jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

To paint three miniatures:

Three female miniatures on Jewelfox's desk, from left to right: A human wizard in green and grey casting a spell out of a book, a human wizard in blue holding a book and a staff, and an elf soldier in green and silver carrying a lit torch. The magic effects and the torch's fire are done in translucent plastic.

But that's partly because we're perfectionist. They say to remember that you're painting an army (or other group) and not a model, and that's useful for when you've got one of those blocks of twenty identical models from Warhammer. But this is for Frostgrave, where you're playing a single wizard and up to nine assistants. So each model counts a bit more.

... also I haven't done painting in awhile, and I take frequent breaks.

Anyway, it's about one model per evening, and I watch [tumblr.com profile] alias-pseudonym play Elder Scrolls Legends or something while painting. The ones on the left and right are going to be a Sigilist (book wizard) and her hired captain, while the one in the middle is going to be a rival mage whose captain I still need to paint.

Also in the works: An all-furry warband, thanks to a miniatures line that I Kickstarted.

Did I mention I like Frostgrave? >_>; It's not as cute as Endless Fantasy Tactics, but it's a very fun pick-up-and-play kind of skirmish game. I feel like it works better than D&D at what D&D itself does, because everyone plays a wizard (thus eliminating power discrepancies between "martials" and "casters") and you're fighting each other to get magic stuff from a ruined city, not murdering people with different skin colours in order to steal all their loot.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Meet Kethra.

A photo of a small plastic miniature on Jewel fox's desk, next to her laptop. The miniature is of a female spell caster in a green dress, with a grey cloak over the top and a set of leather pouches and accessories hanging off of her waist. She is carrying her spell book in one hand, and using the other to summon ethereal flames from its pages.

She's a rebellious notary public, from a snowy part of the Forgotten Realms.

One winter, her local lord barred anyone without notarized identity papers from accessing shelter or grain. Kethra responded by notarizing any and all papers that crossed her desk while there was snow on the ground.

A cat is now lord of that land. The cat has impeccable documentation.

... oh yeah, her hobby is studying magic. That's what she's doing in this picture. Magic, not studying it.

Detailed profile )

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

I've been watching the "Heroes of Awesome" play D&D. In this episode, they're camping out in the forest and are being circled by wolves.

Click here if you can't see the speciesist title card.

In previous episodes, the players (a guy, a girl, and two women) completely lacked agency or the ability to advance the plot in any way, save by kissing up to or accepting missions from NPC authority figures. And rolling a d20 over and over again until their roll doesn't suck. In this episode, we're apparently finding out that wolves like to eat elven and human adventurers who are encircling a campfire.

As soon as they realized the threat they were facing, the Chaotic-Neutral-ish Rogue asked if she ought to climb a tree. Everyone was like "NO" even though this is, of course, the most sensible thing to do.

Also, just as a minor nitpick, literally everyone at the table forgot that Eladrin don't sleep, and are aware of their surroundings during "trance." Which became relevant when the people on night watch started rolling Perception.

Can the wolves possibly survive their encounter with heavily-armed adventurers?! Maybe we'll keep watching and let you all know. >_>; I have to say, though, these campaign videos are really making me appreciate Fate and Dungeon World.

EDIT

We actually DMed an encounter with wolves, once, in D&D 4e, the same system these people are using. A Revenant (sapient zombie) player character woke up from death to find one chewing on her foot.

The wolves freaked out when the "carrion" fought back. Then she and another player character (who happened to show up just then) started dealing damage to them and doing flashy spellcasting-type stuff, and they bolted back into the woods.

No one was killed on either side (although one of the people involved was already dead).

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

So, lately I've taken to reading transcripts of the "FATAL & Friends" reviews on Something Awful, named after the legendary Worst RPG Ever. It's been very interesting to get a fresh perspective on games like Pathfinder, and see their flaws pointed out by an outsider.

(The Original D&D review was also very interesting. Did you know that the reason Pathfinder has so many spells like Cloudkill and Hallucinatory Terrain is because they were originally supposed to be used in a Warhammer style miniatures game, to delete blocks of infantry or to create or obscure terrain?)

Fate Core in person

I also recently had the experience of going out to GM a starting session of Fate Core in person, for a Pathfinder veteran and his friend who was new to RPGs but was very interested when I described Fate.

