Monday, March 25, 2024

Review: Daggerheart Open Beta

The open Beta of Daggerheart has been released. For those of you not in the know, Daggerheart is a new fantasy roleplaying game being put out by the popular D&D streaming group Critical Roll as a replacement for D&D.

Over the last 2 weeks my Sunday night game tried it out. The first game was session zero, where we built characters and tried to figure out the rules. The second session was actually playing the game. I want to be critical of this game because there is a lot that did not work for me, however I am going to pull my punches here because it is an unfinished product that may well improve in the final presentation.

Things I didn't like:

The 2d12 game mechanic just seems awkward, I am not sure why they chose 2d12 over 1d20 or even say 2d10. This awkwardness is magnified by the fact that the GM uses a 1d20 for combat. This is weird because it puts the monsters on a flat probability but the characters are on a curved probability. I honestly do not see how this adds anything interesting to the game.

There is no initiative system, no way to lock down whose turn it was or who could do what and when. Combat was a mess until half way through the GM implemented a turn order so no one missed the opportunity to take a turn. This game incentivizes show boat players and marginalizes less aggressive players.

Characters seemed bland, special abilities were highly situational and reminded me of D&D 4th Edition, which is not a good thing. One of my fellow players commented that had we not announced our classes to each other, he would have had no idea what classes we were actually playing.

The Fear and Hope mechanic had a lot of potential, but it honestly fell flat. During the game, I did not generate a single Hope and accounted for 2/3 of the Fear generated during the session. Virtually all of that Fear was used against other members of the party, I was not impacted by the fear I generated and that was frustrating for the other players. Everyone else in the party had a plethora of Hope, but nothing to use it on because their abilities were all situational.

There were layers of needed complexity, such as the severity of the hit determining how mach damage was taken rather that just rolling the damage directly. Evasion/Armor/Armor slots along with Stress being used as extra Hit Points, served to slow the combat down to a crawl.

Things I did like:

Players are incentivized to engage with the game. The more you engage with the game the more chances you have to generate Hope. Players who do not engage with the game tend to have less options available to them over the course of the game.

I liked the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic, adding a 1d6 to the roll when using Advantage and subtracting a 1d6 to the roll when using Disadvantage has a much larger impact on the game than just rolling 2d20 and taking the better roll.


This game does not really work for me all that well. I prefer a unified dice mechanic and the 1d20 flat probability works well for that. Using 2d12 just seems arbitrary to me and unnecessarily bunches up rolls into the 12-14 range making rolling high maddeningly rare. Characters were underwhelming and shy quiet players are quickly pushed to the background. Unless something changes dramatically, I don't see myself playing this game in the future.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Playing Shadowdark Part II

I wanted to love Shadowdark, I really did. The idea of simplified game mechanics and clarified resource management rules made it a very enticing game. I am sure for some groups is what they need and what they want, for my group not so much. We played six games of Shadowdark, adding in the previous 4 games, a total of 10 games in all. I think we all went into it with an open mind and we gave it a fair chance. In spite of that the game fell flat with us.

Things we didn't like:

To start of with, resource management is not fun. I am not saying it is bad, just boring. My players did not like equipment slots and worrying about torches. This just added a level of book keeping that only served to annoy my players and take away from the enjoyment. They don't mind dealing with things like how much weight they can carry or the lack of dark vision. The problem was, these rules required the players to pay meticulous attention to details they really didn't care about, they wanted to play the game, not do supply room inventory every game.

The next issue was characters tend to be bland with very few id any interesting things the players could do in any given circumstance. Character development is just uninteresting, honestly, there is very little difference between a 1st level character and a 5th level character beyond a few extra hit points. The fact that the player had little control over how development progressed, irritated my group a lot.

