Kroptokin’s The Conquest of Bread , a.k.a. “The Breadbook”, around 2016. It turned out that Settlers was excellent , so why not also give the anarchist offering a taste? It’s only fair! Y’all. It was not good. At least in my opinion. Not good at all. Also need to preface this by saying that I've been out of town lately, and so I can't respond to comments for the time being. But I really appreciate all y'all's thoughts, and will reply once I'm able. :) The Plan Kroptokin offers a plan for how to enact a “social revolution” and transform the state of things from capitalism (or feudalism) to anarchist communism. What is that plan? Overthrow the state and all the firms in one go, as quickly and as definitely as possible. Revolution for Kroptokin is like

Armor Algorithms: Reduction vs. Resistance

Was thinking about two similar methods of single-roll attacks with damage points built into the outcome. The first is subtracting a value from the (random) damage dealt, to a minimum of zero. The second also uses random damage, but the damage is only dealt if it meets or exceeds a certain value (and it is not itself modified). These are called reduction and resistance. I did some quick math to compare the two, using 1d6 as the damage roll. The average of 1d6 is, of course, 3.5, so that’s my baseline to compare. Below is the table for damage reduction, down to an average of 1 point of damage per attack. For example, a target with reduction 3 would take 0 damage on a roll of 1, and 3 damage on a roll of 6. Reduction Average % Max Δ 0 3.50 100% — 1 2.50 71% 29% 2 1.67 48% 23% 3 1.00 29% 19% Below is the same for damage resistance. The value is what the damage die must meet or exceed in order for the resulting pips to be dealt as damage points. For exa

Treasure Dice for Experience Dice

My friend WFS at Prismatic Wasteland came up with the following algorithm for using dice to randomly determine the money-value of your treasure : So when the party decides to sell, they tally everything they want to sell in the following categories: […] (d4) magic items, relics and artifacts, (d8) gems, jewelry, and art objects, (d12) trade goods, (d20) undamaged arms, armor, and equipment, and (d100) miscellaneous (but not worthless) junk and trinkets. Then roll all of the dice and tally how many dice roll 1, 2 or 3. The total sale is 200 gold per each such die plus 1 gold for each item sold. Let’s look at a table showing the average gold pieces earned by each item category; this is calculated by multiplying the likelihood of a result of 1-3 times 200 gold pieces. Category Die Avg. Gold Junk and trinkets d100 6 Undamaged tools d20 30 Trade goods d12 50 Gems, jewelry, and art d8 75 Magic items and relics d4 150 He gives one example: imagine tha

PSL's Socialist Reconstruction: An Informal Review

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a communist party in the United States. In August 2022, they published Socialist Reconstruction: A Better Future for the United States . The book serves, basically, as a party platform and onboarding document for potential members. It’s written for general audiences, not assuming that the reader has any previous knowledge about Marxism or general theory. The pitch is: what will the first ten years of socialism look like in the United States? The title recalls the promised Reconstruction era after the American Civil War, which was supposed to have rebuilt the South and integrate black ex-slaves into a more modern economy (it didn’t happen). By this, the book promises a plan to make the United States egalitarian and sustainable through a socialist revolution of the economy and government which will reorganize society to meet people’s needs. What does that plan look like, and is it any good? PSL’s Ten-Year Plan I took notes of what I felt like

Fivey: Hellchild Character Origin

Another character origin for Fivey ! By the way, I’ve published a collection of all the house rules I’ve talked about so far, plus ones I didn’t want to make separate blogs for. Origin: Hellchild The birth of a hellchild is a travesty that befalls families through no fault of their own. Although folk have traditionally believed that one is born of a mother’s combined heresy and infidelity—i.e., by having sex with a demon—the educated know that there is no reason why a child should sprout horns and a devil’s tail. Yet the hellchild becomes a pariah, outcast from all levels of society and condemned to make their own way. Some hide their nature made manifest, tucking their tails into trousers and shaving their horns so they don’t peek out from their hair. Others cannot stand to be what they cannot. Hellchildren have the Deception skill, and they begin either with a religious book “gifted” by their parents (tier 1 spell scroll) or with a change of clothes which they can use to put on

