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Roll the dice

From one who has not played AD&D since (checks) 1983 or so (and is ignorant of anything TTRPG since they stuck "1st edition" on its name) ...

Posit a D&D campaign being run in the Laundry Universe, during/after CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (so circa 2015-20, in a world where magic has been out of the closet and rattling its fingerbones under everyones' nose since 2014).

What strange character classes and odd tropes might a sufficiently creative GM come up with? What existing mechanisms and monsters would have gone abruptly out of fashion, and what might be the new hotness in a campaign where some of the players might be accountants by day, and others might be capable of setting their hair on fire?

(Yes this is a "do my homework" question, and I have zero intention of explaining why. Suck it up!)

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1:

I think the whole "underwater adventuring" system would be put through its paces, "water breathing" magic extended/enhanced to also apply in vacuum... Laundryverse puts humans in a lot less hospitable environments than traditional D&D did.

Bards, of course, would get more options for combat magic...

2:

For some reason you're reminding me of the old campaign I ran for a bit that mixed "Space: 1889" and "Call of Cthulhu". It didn't run long enough, but the endgame was going to involve the canals of Mars actually being a *really really big* Elder Sign...

3:

It is possible (although not necessarily likely) that Wizards of the Coast (the current owner of the D&D trademark) would be in trouble, simply from the name.

It is entirely likely that people would have (somewhere in the 3-12 months in) well-established "used by many" homebrew rules for computational magic, at least if that much has been made public.

There's probably going to be (if K syndrome is known) hmebrew rules for bad after-effects of magicing.

There's definitely going to be more possession-power monsters.

Although when it comes to tabletop RPGs, I suspect (A)D&D is going to be seeing less change than FATE and other more recent system designs.

4:

Crisis Management Publicist - responsible for finding the positive in every piece of bad news but usually makes a bad situation worse

Super Forecaster - tremendous self belief but uncertain job life expectancy with you know who... (still currently useful though!)

Brute Force Analyst - never mind narrowing down the options let's try 'em all and see what works, let's start with the ones with low probability of success and work upwards


possible work as both PC character class or NPC/Monster (delete as applicable)

5:

Given the premise of the Laundryverse, I would expect the "I compute, therefore I am" disaster to start to show up around that timeframe.

That could mean...

The Amulet of Yendor will transpire to be not as innocuous and desirable as a lot of people have thought and hard to get your hands on for A Very Good Reason.

It also wouldn't surprise me the least if FrobozzCo International does a hostile takeover of Alibaba and Amazon.


6:

Stats for Elves as playable race will be modified since the arrival of certain pointy-eared invasion army. Or there will be a new race - Alfar. It is possible that many GMs will forbid playing such characters, because of balance issues. In the field of murderhoboing Alfar seem to be at an unfair advantage - fit, fast, probably stronger than humans, alert, ruthless, beautiful, sociopathic and magically capable.
The book mentioned other species arriving with The Host, as slaves, so redesign for dwarves? Gnomes? Halfings? Orcs? Maybe a fat stack of new expansion books titled, say "Realistic Races"? More fat stacks of rulebooks with patron options for warlocks, Lovecraftian patron gods for clerics of all persuasions, new specialisations for spellcasters... Oh, new spellbooks!!
Also new games using old and new rule systems. Delta Green might become part of mainstream.

7:

We quite liked the original Space: 1889, back in the day. Played it mostly as an action melodrama with lots of room for comedy, and it was rollicking good fun.

I was underwhelmed by the new German version. A lot more serious and less inclusive (albeit with higher production values). The first thing that struck me, flipping through the rulebook, was that while the original had male/female characters in pretty much equal numbers, the new version's illustrations were pretty exclusively male. Closer to the period, true, but in a universe with liftwood, Venusian, and Martians female suffrage isn't that much of a mental stretch.

8:

RPG has an element of escapism in its appeal, but now it's less about the excitement of being in a magical setting, and more about the desire to have agency in that setting. During CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN regular people are acutely conscious of being insignificant pawns in the face of eldritch powers beyond imagining, and of the ways in which magic can be coopted for oppressive purposes by government authorities. So we want to play out the fantasy of being able to re-exert some control over our fate. That might manifest as lots of direct damage-dealing to horrific nightmare creatures, but I'd also see a resurgence in the kind of game where the players just want to settle down and run a farm and defend it successfully from the occasional threat. That's often been a bit of a joke in our timeline, as the DM desperately tries to get everyone back to fighting the evil overlord, but I'd see Laundryverse players leaning into it. It would, of course, be a magical farm, but that's no longer a huge novelty compared to the external world.

For plausible deniability, published campaigns would not set players in opposition to a too obvious game version of the New Management. We still want to battle the PM but it has to be reskinned enough to be safe. So we are very much not toppling the capricious skull-obsessed tyrant of Breytann. Maybe he shows up as the annoying landlord or the mayor of the next village. It would all be a lesser scale of threat, and a bit indirect in its relation to external politics, but still allowing an element of catharsis. A game world that is twee and safe and nostalgic on the surface, at least as published, but allows player groups to boost - if they choose - the wish fulfillment aspects in relation to what's going on outside.

9:

Magic and Spell Auditor

You did what, where? Is that covered by your rules of engagement and insurance?

10:

As an occasional GM, I already have put my players through urban fantasy settings.
The Laundryverse, however, always struck me as being deeply routed in the Kafkaesque structures of large cooperations/organizations, and the intrinsic tendency of those organizations to develop a sense (and need) for self-preservation.
On top of that, The Man (as a stand in for top-level executives or government leaders), when confronted with an unknown/unplanned "thing", will quickly strive to integrate it into the order it knows.
In short: Bureaucracy conquers all.

This is where the Shoggoth Case Worker and Tentacle Equality Officer comes in.
These two titles (game classes) come with a plethora of responsibility and the training has a very high dropout rate (liquefied brain matter disqualifies).
Their (your) job is to work for the benefit of The Public, as defined in the new Section 3 Par. 17-PI of the new anti discrimination laws.
Those pesky vigilantes attacking many-eyed citizens, or rioters, anarchists and malcontents that threaten the public order!
No discrimination against the new immigrants is tolerated, no matter how many eyes, mouths or appendages they have.

You are not alone in their fight for a Better Tomorrow(TM), as the Moral Adjustment Attendant will use cutting edge technology (and brain-warping mind powers) to find, and educate, those that threaten Will Of The People*

*Represented in full the Prime Minister

So mechanically, in an RPG were player characters typically serve the establishment, the roles of who is the monster/enemy and who is your friend are now reversed, obviously.
For systems that use an alignment grid (*sigh*), this makes the paladin and other exclusively Good classes that usually fit into the "preserve the status quo" corner pretty much impossible to play.
See Paladin or equivalent.
This would make for a "realistic" scenario were people are basically waking up in a "evil mirror universe", only its their own but the status quo has radically shifted.
And with the added CNG-induced superpowers, an "we are the underdog superheros that fight the tyrannical government/dictatorship" plot basically designs itself. However, this being thematically lovecraftian, they will not win, and/or realize halfway through that society now sees THEM as the malcontents.
Thats pretty easy to picture:
All those folks screaming for law and order get their wish monkey-paw style, with a strong new leader, making away with the riff-raff, totally supporting him fully knowing WHAT he is.
And those underdogs fighting the system? The mass media will label them domestic terrorists before the government has the chance, and the masses will cheer the "strong hand" and "valiant effort" of the civil servants bringing them to "justice".

The proper theme would probably be "The Monster was Man all along".

Man, the air-quotes are getting out of hand here.
Well, my take-away from this though experiment is that Laundryverse post-CNG is basically that Evil Empire with Devoted Citizens apply.
Magic is magic, based on math or otherwise, is mechanically the same. Only the added cost of an early retirement with dementia and CJD. I am not versed in that many RPGs, but I am pretty sure some have a form of "Mage Sickness" to, apart from being lore, mechanically nerf magic users or just make them more rare.
I am always a fan of the "all Power comes with a Cost" trope.

11:

In my case, rather longer - and I never played much except the original Adventure. These may be old hat, but I haven't seen them in my occasional looks at AD&D classes, so I mentioned them just in case.

One thing I thought of following thoughts in another context (*) was an entity that would change the rules of mathematics, physics and/or magic in its vicinity - rather than transforming existing people or things - which was a fairly common SF trope and one stage, but rather went out of fashion. It would be tricky to deal with in a AD&D sense, in that existing methods would misbehave or fail, and would have be modified or invented anew - possibly even for each entity.

Indirectly related to that is an ecology of monsters, in which the only practical way to control or kill the worst ones is by herding or manipulating other very nasty ones, and putting up with the losses you suffer. I am specifically thinking of being unable to deal with them without taking losses (and not in the form of sacrifices), so they could be defeated only by a team effort.

12:

Just so you know (and because I'm too dumb to come up with anything original), if we had had mobile phones capable of safely doing low powered disguises + run the game system in 1983, we would have done homebrew Dream Park every weekend in a classical AD&D setting. "It's VR as it should be." (that probably also works as the tagline of the software company that builds the engine app)


13:

All of the campaigns and modules from Laundry Games Ltd are incredibly detailed and widely acclaimed for their fantastical world-building and challenging god-tier end bosses. Players are encouraged to share their campaign notes and approaches on /r/laundrygames, whose moderators never seem to sleep and are quick to respond with cryptic replies.

