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Posted on 2010.08.23 at 19:43
Propensity to spend = ratio of saved Vs spent money.
    It's always less than 1=100%.
      Unless you're poor, then it's less than 0%
Reaganomics trickle-down = Huge tax cuts for the rich.
    If you give money to the rich, they'll keep it.
      What they don't keep is less than 100% of that, see above.
Before ReaganAfter ReaganToday
Tax rate for the rich:~70%~28%~35%
CEO to average worker income:~35 x~70 x~300 x

The middle class is disappearing. Wages have been kept steady since 2000 while profits continue to soar. Our economy is hurting.
    Because the people who need the money the most are not getting it directly.
Ayn Rand = Sociopath = author of "Atlas Shrugged" = founder of Objectivism = other words for Libertarianism and Tea Party-ism.

Objectivism = There is no higher morality other than putting yourself first before others.
    Greed at the expense of others follows, see above.

Sadly, if the Democrats focused primarily on jobs and the economy, the GOP, it's neo-cons, libertarians, objectivists, and sociopathic Ayn Rand supporters would be just that much closer to extinction.

...and America might be able to right itself, and the world could conceivably start fixing some incredibly huge injustices.

But that won't happen now.

Thanks for the mis-management, all of "you"

I forgot to add this. Republicans ruin economy. Democrats save it, but are unpopular during the down-turn they are trying to fix. Republicans get voted in to replace Democrats and take credit for the economic prosperity that Democrats created before ruining the economy again. The cycle has been repeating itself.

Or, as Ezra Klein has noted, Obama isn't any more or less popular than any other Democrat President that has been stuck with fixing someone else's mess.

The GOP have been enacting the same play-book for decades, and they show no signs of publicly admitting that it's a bad policy. (Instead, you have to talk them into a corner in which they either have to admit it or storm out.)


Son, the Truth About Santa Claus

Posted on 2010.08.04 at 22:42
"Son, I hate to break it to you, but you need to know the truth about Santa Claus."

"Any man who wears a uniform and works that hard in a part time job making deliveries does not own the work-shop."


History, Religion, and Politicians

Posted on 2010.07.17 at 19:07
I've been doing a fair amount of historical research for a potential medieval Role Playing Game campaign, and I've come across two bits of trivia.

One, from SJ Games' GURPS Imperial Rome: "Other Christian practices, such as the division of money and property among members of the community and the secrecy of their rituals, made them the target of rumors and dislike by the population."

Christians dividing money and property among members of the community? Socialists! Communists! Hippie Socialist Communists! Edit: Re-distributors of wealth!

The other is from Life in a Medieval Village, which examines the history of the village community of Elton. In that community, 8 families regularly held the most positions of power, including that of shire reeve (sheriff) and juror, yet those same 8 families were the ones that had the most trouble with the law!

Never trust a politician.


Intolerance is a good thing.

Posted on 2010.06.12 at 14:24
In Fantasy-RPG lore, the elves and the dwarfs were once sworn enemies. That animosity continued to last long after both races finally made peace with each other. There is one thing both races hate worse than each other, and that's an orc!

At least that's the way I remembered it. It's an animosity has been down-played over the past few decades of role playing. I guess it's just not PC, any more.

Politically correct? Were medieval people tolerant? Stonings! Inquisitions! Crusades! Thirty Years of War between sects of Christianity! Strife makes for interesting role playing! (Just look at all of the built-in animosities in White Wolf's World of Darkness!)

Here are some quick thoughts on Fantasy-RPG intolerances you can choose to role play:
BEHIND THE CUT: Beasts, Demons, Dwarves, Elves, Fey, Half-Humans, Halflings, Humans, Lycanthropes, Orcs, Underworld Creatures, Arcane, Artisans & Poets, Beggars & Poor, Brash Stupidity, Criminals, Divine Interference, Military Arrogance, Money Lenders, Nobles & Royalty, (Rich) Patrons, Peasants, Primal Nature Forces, Psionics, Scholars, Undead, and of course, an INTOLERANCE OF EVILCollapse )
GM Challenge:

Start a game in which every player character must have at least one intolerance against another player character and then give them a common purpose to unite against. Be sure to generously award points for role-playing.


D&D 4.0

Posted on 2010.05.28 at 20:36
When 4.0 first came out, I had given up on D&D again. My first impression was that they were perfecting the science of marketing more power-ups. (See 3rd ed post.) Then I played WotC's sponsored D&D Encounters. More on that later.

Classes in 4.0 are more balanced (from what I've seen so far). Some people don't like this, but consider the alternative where no one wants to play a suck-arse Bard. (3.0) In 4.0, you (mostly) only get one attack per round, and combat is resolved a lot sooner. If combat scenes are so fast paced and exciting, then why should it take 5 to 6 hours of real life to finish them? 4.0 fixes that.