The worst part of the game is how fucked spellcasters are. Roll to cast sounds like an interesting idea, but in practice was a terrible idea. Loosing key spells at the wrong time often spelled disaster for the group. Luck tokens are supposed to alleviate the issue, but really didn't, even giving out 2-3 luck tokens to every character in every game did not seem to make a big difference, if the dice were against you, they were against you. Ultimately no one in the game wanted to play a spellcaster and even the one person who did, rarely bothered casting spells and only did it if he had luck tokens available.

Lastly, 4 classes and 6 ancestries is not enough. Ancestries we could probably get by with, but 4 classes just isn't enough and adding enough classes and ancestries to bring the game into parity with D&D 5E breaks on of my rules of DMing, which is keep house rules to a single page, otherwise you are playing the wrong game. I thing that is what this really amounted to, we were just playing the wrong game.

Things we did like:

I don't want anyone to think we hated this game, we didn't, it is just not what we want out of a game. There are things from Shadowdark that I will be bringing back to D&D 5E. I loved the always on Initiative, it just made the flow of the game much smoother. I just ordered everyone by Dexterity score (then alphabetical by character name) and proceeded from there.

My players really enjoyed getting back to rolling for stats rather than point buy or standard array. They did not like rolling for class talents, but they did like at the beginning having to take what you roll and build something out it, even if it was not optimal for what you wanted to do. Lets face it, rolling a 6 in something is a great role playing opportunity.

Overall, Shadowdark is a solid game and I would not turn down a game of it if someone wanted run it, but sadly, fo my group it is just not what we want. One of my players has said over and over, the only thing we want from a game is to be able to play interesting characters and I think that is where Shadowdark fell short for us. So last night we had a session zero and we are going back to D&D 5E.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

A Night on the wall


A Night on the Wall is a pure combat session, where the PC's are defending the wall of a city against a monster attack. This is meant as a replacement for the Gauntlet style game or as a quick and dirty game session that can be run with no preparation. This works well for up to 6 characters of 4th level or less. Much after that it becomes an epic battle fought at the end of a campaign rather than a skirmish fight.

Along with the PC's there will be teams of NPC's, each team will contain 4 Commoners and 1 Militia man. The number of teams on the map will depend on the length of the wall to be defended. There should be roughly 1 NPC for each 10 feet of wall, plus 1 team on the ground to act as medics and 1 team to act as runners and defend the wounded.

Generally speaking an attack will last 20 rounds. If a breach occurs and the light sources cannot be re-lit, chances are good the battle will not go well. If the PC's are able to keep a breach from occurring or re-lighting the light sources quickly, they stand a pretty good chance of making it through the 20 rounds. If the PC's make it 20 rounds without an uninterrupted breach, the monsters will withdraw and go look for an easier sector to attack.


A breach occurs when two or more light sources next to each other are extinguished and monster bands start coming through that area every round instead of every 1d4 rounds from a random direction. The only way to stop a breach is to re-light the light sources.

What the NPC's will do:

  • NPC's who are reduced to 0 HP will die in 4 turns unless taken to the building where they can be stabilized by the one of medical team, each member of the medical team can restore 1 HP per turn. NPC's will return to the fight if they at at least half their HP restored.

  • NPC's will use their ranged attacks and attempt to stay out of reach of any monsters and will only use their melee weapons if a demon comes within Close distance. The NPC's will use their ranged attack on any monster within Near proximity, otherwise they will be scanning their section of the wall for more monsters.

  • When a light source is extinguished, the closest NPC who is not in a fight will attempt to re-light it with a DC 8 Dex roll. If there is no monster in Close proximity, they have advantage on this roll.

  • If the number of NPC's is reduced to half its starting number, any PC or NPC can call for reinforcements. It takes 1d4 rounds for reinforcements to arrive. Reinforcements will generally be 2 fresh teams of 1 Militia man and 4 Commoners.

  • The Militia men will move around the map to assist with attacks coming in other areas, commoners will assist using their ranged attacks on any monster in near range, but will otherwise stay at their posts.


