Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 08:17 on 10-01-2012, Arthur B
There's one which replaces them with bears.

I'm a bear oh yeeeeeeeeeah.
at 06:07 on 10-01-2012, valse de la lune
Spiders in real life aren't that bad.
at 03:56 on 10-01-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
No, the best Skyrim mod would be one that replaces the spiders with something that isn't spiders because holy fuck Bethesda what were you thinking spiders arent even real animals theyre godless killing machines who dont even look like they belong on the earth so many legs always fast and eyes and hair and fangs but not as bad as legs always creeping creeping their minds are empty their souls are alive with cruelty of nature incarnate my god my god he cannot save us now they are crawling crawling crawling towards us no no no nonononononononononno they wake theywait they wake wait arise

I don't like spiders.
at 02:09 on 10-01-2012, Arthur B permalink
at 23:58 on 09-01-2012, Arthur B
Link to announcements on WotC website, for those that missed the article before it got paywalled.

I think that WotC have very correctly identified that a fractured fanbase is D&D's biggest problem at the moment - its big strength was never that it was particularly good at any one aspect of the tabletop RPG experience, but that before 4E it was a broad enough game to accommodate a bunch of people's preference, so whilst 4E was clearly a much better game for people really into miniatures and strategy it was also clearly going to put off people who weren't into either of those things.

The big difficulty's going to be trying to incorporate enough people's ideas that there's a general feeling the consultation process made a difference, whilst at the same time avoiding becoming a massive, contradictory mess. Ultimately there's going to be some issues people feel really strongly about which Wizards will have to make a call on one way or another, and whatever they decide there'll be neckbeards screaming and crying and kicking game tables over; the trick's going to be making choices which ensure that it's just a few big babies who get stroppy and stomp off and not significant sections of the fanbase, because then you have the fractured base problem all over again.

It's going to be a tall order. I guess one way they could do it is to make the new system highly, highly modular - make the core mechanics extremely simple and incredibly sparse, and provide heaps of optional add-ons. My group wants a game where we spend a lot of time tweaking and optimising our characters but where combat flows quickly, so we use the Advanced Character Gen and the Streamlined Combat optional rules; your group likes to roll up characters quickly and then spend ages over the fighting, so you use the Quickstart Character Gen and the Tactical Combat modules. Essentially each group would take the core mechanic and bolt on different flavours of subsystem to suit their tastes.

That would risk losing some of the cohesiveness, but then again it'd also acknowledge the fact that no two D&D groups have ever really played the game the same way in the first place. The real difficulty of such an approach would be making the game accessible to n00bs, but then you could flag up some of the modular system components as being particularly learner-friendly and design accordingly.

Either way, it'll be interesting to see how they do it.
at 19:46 on 09-01-2012, Shimmin
Interesting. The point about fractured fanbase (which also tends to lead to weaker sales of products for the new editions) is good, though the comparison with basketball misses a point: RPGs are especially vulnerable because (for the most part) they don't involve competition between groups, let alone have national representative bodies that lay down the law. That gives groups the flexibility to bend the game to their own inclinations and preferences, which is a great bonus for the players, except for the few occasions when they have to get used to different houserules. Similarly they can happily stick with an older ruleset and whatever expansions they want, rather than expensive upgrades that would help the company. Whereas in sport you tend to be bound to whatever rules are agreed nationally, but it doesn't usually cost anything to change.

So I'd be interested to hear what the other Ferretneurons think. A slightly glib starting point would be "work out what sort of game you want it to be". At the moment 2nd edition seems to have the classic lowish fantasy market with strong archetypes and social structure, Pathfinder is probably on top of loose flexible fantasy, and 4E is there for fans of tactical combat and cinematic fantasy who don't want too much realism. What do they actually think they can offer?

NB: okay, that's weird... I managed to read the article, just went back to recheck it, and now it's behind a paywall. Good timing there.
at 16:37 on 09-01-2012, Arthur B
So apparently Wizards of the Coast are going to ask the roleplaying community exactly how they should go about putting together D&D 5th Edition.

The flamewars over this are going to be legendary.
at 05:21 on 09-01-2012, valse de la lune
I applaud you, sir.

It was my supply of facepalm, but that'll work just as well.
at 01:40 on 09-01-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I'm sorry, your supply of what?

Bile, presumably. It's like regenerating health; you have an infinite supply, but it runs low, so you need to hide behind a wall and wait for it to recharge.