Sensitives swear that Laundry Games new line of dice are special, leading many to applaud the brilliance of the Laundry Games marketing team in sowing such preposterous rumors. Critics like to point out that Laundry's first breakout hit, Sleeper In The Pyramid, is even more unwinnable than the original Tomb of Horrors. Still, some groups have spent years replaying the campaign in their efforts to beat the Sleeper.

14:

This is from the genre emulation perspective, a skeleton for a 5e structure - every character that does not get a lot of fighting monsters time could inspire a background, and everyone that fights monsters could be a class. I don’t think there will be too many independent adventurers because curious in-universe computer PHDs get their faces eaten by the omnipresent leopards, with precision. And if they don’t they tend to be antagonists. Every PC is state sponsored or in the program.

Backgrounds - gives resources and skills
STEM Student
Art Student
Reverend Doctor
PBWPWT (Poor Bastard in the Wrong Place/ Wrong Time)
Laundry Lifer
Military
Police
Spy/Mole
Corporate Psycho
Subsumed Personality
I’m Just an Analyst

For the classes, I assume everyone will have access to “magic”, through tech gizmos or depending on your level or rightness of the stars, casting. Humans will have classes, and meta humans will be race as class.

Practitioner: Management Fast Track - the face class, lowest risk of growing tentacles, trusted with artifacts, advantage on bureaucracy checks
Practitioner: Field Operative - Fighter + Gizmos
Practitioner: Outside Asset - Rogue + Gizmos
Practitioner: Cultist - Warlocky or Clericy, reports directly to the New Management

Meta Human: Vampire - Super Heavyweight Asskicker?
Meta Human: Super - Super Heavyweight Asskicker? Mk II
Meta Human: Alfar - the “safest” magic user
Meta Human: Mythos Hybrid - Infiltration Rogue

15:

I could see gamers using their new powers to play real life D & D or whatever gaming system appeals to them. Groups would meet at the local tavern and go forth in dungeons (etc) created by Gamemasters who suddenly have the ability to create real fantasy campaigns. Whether the Gamemasters could control their creations (or the players for that matter) could be problematic.

Maybe the Black Pool in the Manitoba Legislature really will be a Black Pool. Perhaps the sphinxes on it's roof will start issuing riddles... it is hard to say (It is fun having a Legislature building designed by a Freemason).

Don from Winnipeg (aka Maruad)

16:

That actually is a good point. I haven't played since the 80s either, but it looks like the most recent D&D version is 5, released in 2014, so that would have been the new thing when magic was released on the world.

So there are a bunch of ways this could go:
--One is that people start playing with Laundryverse real magic using the D&D context they know, and there's a public panic over the game, just as there was in the 1980s, but with more reason (Timmy really did conjure a demon during that basement game. By accident).
--Another is that D&D was always about escapism, so would it change, with perhaps downplaying elements that are too close to reality?
--What's the role of alignments, especially the good alignments, in a grimdark game? Would more people play paladins, or fewer?
--LARPing? Probably less of a good idea than it used to be before.
--Where the reality of Laundryverse magic made the rules look silly, I suspect a lot of players would hack the rules. Whether WotC introduced changes is left to the author.

17:

The Laundryverse, however, always struck me as being deeply routed in the Kafkaesque structures of large cooperations/organizations, and the intrinsic tendency of those organizations to develop a sense (and need) for self-preservation.

No, you're thinking of it as the Laundryverse.

I'm thinking of it as the universe of the New Management.

I'm asking what ordinary folks would do on games night, not for what some highly specialized civil servants would do on their time off.

18:

There would certainly be some players who would try and bring D&D into line with the real world. But, a lot of players, perhaps most, would find that to be an escapsism fail. I'm in the middle of writing a science-fiction LARP and one of the things we recently did was remove every disease and pandemic related plot. The writers didn't want to deal, and we doubt the players would want to deal.

So, if limited to changing D&D, I'd suggest a reduction in magic or making magic less like the real world. A lot of groups would stick to the old version out of familiarity and comfort, but that doesn't really answer the question, so lower magic.

But, in answer to "what might be the new hotness"; I would expect genre shifting away from anything with magic. Science fiction would be the most obvious place to go. I'd also expect people to try things even more removed from the real world. Best case, by which I mean most amusing, would be a huge revival of Bunnies and Burrows. B&B replacing D&D would be great for forgetting human worries. Obviously inspired by Watership Down, it is even very British, which fits the Laundry setting.

19:

I think alignments would be very important, otherwise why play D&D?

As for LArping, well the players are no longer just players. It really is D&D. The consequences would be real... so maybe not so much escapism though it might start that way.

Hacking the rules... would the rules hack back? What happens when GMs games unintentionally overlap with reality and other GMs games/game systems? Chaos?

20:

In a world where elves and wizards are suddenly real, LARPing and cosplay is likely going to be both culturally insensitive and dangerous (for the same reasons that blackface is noxious and cosplay with fake guns and swords is dangerous in our world).

Decades since I played, but I have dim memories of a very silly campaign where we all had God-level powers/ artefacts, and the only meaningful threats were biggger, badder Gods and our own teenaged arseholery. I'm guessing that sort of thing could be taken as criticism of the new management, blasphemy, or an inadvertent summoning ritual in the laundryverse.

Elderly Cynic's comment @11 re. situationally changing the game rules reminded of the extremely fun PARANOIA. The, well, paranoia inducing game mechanics and the setting in an insane, technologically mediated world run by sociopaths and lunatics where nobody remembers what "outside" looks like might appeal to inhabitants of the laundryverse. Or just to the inhabitants of 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game)

21:

People will dream of mundanity and wish for tedium:

https://boingboing.net/2010/11/03/synergon-a-business.html

22:

In a world where actual magic exists *and is based in advanced maths and probability* there's zero chance somebody in my D&D group doesn't finagle himself a real-life "Amulet of Natural 20s" to boost their game. The resulting permanent minor brain damage would seem a small price to pay for finally managing to actually land a 5th level Chromatic Orb in combat.

23:

In a world where elves and wizards are suddenly real, LARPing and cosplay is likely going to be both culturally insensitive and dangerous

I'm several years ahead of you: that's a plot element in The Nightmare Stacks towards the end.

25:

There would be a handful of games touching on the old "wizards playing accountants" jokes, and at least two popular streams playing them un-ironically.

Magic in general would be more powerful. Lots of single use magic items/ritual magic, and artificers able to make them. Primary magic user characters would be less common if they tried to adapt to the "eat your brains" rules of magic in the world around them.

Superhero games would be the easiest to adapt to something resembling the "real" world, and would have a renaissance.

Shadowrun would have a Call of Cthulhu crossover book.

26:

Ok, one question, how much does the general public know about K syndrome? Because with knowledge about it in the open, people will be even less likely to implement any magic where describibg the ritual involved might

a) in a best-case scenario, open a small gate to a Venus-like planet orbiting a cluster of black holes and magnetars, and we know how hard the stench goes away, never mind the neighbours being upset Alexa's WiFi broke down again...

b) in the worst case scenario, put a nice "crunchy with ketchup" sign up on the brain tissue of the players AND GM.

So expect magic and psionics either going out of fashion or being replaced by magical systems carefully designed not to resemble any real life magic. I have a vision of elaborate descriptions of putting butter on bread.

Also, any campaign with the goal if toppling down the lawful evil sorcerous overlord would become quite unpopular, except in certain chapters of society. You don't want HIM to have wrong impressions, or you become PHANG fodder.

Sorry, I'm not that creative...

27:

I'm going to have to go back and reread now.

28:

Ditto that one for me. It has been awhile since I have reread the series. It is an old habit I have with about 5 or 6 authors though Charles is the only SF&F author I still reread. The remainder are crime/mysteries and one historical fiction series.

Don from Winnipeg

29:

Interesting. But, in the light of #17, both of my comments are addressing the wrong question. Paranoia looks like a game that would attract geeks, not ordinary humans, as were those ideas!

30:

I'm asking what ordinary folks would do on games night, ...

Considering that most SF, fantasy and role-playing games are about escaping into an alternative world, a plausible model would be something with a rule-set that is NOT like anything in the Laundryverse or what life under the New Management was actually like.

Some people, of course, would want to go back in time and revisit the 20th century with 'improvements', as seen in the popularity of historical fantasy and steampunk.

31:

Huge question, Charlie, and I'm going to be really annoying.

For one, I haven't played (with one exception[1]) since early 80s. For another, me and my friends I played with (note that we were *all* in our 20's or 30's) had an opinion of AD&D: BURN IT. We played based on *original* D&D (in one book, it said, in so many words, "this is all a suggestion, modify the rules as you like".

Besides, all the precreated Magic Items... why should any of them really exist? What happens if you think you're going to get X... and instead get something similar, that doesn't quite do that/work that way?

The only modification I made was a spell point system (MU had intel & constitution, cleric wisdom & constitution. You run out of spell points, you're unconscious or dead (if in negative numbers).[2]

Now, everyone talking about escapism... y'all seem to forget that the original six were playing Chainmailm abd added monsters and magic. Which makes it a variant of a classic wargame. Wargames are taught and used as teaching tools in every military college in the world.

