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11:00 AM
But how you examine these depends on the kind of story you think you're in.
Anna Karenina believed she was the main character in a tragedy, and so she interpreted everything which happened to her as tragic: in doing so, she created a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect your family to leave you, you are liable to treat them in a way which makes them leave you.
Now look at RPGs.
"This NPC has a name; he must be going to be important later."
The player who says this believes that in the game world, a person's future importance reaches back in time and grants him personal detail.
In Fate, there is less of this because the places where a GM is improvising or working from prepared material are designed to be more obvious--and because an NPC's level is not an immediate indication of his relephance.
If you are in a story about fighting and killing and looting, this colours how you interpret everything you see, and closely defines the kind of predictions you make.
Okay. I get it now.
@BESW Exactly what I was about to say. Even more specifically, the moment any person has a stat block with attack stats and hitpoints, not only is that person now killable, the game actively encourages you to look at him as someone who can be killed.
This means that you will soon find yourself in a story about fighting and killing and looting, because you only see the world through that lens.
Awesome, erm, aside ?
And more importantly, it means that you are the hero simply because you are in a story which defines you as the hero.
11:10 AM
That's self-fulfilling prophesy.
Or even Tautology
And yet, it's not obvious.
Because at the end of the day it's a choice we often don't realise we made.
It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's just the story we choose to play.
I link this to video games like Bioshock and --more on the nose but with a smaller audience-- Shadow of the Colossus.
These are games which start you out on the basic video game assumptions: someone tells you what to do in order to go forward. You do it, because it's the only way to advance in the game.
@BESW Haven't played either.
I remember a game that challenged that - The game actually "lied" to you. Not just the characters etc, but even the rules system, and the tutorial - it was about choosing what to believe, and how to control.. I forget the name.. I will try to find it.
Then, without spoiling too much, I'll just say that both games (slowly or abruptly) move to defy that convention, and expose the meta-level motivation connection between the player and the character.
That the character you play is often doing things only because you as the player have been conditioned by the traditional video game practices to know that's just the way things are.
11:15 AM
@InbarRose You had that in Douglas Adams' old text-adventure game of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You would type "go west", and get "you can't go west". Type it again, it says "I told you you can't go west". Type it a third time, and you'd be reworded with an "ok, ok, go west if you want". It's a great subversion of genre tropes and those unspoken assumptions BESW mentions.
I am put in mind of the occasional players in WoW who decide to level their PC without killing anything.
Heck, even just "without killing anything sapient."
Hah, I remember one guy leveled only by gathering herbs and exploring and doing fetch quests.
The game has such a fundamental emphasis on casual slaughter of thinking, self-aware, tool-using, culture-having beings that not only is not doing that considered unusual and subversive--it's also durn near impossible, especially in the earlier iterations of the game where non-combat skillups like herb gathering didn't grant XP.
But is this something the game is conscious of? Does it treat its PCs as the appallingly mercenary mass murderers they really are? Only once or twice, as a self-aware joke which is quickly brushed aside for more killing.
Yeah - lets not delve into the world of WoW too much.
11:21 AM
It's uncomfortable with its own premise, which it's locked into largely because it's built on the conventions of its predecessors and its medium, rather than because it chose to tell that kind of story.
Bringing it back to D&D, look at the paladin. That paragon of justice and virtue, the honourable knight who values life and mercy.
It's not just WoW. D&D is of the same mindset, in general. The game gives you the tools to slaughter innocents (stat blocks, hitpoints), but leaves the censure of such slaughter to the DM's judgement.
Unless the story says the goblin needs killin'.
Q: What are the benefits of owning a physical book?

AndrásI have seen this question about updates of the DnD4 books, and it got me thinking. Since I got my Kindle I have not read a single paper novel, and they have fewer drawbacks compared to digital copies than rpg rulebooks. Dead-tree types have some benefits like looking good on a bookshelf, but any...

Would appreciate some judgement from others on this; I have no idea if it's opinion based or not.