Commoner: AC 10, HP 1, ATK 1 Club (1d4) or 1 Shortbow (far) (1d4), MV near, S +0, D +0, C +0, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL L, LV 0.

Militia man: AC 13 (Leather+Shield), HP 5, ATK 1 Shortsword +1 (1d6) or Crossbow (far) +1 (1d6), MV near, S +1, D +1, C +1, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL L, LV 1.

What the monsters do:

  • At he beginning of the session, one band of monsters will appear on the map outside the wall from a random direction. Each round thereafter roll 1d4 and on a 1 another band of monsters will appear on the map, approaching from a random direction. If the battle goes 4 consecutive rounds without a monster band appearing, one will appear on the next round.

  • However if at the beginning of a round  two light sources next to each other have been extinguished and have not been re-lit a monster band will automatically approach from that direction.

  • If a monster comes into Close distance of a PC or NPC, the demon will attack, otherwise it will move Near distance in a direction determined by the GM.

  • If a monster comes into Close distance of a light source, they will use their action to extinguish it, this requires a DC 8 Dex roll. If there is no PC or NPC in Close proximity, they have advantage on this roll. If an NPC or PC is also within Close distance, it will extinguish the light first and attack second.

Monster Bands

I use generic monster stat blocks for two reasons, first I can skin them as I please depending on the needs of the setting, and second I did not want the monsters to have special abilities, because this can slow down what is already a long drawn out combat.

To determine what each monster band is, add up the levels of all the PC's in the group and match this number with and equal number of monster levels. Additionally each monster band will have two level 0 monsters for each PC in the group. The 0 level monsters will usually come in first trying to extinguish light sources and kill any commoners near by.

Don't make the monster bands swarms of level 1 monsters. It is bad enough that there are so many NPC's and level 0 monsters, don't slow combat down by adding sixteen level 1 monsters to the attack because there are four 4th level PC's. Read the section "HOW MANY MONSTERS?" on page 193 of the Shadowdark RPG rule book on balancing an encounter.

  • Example 1: For a group of 4 1st level PC's each monster band could contain 4 level 1 monsters and 8 0 level monsters, or 2 level 2 monster, or 1 level 3 and 1 level 1 , or 1 level 8 Monster along withe the 8 level zero monsters.

  • Example 2: A group of four 4th level PC's totaling 16 levels could be facing monster bands made up of two level 8 monsters, and 8 level 0 monsters.

Level 0 Monster: AC 10, HP 1, ATK 1 Claw (1), MV near (Climb), S +0, D +1, C +0, I -3, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 0.

Level I Monster: AC 11, HP 5, ATK 1 Claw +1 (1d4), MV near (Climb), S +1, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 1.

Level II Monster: AC 11, HP 10, ATK 1 Claw +2 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +2, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 2.

Level III Monster: AC 12, HP 14, ATK 2 Claw +3 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -2, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 3.

Level IV Monster: AC 12, HP 20, ATK 2 Claw +4 (1d6), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 4.

Level V Monster: AC 13, HP 24, ATK 3 Claw +4 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 5.

Level VI Monster: AC 14, HP 29, ATK 3 Claw +5 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +3, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 6.

Level VII Monster: AC 14, HP 33, ATK 4 Claw +6 (1d8), MV near (Climb), S +4, D +0, C +0, I -1, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 7.

Level VIII Monster: AC 15, HP 37, ATK 4 Claw +7 (1d10), MV near (Climb), S +4, D +0, C +0, I +0, W +0, Ch +0, AL C, LV 8.

Order of the battle:

  • The Monsters go first in every round. When the monsters appear on the map, the PC's and NPC's will have a chance to attack with ranged weapons. Any monsters surviving the first round will make it to the top of the wall at the beginning of the next round and will have both their move and action available to them.

  • PC's go next in order of initiative.

  • NPC's go last in every round.