Doesn't sound like escapism to me, sounds like training in WFF DO YOU DO WHEN....?

One problem people living then are going to have to deal with are all the calls from monster and magic destruction insurance industry.

Also, if magic's become that easy, playing a magic user, if you do more than some dumb 12 yr old, there becomes a danger that you'll actually pull up magic. Now, how are you going to control it?

What happens to folks playing clerics? Esp if, say, they're clerics of *non* Elder Ones, like, Isis, or Mithras? Or Vodoun/Santeria/Cantable? Or (please, please, no) Ahura-Mazda? And what on earth is happening in, say, western North America with the Native Americans, and in India, with Hindus?

I will say that I created my own game once, only played it a time or two: you came into my house, with whatever you, for real, could afford and carry, and we go down to the basement, and I have a Machine, and it takes you sideways in time, to parallel worlds. Going along one axis, magic works more, but science works less. The other way is the reverse.... In either case you *really* don't want to go too far that way, as physical laws and constants start changing. Got too far towards magic, and fire doesn't work, forget guns. Oh, and how are you cells doing?....

1. My late wife and I were working on a fight scene in an sf novel (which I really do intend to turn into a two book series one of these years). I pulled out my god kit, and ran it as straight melee rounds. After she wrote it up and published it in the APA she was in, the responses were, "that was the most realistic fight scene I've ever read!"

2. I'm a High Level Magic User: Earthquake! Um, they're still coming, um, er, sleep!sleep!sleep!

32:

Another observation: TTRPG's are far more popular, diverse and evolved than the 80's-90's. There's a significant audience for streaming live-play RPGs, for example Critical Role's videos have 150M+ views. I feel like that should somehow be a factor here.

33:

cosplay-while-black can be fatal,/i>

Seems like anything while black can be fatal. :-(

34:

My guess is that high fantasy RPG settings would stick around as escape. You still get to play larger than life and otherwise unrealistic characters, just sudenly differently unrealistic.

Urban and gothic fantasy RPGs would get reality expansions and require continual revision as more comes to light.

Steve Jackson Games would be raided for incorporating too much reality.

Board games would get rushed expansions and a few would be done well.

"Navigating Reality For The Discerning Hero, A System Neutral Supplement" would be kickstarted to record levels.

${RPG} Reality Edition*
* subject to change

${RPG} for Times Long Forgot


Going further beyond the original question---

Mainstream fiction would immediately try to adapt by badly reinventing every wheel SF, F, and horror spent untold eons fine tuning.

Lovecraft's estate would lobby heavily to extend/reinstate copyright for his works then sue! sue! sue!. His works would be taken by some as holy texts, both for real and synically as justification for atrocities hitherto imaginable by only the most depraved.

Archeology and anthropology would undergo a period of soul searching followed by a renaissance.

The Illuminati would be exposed.

Bigfoot, Yeti, etc would be tracked down and interrogated for knowledge and experience of reality.

Authors known for predicting near future events would be disappeared into protective custody / service to the realm.

35:

I wonder if something like Paranoia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game) ) with added magic might work. Paranoia features high technology with dystopian politics, so that would catch the mood of the times.

One thing about futuristic games like Paranoia is that they turn our current technology up to 11 in extrapolation. So what happens in a fantasy world if the magic of Laundryverse gets turned up to 11? Not sure if the question even makes sense, but an RPG set in such a world is going to need an answer.

36:

An abandoned Laundry Files RPG campaign idea I wanted to do:

Secret occult history of rocketry, where Jack Parsons did occult rituals (the Babylon Working, for example) to ensure his spirit remained after his death. The players would start out investigating odd interdimensional breakouts at a rocket engine research firm, and end up finding the true history of rocketry in the US and abroad. In the process, they eventually end up on the Moon, to discover that the entire lunar interior is hollowed out and currently hosts a massive Shuggoth who's been possessed by the ghost of Jack Parsons. It's the Black Chamber's bid to evacuate to the Moon and potentially even use it as a ship to get away from the planet, in CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

Of course, that's a bit obsolete now that, in the series, GREEN is already happening.

Honestly post-GREEN I feel like reality would actually resemble the famous quote by Robert Anton Wilson, where 'rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill'. Except before the standstill, in the midst of the fight for defining whatever new reality is immanent. In that sense it might end up looking more like the setting of White Wolf's Mage The Ascension.

37:

Well, yes, the Laundryverse is the "old" way of doing things.
My idea was that a group of players, assuming they wanted to be "Good", would either play as cogs in the machine (aka civil servants under the New Management), and work against it from the inside, or they would be the underdog outsiders, working against the regime with anything they can think of: CNG superpowers, bootleg magic-ware on hacked smartwatches, good old propaganda, delivered via brain-hacking earworm song ("viral marketing") and sabotage.
Any ordinary citizen can do a lot of damage, given enough motivation and a minimum of brain power.

If we are talking META, i.e., people living under the New Management, playing (board,VR,console) games at home or online in a circle of friends, ... oh boy.
Afaik, the canon text mentions that the Mandate is not averse to surpress ideas that are not in his best interest, so I imagine social media will be tightly patrolled/controlled, and all games on those sites slowly transform into reflecting themes the NM wants encouraged.
Similarly with board and video games. The production time for such games can be quite long, so that will take a little until the new series of "The Rh'ley Adventures" (A family-friendly board game exploring the lost city) or "Plot" (A clone of Clue, with the change that here you try to stop an assassination attempt on the NM before it happens) comes out.
Video games in general will probably take a hit at the publishers mostly sit in the USS (United States of Sleep). So they will face hard tariffs or bans until a regime-friendly industry can develop or they ship approved UK versions.

Changes that players will likely see:
* Typical enemies in such games as Zombies or Vampires either vanish or be portrayed as the good guys.
* Subversion of the status quo will not be glorified
* The superhero genre will try (and probably fail) to transition to non-fiction, with novelizations dominated by regime-friendly superheroes and the villains will be whoever the NM says.
* A lot of "propaganda" media will demonize or ridicule foreign powers, framing them at least as untrustworthy.
* Rewritten history or historic fiction, e.g., revival of the James Bond novels, if not a re-write of the existing ones, as always having served the NM.

This more in the vein you wanted?

38:

I think I'd go chat with @TychoBrahe, aka Jerry Holkins the guy behind penny arcade and PAX.

39:

But, in answer to "what might be the new hotness"; I would expect genre shifting away from anything with magic. Science fiction would be the most obvious place to go. I'd also expect people to try things even more removed from the real world. Best case, by which I mean most amusing, would be a huge revival of Bunnies and Burrows. B&B replacing D&D would be great for forgetting human worries. Obviously inspired by Watership Down, it is even very British, which fits the Laundry setting.

Thanks for the reference to Bunnies and Burrows. Hadn't heard of it.

Why not Sherlock Holmes and Victorian England at the height of the empire? In the context of a Laundryverse novel, it would be amusing to see a mystery RPG using something akin to the D&D game engine, without the magic. Maybe the old Boot Hill system, revamped?

The problem with writing such an RPG in a novel universe where black lives matter didn't happen, but writing for an audience that where BLM is THE happening of the summer, is avoiding the racism inherent in the old empire. But it could be done, I think.

40:

While the events within the world will have been inescapable public knowledge, the nuance that the main characters and the readers have won't be publicly widespread. People would know that there were *some* superheroes and *some* magic and that elves invaded from somewhere and that things were getting... weird... but the details about sufficiently-advanced-computation would be difficult to percolate.

So what I would expect to see is *not* deep dives into magic lore because there's no mechanical basis for understanding. Rather, I would expect to see the equivalent of dozens of kickstarted tabletop wargame/rpg hybrids based on "current events"- with new kickstarters opening weekly. You'd also see boutique RPGs about specific high sigma events. So I would expect a White Wolf edition about the Host but with a fair amount of counterfactual and overly romanticized information. Public LARPing would die down because it would entail a material risk of being mistaken for the real thing and eliciting an armed response.

41:

The obvious one that springs to mind for me is a "Dr Who" RPG (there probably even was one, back in the day.)

Tying knots in the Wheeler-Everrett Multiverse with time anomalies might not even be impossible in our actual universe (c.f. Time Crystals being a real thing these days) let alone in a fictional version.

Just ensure Derek is not DM-ing, eh?

42:

Hmm. Okay, let's see:

In the modern world, we play D&D because we want to escape from this mundane world to a more exciting one, where we get to have a chance to participate in the choices that change the world, instead of being helpless pawns in someone else's schemes.

This is a world that has seen invasions of elves on TV. This is a world with people who have superpowers. This is a world where this kind of shit is increasingly public; it's a world where the stuff of fantasy is real and in your face.

I feel like the result of this would be a turning away from settings full of wizards and magic. A retreat to comforting scenarios where the universe makes *sense*. The sarcastic answer is "everyone is playing Papers & Paychecks, the game of office politics and tax returns", but that's still way too close to reality. I'm gonna posit that most RPGers have instead started picking up the sci-fi settings. Pull out your old Traveller books, your old Gamma World manuals, finally see if the Ringworld rules are actually usable, get a GURPS Ultratech campaign going, lay in some really good weed and start up a campaign of Myriad Worlds, etc, etc.