@lisardggY Exactly.
I already VTC'd then retracted it, then answered it, so my say in the matter is officially out, but the concern is there so I'm bringing this up.
Wait, should I be bringing this up on meta instead?
11:24 AM
@JonathanHobbs Yes.
Who knows.
@lisardggY Except that, again, the game is uncomfortable with itself because we have the alignment axis which explicitly condemns the actions that the rest of the system is designed to support.
It's a fascinating tangle.
And we can see in the real world examples of narrative time and the potential for unity or chaos that it contains.
I brought it up on meta.
The Oracle will soon inform us.
The Oracle will deliver it here in ten minutes time.
The irony of having an Oracle which always delivers questions later than they arrive just struck me.
11:30 AM
@JonathanHobbs The Oracle isn't there to ask you questions, but to give you answers. Thus, it gives your meta questions time to be answered before bringing them in. :)
@lisardggY ... Good point ;D
Or it gives the question time to be edited, checked, rechecked, and then possibly removed by its creator if he doesn't like it.
Thus - only those question which have survived 10 minutes are passed on.
Instead of every single question from the moment of its inception.
@JonathanHobbs Incidentally (and entirely tengentially), I kind of disagree with you about the pen vs. keyboard analogy.
downloaded about EVERYTHING!
11:32 AM
> I'm getting a message... a message from Nur-Ab-Sal!
@lisardggY I'm interested in hearing why!
@Utkarsh This is not a chat about torrenting, and I strongly suggest you not discuss probably-illegal activities in a place that is permanently archived and immediately seeded to the Google search engine.
@JonathanHobbs I've been using a keyboard quite intensively since about age 6. All in all, I've written more words on a keyboard than with a pen, probably several orders of magnitude more.
I pulled it from an original explanation of transparent tools that I read, too.
11:33 AM
@BESW torrents are illegal?
I believe that the transparency of a tool is measured by its adoption into both the cultural mainstream and, for each person, by its sublimation into muscle memory and habit.
Q: Is our books vs e-readers question primarily opinion based or OK?

Jonathan HobbsI'm asking in regards to this question: What are the benefits of owning a physical book? My gut feeling has me concerned this might not be suitable to ask here. It might be a primarily opinion-based matter, or a gorilla-vs-shark question, or something else. My say in the matter is totally out ...

@Utkarsh Not definitionally, but the vast majority of content available for torrenting is illegal to share by the method.
@BESW Cool Down man! why angry?
11:34 AM
I think we may have a troll.
For me, a keyboard is mostly transparent, at least as transparent as a pen. I don't explicitly think of operating the keys unless something pulls me out.
Keyboards still have some natural barriers to transparency - the fact that you click in one place and hte word appears in another is a big one, whereas pens (or touch interfaces) are more naturally transparent due to the fact that the interaction and its result share a locality.
@lisardggY They sure are more transparent nowadays when we have a lot of computer-proficient users.
A book, in that sense, is a well established technology that is transparent to 99.99% of its users.
@lisardggY That's the key thing: you can get pretty transparent with a keyboard. Pens almost automatically start out that transparent. Writing might be trickier, but pen operation isn't a thing that takes a lot of effort.
@JonathanHobbs who invented web 3.0?
11:37 AM
An e-reader is a far-from-transparent technology that needs a lot more improvement, streamlining and time to become transparent, but it's on its way there.
@JonathanHobbs It does take some effort. Look at children first learning to hold a pen. I have a friend who to this day holds it rather awkwardly. But it's certainly easier.
@lisardggY I find books have vastly different transparencies for me, depending on layout, writing style, and physical design.
The DFRPG manual was a nightmare, and the D&D 3.5 manuals weren't a whole lot better.
So in general, I agree with your answer about the transparency of RPG books vs. PDF copies (especially, as BESW says, when a book's layout requires tables and complicated setups, which are terrible on a kindle and marginally better in PDFs)
The FAE book I find difficult because its spine is so narrow that I can't keep it flat open.