As is, this can a difficult scenario to survive, especially if a breach occurs and is not fixed quickly or two, perhaps three consecutive attacks occurring from different directions. To make it easier;

  • The monster bands come every 1d6 rounds.

  • Halve the number of Level Zero Monsters with each band.

  • The PC's and Militia men are given 2 Potions of Healing each and they can get 2 more by visiting the medical team.

  • Add an NPC Cleric to the medical team.

  • Reinforcements are doubled and automatically come 2 rounds after the arrival of each monster band.

  • Make the Militia men tougher

  • Give the players a round of notification that a band is coming from a particular direction, so the PC's have a round to move around the map, or perhaps shoot into the darkness at disadvantage.

Zero Level PC's:

  • If this is being used as a replacement for a Gauntlet style game for Zero level characters, generate the PC's as normal.

  • Each player should roll up 4 characters, if a PC dies, the replacement PC will arrive with the next set of reinforcements.

  • In addition to starting gear, the PC's will be given flint and steel, a torch, a club, shortbow and 20 arrows.

  • Monster bands will consist of one Level I monster and a number of Zero Level Monsters equal to the number PC's.

Player Strategy:

  • Keep the light sources lit at all costs.

  • Commoners pop like balloons, Militia men can take a couple of hits from level zero and level I monsters, but they will still soak up a lot of damage in the long run, use that to your advantage.

  • Ranged attacks are your friend, especially on the first round a monster band is approaching the wall and everyone gets a free shot at them.

  • Let the Commoners and Militia men handle the level 0 monsters, while the PC's tackle the big boys.

  • Sometimes allowing a breach to continue is the best way to funnel the monsters into a single direction of attack. Use this strategy wisely.


Shadowdark License. This product is an independent product published under the Shadowdark RPG Third-Party License and is not affiliated with The Arcane Library, LLC. Shadowdark RPG © The Arcane Library, LLC.

License: This adventure is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License.



Sunday, November 26, 2023

The state of Wayland on Linux

Is it just me or does Wayland piss everyone off? I am not a new Linux user, I have been at it since 1992. Every time I give Wayland a try, I find something that is broken. They have been at this for 15 years and it still feels like an early beta release. Maybe its time these guys gave it up and acknowledge this was not the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a Wayland hater. I am all for new technologies that genuinely improve our experiences on computers. If 10 years ago Wayland had been ready to go, I would have jumped on it, but back then it was barely demo code let alone a usable desktop environment and that was after 5 years of development.

I am also not saying that Xorg is the end all and be all of  windowing systems on Linux. Xorg has its problems and back in the 90's it was not fun to setup and get working. I remember needing to know mode lines for the monitor I was using and sometimes, even the manufactures didn't know what that was. Don't get me started on hardware acceleration.

My point is, Wayland was a solution looking for a problem. By the time Wayland came around Xorg was pretty much done, all of its major issues had been solved and it was a pretty good framework for building new extensions. Then a small group of developers working on Xorg, decided it was not any fun to work on anymore and started work on Wayland. At the time, no one wanted Wayland, but by god we were going to get it anyway. Now 15 years later, it is functional, but unless you have a setup exactly like the developers, you are probably not going to have a good experience.

I think it is time to call a pig a pig.

Saturday, November 25, 2023


Anybody concerned about A.I. taking everything over, please keep in mind that for A.I. to become a serious threat to humanity, computers must be able to;

  • never hallucinate
  • understand abstractions
  • form long term plans
  • understand causality
  • reliably maintain models of the world
  • reliably handle outliers

Currently computers cannot do any of these things.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Playing Shadowdark

 This last month, we played 4 games of Shadowdark. The point of this exercise was to test the game to see what we liked and what we didn't. This is in part due to over all dissatisfaction with Dungeons & Dragons 5E. Don't get me wrong, I like 5E, it is probably the best version of the game to date. However, it does have some problems that do need to be addressed. First and foremost being, combat is slow, and I mean really slow. We tend to play 2-3 hours, if there is a fight, that is about all we do that evening. Another issue is there are just so many choices and variations, that characters get encumbered with so many powers and abilities that it becomes difficult to know what do in any given situation. Over the last couple of years, I have noticed my players tend to play their character sheets rather than their characters.