In hindsight, I think I did things all wrong for the planned Capsule Contingency RPG. >_>;;

How wrong, you ask? )

So, for [personal profile] redsixwing and [personal profile] sablin27 ...

What should we do for our planned game? Do you want to just start it right now, and then help us come up with things as we go? Because I think that we could do that, if there is an understanding that it isn't going to be perfect. ^^; We could alternately discuss some of the ideas we had for where the game's going to go, so we can find out what stories you're interested in exploring and maybe get some ideas and stuff.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

I've been kind of uncomfortable with Pathfinder and D&D both for different reasons, and started looking for another role-playing game that has the rules for free online and lets you write your own stuff for it.

So far I've found two that look promising: Dungeon World and 13th Age. You can find their respective SRDs, or free online rules documents, here and here.

Both are strongly inspired by Pathfinder and D&D, with stock fantasy adventuring tropes and more or less stock fantasy character options. But the authors went in two different directions with them ... especially with regard to how accessible their games are to newbies. Whether those newbs are players, or fan / professional authors.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Back when the first editions of Dungeons and Dragons saw print, the writers had to explain to players from the 70's and 80's that this wasn't a game like Chutes and Ladders that you were trying to "win." In fact, the game could continue indefinitely, with a new adventure for your character in every session.

Having said that, players through the years have tried to achieve their own personal win states for whatever roleplaying game they were in. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for how to win most of the roleplaying games we have personal (or substantial second-hand) experience with!

(These suggestions are not completely serious, but they aren't completely UN-serious, either.)



Babylon 5: Level up enough times that a single PPG shot won't kill you.

Call of Cthulhu: Don't die or go insane this session.

D&D / AD&D 1.0: Figure out how the heck to play Dungeons and Dragons.

D&D / AD&D 2.0: Cause your DM to pull their hair out, burn all their RPG books, and join a convent. Alternately, if you're the DM: Kill all the players. Not the characters, the players.

D&D 3.0 / 3.5: Get to level 6, so you can finally go into a "prestige" class and play the character you wanted to.

D&D 4.0: Win or survive every combat encounter, until you best the final boss fight and beat the game at level 30.

D&D 5.0: Survive D&D 2.0 dungeons, using a D&D 4.0 character, until you acquire one magic item from the D&D 3.5 rulebooks. (This may take several years.)

D20 Modern: Get to level 4, so you can finally go into an "advanced" class and play the character you wanted to.

FATE Core: Insert your own win condition here (then invoke it as an Aspect during play).

Pathfinder: Convince the GM to let you play the character you want to play.

Pathfinder Society: Buy enough Pathfinder stuff, and kiss up to enough Venture-Captains, to get the boon (and the books) that you need to start over from level 1 as the character you actually wanted to play to begin with.

Traveler: Don't die during character creation.



Special bonus for those who've been subject to it

FATAL: Cast FATAL.*




* Although really, the only way to win is not to play.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Dungeons and Dragons (and its successor, Pathfinder) uses a mechanic called "alignment" to describe your character's morals. It consists of a Good / Evil axis and a Lawful / Chaotic axis, with the possibility of being "Neutral" on either or both.

A lot of people have discarded the alignment system, seeing it as neither a fun game mechanic nor a useful way of understanding people. We don't really like it as it's implemented in Pathfinder, but we feel like the Planescape campaign setting for D&D really showed what kind of potential it has both for storytelling and philosophy.

Planescape portrayed the Chaotic Neutral afterlife as a "Limbo" of swirling clouds of random matter, which change so often as to be essentially formless and static. It noted that there are "anarchs" who can reshape the landscape at a whim, but did not seem to think much of them.

We think that if someone were to make a game where you play as one, though, it'd look something like Microsoft's Project Spark ...

Click here if you can't see the video.

... either that, or the Internet.

Floating islands of games, stories, and content, connected by threads of imagination and lit by sparks of wonder. That's what we feel it'd be like, to live in a realm of pure creativity and personal expression.

We were always told that we'd get to create (and populate) worlds, in the Mormon afterlife. But that was always used as an excuse, to keep us from doing so here and now. We had to "endure to the end," first, and then somehow we'd go from a Lawful lifestyle of self-negation to an eternity of fulfillment. Either that, or we would be destroyed and replaced by someone who would be fulfilled as a Mormon.