Joseph Stalin's Marxism and the National Question: An Informal Review

My friend Ènziramire and I were chatting about how hard it is to find a based Stalin who, at some point, must have existed in history. Was he a four-dimensional entity who bled into our reality at certain key points of time, but never at once? Is he a myth of Stalinist great-man theory? Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR wasn’t exactly flattering , but he was basically retired by that point (and, as my partner remarked once, it might as well could have been written by a committee and published under his name). So, I went back in time and read his 1913 treatise called Marxism and the National Question . Here’s how it goes: “Nations totally have the right to self-determination, guys… but:” Nationalist revolutions are almost always going to be bourgeois, especially since they are most often between a national and/or petite bourgeoisie (or peasantry) and an international big bourgeoisie. They’re ultimately about market share. Dividing workers’ parties along national lines spli

Fivey: Rest Actions

Expanding upon a comment from a previous blog post : The idea is that the rest phase is an approximately 12-hour period each day where characters take turns sleeping and keeping watch. A rest action is a mini-downtime activity within the space of about 4 hours, during which characters can e.g. cook or craft or cure their wounds. In other words, as a matter of abstraction, each 24-hour period is split into a day phase and a night phase. The day phase is when most of the interesting stuff happens; having just 12 hours to keep track of makes it easier to divvy up when it matters (usually, for travel—with hexes requiring 3, 4, or 5 hours to traverse). The night phase is an abstraction of the time that the party spends resting, after a long day of adventuring. What do rest actions look like? I came up with some basic ones below. However, the idea is not to have a closed set of actions; it's just to provide structure and guidance for when the referee asks, "Is there anything you w

Fivey: Nymph Character Origin

I think elves are kinda overdone. A while ago I talked about communing with nymphs as an alternative to the typical druid power . In the context of Fivey , here's another route: a nymph as a character origin which allows them to commune with their distant sisters. Origin: Nymph Nymphs are animistic spirits born out of relationships that human beings enjoy with nature. For example, a Dryad is born when a human being first speaks to a tree. The Nymph is then adopted by her family in nature, to grow together and bring about the well-being of the local ecosystem. A Nymph's personality is nurtured by her relationships with her sisters as well as by her continued relationships with mortals. Tragically, however, the only thing that would set a Nymph on a journey would be if her home or sisterhood were lost to her. Nymphs are, generally and otherwise, homebodies. Nymphs have the Nature skill, and they start with either a manuscript of an ancient epic (tier 1 spell scroll) or a living

J. Sakai's Settlers: An Informal Review

I was hanging with my friend Ènziramire and he asked me if I had read either Settlers or “The Breadbook” ( The Conquest of Bread ) 1 , which Maoists and anarchists respectively were proselytizing through the power of forced internet memes circa 2017. I had went the Settlers route myself, but it had been so many years that I felt like I could not be a reliable commentator. After all, it’s been six years of being engrossed in annoying online communist discourse. As much as I had internalized popular critiques of Settlers , I also may have internalized many of its theses without realizing it. It didn’t help that when refreshing myself with a cursory glance at online discourse, most of it seemed like cope rather than actual criticism. How wrong could Sakai could have been, and how much of his work have I taken for granted as simple fact when indeed it is the source of so much controversy? So, after chitchatting, I re-read Settlers . And it’s really good. The Big Point Let me just kin

Fivey: Action Economy & Fighter Feats

Exploring a simple action economy, as well as feats which might interface well with this system by bypassing its limitations. Turn Actions ◆◆⟐ All characters can perform 2 actions ◆ during their turn, as well as 1 reaction ⟐ during the rest of the round (i.e. someone else’s turn). The two main action options are attacking and moving. Attack ◆ The character rolls d20 plus their relevant ability score; if the total meets or exceeds the target’s armor class, they deal damage equal to their ability score. The ability score is doubled for attack rolls if the character is either proficient with or attuned to their weapon. For example, a character with 2 STR would add 4 to their attack roll and deal 2 damage if they were proficient or attuned. If the unmodified die roll is 20, the attacker doubles their total damage; this is called a critical hit. For example, our character from before would deal 4 damage instead of 2. The attacker rolls with advantage if the target is vulnerable to the a

The Gender of "Men"

What a fun title! Anyway. I replaced references to "men" with "humanfolk" throughout Fantastic Medieval Campaigns (at least, where applicable; in some cases, it was referring to tabletop figures, so there I replaced it with "figures"). This was because I felt that the word "men" is too overly gendered in context, compared to other terms on the same playing field: dwarves, elves, halflings, orcs, etc. The discourse of (O)D&D is that of males, anyway, which one can especially tell when women and children are given separate counts from the given numbers of monsters appearing. But when talking about species or races or whatever, the general terms are basically non-gendered. That being said, I'm pretty aware of the etymology of "men"—that, originally, it referred to human beings rather than specifically to male human beings (which were called weremen , in contrast to female wifmen ; the former is where we get "werewolf"!)