Fantasize that the world is still ruled by the rues of physics. Fantasize that a computer the size of a planet isn't going to instantly collapse into a portal for eldritch tentacle-hate. Fantasize that a simple energy blaster in your hands can make a difference in anything that matters.

43:

Personal context: My gaming group of queer/trans people is currently finishing up a run through the 5ed ‘Curse of Strahd’ module (PCs trapped in a vampire’s cursed demiplane, horror tropes abound), and planning to follow it up with a Blades In The Dark campaign set in a fantasy Boston (some sort of heist gang/criminal enterprise). My takeaway from this, re: how living under the New Management would adjust things, is that we’re a lot more likely to tweak elements in a system we like than to rewrite the whole thing – eg, our Strahd is a vampire _lesbian_ incel, and the party is the typical wish-fulfillment of big buff jock ladies and sharp-tongued tsundere magic ladies – but otherwise we’re playing it as written.

So if they’re playing something that already exists, like D&D, chances are the rules themselves aren’t going to change much - perhaps a revival of a psionic class, for characters looking to distance themselves from the wizard/cleric model of magic that would seem suddenly more fraught (although warlocks would be prescient too) – but it’s going to be more character choices or stories changed. I could see an increased prevalence of all-fighter/rogue parties, if the players are all tired of dealing with magic in their everyday lives (in which case, fewer dragons and more illithids and evil sorcerers to smite), or conversely, an all wizard/sorcerer party for people who want to make the most of it and take down giants and dragons and similar sorts.

Shifting to other ideas, a superhero game themed around a TV show that fictionalizes the exploits of superhero law enforcement might also be a popular choice; a lot of people are looking to play games that are similar to media they’ve enjoyed, and I imagine that the New Management has given rise to a lot of interesting media trying to cash in on new crazes. If none of the players are given to heroics, it might be that they’d spend an evening imagining themselves into a comic-book universe. You _could_ hack D&D to do this, but you could also just pick a different system and get a whole new set of tropes from that – eg, Masks, where your ‘hit points’ (such as they are) are emotions, and most of your XP comes from failing rolls.

Another interesting thought about the timeline, too – D&D 4th Edition came out in 2008, and 5th Edition was only just released in 2014… It’s very likely that this could have tanked adoption of the new system, and so your group might very well be playing with 4ed rules. Intriguingly, one of the common complaints about 4ed was that it felt too ‘push-button-y’ since ‘every class cast spells;’ a rogue set their daggers on fire once/day to deal elemental damage, or a fighter might hit an enemy hard enough to heal their friends. In a world where suddenly everyone _could be_ a bit magic, this might not seem like such a problem. If that’s the case, you might notice things like more Minion monsters (who have only 1 hp, to both swarms and the clearing-thereof), and a greater emphasis on tactical positioning and movement (a lot of PC abilities specifically focused on pushing, pulling, sliding or otherwise moving opponents and allies around, as well as establishing zones of control and damage for other PCs to exploit.) I never actually got the chance to play 4ed, but given its relatively short lifespan and interesting position on the timeline, it might be worth mining for its own tropes in this ‘what-if’ sort of scenario.

44:

"Tentacle Equality Officer" - just as well I wasn't eating or drinking anything when I read that!
I see you are also chanelling the Trumpverse into this scenario. ( As in The Monster was Man all along )

45:

From my own experiences playing casually with a group of friends pretty regularly, D&D is among other things primarily a way to get away from the real world for a while and immerse yourself in a story you play with other people you care about, and I've found that a big reason for being able to commit to that separate world is it being inherently otherworldly with concepts and factors (magic, monsters etc.) that don't exist in the real world.

Given you flip that on its head in the scenario above, it seems natural to me that citizens of a post CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN world would gravitate toward a world without any of that (e.g. People playing D&D would play in a world without magic or monsters that parallel things that are now exist in their reality, OR that if those elements do exist, they would fill the same niche that, say, an encounter with a dog or people of a town plays in RPG campaigns now)

46:

At the risk of getting a ban. Psionics :p

47:

Re Greg Tingey [42]:
You are welcome.
Trumpverse is definitly on the far end of the bell curve, right next to the "bizarro mirror universe". In THAT one, Cuthullu itself ran for office as an independent in 2016, and lost because the oil companies feared it would ban off-shore drilling and invested heavily in attack ads. It also tried to swallow Mitch McConnels soul, but that didn't work for obvious reasons.

Yeah, channeling my inner nihilist, putting him into a committee with my outer pessimism and sleep deprivation will bring forth things like this.

48:

think there would at first be more board games, like Space Hulk of the early 90's with Elves as the enemy.

Then it might become cool to be sporting the fashions of the Host (something along Harry turtledove's Colonisation series, it being fashionable to emulate the Race ).


As for RPG's, think it would revert to more mundane styles, harking back to pre CASE NIGHMARE situations.
Later mods as things become stable might be 'Host cultural attache', 'Basilsk wrangler',' 'Host Surgeon' *ahem* .

49:

At first I was inclined to agree about people wanting an escape, but then I remembered that in the 70s and 80s we played games about the Cold War, including survivalist games about what happens after the Cold War went Hot.

So I think some people would play to escape, and those games would be set in the warmly-remembered past or an alternate future. So classic D&D, Castles & Crusades, Traveller, etc. Space: 1889 and other steampunk/gaspunk games.

Those would be pretty safe games to play — totally imaginary, absolutely nothing to do with the current government.

I think there would also be the equivalent of survivalist games, but I'm not certain what form they would take. If the New management is as interventionist as I suspect then they could be very dangerous things to play, so I would expect both homebrew games (possibly with commercial rules) and 'fearless agents of the New Management help save Britain' games from commercial publishers.

I do wonder if playing a game could be used to train the gamers into being (unwitting) agents of some power?

50:

I think the concept of this being D&D is missing the point. D&D is about inventing a magical world with mythical beasts which is noticeably distinct from reality. In the Laundryverse in the lead-up to CNG, post-elven-invasion, post-Mandate, all the monsters are out of the woodwork and all this *is* reality.

So what kind of wargaming deals with reality? Answer: Historical wargaming.

At any given moment, there will be hundreds of people round the world preparing to refight major national or international battles, or to stage "what-if" battles which never actually happened such as Vikings versus Shaolin monks. A plethora of rulesets and models exist for this.

In the "new normal", I see a near-complete crash in fantasy RPGs. Some will be too triggering for people who've lost loved ones, and some will be shut down by various agencies or entities for being too realistic and potentially summoning things (as all those "concerned parents" used to say about D&D back in the 80s).

More to the point though, fantasy RPGs will reflect an outdated view of magic in the same way as Golden Age sci-fi reflects an outdated view of space travel. In 50 years time (assuming we live that long!), maybe it'll have interest as a cultural artifact that way. But in the short term, fantasy RPGs will be trapped in Uncanny Valley as too close to reality but not properly accurate.

Historical wargaming though? Oh boy... Every major historical wargaming system will immediately get ruleset upgrades for the new abilities, new races, new units, and all the rest. As the only known example of its kind, the invasion of Yorkshire will be *the* classic battle to fight, with skirmish-level battles for taking or defending individual key points, and full-on campaign mode for the whole thing. There will be counterfactual battles for "what if Scorpion Stare worked properly (or failed entirely)?", "what if the RAF had more Typhoons?", and so on. And historical counterfactual campaigns will no doubt also be set up for "what if they had invaded in 1700/1800/1880/1920/1945/1960/date of choice?". Separately we also have the various powered people to deal with, who also warrant their own skirmish-level combat systems.

And when it comes to RPGs, I think they're going to follow wargaming in the same way as fantasy wargaming and RPGs are intimately linked. With that context, I think the kind of RPGs which succeed will be akin to the spy-thriller type RPGs around today, except that the Bond/Bourne protagonists are joined by powered people, elves, slave races, and various others; and the environment will be something recognisable as their world right there, right now.

51:

I don't know about Dungeons and Dragons, but if people want to get away from the new reality then some of them might go for older games. I was thinking of poker. Ordinary people who get a bit of magical power, but don't know much about it, would be using their stuff (I imagine, eg. a magic accoutant with an unreal grasp of proliferating futures, and horribly good calculating skills). A poker game would be a natural. Thing is, despite the mixture of motives, including a desire for 'normality' from some people, and easy money from some others, the thing would drift into being a real life D&D, despite what they wanted.
The kind of thing I am thinking of might start with magic accountant winning too much, then the woman with incendiary hair starts sparking at distracting moments, someone's stray tentacle with an eye on the end is spotted lurking behind the other players. It doesn't take long until there are all kinds of rules and a hierarchy of who can play in what place (and D&D is mostly about rules,isn't it?), and with that some players get to go into extra-dimensional spaces, which proliferate, same as game spaces.

52:

Video games in general will probably take a hit at the publishers mostly sit in the USS (United States of Sleep)

Ahem: You know GRAND THEFT AUTO was made just up the road from my flat?

The UK video game industry is big, much bigger as a proportion of the global industry than the UK film/TV sector. While it's significantly smaller than the US games industry, that's really because the USA is a larger/more populous nation.

