An offhand comment by Courtney Campbell during a recent podcast caught my attention. I cannot recall the exact statement but it was something to the effect of “A bunch of white males with beards probably should not…”. His point was relevant. At least to me.
At one point, I had a pretty diverse set of people of people I followed on Google+. The number of folks I saw posts from was far less bearded than it is today. I’ve not trimmed the RPG audience on the platform. Instead, many people have chosen to depart or no longer participate on G+.
On the artist front, the community is thriving, learning and leaning upon one another. Doing crazy, strange, and often awesome things together. Little drama happens among the artists I follow. Plausibly it is just an artifact of who I follow on that front. Likely, it is because they are competing on a differing front.
The RPG world is the complete opposite. It’s filled with nonsense, drama, and a whole lot of stupidity. None of which is particularly interesting — many people just choose to latch onto the latest scandal for something to write about.
I am of the curmudgeon, get off my lawn era. I do not and cannot sport a beard. However, I implore the RPG world to embrace, advertise, and support anyone producing in our community. Criticize on merit; not the sex, race, relationship with Cthulu/English druids or other choices. \
There are far too many white guys with beards in this community and far too few other inputs. Glance around your social media circles or your gaming table, and encourage alternate thoughts to flow forth.
Fix a couple small details in the 1E NPC Generator.
1) Rangers over level 8 get spells.
2) Paladins also get spells where appropriate.
And a couple of typo’s.
Fricking edge cases in 1E drive me nuts. Often.
Alas, the 1E NPC Generator has had a bug for a few months. It was low on the priority list to fix. The problem turned out to be infinite recursion due to random choices. I added alternate resolution mechanisms to the class selection when the chosen race could never meet any class/racial minimums.
The new paths allow for alternate race selection, attribute swapping, attribute bumping (capped to less than 3 additional points) when the attribute sum is less than average across the board, and finally to just bail and roll new stats and start the process over. I need to refactor the entire approach. For now, the generator cannot just exhaust the available memory attempting to fit a square peg into a hexagonal hole.
The generator needs more time on the development slate. I’ll try to work it more this month to expand the capabilities and correct some errors in the design in the coming months. The twisting turns of chargen in 1E make coding a nightmare of edge case handling.
Around three years ago, I mentioned the Tarot of Many Things in a post on the history of the Deck of Many Things. At the time, I thought the Tarot variant would be a fun generator and perhaps campaign idea. The Tarot of Many Things was originally published in Dragon Magazine #77 and authored by Michael J. Lowrey.
To date, I’ve not brought it up in a game but I finally managed to expand the original Deck generator into a 78 card Tarot of Many Things Generator. As with most generators based on specific works, I’ve excluded a few details to encourage people to buy the original document. In this case, a lot of information is missing. The details about how Tarot relates to the card at hand is excluded. From my viewpoint, that information is as interesting as Michael’s results. Especially when adapting it to a non-AD&D game.
Occasionally, I wander down roads that lead to forks, more forks, and many side paths. Modern occupations are one with many strange journeys. The original parsing had over 100K entries. The details are hard to parse automatically so I stepped back and just hit the top categories. The minor preview fails to express the awesome level of detail I want to show.
The data is crazily detailed. Far more than I originally suspected. It will allow me to delve into categories of employment within the major categories and drill down multiple levels. Yep, tables of tables. Pretty awesome to determine if a person is a CEO of a mining company or a truck driver in the mining industry.
I’ll likely double-dip on this data and generate not only the original table(s) for a random generator but also a PDF. Due to the detail, I’ll likely utilize a d1000 system since the significant digits drop into the noise with at the d100 level.
As most people know, the bulk of my generators use real world information. I love what exists because of the amazing diversity. The Gygaxian Name Generator is no different. It mimics what I’ve dubbed Gary Logic.
From what I’ve seen, his general process for names was taking a person’s name and perturbing it into something more interesting. Sometimes that process was a simple reversal; other times he added or subtracted characters. On occasion, made it into a full blown title style name. Quite often he made use of anagrams. Sometimes, he just made stuff up.
I cannot claim to know his thought process but anagram style names were plausible. Doing a difference engine was also reasonable. Making stuff up Gary style? Not so much.
The limiting factor of this generator is it’s use of real world names. I crossed many boundaries–pulling results from Old West, Modern, Medieval and other databases. I was going to use more but the query time eclipsed the 3 second attention span of most web visitors.
At this point, I still want to tweak and tune it further but it produces interesting results so its live.
WoTC delivered another blow to digital support for their system again today. Many, myself included, consider that a failure but why do they repeatedly fail to deliver useful tools? It all begins at what you define as a useful system.
First and foremost, people desire electronic documents so they don’t have to haul around pounds of books. Most publishers have adopted that approach. Even WotC with the release of hundreds of older titles. Still, they have been silent regarding new releases. By all signs, they have the intention of once again failing to produce any eReader compatible documents. This is a company that is firmly in the physical world in the form of Magic the Gathering. It should be no shock that they want print first and foremost.
They have also failed to deliver digital capabilities on not one but two releases now. Did they ever have a 3/3.5 strategy? I cannot recall. Hasbro is a physical media company. Somewhere upstream is a VP or P who has absolutely no concept of the internet or its abilities. Worse, is the subsidiary, WotC cannot communicate a digital strategy up that chain. Is that pure speculation? Yes it is. But the track record of Hasbro/WotC fucking up digital on the Dungeons and Dragons front cannot be denied.
Here is a tip: More and more gamers want digital books. It’s that simple, no matter what your people say. If they can go to college without lugging 8 pounds of books, its pretty obvious they don’t need hardback RPG’s any longer.
On the utility front, first and foremost quit jacking around. Most of this stuff is simple. Encounters, treasure, spells, spell books. Pure awesome randomness can do that. Where you fail is on the character side.
And that’s where WotC and I agree to disagree. It is probably too difficult to code. Too convoluted. Character creation went sideways in the Gygax era with 1E. The exponential complexity in subsequent editions makes a digital partner balk…at least it should.
Also, if you want to hammer on creative websites, WotC, perhaps you should rethink that. They are driven by consumers of your product to do what you keep failing to do. Perhaps you should encourage them. Or hire them. You know, to do that plan, that you continually fail to accomplish.