Tabletop Season 4: Star Realms

Apr. 27th, 2017 05:49 pm
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Posted by wil wil

Do you like deck building games? How about games that can fit in your pocket? HOW ABOUT BOTH OF THOSE THINGS AT THE SAME TIME?!

Yes, of course you do, because you’re not a real person, but in fact a representation I invented so I can address this post to someone who has said YES three times since it started.

So, imaginary person (and perhaps real people who are also listening at the moment), you’re going to love this week’s Tabletop. It’s Star Realms, and I play against delightful human and Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour player Melissa DeTora.


Did you know that I wrote and narrated a supernatural horror story? I DID, and it’s only five bucks!


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Episode 1502: You Destroy a World Once, and They Call You Destroyer of Worlds

Actions may speak louder than words, but do they speak louder than motivations?

In a game world, what's in one's heart may be as important, or moreso, than what they do. If you do the right things for the wrong reasons, or do the wrong things for the right reasons, it may be possible that magic, or cosmic karma, or technological mind reading can determine your true intentions. And the gods, or the fates, or even the secular authorities might determine justice based on that, rather than what you did.

Imagine a world a bit like Minority Report, but where law enforcement can determine your motives without fail, and where what we would consider the most heinous crimes can be forgiven if your heart is pure. And where you can be punished for being evil, no matter if you've actually done anything "wrong" or not.

Interesting Links for 26-04-2017

Apr. 26th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Episode 1501: V For Vadetta

Apr. 25th, 2017 10:11 am
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Episode 1501: V For Vadetta

Ageing is something that seldom comes up in games, except in cases of artificial ageing by curses or something. Most campaigns don't tend to run for long in enough in game time for characters to age more than a few years.

What about running a campaign in which the individual adventures don't take place serially, in quick succession, but rather spaced out over years, with large gaps in between? You can think about TV series that were revived after a long time, like The X-Files, only take it as a model for multiple gaps between adventures.

A young group complete some adventure, and are so exhausted and perhaps wealthy afterwards that they retire. But a decade later the old threat resurfaces, and they are the best group to fight it again, so they regroup. Then several years later again, something happens which has weird echoes of the previous two adventures, and the heroes need to come together a third time, now much older (and hopefully wiser).

Interesting Links for 25-04-2017

Apr. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm

Money and Government

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:07 pm
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The UK takes in 34.4% of GDP as tax*. This is a bit less than the EU average (35.7%), about 6% less than Germany (40.6%), and a chunk less than the countries at the top end (Sweden at 45.8%, France at 47.9%, Denmark at 50.8%).

Is this the major source of the UK being awful at providing a safety net at the moment? Or are there other things that play a significant part in exacerbating the situation?

And are those figures comparable? In the UK that 34.4% has to cover the vast majority of healthcare, while in Germany healthcare looks to be largely on top of that - which would have an effect there (Although that would make the overall figures even higher in Germany).

I'm not actually sure how much I trust the figures in this case either. That page has the USA at 26%, whereas the figures here show total US taxation as either 18% (Federal), or 42% (Federal, State, and Local).

*All figures from here.

Episode 1500: Illumination Theory

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:11 am
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Episode 1500: Illumination Theory

If someone's dying wish is to, well, die, then it's probably a good idea to make sure there aren't any necromancers or brain-uploading robots or anything like that around first. They might not be happy to find out later on that something went wrong.

Interesting Links for 22-04-2017

Apr. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 21-04-2017

Apr. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm

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Apr. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Episode 1499: Close, But No Death Stick

If you give your players a quest to accomplish, it's too easy to spell out all the requirements explicitly. Instead, try just dropping vague hints as to what needs to be done.

For example, they might know they need to retrieve a "blue rabbit", but they have no idea what sort of rabbit or why it's blue, or if it's a specific legendary blue rabbit, or just any old blue rabbit.

They might not even know that "rabbit" is a corruption of a word in an ancient language, "rebett", which actually means "gem", and not rabbit at all...

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Posted by wil wil

It’s time for a new TV Crimes podcast! This after school special made Mikey and me so angry, he had to spend nearly a full day editing out all our swears.In this episode you can enjoy:

  • Candidates for the worst parents in the history of television!
  • Punk rock music composed by someone who knows nothing about punk rock!
  • Judgy Boomer Parents Who Think Everything Is About Them™!
  • A delightful haircut!
  • A contest with REAL PRIZES!
  • And much much more!

Episode 13 The Day My Kid Went Punk

If you like our silly podcast, please rate and review us on the podcasting app thingy of your choice. We think we have something here that could grow into a really cool show, but we can only do that if enough people listen, and your ratings and reviews can make that difference for us.

Interesting Links for 19-04-2017

Apr. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Posted by doranwen

Final edit: Leukemia seems to be the solution - thank you all for your suggestions, even if I couldn't use them! It helped a lot to think through all the possibilities.

So I'm writing a story set in a fantasy world with limited to no technology as we know it (some civilizations know how to use gunpowder to blow up things, but that's not present in this story's civilization). The story is set in an agrarian village (where the men are often training to fight with bow/sword and defend their lands from evil creatures) with a Northern European-style climate. They have the standard sorts of livestock that we would see on an old-style family farm - chickens, pigs, cows or goats, some horses (although these are used as much for transportation between places as anything - sort of all-purpose). They are aware of how to keep things clean and have proper sanitation practices (unlike our medieval world) so diseases from unsanitary conditions are rare.