Tariffs/trade barriers: we're getting a crash course in how they don't affect trade in soft goods that much -- they merely affect the price the end consumer pays, and prices of software can be tweaked endlessly: once you've amortized the development costs in your home market, exports are basically free money and you adjust the pricing to maximize revenue.

53:

if K syndrome is known

To the general public, post main story arc, K Syndrome is known as MAD (Metahuman Associated Dementia), mostly a degenerative disease affecting superpowered folks (especially mad science supervillains). The public awareness of it is muddied and unclear because some stuff is not really public knowledge (precise details of Elder God cults other than the PM's are ... let's just say it's not healthy to talk about them in public) and other stuff is emphasized as a distraction (look up there! It's Officer Friendly, protecting Londoners from dissident supervillain terrorists!).

54:

Community Activist (aka a 'Rabble Rouser')
==========================================
Alignment: Chaotic-Neutral
Key Characteristics: CHA CON INT

Attributes
----------
Catch Phrase: This character class is required to have a short saying (no more than 10 words) advocating for some sort of change to the local status quo. Actions perceived to support the goal of the Catch Phrase gain a temporary (1 minute) +1 bonus to all CHA rolls. Actions taken directly contrary to the Phrase cause all Grassrooted followers to make immediate Saves against Grassrooting with Advantage.

The Catch Phrase can be changed once per day, but all Grassrooted followers will then make an additional Grassrooting Save.

Immune to Persuasion, Charm, Intimidation, and Frightened.

Special Abilities
------------------
'Grassrooting' (1/week) - Able to persuade a sentient target to become an absolutely loyal/fanatical follower (a 'Rooter'). Target saving throw: 1d20 + (WIS+CHA bonuses)/2 vs. Activist's (INT+CHA)/2. Additional Rooter saving throws only occur when the Rooter is injured directly or indirectly by Activist action, or perception that the Activist 'lost' a confrontation.

Maximum number of 'Rooters' at any one time is CON bonus plus CHA bonus. When the maximum number is reached, Any attempt to add 'Rooters' past the maximum will result in each existing 'Rooter' to making a saving throw, with advantage, starting with the Rooters with the easiest Save target. This continues for all the Rooters. If all the Rooters fail their saves (e.g., remain Rooters), then another full round of saving throws

'Gumming up the Works' (1/day) - Cast against any group within sight (maximum size = INT). WIS Save (1d20) vs. INT+CHA or WIS bonus.

Targets who fail their save suffer from Confusion with disadvantage on all skill and attack rolls for the rest of the encounter.Community Activist (aka a 'Rabble Rouser')
==========================================
Alignment: Chaotic-Neutral
Key Characteristics: CHA CON INT

Attributes
----------
Catch Phrase: This character class is required to have a short saying (no more than 10 words) advocating for some sort of change to the local status quo. Actions perceived to support the goal of the Catch Phrase gain a temporary (1 minute) +1 bonus to all CHA rolls. Actions taken directly contrary to the Phrase cause all Grassrooted followers to make immediate Saves against Grassrooting with Advantage.

The Catch Phrase can be changed once per day, but all Grassrooted followers will then make an additional Grassrooting Save.

Immune to Persuasion, Charm, Intimidation, and Frightened.

Special Abilities
------------------
'Grassrooting' (1/week) - Able to persuade a sentient target to become an absolutely loyal/fanatical follower (a 'Rooter'). Target saving throw: 1d20 + (WIS+CHA bonuses)/2 vs. Activist's (INT+CHA)/2. Additional Rooter saving throws only occur when the Rooter is injured directly or indirectly by Activist action, or perception that the Activist 'lost' a confrontation.

Maximum number of 'Rooters' at any one time is CON bonus plus CHA bonus. When the maximum number is reached, Any attempt to add 'Rooters' past the maximum will result in each existing 'Rooter' to making a saving throw, with advantage, starting with the Rooters with the easiest Save target. This continues for all the Rooters. If all the Rooters fail their saves (e.g., remain Rooters), then another full round of saving throws

'Gumming up the Works' (1/day) - Cast against any group within sight (maximum size = INT). WIS Save (1d20) vs. INT+CHA or WIS bonus.

Targets who fail their save suffer from Confusion with disadvantage on all skill and attack rolls for the rest of the encounter....

+++++++++++
2nd idea - Zombie Astronauts....

55:

I think the question is deeply tied in with the questions of, (in the Laudryverse,) "what does the public know" and "what does the public really know?"

If I really knew for sure that some iterations of mathematics could summon a demon or turn someone invisible, as much as I love the game my D&D books would go on the nearest fire ASAP and I would melt my dice with a blowtorch. After that point such items would be forbidden in my house. Accidentally summoning a demon while playing D&D is a perfect definition of the "low probability/high consequence" event.

I'd also either eliminate or carefully restrict my computer usage - and might depending on circumstances either seek out real magical training or find a little town full of people who were hiding from everything, move there, and strive to blend in.

On the other hand, if I lived in the Laundryverse and was a low-information person, I'd probably dismiss the madness around me as "hysteria" and go on playing the game, being very befuddled by everything happening around me. Teenagers would probably fish their parents D&D books out of the trash and playing the game would go back to being a really frightening act of teenage rebellion.

Just for added fun, during the pandemic my real world gaming-group has moved to online meetings and are rolling dice on the computer. I'm guessing this wouldn't play out well in the Laundryverse.

So I'd imagine the following changes to society: The obvious one would be lots and lots of people offering "magical" training. Some of it would work and some of it wouldn't. Some of it "wouldn't work" very badly. Lots of the stuff done by The Laundry would filter down to the street, possibly mutating wildly as it iterated streetward.

Similarly, there would also be "superhero" training for those who express their magic in that fashion. It wouldn't surprise me if another coven of vampires showed up, this one offering eventual transformation for those who "made their bones" as minions. Etc. In terms of "human potential" movements, all hell lets out for breakfast. Possibly the most dangerous trend would relate to those martial arts which practice some kind of energy movement - I'd expect practitioners hurling real-life energy balls at opponents and blowing them to flinders!

As for the game itself, I'd expect it to move steampunk-ward quickly. Artificers would replace magicians, medics or "herbal healers" would replace clerics, (playing a cleric after Case Nightmare Green would be downright dangerous) and bards would probably fall out of use - what use is a second-rate fighter who shouldn't do magic? I'd also expect that gods, angels, demons, etc. would start moving out of gameplay pretty quickly. Expect monsters to get more science-fictional - something like Godzilla rather than a dragon, for example, as the boss battle. "Cyborg" would be a new character class, because staying away from magic would be essential to survival, or at least to safety. Techno-shaman might also be a new class, but it would be comparatively dangerous to play. Maybe Nano-Artificer and Genetic Artificer characters classes would evolve as well.

So for safety reasons I'd expect D&D to end up looking like a failed singulatarian takeoff which ended up with steam-powered everything. Unfortunately, given the nature of Case Nightmare Green a D&D which looked like that wouldn't be much safer at all... (Musical Sting of the "Dum Dum" variety!)

56:

Only skimmed the comments, but from the OP I am not clear whether you are asking about a campaign where the *characters* are in the Laundryverse or where the *players* are in the Laundryverse (with the characters in a somewhat-traditional D&D setting).

Either way, one topic that springs to mind is the way that ritual magicians lose their brains from K syndrome. In my experience, this sort of "kill yourself for power" trade-off is popular in literature but deeply problematic as gameplay. There are several reasons for this, but the big one is "you used too much magic" is not a socially-adequate reason for kicking your friend out of the campaign, so in practice anyone who dies this way will just start a new character. That in turn allows a player to go full-out in the secure knowledge that they'll just respawn.

As such, in a well-designed game, I expect K syndrome might appear as background lore but no player class will use it as a real gameplay element. Either ritual magicians are an NPC-only class, or there are other rules limiting their magic to such an extent that K syndrome isn't a practical concern within the timespan of a campaign. PCs might occasionally get K syndrome for plot reasons, but there won't be rules for it; it will happen "because the DM said so".

More generally, all expendable class features can be expected to fully recover on a time period not longer than "between missions."

(Which isn't to say K syndrome might not be a key gameplay element in a poorly-designed game, of course.)

57:

Given official hostility to cults not of the PM, it's a safe guess that any Call Of Cthulhu/Delta Green material still on the market will be there as a poison-pill for the overly enthusiastic/curious.

58:

Well, D&D has often crafted worlds to expand into non-traditional genres like horror (Ravenloft) space opera (Spelljammer) and dystopia (Dark Sun).

So they'd probably start with a CNG-style realm... Carcossa, maybe, and sculpt things around the new status quo.

Which means bureaucracy & corporate structures.

This suggests things like "Executive Exorcist" (as opposed to Executive Assistant), or "Geisic Engineer" for spellcasters. A Cultist class is almost imperative for Cleric-style hijinks. And I could easily see "Post-Human Combatant" being a Fighter prestige class, especially for those who aren't much into roleplaying. :D

Of course, this assumes that WOTC didn't get subsumed by the Black Chamber, who are using the latest edition to smooth the way to summon the Big Guy.

59:

It's worth saying that people outside the Anglosphere also play RPGs. Recent stuff out of Finland in particular has been very impressive, at least to me.