I am going to start with the things I liked about Shadowdark and then I will move into the things I really didn't care for.

First, character generation was interesting, we have not used completely randomized ability scores for a very long time, so it was interesting to see what the dice gave every one. We rolled 3d6 in order, but I allowed each player to swap two attributes, to give them some flexibility. It was fun to see my players lean into the whole "Play what you roll" shtick. One player went so far as to roll his class randomly and ended up a Wizard with an Intelligence of 9. 

Second, combat was a breeze, there was no waiting for players to decide what they were going to do. The first session was getting characters rolled up and then a short introductory session starting in a tavern. There was a bar fight, but it went down fast and the rest of the session was all RP. The next three games, we managed to get through 2-3 encounters each session, something was basically impossible in 5E.

The torches burning in real time kept the players on task. It really makes a difference in how they play when there are resources that need to be managed and timers just waiting to hit zero. We have had sessions where they group moved 10 feet in 3 hours of play, there was none of that here, they kept moving.

Now for the things either I did not like or my players did not like.

Roll to cast magic, while an interesting idea on paper, did not play out well in game. There were two Clerics in the party and there were times when neither of them could cast Cure Wounds. This was very frustrating, not just for those players but everyone in the game. The problem was two fold, first the DC of 10 + Spell Tier is too high, all of the spell casters were failing 50% of their rolls, for the Clerics it was not terrible because they could still attack, but the Wizard was just done. This probably needs to be 7 + Spell Tier so a Tier 1 spell gets successfully cast 60-70% of the time. The second issue is once they failed a roll, they could not cast the spell again they rested, but because of the resource management issues, resting was difficult and even counter productive.

Encumbrance is never fun, it is a book keeping chore that no one really wants to do. I have to give credit to the game designer, they really did try to make it as simple as possible with the gear slot mechanic. Unfortunately, it was still not fun. I am not going to advocate for for letting the party carry whatever the fuck they want, but I do think a maximum of 18 slots and the average being more like 10 or 12 is too low. This basically encourages the players to do ridiculous things like bringing mules into dungeons, or exiting the dungeon every time they find even a little treasure. I think probably making gear slots 15 or Strength x 1.5, whichever is higher is probably good. I think I would also make items of negligible weight, basically anything that weighs less than a pound, should be 1/4 or 1/2 of a gear slot. A dagger should not take up the same number of gear slots as a longsword.

While there is something to be said about limiting choices players have for classes and ancestries, I think Shadowdark takes it too far back to just four classes and six ancestries. Fortunately there are enough 3rd party supplements out there that I can bring the game into parity with 5E. Players should be able to play interesting characters and the game should not be human centric, if the players and GM don't want it to be.

Over all, I enjoyed running the game and my players did enjoy trying it out. I think they especially liked the Gloaming setting from Cursed Scrolls #1. It is very different from my Caldoom setting or something like the Forgotten Realms. It is a darker fantasy world, but is not so grim and dark as there is no hope or happiness in the world. I am leaning towards using Shadowdark for my next campaign, however, I will be house ruling the things we didn't like.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

RE: Disposable Computers

 I got the Wyse 5470 today. I have to say, it really is not as bad as I thought it would be. The install of Debian 12 went very smoothly, especially since I was prepared for what needed to happen and pretty much scripted it. After all was said and done, the base install was 4.7 GB, this left me with 7.6 GB of free space, slightly less than I was expecting. What was unexpected, was sitting at idle, the operating system was consuming about 600 MB of RAM, a far cry from my daily driver that consumes 5 GB on a good day.