What in the name of the big bad evil guy is going on here
But I just wanted to comment about this transparency being situational, rather than intrinsic.
11:40 AM
@Hiroto Hi!
@Hiroto Utkarsh came out of nowhere and seems to be trolling us.
@Hiroto Just got a tiny little troll.
It's not terrible, but it is a little bit disruptive.
He's popped in and done this before. It's getting worse and we're getting weary.
Link me the transcript?
11:42 AM
@Utkarsh Stop it. Have fun in the penalty box.
@BESW He has?
Oh, manish already did it :p
@Hiroto Starts here this time.
Not yet, I forgot the previous duration
Hey, cool, a whole pack of mods descending upon the room.
Or is that a flock of mods?
11:42 AM
@JonathanHobbs Yes, but not quite so... clumsily.
What is the plural noun for moderators?
A hammer of mods.
Yes, a hammer
Q: Why was i suspended from chat?

UtkarshMy account was suspended from chat and I want to know why and which mod did it. They not even sent me any message! Please Help

A Mjolnir, in fact
11:43 AM
I always thought it was an abuse of mods
Previous was 24h?
@lisardggY Y'mean the noun to moderators as flock is to birds?
@lisardggY Technically the term is "collective noun."
@Utkarsh When told to stop by chatroom regulars, you stop. Not much to it.
11 mins ago, by BESW
@Utkarsh This is not a chat about torrenting, and I strongly suggest you not discuss probably-illegal activities in a place that is permanently archived and immediately seeded to the Google search engine.
11:44 AM
If I recall correctly this guy has been a problem over at The Bridge too.
^ That was your cue to stop
Yeah, that's the one I meant.
The mjolnir of mods is growing
Otherwise a grumpy mod like me who just woke up and knows your history will come to see what's going on.
Whoa... good morning...
11:45 AM
@ManishEarth All right, this one's all yours
We appreciate the speedy and intimidatingly overwhelming response!
@ProfessorCaprion Hi! We had a troll. And then some hammering.
@MichaelHampton Already dealt with. Just signing off on it :p
@JonathanHobbs HAMMERTIME
Thanks all y'all mods. :D
Well there were a considerable number of flags, kinda hard to miss :p
11:46 AM
Aw, man! I just missed it!
Seems like this page needs to be updated.
Oh, it's over.
Yeah, when I see 14 flags it's time to come running...
@Hiroto 25
11:46 AM
Thanks all so much.
@Hiroto Manish wakes up / Manish sees 25+2 flags / Manish sees username / Manish bans the heck out of it
But it's good to see the hammer coming down where needed. :)
11:47 AM
@ManishEarth the "STOP! HAMMERTIME" seems pretty appropriate when addressing a troll
I declined most of the flags because I didn't want to protect him from his own words in a court of law :P
but @Hiroto deleted the message about the Linkin Park songs so oh well
I can undelete?
I did nothing on the flags when I came to see the context of the everything and saw you guys were having a ~mod party~
11:48 AM
@Wipqozn Likewise. I figured I'd let the mod squad handle it.
And with that, I must depart. Use the hammer wisely.
@lisardggY Mod squad is best squad.
11:49 AM
wait wrong room
badp has removed Wipqozn from the list of this room's owners‌​.
Mod is apparently a fashion. This leads to fun results in the mod party results.
@badp feel free to add me in the bridge
I briefly shared the burden of ownership!
11:50 AM
@BESW um, you do know how to add owners, right?
owners can add owners.
Yeah, no worries.
@Wipqozn I might just be bound by my own words
@BESW cool.
This chat doesn't need a lot of stick.
@JonathanHobbs More than a fashion, a whole subculture. Famously involved in an ongoing feud with the rockers in 1960's England.
Aaaahhh. I remember that day when you suddenly became the room owner.
11:52 AM
@BESW But could use some carrots!
Having seen Shoot'em Up, I can never look at carrots the same way again.