I'm trying to find a way for this character to die, with the following details:

- she's a woman in her late 20s, which is the prime of her life for this civilization

- if this is an injury, it isn't likely to be horse-related as she wouldn't be dealing with them much; the only body of water nearby is a creek used for water sources (and which she's unlikely to cross)

- while it's possible for her to be pregnant at the time (she's had only one child so far and that was two years before), she's not aware of a pregnancy (so any pregnancy-related complication would need to be something very early on)

- it needs to not be something very infectious that will prevent her from having normal visitors and such while she is dying

- it needs to be something she can tell is turning fatal; she has enough time to recognize that she is not likely to survive and prepare others, which brings me to...

- she has to stay conscious till nearly the end (could have a few hours of lapsing into unconsciousness, but not days), though could be in major pain (as long as she's not confused or unconscious), because she has to be able to talk to several people as she's nearing the end and tell them things for the future

- this can happen sometime from late spring to early fall

- she has been healthy up to this point, so it can't be a disease developing over years

I googled everything from "septicemia" to "tetanus" to "dysentery" to "fatal fever" (which got me some book about Typhoid Mary) to "fatal pregnancy" (just in case I'd missed something there) to "disease fatal" to "medieval disease/death/etc." (every variation I could think of). Septicemia looked useful except for the confusion; tetanus seemed to rule out being able to communicate with the muscle spasms; dysentery is far too gross (I'd rather not have a disease where there is frequent emergence of lots of bodily fluids and other nasty stuff - though if nothing else seems to work, dysentery might be it!); most of the others were far too contagious; and I couldn't find any of the pregnancy complications that looked viable. While I've done a lot of research on illnesses, I am quite open to an injury if there's one that will cause death slow enough for her to have those conversations.

If there's anything out there I can use (real-world diseases, but if there's an old-fashioned name for it I'll be using that), let me know your suggestions! I won't actually be writing her death scene - the POV is of a character who won't be in the room with her at the time, but will be hearing some of the "last words" preparation before she leaves the room, as she's being charged with raising the dying character's child, so I have to know how she'd be speaking (halting? lots of pauses between words? as long as she can get the words out - and then have another 10-minute or so convo with the person who is in the room with her at the time she dies - I'm good).

Edit: Finally just got a hold of a relative with some medical experience, and their suggestion made me want to headdesk because of its simplicity: Cancer. It might be more common in our modern era due to all the pollutants and chemicals we're exposed to, but it still happened back then. Their suggestion was leukemia… Does that fit? And if so, where on earth can I find a description of the disease's progression without medical treatment? Whichever it is needs to only be discovered by this character some weeks before she dies, so maybe her symptoms are too mild before that to be noticed, or it's a variety that develops rapidly…

Interesting Links for 18-04-2017

Apr. 18th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Election Time Again!

Apr. 18th, 2017 11:25 am
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The government has grown fed up with having a wafer-thin majority, which is meaning that they are dependent on the...less compliant members of the party to pass things. And so we get to have an election.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act the government can't just call an election.

So, May needs to either:
1) No Confidence herself. And then wait 14 days. Easy to do, even if it looks a bit silly.
2) Get Labour to go along with the snap election. Which they'd be stupid to do, but will probably do so anyway, considering recent behaviour.
2) Repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Would probably take a while, particularly if the Lords decide to bounce it around.

I wonder which one she'll go for. By what's been said so far, it looks like (2), but it's hard to tell.

Episode 1498: The Empire Flashes Back

Apr. 18th, 2017 10:11 am
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Episode 1498: The Empire Flashes Back

What some players see as unnecessary effort can be bread and butter for someone else. If someone else is enthusiastic about character backgrounds, consider working with them to develop your own. If a player has a flair for plotting or bad guy motivations, recruit them to help craft an adventure (of course twisting things just enough so they don't know exactly what will happen). Use the skills of players who like doing certain things to expand everyone's fun.

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Posted by dreamsofspike

So, I'm writing this fic that centers around a British character on an American show, and I am not quite sure how to search for the specific information that I need. The story involved a very abusive relationship with an extreme power imbalance. The purpose of the language I'm looking for is for the abuser to make the victim feel worthless and powerless. He has complete authority, the power of life or death, over his unwilling partner, who is for all intents and purposes his slave.

And what I'm needing to know is, what would a British male character call another British male character that would be the equivalent of an American male calling another male his "bitch", and also the equivalent of calling him a whore or a slut?

I am considering also having the abuser call the victim by a term of endearment/pet name. If he was American, I'd use "baby" or "sweetheart" - something that can go either way, either be genuinely affectionate, or patronizing and degrading. Would "love" work for a British character? Or something else? What would you suggest?

Thanks so much for any help y'all can provide with this. :)

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Up the hill for the ante-penultimate Beltane walkthrough today, and the clouds above us were just thick enough that I could take a photo of Nelson's Monument with the sun behind it.

I got home, and was trying to work out how to post it, and couldn't decide which cropping to use. I kinda like the last one, with just the tower in it. On the other hand, I like the first one with the people in it.

And I'm by no means an expert in photography (I just knows what I likes), so I thought I'd throw this one open...

Bonus photo, Edinburgh's Folly, as seen about half an hour later, also with the sun behind it:

Interesting Links for 16-04-2017

Apr. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Episode 1497: You may cast this scene from your graveyard for its flashback cost

A lot of things depend on how you look at them, especially things like human motivations.

So why not set up a quest that can only be completed by the correct motivations or emotions, rather than by simply finding the right object or killing the right monster? There are elements of this in fairy tales - needing to to break the curse by finding true love - which leave room open for creative interpretation (see Frozen for a good example). There's no reason you can't borrow such elements and insert them into a more serious or gritty campaign.

Imagine how different the story would have been if Dorothy could never return home until she accepted that she would have to live in Oz forever. Or if Frodo couldn't destroy the Ring until Sam let him throw himself into the fires of Mount Doom with it (and he skipped third dessert).

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