60:

The Black Chamber doesn't want a TTRPG to summon Big Sir - too much scope for individual initiative, too many rules and therefore too slow a takeup.

You want something like Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game.

- The publisher lays out the rules and the setting in advance. So the information it generates is well known in advance and limited in scope.
- The number of options is relatively small and easy to manipulate.
- Because the publisher understands the rules, the hard work has already been done.
- If you use cards, then you can distribute images at your own discretion.

Bonus: There is an incentive for consumers to Collect The Set.

If you do it carefully, then you're effectively providing computational macros to a self-selecting vulnerable population.

61:

You do *not* know what mention of Parsons brought as a chain of thought.

Charlie... you realize that some of the traditional Magick traditions of the UK haven't been utilized in the laundryverse.

Here's my paying for a drink for you if none of them got together to save Great Britain (cf the Witches of the UK in the real world doing their best to actually do weather working during the Battle of Britain).

And one of them would succeed in channeling the Great Beast himself: if the PM is Big Brother... then a Real Goldstein is Aleister Crowley.

He can't lead a revolt to save the world?

62:

Sorry, as a real world leftist, your rules for community organizer come across as written from a right-wing point of view.

63:

Ooooh.

_Networked_ CCG.

Runs on phones.

64:

You could use the phone and the phone owner as components of a detection system, by comparing visual outputs - if X shows up in one system (eyesight) but not the other (camera), then that's a clear sign of Interesting Activity.

Camera recognition would vary witrh software, so you'd be able to run a set of searches by cycling the software through various configs.

Once you were able to distinguish targets then you'd have a platform to run SCORPION STARE through.

65:

Err, MtG is people, err, turing complete. Bad idea in the Laundryverse.

On another note, could you give some examples of the Finnish RPGs?

66:

I was thinking particularly of Travellers On A Red Road.

67:

MTG may be, but other games needn't be.

68:

Err, I got recitations of Crowley's curses in my mailbox when I was late (again) for one of my roleplaying groups back in 2002 to 2004.

Looking back, the guys in my group might have homebrewed a scenario from an official RPG to terminate the Crawling Chaos with prejudice, because they can and it's fun.

And Gnarly wouldn't mind, because we were somewhat entertaining.

Speaking about homebrewed scenarios, I have a feeling they are going to be the new "recreated his school with a level editor in Doom/Quake"...

69:

Loop and Epigram are two programming languagrs said not to be turing complete.

Problem is, accidental turing completeness is not that uncommon.

70:

When things get really ratty, people tend to head for comforting safe tales from youth. So in an era of tzompantli, I rather suspect that the UK Gold style of programming will leap up in popularity; 1970s/80s sitcoms like “The Good Life” / “To the Manor Born”. Basically, anything featuring Penelope Keith or Felicity Kendal. “Midsomer Murders” might not make the cut - too many deaths in a time of dying.

The New Management might of course be dropping heavy hints to broadcasters as to what programming is deemed “more suitable” in troublesome times. Can’t see “Secret Army” or “Allo, Allo” getting a repeat, and “V for Vendetta” is right out.

Games might well follow a similar pattern. The non-subversive majority using comforting tropes like Narnia (ooooh, CS Lewis as an early Laundry operator, you could have fun with that).

I can’t help but think of the humour meme: “Chaotic Stupid is not an alignment”. Under the new rules, who knows? “Lawful Psychopath”, “Neutral Coward”?

Anyway, what of the careful resistant? The RPG might well become a planning tool for acts of subversion: it’s hard for security forces to take gamers seriously, few will look past “oooh, graph paper and dice” to see an activist cell repeatedly rehearsing a target activity, using dice to exercise the various “what-ifs” and develop their responses / refine their plan...

71:

Thnx. Still looking for a new group, so...

72:

I foresee an Archers RPG.

73:

So mechanically, in an RPG were player characters typically serve the establishment, the roles of who is the monster/enemy and who is your friend are now reversed, obviously. For systems that use an alignment grid (*sigh*), this makes the paladin and other exclusively Good classes that usually fit into the "preserve the status quo" corner pretty much impossible to play.

I had ran D&D campaigns where players were Lawful Evil (or within one deviation), and doing essentially what you described.

74:

> Shadowrun would have a Call of Cthulhu crossover book.

We don't need CNG for that one, there's probably others but Dark Conspiracy was the one I had fun playing - depending on the GM/players the tech isn't as widespread as Shadowrun, and the unspeakable horrors may be humans, aliens or incomprehensible multi-dimensional beings who want to eat Seattle for unknowable reasons.

The setting is closer to north american laundryverse than NM though, so doesn't meet OGH's original question.

75:

Here's a weird thought: what if enough people were doing a joint ritual willing the world to be back to "normal"...?

76:

Racists adopt D&D. Initially racist geeks, then expanding into the wider community. Campaigns start to focus on defeating other races, killing the differently abled (they say some of them eat souls), and human supremacy. H.P. Lovecraft, David Brin, and J.R.R. Tolkien become popular, but the aspects that are emphasized are a bit different from what we would emphasize.

Card-based games start to have a role similar to plane spotter cards from WWII.

A popular cinematic universe is developed, which gets several key points wrong for the sake of human pride. Fans realize just how wrong it is shortly before their gruesome deaths.

Some vanilla racism is mixed into all of this.

77:

That's weird. When I used to dungeon, every party was mixed race.

Well, except for the one idiot 16 yr old in a group once....

78:

As for even more racist RPGs, it has been done, before clicking on the following link, keep the brain bleach ready.

1d4chan on Racial Holy War, the game

Mods, feel free to delete, in penance I'll enlist as an arcoflagellant and host a few sessions of FATAL, 1st edition...

79:

I. Read. That. Review. Out loud, to my SO and one of her daughters (who roloplay), and they were dying laughing.

Thanks for the link. We needed some amusement, and that's an amazing shredding.

80:

I agree with those who say that dice and tables and calculations are going to be risky, and think there will be an evolutionary pressure away from some forms of that.

Given a world increasingly resembling, even by rumour and gossip, some of the more horror-themed games, I wouldn't be surprised to see a resurgence of both directly-inspired games (like the love of killing zombies in the USA), and of escape/backlash games (Animal Crossing, for example).

For those reasons there might be an increased focus on simpler strategy games rather than calculation-based ones (viz, Catan/ Evolution/Save The Takahe).

I question the continued existence of Folding@Home* and wonder whether there will be a general ban on certain types of software - it will definitely make malware more of a risk (the gap between "major company loses entire network" and "eldritch horrors eat entire company" is important). So any kind of computer-based gaming will be risky. Sadly for my playing Path of Exile.

* anything that performs extensive calculations on random-looking data. You could accidentally discover an exciting combination.

81:

All right, let’s develop this from first principles.

D&D is played for escapism, for the sense of agency, and for novelty.

In a world where magic is real, the novelty side is diminished, although not entirely, as there are many different ways to do magic in RPGs.

But this isn’t all. In the Laundry Universe, where the world is becoming increasingly Lovecraftian, the need for escapism and for the sense of agency needs to be accordingly dialed up. If in the real world people are acutely aware of how they are either utterly insignificant dust or, in worse cases, playthings for forces which are beyond their control and comprehension, then the game must be everything the world isn’t. The characters have control over their lives, they use their intellect to make themselves stronger, and use their powers to make the world better.

And to gain powers the characters don’t use magic, because magic symbolizes the unknown and incomprehensible. They use human technology.

This neatly brings us to the other side of Charlie’s oeuvre.

The premise of the game system is a kind of gritty technological cornucopianism. Think singularity tropes mixed with cyberpunk tropes, and steeped in the optimism of Eliezer Yudkowski. You start as an augmented human/cyborg, and progress towards a god-like electronic being. A combination of Shadowrun, Exalted, Deus Ex, Girl Genius and The Rapture for Nerds.

The settings may vary, but none of them are grimdark. In some variations your BBEGs could still be Lovecraftian horrors, but the approach to fighting them is decidedly un-Lovecraftian. When enemies afflict Sanity rolls on your character, the solution is not to escape into ignorance, like in CoC, but to upgrade your mind until you are no longer phased by them.

82:

I was checking some lists for video game publishers, and yes, of the high end publishers some have their headquarters in the UK.
The list of defunct and sold publishers is many times that big, but thats just capitalism...
Anywho, tariffs were a stupid idea, I admit. I didn't really think that one through. But Co-opting the games industry to push your agenda as the NM makes sense. It may not even be necessary to influence the people making the creative decision directly: a strategically placed recurring nightmare here, the right idea planted into their own media consumption...
Foreign media that does not fit the NM's agenda will probably just be banned.

I think the games industry, and what people will play, will be part of a greater societal shift: With an Elder God at the helm, their metaphysical tentacles will reach the lives of the public, changing thoughts, ideas, and dreams.
What drives the people will not change, e.g., they will still want to escape their dreadful tedium of an 9-5 office drag, and sit down with people they actually like, and engage in some escapist fantasy or mock-battle with clear rules that they may actually win.
The subject matter and the themes will change, as they always have, but the underlying need drive will not.

83:

I foresee an Archers RPG.

The horror, the horror...

84:

I have some problems with quite a few comments predominantly noting escapism in RPGs.