@ProfessorCaprion Hmmm.
I hereby declare that the first chat user to rightfully suggest a policy or use discussion be turned into a meta post will receive One Free Re-Roll, redeemable in any rpg.se chat game run by myself or other participating GMs.
Wohooo! I heard there's a flagging party.
@BESW Not a real statement on the state of the chat. I just like carrots.
@ProfessorCaprion And yet, carrot has been deployed.
11:55 AM
@BESW Oooh, that's nice! :)
@JonathanHobbs Let's see. And the troll is from....
...the internet
@badp I was just trying to prejudice and borderline racist. You ruined it for me.
I'm sorry, I'm also from the internet.
11:57 AM
Does "King of Tokyo" count as an RPG?
This is my impression of the chat:
@Adnan I'm unfamiliar with it. Link?
@Adnan Is that the board game?
@Adnan It's a board game
@ProfessorCaprion @JonathanHobbs Is there a difference?
Oh god, I'm 100% out of my league here.
12:00 PM
@JonathanHobbs You don't get retroactive carrots, so this doesn't count.
@Adnan No worries, we're gentle. Um.
The edges of "what is an RPG?" are fuzzy at best.
@Adnan RPGs are hard to define, but chess doesn't give you a character sheet and send you into a dungeon that exists only in your imagination. To draw the biggest difference I can. Some board games are going to blur that distinction a bit.
@BESW I'm very confused on that one. A friend told me that something called DOTA is an RPG
As BESW might be about to point out. I need to go iron a shirt! Awaaaaaaayyyy~
@Adnan Video game RPGs aren't tabletop RPGs.
but then another one said that RPGs are played with dice and with paper and whatnot
@Adnan First, there are two major groups of RPGs: computer-based and otherwise.
12:02 PM
This SE is not interested in role-playing games which rely on a computer program for moderation.
I see
So RedAlert is an RPG, right?
We focus on what are commonly but inaccurately called "tabletop," or "pen and paper" RPGs. Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most well-known.
(Case in point: one iconic video game RPG, Baldur's Gate, uses the combat rules for AD&D 2e, one of the iconic tabletop RPGs. But it's not played on a table; it's a video game, and has huge differences as a result.)
Iron's warmed up. Off I go again.
There's a lot of variation in "tabletop" RPGs, but here's the traditional baseline:
12:04 PM
@BESW Jaha! That makes sense.
A group of about a half-dozen people gather in real life to cooperatively tell the story of a small group of fictional characters. Most of the players each represent/are responsible for the actions of a single character, while one player controls the rest of the world and its inhabitants.
A rules system is chosen to help determine the outcome and effectiveness of the characters' actions, usually using dice as a randomising element to add suspense and surprise.
Often there is a map and miniatures to keep track of tactical positioning in combat.
The result is cooperative improvisational storytelling bound by rules and kept suspenseful with randomisation.
Now, everything I just said can be --and has been-- subverted or neglected by various rule sets and systems within the RPG landscape, but that's the traditional baseline for the experience.
Common variants include playing online through chat or other means, relegating control of the world to the group as a whole instead of having one individual responsible for it, and using randomisation techniques other than dice (or eschewing them entirely).
If you've played games like Baldur's Gate, or WoW, or Wizardry, you've experienced the common practice of delineating a character's abilities through a set of stats like Strength and Intelligence, subdividing them into skills, and enriching them through class features. That's the Dungeons & Dragons legacy to gaming.
[/endlecture] Any questions?
@BESW Yes. Why do they make toothpaste white and not any other colour?
Except, well, the weird translucent green ones. And that orange kid's teeth stuff.
Any other questions?
I see hm yes.
(Serious answer: because we want our teeth to be white, and it freaks out our hindbrains to use something coloured on something we want white.)
12:15 PM
@BESW That makes sense.
@JonathanHobbs Good, because I just made it up.
But it does make sense.
I wouldn't want to rub black or red stuff all over my teeth. Or I'd be less enthusiastic about it.