'Course, in my day, we had bile packs, and we had to ration our outrage accordingly. It made arguments more challenging, knowing you had to make your points while never being certain when the next dose of anger would keep you going to the next point. Honestly, the day regenerative bile when mainstream is the day rhetoric went to hell. "Faster and more immersive arguing", my ass. All it does is turn arguments into white-hot jets of rage which eliminates the highs and lows of traditional debate and eliminates all sense of personal risk from the arguer.
at 19:49 on 08-01-2012, Ash

I just depleted my supply

I'm sorry, your supply of what?
at 06:43 on 07-01-2012, valse de la lune
I'm sorry, I just depleted my supply reading this old thing with Brandon Sanderson defending Jordan's sexism and calling him progressive, and that anyone who disagrees with him--Sanderson--clearly doesn't understand feminist theory.

I really like how "he was so progressive for his time!" nicely and conveniently erases the writing of women in specfic. Hey, when did Ursula le Guin start publishing again?
at 04:36 on 07-01-2012, Dan H

“He’s not; the fact is one of the lovely threads of the original Sherlock Holmes is whatever he says, he cannot abide anyone being cruel to women – he actually becomes incensed and full of rage.”

Can I borrow a cup of facepalm, because I used all mine.
at 21:38 on 06-01-2012, valse de la lune
I must say, Cumberbatch's is not exactly the face that would launch a thousand lesbians.

Except in the direction of "away," anyway.
at 20:57 on 06-01-2012, Sister Magpie

“It’s not true and in terms of the character Sherlock Holmes, it is interesting. He has been referred to as being a bit misogynist.

“He’s not; the fact is one of the lovely threads of the original Sherlock Holmes is whatever he says, he cannot abide anyone being cruel to women – he actually becomes incensed and full of rage.”

Yes, that's just lovely, Steven.
at 19:27 on 06-01-2012, Ash
Steven Moffat has responded to criticism of his/BBC Sherlock's sexism.

It goes about as well as you'd expect.
at 11:07 on 06-01-2012, valse de la lune
It amuses me that he changed the "It" in the last line to "he" after the wank exploded. Too late, goatfucker.
at 08:38 on 06-01-2012, Arthur B
That story is terrible on so many levels. I like how he even manages to get in whining about how use of mobiles on planes is a matter of democracy or something idiotic like that. I also like how his defenders keep trying to make out that the story's meant to be a snapshot of a homophobic character's point of view which doesn't condone it when more or less every line of the story is constructed from the assumption we're going to sympathise with the homophobe and his viewpoint is never seriously challenged.
at 05:53 on 06-01-2012, valse de la lune
I didn't know about this. I do now. Link for anyone interested. This is the story he put up. In which he refers to his "queer tormentor" as "It." A lot. Very much a lot.
at 05:02 on 05-01-2012, Sister Magpie
Speaking of pros causing wank and being authors, is anyone following the story of the Merlin actor who apparently put up a story online that was considered homophobic and was also called out on Twitter and then defended by fans on Twitter? Apparently he in turn called out slash fiction in defense at some point. The actor is Eoin Macken.
at 01:42 on 05-01-2012, Michal
Who wants a bit of pro author wank to start the new year with? I know I do.

Some authors really need to take Martha Wells's advice. Then again, it's more entertaining if they don't.

"And if you do bad things online, contrary to popular belief, it does make you a bad person in real/offline life, too."
at 01:25 on 05-01-2012, Dan H

So if Moffat made her a lesbian, then why... would she... crush on Holmes? Who is not a woman?

Because lesbians aren't "women who are sexually attracted to other women, and not sexually attracted to men" they're "girls who will totally do other girls".

Plus I'm not sure Moffatt can imagine *anybody* not crushing on Holmes.
at 18:03 on 04-01-2012, Fin
wow, that dan krokos guy seems like such a wonderful human being.

it never ceases to blow my mind that there are published authors out there who think "it's just a book" is a valid argument.
at 17:33 on 04-01-2012, valse de la lune
Who wants a bit of pro author wank to start the new year with? I know I do.

(Synopsis: reader criticizes a book by Julie Cross harshly for the presence of "man-hating feminazi" stereotype, a male writer who's represented by the same agent as Cross appears and whines, the agent turns up and whines, and a bunch of stuff was said on twitter by other writers, like "goodreads? Just like 4chan!")
at 16:38 on 04-01-2012, Arthur B
Because Holmes has a penis, and penis trumps characterisation?

It's like rock-paper-scissors only there's a lot more screaming and crying when someone picks rock or scissors.