I am also not dissatisfied with the performance of the EMMc drive, I was expecting it to be bog slow, but it seems to be running just fine. However with just 7.6 GB of disk space, I am definitely going to need to install an NVMe drive into the system. While i think that is enough for this stripped down Debian install, it is really not enough room for any sort of personal data. I suppose I could use it as a sort of Chromebook, I do have a copy of most of my data stored in the cloud, so it would probably be trivial, but that is a risk, since it is not always a guarantee I will have access to a wireless connection. It really is best to have what you need on the system, even when travelling.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Disposable Computers

 The Dell refurbished site had Wyse 5470 mobile Thin Clients on sale for $79, this is a pretty good price, but early this week, that price dropped to $59 and I figured it was time to get one. The technical specifications are not all that good;

Dell WYSE 5470 Notebook:

  • 14-in FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Webcam
  • 1x Intel Celeron Quad Core (N4100) 1.10 GHz
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • Intel Integrated Graphics
  • Backlit Keyboard
The 16 GB SSD is probably the most worrying thing, especial since it is most likely an EMMC drive, which is really not much better than having a SD card as a boot drive. It does however have a NVMe slot that will handle up to a 128 GB drive. Putting the NVMe drive aside, I am kind of curious just what I can install on this decidedly small SSD. Windows 11 is never going to fit on it. There is no doubt I can fit Linux on it, but a normal install of Linux for me is right around 15 GB. I can whittle that down, but it means making sacrifices, like not being able to use a nice feature filled desktop environment and probably no LibreOffice.

The nice thing about modern technology is being able to build virtual machines to almost any spec. So before this machine arrived, I decided to see what I could do as a stripped down install of Debian 12. I built out a VM with 4 cores, 4 GB of RAM and a 16 GB drive. The goal was to get a reasonably functional install of Linux in under 5 GB and not have to give up too much in the process. To start with, I did a bare bones install of Debian 12, with no desktop environment at all, this came in at just over 1 GB of drive space. The easy part after that was installing the odd text mode applications I use, so when I logged in for the first time as root, I ran a quick;

apt install sudo mc links cmus htop neofetch tmux ffmpeg lame zsh ufw -y

I then edited the /etc/sudoers file and added my user account so I ssh in and finish what I was doing.

Now came where I needed to make some choices. First was a web browser, I use Google Chrome, so I went and downloaded that, I will install it later. I also made a list of the other GUI based applications I would likely need; audacious, flameshot, thunderbird, cheese, vlc, abiword, and gnumeric. These should cover most of what I need. I also would need some tools I am use to having; synaptic, tilix, and gdebi.

Before I can install these apps though, I need to figure out what desktop environment I am going to use. Gnome 3 and KDE are straight out, both are 5 GB by themselves. Mate is my usual choice, but even it is an easy 3 GB install. The next tier down is LXDE and its sister LXQt, both of these are better, but I was looking for something that would consume around 1 GB of drive space and that pretty much left me with Xfce. This one is not optimal, it is very lightweight, but is missing features and is not as polished as the others. The whole idea here is to test it out and see what happens, I can always remove it and install one of the heavier ones if I need to. So with my list gathered, I ran;

apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies synaptic tilix audacious flameshot thunderbird cheese gdebi vlc network-manager-gnome abiword gnumeric -y

I added network-manager-gnome to the list, because I knew from experience that Xfce does not have a network app, so I needed to borrow one from Gnome. When it was all done and I rebooted, I installed Google Chrome and then did a bit of house cleaning. The entire install came in at 4.3 GB. I do have a bit of room in my 5 GB limit, so I may add VS Code as well.

The 16 GB drive I assigned to this VM actually turned out to be more like 15, once a chunk was taken out for swap space and I ended up with almost 10 GB of free space, just enough to spare for some MP3's and a movie or two.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

RE: Shadowdark RPG Review

Last night I ran my second game of Shadowdark. The first game was a pretty normal session zero, with the players rolling up characters and then introducing those characters to the setting. We did 3d6 in order, it had been a couple of decades since we last did that and we were apprehensive about it, but with the roll until you get a character with at least one 14, worked out pretty well, after Class Talents were rolled, we even had one 18 and no one ended up with a useless character. The second half of the game, I introduced a bunch of NPC's and conducted a typical bar fight, just so we could get use to combat and such.

