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Saturday, June 12, 2021

a game where you mine and craft

unfortunately i don't think there's a way to adapt minecraft to a tabletop role-playing format if we think of tabletop role-playing games as vehicles for collaborative story telling, or role-playing as pretending to be a character. however, in my recent blog post (link), i discuss how what sets old-school dungeons & dragons from other games is how it is an open and infinite system. you need both of these aspects to encompass the creative play of minecraft: there should be few strict rules (let language do the heavy lifting), and there should be no absolute goal in sight. there shouldn’t be a realistic narrative [1] either, since we’re talking about minecraft where days are twenty minutes long and players can dig massive tunnel systems in that amount of time.

i think the best comparison is to how most board games don’t ask you to distinguish between you as player and you as character. when i play minecraft with my friends, i don’t make that distinction. i’m the one punching the trees, sowing the seeds, etc. this isn’t to say anything stupid (as a lacanian) that there isn’t a split between player and “character”; obviously you’re only punching trees in the game world, and not in real life. it’s the conceit that your character has a personality that i think wouldn’t mesh well with minecraft.

so keeping this in mind, i think this frees up a lot of possibilities to make something geared towards creative play. the rest of this post is just me coming up with random ideas for how this might all work. these are not all consistent or complete, but i hope it sounds fun! feel free to tell me any thoughts you have :)

Friday, June 11, 2021

critique 2: the old school

i don’t think this article will ruffle anyone’s feathers. i’ve had the pleasure of only interacting with old-school gamers [1] that aren’t somehow neopagan fascists and that don’t have any weird nostalgic presuppositions about the OSR: namely, that OSR is how games SHOULD be, or that it’s important to stay true to (some version of) gygax’s inspired vision. i gravitate towards the old-school scene because i like the lack of buy-in required to play. like mafia or werewolf, you can get together with your friends without pretension and use the game just as an excuse to joke around and have fun. of course, playing the game is enjoyable too, but (for me) that’s only conductive to the enjoyment of the party at the table.

i bring that up because this enjoyment of play has nothing to do with something inherent to the OSR style, even if i myself feel it to be the best fit for its lack of conceit and rules compared to other games. in fact, gygax attributes this sort of enjoyment-beyond-the-game to a biological difference of the sexes [2]. men understand how to enjoy the game for how it is, whereas women will get distracted with “LARPing” and so on [3]. it seems, according to gygax, women’s enjoyment is not necessarily opposite of men (i.e. “LARPing” as characters is not necessarily incompatible with the gygaxian game), but it is something beyond men’s style of enjoyment which renders the two play styles basically incompatible. in short, one could say that "LARPing" is besides the 'point' of the game.

taking such cues from gygax, i hope to shed light on the patterns of desire which dictate the play of dungeons & dragons as originally “written” or “intended” [4]. this will not only serve to flesh out gygax’s supposed difference between female and male enjoyment, but it will also help explain the origin and evolution of the dungeons & dragons game.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

converting b/x THAC0 to whitehack-style attack values

edit: i managed to fuck up the AVs for fighters but i hope you get the gist, will fix later

instead of having THAC0 values which you use by basically rolling d20 >= that number and adding the opponent's AC (a table is usually included to be helpful), whitehack works by giving each player a specific attack value (AV) to roll d20 <=. to account for AC, you also have to roll > whatever value is indicated for the opponent's armor. in a way, it's "THAC9". anyway i like it better than THAC0 and i wanted to see how it would work in b/x or OSE or whatever.

here is the table to convert from ose-style AC to whitehack-style AC.


here are the AVs for clerics and thieves:


for fighters:


for magic-users (why not 'mages'???):


yeah!

thoughts on gender-sex

this has been on my mind, and i woke up in a mood so i looked at what i had been writing about it. however, i didn't want to bring more negativity and instead wanted to make something more productive. i am a random person on the internet but maybe this is something interesting/useful for someone else.

here i revaluate some definitions for words like 'transgender' and 'trans-sex' to call specific attention to fundamental differences between individuals who are altogether called 'trans' (i myself fall under the 'trans-sex' category [1]). i also talk about how certain discussions surrounding gender diminish the experiences of individuals who experience dysphoria, by treating gender as essential while simultaneously treating its relationship to the body as arbitrary.

overall, i hope to develop a view of gender which distinguishes two things: gender as the categorization of individuals according to their sexual characteristics, and the essentialization of personality traits according to gender resulting from the way in which individuals are socialized according to their own gender. in other words, i argue that the distinct socialization of individuals called 'female' and 'male' results in the outcomes of those socializations being taken for granted as essentially 'female' and 'male' personalities. this results in gender as categorization being equated with gender as essential personality. people have correctly noticed that the relationship between the two are absolutely arbitrary. however, some people opt to retain gender as essential personality while rejecting its arbitrary relationship to sexual characteristics. i think instead the better option is to criticize any notion of an essential self on any basis or lack thereof, in order to criticize the expectations which are levied according to sexual characteristics and to more appropriately treat trans-sex individuals.

i think the first like 3 or 4 points are super noncontroversial lol, so heads up on that! not saying anything new there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

critique 1: towards better critiques of games

i want to start this by saying that a critique of games does not really matter, and anyone who says otherwise has something in it for them (whether that's money, influence, or plain ol' enjoyment). at best, we should engage in criticism of the 'field' because it's a way to sharpen our minds towards other more important topics. there is a sort of irony in this attitude, in that our criticism of games itself becomes a sort of play, insofar as play is the emulation and practice of social forms. bearing this in mind, let's play critics and see how we can flesh out our understanding of tabletop games and the modes in which we play them.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

LIKE-A-ROGUE: metaphor and metonymy

i meant to write this post a week or two ago but i got so busy! my friend Liber Ludorum (twitter, blog) pointed out this game to me one day to ask my opinion as an overzealous lacanian. here are my thoughts on LIKE-A-ROGUE (link) by @4illeen (twitter).

Sunday, May 16, 2021

metric dungeons

soon after the anti-civilization organization of evil monsters introduced accessibility features into their dungeons, they realized that it was also kind of weird that they would measure their projects according to some human king's foot. in collaboration with the adventurers' guild, they invented new architectural standards along with new guidelines for traversing dungeons.