Hi @Magician!
I'd hate to make up something that doesn't make sense. If I want to say things that don't make sense, I can much more easily look up the truth and say that.
@BESW Hahaha
12:19 PM
@Magician You missed my narrative time rant, but it got derailed by a troll and a hammer of mods before I could get to the bits about Soviet propaganda.
I was wondering what the commotion was all about...
Eh, one of our recurring mild annoyances got more definitively troll-like, and when we started flagging aggressively it turned out he has a history.
Nice - glad I missed it :o)
Also, 14 flags in one minute is to mods as a can opener is to cats.
And then we got to learn that the collective noun for mods is either "a hammer of mods," or "an abuse of mods."
@BESW My gaming experience comprises of RedAlert and Generals. But I guess I understand the concept of a character's stats interactions with other characters.
I've played Travian for 3 days as well
I'm a basic noob when it comes to games
12:23 PM
I have relatively little experience with board and video games compared to most people on this Stack, and my tabletop RPG experiences were quite limited until only a couple years ago.
(I stayed with two editions of D&D for something like eight years before seriously investigating other options.)
Wow, I missed the whole thing huh?
Oh well...
@BESW I really like "hammer of mods".
@Magician As do I.
Sounds like an artifact that grants meta-abilities.
But it was a mod who suggested "abuse," so I felt justified in mentioning it as an alternative.
12:28 PM
@Adnan One of the differences is that with humans, you can break the rules and only consult those rules when you really want to. You can change and bend them; just like you can with King of Tokyo.
You can also probably roleplay with King of Tokyo, so the line there is super fuzzy.
You can also roleplay with Monopoly. And therein lies a deep rabbit hole of debate.
@JonathanHobbs Sounds like more fun than computer games
@Adnan It can be!
Of course, it also means that you can have social conflicts like in any interpersonal exchange, and a lot of the questions on this site are about how groups can get along.
12:43 PM
@BESW Hmmm.. that reminds me of what happened last week.
We were playing King of Tokyo (it was my first time), and then we reached a stage where I really wanted to convince somebody not to attack me in exchange of energy cubes.
The game owner said it's not in the rules, thus we can't do that.
Which sounded kind of stupid
I really wish you guys would let me leave.
I keep trying to leave the room, but then I keep seeing the messages pop up in chat.
@Wipqozn We are sometimes one of the more talkative of the civil chats.
No, as in I press the leave chat button, and it doesn't work.
I'm trapped here forever it seems.
Muahahaha, our cunning plan is coming to fruition
etc etc
12:49 PM
@Phil [7.2] Strong start, but you didn't stick the landing.
@Wipqozn [8.4] Pithy and classic, but points off for all caps.
@Adnan If you ever feel a hankering for trying out an RPG, there are a couple people in this room (myself included) who would be happy to run a quick session for you when the time is available.
We can roll dice in rpg.se-associated chat rooms:
And Roll for Shoes is a dead simple system we regularly use for impromptu play; the whole system is only seven bullet points, and it requires no preparation.
12:55 PM
@BESW Not working for me
Interesting, nevertheless.
The Dice Service ignores edits.
Just type "XdY" on its own line, where X is the number of dice (up to 9) and Y is the number of faces on the dice (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20 are supported).
I forgot you guys had the dice service here.
@Wipqozn It's shiny!
@Wipqozn Up to 9.
oops, limit of 9.
12:58 PM
If you want 10d6, you have to type 9d6 1d6.
Oh yeah! That's the stuff!
9d6 1d6
12:58 PM
Oh snap.
9d20 9d20 9d20 9d20
(You can mix dice, but the Service can't handle static modifiers like +4.)
2d8 1d6
12:59 PM
Is there an upper limit on the number of dice you can chain together?
@Wipqozn Probably, but I've never risked the room's ire by testing it.
@Wipqozn Coming from Security.SE, that's the first thing that came to my mind.
1d6 2d4 3d6
12:59 PM

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