Instead of getting fixed class abilities per level, you get to choose from class powers. Some of the powers are similar to each other (but are unique write-ups, see previous rant on 3rd Ed). Some of the powers are fairly unique, like the Ranger's Twin Strike ability. (I call it the Double Tap.) All classes receive the same number of power-ups. It doesn't look like magic users will take nearly as long to create from scratch as they did in previous editions.

You get fewer skills to invest in, and all classes get to train in the same number of skills independently of Intelligence. I feel that this is a step backwards.

I still feel that D&D is still a mixed bag. I like the stream-lined combat system, but it could stand to be just a little more, err, um, realistic (as far as "realistic" goes in RPGs). I shouldn't be able to shoot through allies, some weapons should be more effective against certain types of armor, and the direction you face in combat relative to the enemies that surround you should matter.

The main question is, "Are you having fun?", and I'd have to say that my newly addicted to gaming wife would have to say, "Yes." I may be biased as a result, but I am also having fun so far.


D&D 3 and 3.5

Posted on 2010.05.27 at 20:43
What happened here? There has been a lot of improvements over the past ten years, and a number of disappointments as well.

3.0 was exciting if only because it was a significant change toward the better. The system became more skill-based. I like point-buy systems, and I liked how smarter characters were allowed to purchase more skills. I don't like level / class - based RPGs. I think they're all dinosaurs, all of them, even if they're new.

I remember that the Ranger and the Bard were weak. I do not like collecting power-ups. If a game system provides an ability, that ability should be scalable and re-usable without having to write another custom special rule / power-up. I'm talking class abilities, spells, and feats here. As far as I'm concerned, it's an excuse to sell more books, and I don't like that at all.

Combat took forever because of the multiple attacks per turn, but it was an Open Source role playing system! The rules were available online, and you could sell your own variations of it!

3.5 felt like it came too soon, but maybe it fixed some things. I felt a little betrayed by the sudden and complete replacement of my investment into 3.0. I didn't buy any copies. I had given up on D&D again.


Sucky RPG motivations

Posted on 2010.04.11 at 18:45
Sucky RPG motivations:
  • Monsters threaten the village: Constantly kill monsters of ever-increasingly difficulty until the big monster out to destroy the world is revealed and beaten twice.
  • Vengeance is mine: You survived monsters destroying the village and now you must seek your vengeance by killing monsters of ever-increasing difficulty until you have to kill some big monster twice in order to save the world.
  • Save the world: A big monster threatens the world, and you have to work your way up to it by defeating minions of ever-increasing difficulty before having to defeat the big monster - twice.
  • Chosen one: You are fated to save the world from some big monster that you'll end up killing twice, but you'll have to kill off monsters of ever-increasing difficulty to get there first.
  • Ill fated friend: Someone is fated to die so you can save the world from some big monster, which you'll have to kill twice... after you've defeated lesser monsters of ever-increasing difficulty.
  • Go West: Someone big and important wants you to go somewhere, but you'll have to defeat monsters of ever-increasing difficulty to get there. Once you arrive, you may have to kill something at least twice.
RPG motivations that suck for other reasons:
  • Fetch quests: Save my kitty from the tree. Kill the rats in the cellar. Get me a loaf of bread. Give this item to this person over here. I wanna drink of watah...
Is this a role playing game or a side-scrolling shoot 'em up on a game console?

Does anyone know of any (computer) RPGs that do not fit this pattern? I don't care if it was only made for the Apple ][ , I'll buy one if I have to!


RPG plotlines

Posted on 2010.04.11 at 18:22
Power-up-based RPG progression
  • Designed to satisfy quotas before "winning"
  • Constant rewards that become increasingly obsolete
  • Can be extended until power granted by rewards is no longer manageable or players seek end resolution (Typically fighting the main villain)
I need better equipment!-->Barely survive fights to loot (for purchase)
(Get ever closer to main villain)|
Easily win fights until you're not<--My equipment rocks!

Hack! Chop! Crunch! Ka-Ching! Bling! Ugh, when will it end, and when do I get to stop having to manage my inventory?

Scene-based RPG progression

  • Designed to focus on the choices made in an interactive story experience
  • Choices and consequences are their own rewards
  • Should drive the story to a conclusion dependent upon choices made

Act on a premise-->Learn from results
(Get ever closer to end resolution)|
Make a decision<--See opportunities

The has nothing really to do with GURPS Mysteries (in previous post). I'm just tired of having to constantly win power-ups for the sake of winning a game that seems devoid of any story-based motivation.


There is a hole...

Posted on 2010.04.11 at 00:25
...in your mind.


Pet Psychology

Posted on 2010.04.10 at 11:05
Me: "Have you heard about that professional cat psychologist?"

Wife: "No...?"

Me: "He had himself committed."

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