Over all, it was a fun session, my players enjoyed it and said it was a nice diversion from 5E and they were surprised at how squishy they were compared to 5E. I think the only disappointment was the limited number of ancestry and class choices they had, so I think if I decide to run a full blown campaign, I will need to include some mix of rules from Unnatural Selection and Into the Shadowlands to bring the game into parity with D&D 5E.

The second game, was a rats in the cellar style game. It was designed to be a pretty easy scenario, the main purpose was to familiarize the players with the system, get them use to the 1 hour torch concept and the always on initiative mechanic. This scenario was not designed to be lethal, nor even especially challenging, it really just a test drive before diving into the deep end. Now I am glad I decided to run the game this way, rather than dumping them into a gauntlet or something similar.

The major problem that turned up was the roll to cast mechanic. When it came time for the priest to cast his cure wounds spell, he failed his role. No problem, they have two priests, number two charges into the fray and he fails his roll too. Now neither of them can cast cure wounds again until they have had a rest. The two other characters that were down to 1 or 2 hit points in the middle of a fight, were not especially amused. This did not cause excitement, it did not instill fear, what it made was frustrated players.

I know what some of you are thinking, well you guys are just Gen Z 5E players who have been coddled by the 5E no one ever dies style of play. Anyone who knows us, knows this is not true. The majority of us have been playing since AD&D 1E was a thing. We remember when Magic-Users were one and done. So now I am going to say one of the things we grognards are not suppose to say out loud. Having a character who was more or less useless after doing the one thing they are suppose to do, really sucked. It sucked back then and it sucks now.

So this for us is something that needs to be house ruled. When the problem became apparent, we stopped the game and had a discussion about it. We asked what was the base problem and what was the best way to address it. Now obviously, I don't want players spamming spells like 5th Edition cantrips, there does need to be some limit on what they can do and how often. Out of this conversation, three possible house rules emerged;

  • Idea 1: Give 1 free casting of each spell per rest, after that roll to cast is in effect.
  • Idea 2: If the roll is failed, they loose the ability to cast the spell for 10 rounds or perhaps just until the end of the combat.
  • Idea 3: If the roll is failed, reduce the numerical effects of the spell by half.

Personally, I think I am leaning towards #2. There does need to be a limiting factor, but #2 help mitigate the problem by allowing for a shorter recovery time. I think #3 goes against the one of the core tenants of the game and that is, magic is cruel and fickle mistress. There is nothing stopping a player from spamming half powered spells. #1 seems like a reasonable option, but also just seems like a band aide on the real problem.

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Question of Morality

I have given this a little bit of thought, no a lot, but a little. Here is what the real difference between Christian Morality and Secular Morality in stark contrast.

Lets assume for a moment that God truly reveals himself in such a way as no one can deny his existence. God has come to earth and shown beyond any reasonable doubt that he is in fact the God of the bible and he exists. He then promptly issues the following command;

“In the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them, the Canadians, and Mexicans, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”

With no other information available, other than what I have provided, what do you do?

  • The Christian response should be, "Yes master, let me go get a baseball bat and a couple of guns.".
  • The Secular Humanist, Atheist if you will, should respond with; "Hold on a minute, what the fuck!, NO!"

Don't give me any bullshit about "God wouldn't do that!", the guy has a track record, he has done this in the past, since he is timeless and unchanging, there is no reason to believe he would not do it in the future. Lets be real, Revelations points to a very bad end for humanity. So the real question is, what is the truly moral thing to do here? Does faith and obedience justify the deaths of millions of people? Is defying the ultimate authority really a good idea?

My thought experiment for the day.