Well, escapism, in the sense of doing it to escape from everyday life and relax is there, but I see no difference to e. g. soccer fans, if anything, soccer fans are less conbected to the social realities that make part a good session. In fact, even most most fantasy settings incorporate rivalry between social groups, e. g. different religion, yes, it's only lip service to reality, still...

In some players, the line between game and reality gets somewhat blurry, but again, the same is true for quite a few sport fans.

And don't get me started on other imaginary social endeavours, e. g. celebrity news or religions, for the latter one, I single out "talk a lot, organize nothing" politics and MBA level economics.


85:

I foresee an Archers RPG.

The players are already in one. They are the livestock.

86:

Someone else who's faced this question was Alan Moore, when creating the world for his excellent Watchmen comics (subsequently an average film and a brilliant TV show). In that world, superheroes have existed since the 1940s; one with unlimited, godlike powers, and numerous others without powers, just costumed vigilantes with gimmicks and talented hand-to-hand. Moore decided that in such a world, superhero comics would be too 'real', so instead pirate comics are all the rage. This spans the full spectrum, too - there are adventure pirate comics, romance pirate comics, and horror pirate comics (of which one, Tales of the Black Freighter is reproduced as a comic-within-a-comic).

87:
More to the point though, fantasy RPGs will reflect an outdated view of magic in the same way as Golden Age sci-fi reflects an outdated view of space travel.[...]

This is a great point. What happened to space sci-fi in the 50s-70s, when the public learned more about space travel, zero-gravity, and other planets? What did that do to the culture? That, turned up to 11, is a possible answer.

88:

I agree with others that role-playing games, moreso that other fiction, tend to be about escapism. Current popular RPGs, to me, represent several specific reactions to the real world.

Where reality is filled with shades of grey, RPGs have simple good-vs-evil morality. The bad guys are obvious (or nefariously hidden!) and "there is no right answer" is rare. This would be reversed in the Laundryverse, where evil is clear and present everywhere. Players might prefer to play stories where moral questions are balanced but low-stakes, rather than lopsided and life-or-death.

The insignificance of individuals in the face of greater forces in our world has filled our fiction with heroes, whose individual choices carry huge weight thanks to their tremendous abilities. What if one person really could 'fix' criminality or climate change? This could go either way in the Laundryverse; actually-existing-superheroes might disabuse people of the positives of enormous individual power, leading to RPGs that emphasise collective action and banding together - or the very visible enormous world-threatening forces that the humans cannot affect could inspire even greater power levels in fiction, with player characters destroying planets and creating planes of existence on a routine basis.

Violence and death, relatively absent from modern Western societies, is a default problem-solving technique in the vast majority of RPGs. This is unlikely to be as welcome if the players know people who've ended up on a tzompantli. Expect to play with non-lethal and possibly non-violent problem-solving taking the fore, and player death in particular mostly excised.

In short - yeah, Animal Crossing.

89:

My table is not about escapism. It's about exploring together a shared dreamworld and in doing so, developing the characters dwelling inside of us wanting to come out. Demons are keyed to particular aspects of my personality and when I act them out I give them life so I can interact with them and negotiate better terms of co-living.
And my players are encouraged to play characters that are themselves but in ways that bring forward personality traits they want to explore.
Thus the game is a means to cavort with local entities and create special-purpose egos that help players and DM alike to navigate social spaces better.
If I was playing a game like that in the Laundryverse, I would heavily ward the game room so that our ceremonies don't become an invitation for the eaters to dine on us.

90:

Well, yes, why do you think that such things are popular?

While some people will undoubtedly want to escape reality entirely, a higher proportion merely want an environment in which they have the control they are lacking in their everyday lives. And, for most people, that includes simplicity, because being faced with a problem to complicated to get their heads around makes them feel that they are not in control. This is a very well-known psychological and sociological effect.

There have been plenty of games that are 'realistic' as well as 'fantastic' but, as far as I know, ALL successful ones have had the characteristics of giving the player control and using a simpler world. The reason that fantasy is commonly used is because it makes this simpler, as much as anything.

In the world of the New Management, I am pretty sure that many (perhaps) most people would be looking for such things at least as strongly as they do today.

91:

Yes, there is (or was) a Doctor Who RPG: IIRC back when BBC Wales was rebooting Who a decade ago a certain games company I was dealing with snapped up the rights for a mere £15,000 advance plus royalties. TTRPG media rights are dirt cheap unless you're dealing with a major media franchise (Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel/DC Comics).

92:

citizens of a post CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN world would gravitate toward a world without any of that

So, a giant revival for Traveler! (Except classic Traveler was absolutely not a game where you could go full murder hobo and expect to survive your first combat, so I'm guessing there'd be a bunch of updates to make it workable for the nuke-em-till-they-glow-then-shoot-em-in-the-dark demographic.)

93:

Oneiromantic Suppression Officer:
Mass sending interception, moderation and management. Strong affinity with Cats and Microsoft Excel a must, PRINCE2 Practioner qualification advantageous.

Xenoveterinarian:
Appropriate "feeder" qualification from appropriate learning bodies required. Spare limbs and stored bodily fluids recommended.

Miscegenation Management Czar (Coasts and Waterways):
Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy in coordination with the emergency services, armed forces and ocean-based stakeholders, to manage genetic intermix in line with available care resources and stakeholder expectations.

94:

Editorializing aside

If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed that I haven't blogged about Black Lives Matter (spoiler: I emphatically think they do), rampant police brutality on display, pushing statues of slavers into canals (good riddance!), or other current events. They're simply moving too fast to track and I don't want to invite a flame war or have to go full time wielding the ban hammer.

From my immediate perspective, what seems to be happening is what William Burroughs called a Naked Lunch moment: the instant of frozen time where what's on the end of your fork becomes impossible to ignore, along with the slaughterhouse processes that led to it being impaled there. And it has made certain fictional tropes instantly questionable -- anything to do with the American model of policing that takes the conventional narrative of police as public protectors at face value, for example.

Opinion poll numbers show a shift in attitudes in the US that is jaw-dropping in its magnitude and speed. His misreading of the mood is probably going to cost Donald Trump the election in November: tear gassing his way into a church he wasn't a congregant of to pose with a bible is never a good look. The hardcore white supremacists and neo-nazis aren't going to shift, but what's happening to the non-immoral majority is another matter.

I am currently 75,000 words into the first draft of a sequel to October's release (Dead Lies Dreaming) and going really slowly, because this is not a great time to be trying to front-run dystopian reality in fiction. Especially for a book that can't be published before October 2021.

As it is, I've just come out of a pause-and-re-evaluate cycle almost as bad as the one that forced the rewrite of The Delirium Brief, when British politics fell off a cliff overnight in the middle of 2016.

(Luckily for me in light of current events, the cop protagonist of Dead Lies Dreaming and sequel is probably still plausibly a sympathetic character. She's an ex-cop who believes fiercely in the Peelian principles -- community policing -- and got railroaded out of the Met as an indirect result. Law and Order under the New Management is already a blatant parody of worst police brutality and violence: it'll take very little tweaking to make it directly relevant. I'm not 100% certain yet, but I think these books are going to survive post-publication scrutiny in the post-George Floyd/Black Lives Matter era.)

But anyway: this is not an invitation to discuss Black Lives Matter; rather it's an explanation of why I'm examining current events from a different angle via the D&D speculation. Just as CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN puts D&D and TTRPGs into a new frame, so too does BLM put any crime-caper plot line into a different light, and unfortunately I started writing a trilogy about supervillains and law enforcement exactly as Defund the Police stopped looking like a fringe, crank argument and acquired urgency.

95:

Community Activist (aka a 'Rabble Rouser')

On the one hand: that's a plausible, well-developed character class. Shame that as Whitroth notes, it looks like it's a far-right/US conservative parody of a left-wing activist. Not cool.

Also: I absolutely hate it, with a fiery passion. (Hint: individuals in this character class should be nicknamed "mind rapists".)

96:

They'll be playing RPGs about pandemics?

97:

The American model of policing
Which always was brutal, except it seems to have actually got worse, significantly so, in recent years - Trump, I presume?
Opinion poll numbers show a shift in attitudes in the US that is jaw-dropping in its magnitude and speed.
As always, when the spring under the vast heap actually gets just that tiny bit bigger, & suddenly, the whole thing slides into oblivion at frightening speed [ And, yes that horrifying metaphor was deliberate, because, as a side-effect innocent people will get hurt - see France 1792 or Russian 1918-19, or Iran post 1979. ]

Rabble rouser How many are right-wing Agents Provacateurds I wonder? ( Oops, that was a mistyp - but I think I'll leave it! )
All the members of the supposed terrorist cell were cops of one sort or another, yes?
Though I know the real thing does exist, but they are usually such complete idiots [ See "Extinction Rebellion" for an example ] as to not be worth bothering with.
Unlike, say Der Rote Armee Faction in the BRD during the late 1960's

99:
You want something like Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game.

- The publisher lays out the rules and the setting in advance. So the information it generates is well known in advance and limited in scope.
- The number of options is relatively small and easy to manipulate.
- Because the publisher understands the rules, the hard work has already been done.