I think our family of origin still wants that for us.

I think that's what all conservative religious people mean, when they talk about "loving the sinner but hating the sin."

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

After spending hours and hours and hours photographing the board, editing PDF character sheets, and writing up power lists on [community profile] nentir_vale, I can conclusively state the following:

D&D 4e was not meant to be played online, unless you have a D&D Insider subscription and use the online tools. Especially the virtual tabletop, which doesn't exist.

Pathfinder's much easier to GM online, partly because combat does not last all day or require a game board, and partly because all the stuff that you need you can link to directly online.

D&D 5e looks like it'll be closer to Pathfinder, but its "Basic D&D" rules are a gods-damned PDF, and are far from comprehensive.

If we ever get up the energy to do another online RPG campaign, it will probably be Pathfinder.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

That's the most commonly rendered version of Google's motto, which most people invoke ironically these days as they point out the latest evil thing Google did. But you can do a lot of evil stuff without ever seeing yourself as evil. And if you're measuring how good you are by how evil someone else is, you get to be one of those people who wants a cookie for not being as terrible as someone else.

I personally feel that if you are alive, then you deserve to be alive, by default and until proven otherwise. I believe that "kindness is goodness;" that you are a good person just for being the kind of person you are, and that if anyone says otherwise or tries to prevent you from being yourself then they are being unkind to you.

I believe that some people are damaged, disabled, marginalized, or ill. I believe they deserve to exist, and to participate fully in society. I think it is the responsibility of abled people to accommodate them. I believe in solidarity with these people, and in giving up privilege or inconveniencing myself in order to keep them from having to do without things that they need or that I take for granted. I believe this is best done not through individual acts, but as a society, so that the responsibility is spread out and so that they do not need to beg.

I believe that some people are dangerous, including (but not limited to) carnivores, narcissists, and white European Americans. I don't believe that being dangerous means that a person is evil or must be destroyed. I believe there are ways to coexist, that do not have to involve harming innocents. But I believe that the burden is on the most dangerous people to find those ways, not on their victims. And I sympathize with those who resist them.

I believe that Chaotic Neutral is the best D&D alignment, because I feel it encompasses (or can encompass) all of the above. I believe you don't have to be "good" to be kind to others and empathize with them. I believe that the concept of "good" is overrated, and is often used to cover for dangerous people's actions, or to condemn those who resist them as "evil."

If "good" exists objectively, it is willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I don't feel that it's needed in order to be kind to others, because I feel that most people are naturally kind (or at least not dangerous) so long as their needs are met. But I do feel that kindness -- both in the sense of being yourself, and respecting the rights of others to do the same -- is a prerequisite for the kind of self-sacrifice that is helpful.

Otherwise, you end up seeing self-sacrifice as good in and of itself. You don't trust people who don't give up enough of themselves for "the greater good." And you give your all for other people, who you then expect to do the same for others, until there's no kindness left in the universe because everyone's trying so hard to be "good."

Or at least, to appear good. Which is much easier.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

(With apologies to Wreck-it Ralph. Linked video contains spoilers.)

I used to get Lawful Good on D&D alignment quizzes, because I only picked the "right" answers. Later, and for most of the last ten years, I answered honestly and got Neutral Good ... because I didn't want to rock the boat, but I still went out of my way to help people.

I still do, sometimes. But the most recent alignment quiz I took pegged me as Chaotic Neutral, and the more I think about it the more I think it fits.

I think the tipping point, for me, was seeing how corporations like Mozilla -- which I thought were purely benevolent -- were really more concerned with ensuring their own survival. And while a lot of Free Software volunteers do so out of the goodness of their hearts, after being thrown away by GNOME I saw how others like me were being manipulated thanks to their desires to do good.

Read more... )

tl;dr

The more I realize how little I know, and how messed-up my programming is thanks to my upbringing, the less confident I am that it's even possible to be a "good" person in the conventional sense. Not without massive conflicts of interest, and potential for abuse / exploitation.

Instead, I'm trying to be a kind person. Both in the sense that I want to treat others as people, and in the sense that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym referred to in its Xenotheism essay. Where "kindness is goodness," because the most genuinely good thing any person can do is to just be the kind of person they are.

If you don't believe that, then you can't really help anyone anyway.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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