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Just a place for the odd thoughts, updates, and the detritus of my mind that doesn't belong on social media.

Posted: Oct 2nd, 8:35am

Benefits of Living Standards in D&D 5E

The 5th Edition of D&D defines six levels of living conditions, from Wretched up to Aristocratic with different costs associated. However, apart from hob-nobbing with the rich (or the poor) there are no real mechanical benefits to each standard of living. This leads many players to ask: "Why pay 25gp a night to live at a Wealthy Standard, when I could sleep in a ditch for free?"

The most obvious answer is: "Because you won't have to sleep in a ditch!" but roleplaying benefits are not mechanical rewards, and some people are more focussed on the later than the former, which is a perfectly fine way to play. If you need your gold to buy diamonds for ressurection, you won't want to waste it on expensive inns.

Posted: Sep 17th, 6:28am

Self-Descriptive Writing

There is a writing technique that I have been trying to practice, and describe properly for years. For the purposes of this post I'm giving it the grand title of Self-Descriptive Neologisms, but that's almost certainly a bad name. Bear with me though, possibly my ranmblings will make enough sense that someone else can give me a better one.

Posted: Aug 29th, 9:36am


In my Solo D&D Adventure — Curse of the Emerald Elixir — I am mostly using B/X mechanics, as reflected through the lens of Adventurer, Conqueror, King.

One part of the ACKs rules that are unchanged from B/X, and not to my liking, are those for poison.

Poison: Poisonous monsters are among the most dreaded that adventurers will face. A character exposed to the poison of a monster, unless otherwise noted, must immediately succeed in a saving throw versus Poison or be killed. The 4th level cleric spell neutralize poison can be used to restore the stricken character if cast within 10 rounds of the character’s death.

ACKS 1st Edition Core, p151

You fail to save, you die. It has the benefit of simplicity, but the downside that all poisons are equally deadly. They don't make you sicken, nor do they give time for treatment (except for the use of Neutraise Poison).

As BX/Blackrazor suggests, the existence of the 10 round grace period on neutralise poison implies that the poison doesn't actually kill you instantly (unless neutralise poison is really ressurection). Instead you are incapacitated the moment you fail the save, but there is a short window in which you are, perhaps, saveable. Interestingly the 10 rounds parallels 3rd Edition's negative HP. Nevertheless, if there isn't someone availble to cast the spell (or in ACK's case, use the equivalent Healing Proficiency), then you are toast, whether you were poisoned by a bee or a purple worm.

I decided to take a varient rule that I'd seen suggested in various places — that Poison did damage dependant on the HD of monster (often 1d6/HD) — and adapt it for my own use.


Posted: Aug 29th, 8:12am

Representative Democracy

The current chaotic meltdown of UK Parliamentary Democracy has got me wondering whether we wouldn't all have been better off learning about how the Governemnt works at school instead of — I don't know — how ATP is used in cells, or how to speak French. Not that I didn't enjoy the Biology (less so the modern languages) but that much of the current crisis in the UK seems to be driven by downright ignorancy of how our democracy works.

If you dare the murky waters of Facebook or Twitter today, or God forbid the comments sections of British newspapers online, you'll see again and again the idea that "Traitorous Remain MPs are betraying Democracy!"

Let's leave aside for a moment the hyperbolic langauge, the fascist stylings, the predictable and terrifying calls for violence, and concentrate on the core idea that, by blocking a No Deal Brexit (or Brexit as a whole, these members of parliament are somehow "betraying" anything. It seems to me that such an idea comes from simply not grasping how British Democracy actually works.

Here's what I wish I could make the posters of these horrifying messages understand:

How it Works

The UK has a Representative Democracy. We do not make decisions by plebiscite or referrendum — unlike some other countries. Instead we elect Members of Parliament whose duty is to represent the views, and the best interests, of the people who live in their constituencies (and not just the people who voted for them, however much political parties would like to believe otherwise). We do so firstly because we presume our MPs to be more capable (by dint of doing it full time) of understanding these issues than we are, and secondly because it is impracticable or impossible to seek the opinion of the people at all times.

The UK is not ancient Athens. We don't ask the people (in Athens' case that meant rich male land owners) to make laws or vote on every issue. We let the Representatives decide.

In 2016 a referrendum was held to guage the public's...