I am not sure picking a Turing-complete computational stratum as an example of "the information it generates is well known in advance and limited in scope". I am also pretty sure that WotC had no idea they had accidentally a Turing tarpit. An while the number of options may be small, there's basically infinite combinability, telescoping the amount of information to be considered considerably.

I'll leave implementing (and/or testing) the computation of the Ackermann function in M:TG to the hardier than me.

100:

You said later "Law and Order under the New Management is already a blatant parody of worst police brutality and violence:"

Hmm. One of the classic methods used by such governments is to daemonise their enemies and encourage the 'right sort of' extremism, tribalism and hatred, often using such fiction. I remember the "boy's magazines", even though I encountered only the tail end of them, and many of them had tacit government support - possibly even covert support. I would expect the New Management to keep a VERY close eye on fiction and RPGs that involve organised conflict, ensure that it was only of the 'the right sort'. They would also encourage the "nuke 'em all" games where the protagonists were heroes of the New Management fighting verminous, evil etc. enemies (i.e. any other management, and anyone inside who was not a whole-hearted supporter). Yes, 1984 redux, but Orwell was writing about what he knew.

So I would expect other types of RPGs to tread very carefully around that, and to avoid such forms of conflict. It's too easy to be misjudged as promoting dissent, and then ....

101:

"Trump, I presume?"

I think it's a combination of things. Certainly the Trump administration killed some Obama-era programs meant to help the Federal government intervene with the really bad police departments. But there are other things as well, including the militarization of police, the current preference (among U.S. cops at least) for gaining complete and immediate control and compliance instead of de-escalating, the upcoming end of the war on drugs and the current distaste for the war on whores, but rising gigantically over all this is the capacity, on the part of the average citizen, to take high-quality video and audio of what the police are doing. This is game-changing, and a cellphone can upload the video as it's being shot, which is huge.

Attached to all this is the problem that cops haven't adjusted to the idea that there are cameras everywhere, and thus whatever they do will be subject to public evaluation.

102:

Well, yes, and "having a feeling of being in control" also makes an activity reinforcing.

But "simplified scenario" is not just a description for an escapistic scenario, it's also a description for a training scenario. And there is also the metagame, e.g. the interaction in the group.

Ok, I go back to my year 2KX self quite a lot lately, namely to see some failure modes I encounter again, to reconnect to old friends etc. Saying I was good at compartmentalization would not be true, but, well, let's not go into details this time.

When we decided to start a modified Runequest session in 2001, it was not to escape reality. At least I was doing plenty of that at the time, sitting in my room, listening to music and building stories in my head.

I was living in a dorm with solitary appartments and bad traffic connections, and at some point connected with some of my neighbours. There where some subgroups, and with one, well, we were already doing movie evenings (guess where I watched Fight Club, and I still wonder why my brother doesn't see the parallels between Tyler Durden and the Italian fascist futurists, but I digress), we did LAN parties and some board games, e.g. Catan (which quite a few German boardgamers hate with a passion, but again, I digress).

So when one guy who was into Roman and Byzantine history proposed homebrewing a Medieval scenario, we thought it might be fun, and it was, even if we quickly realized the GM was even more lacking in social skills than me. And it might have cushioned off somewhat the mixture of depression, social withdrawl, writer's block and burnout I was experiencing at the time.

As for the alternative, well, at least some of us would have played Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Command&Conquer or StarCraft alone.

103:

Surely, in the post-new management Laundryverse, D&D would be highly illegal? Both from a risk of accidental magic, and a censorship point of view. This would make the hardcore who continue pretty odd characters in their own right, not to mention buying their stuff from hard nuts on the black market.

104:

The American model of policing
Which always was brutal, except it seems to have actually got worse, significantly so, in recent years - Trump, I presume?

Nope, went all the way back to Nixon: Trump merely accelerated it.

Nixon kicked off the war on drugs specifically so the cops would have an excuse to crack down on hippies, young people, and BAME communities. (It was a reboot of a 1930s era program to maintain Jobs For The Good Ole Boys who'd just had their Prohibition gravy train derailed.)

Reagan -- nobody's idea of a civil rights activist -- accelerated it. He also pushed "care in the community" as a solution to horror stories about psychiatric hospitals, which resulted in shoveling a lot of folks with mental illnesses out onto the street, where they couldn't support themselves and ended up in prison. (Not a coincidence: most people with schizophrenia smoke, and many use cannabis because it is a self-administered palliative: it shuts the internal narrative down. So war on drugs = war on the mentally ill, too.) GHWB continued, then Clinton triangulated on the more right-wing congress elected in 1994 and accelerated it.

Meanwhile the quiet news was that violent crime in the USA was falling -- the fall correlated perfectly, accounting for a 15-20 year delay, with measures to get lead out of petrol and paint and products people were routinely exposed to. (Chronic low level lead poisoning causes diminished intelligence, diminished impose control, and emotional volatility -- all things that feed into violent crime.)

GWB kept pushing the same levers, but added terrorism as a new pretext to feed money to the new police-prison-industrial complex that was supplanting the old military-industrial complex (after the defense spending cuts of the early 90s).

Note that prison labour is a valuable source of revenue for the private prisons industry, and putting cops in (American) schools provides a steady stream of new slaves inmates.

It costs more to keep a prisoner in a maximum security prison than to send a student to Harvard. Which is the whole point, because both those institutions are private sector money-making organizations that farm a crop of human lives.

105:

Err, for some reasons not to be named I went into morphogenetic fields lately and ended up in an interview of Terrence McKenna by Horgan. Bribgs back nemories of other parts of me at the time, BTW.

So, if computers are still legal, and people feed the data of metahuman activities into them, they will see exponential growth, and they can extrapolate the data. And thus rediscover CNG.

(for context, McKenna was not just into tryptamines, but also into the computational singularity, and his "timewave hypothesis" was one factor in the 2012 craze; Horgan thinks he was just jesting with it, though)

106:

Oh, and sorry for the typos, I'm not under the influence, I just don't like smartphone keyboards...

107:

Surely, in the post-new management Laundryverse, D&D would be highly illegal?

It takes a while for primary legislation to be introduced and implemented. In particular, the UK in 2014 (when the New Management came to power) didn't have a framework for institutional censorship of written material -- indeed, it was an EU member with mandatory compliance with the ECHR.

Also, PDFs of D&D rules are a widespread thing. So at this point the cat's very much out of the bag.

The one hopelessly unrealistic characteristic of the New Management is that, however malignant it might be, it isn't stupid (His Dark Majesty has a drastic way of showing his displeasure at displays of stupidity among his servants -- the current British cabinet would be adorning spikes at Tyburn for their handling of COVID19).

So their response would most likely be subtle: sponsoring selected games developers to distribute new products widely online in "free" beta-test versions for play-testing, subsidizing development, and supplying a list of tropes to be discouraged -- "put this in your game and oh dear, your nice government grant goes away". With the hope that the "free" produce would drive more expensive (and ideologically suspect) offerings out of the marketplace.

108:

Since we're doing an excursion on the USian situation, I somewhat wonder about Floyd's tox results.

[ DELETED BY MODERATOR because we are NOT on an excursion into the US situation -- at least, not prior to comment 300. ]

110:

*Meanwhile the quiet news was that violent crime in the USA was falling*

I'm not sure it's as simple as lead-free petrol - it correlates well with a lot of other things too. (I'm put in mind of the Pastafarian correlation between pirates and global warming.) Most notably, it also correlates with legal access to birth control and a general reduction in birthrate when that kicked in. If you have fewer kids and you actually *want* those kids, your quality of parenting is going to be way better.

As you say though, an irony of the last 20-30 years is that we're more afraid of violence on the streets at a time when violence on the streets has never been lower.

111:

"As you say though, an irony of the last 20-30 years is that we're more afraid of violence on the streets at a time when violence on the streets has never been lower."

I believe it is CNN and other real time news networks. They need to keep people glued to the TV set, so anything gory is GOOD to play in an infinite loop.

112:

People have looked fairly closely at this; the evidence is that going to lead-free petrol was the main single factor in the drop. Variations in social deprivation (by FAR the next most important factor) have confused the data, but not enough to hide that.

113:
The Amulet of Yendor will transpire to be not as innocuous and desirable as a lot of people have thought and hard to get your hands on for A Very Good Reason.


"This MacGuffin is placed at the bottom of a pit, the descent into which was made to be impossibly, lethally difficult, and you did not get the clue?"

114:

As Charlie said, Nixon started that dog-whistle. However, a) a Black man being elected President cranked the racists up to 11 on a scale of 10, and b) the Hairball actively encouraged them to come out from under their rocks ("good people on both sides").

115:

"PDF's"? Sorry, but if I go to my ancient God kit, I have *photocopies" of all three *original" D&D books. My SO has *legal* copies.

Oh, and btw - it struck me that most folks here have been talking about running in what we used to call pregenerated modules. Back in the day, the dungeon you went into followed the DM spending days or week or months *inventing* one, like the one I did, or either of my old buddies did.

Trust me, mine are a lot more fun, and stranger, than the dungeons you ran in....

116:

Btw, between only eventually falling asleep last night, and waking up this morning, I realized that under NM, I'm going to be unbelievably rich.

All of you talking about the escapist games like 'meetings and paperwork"....

In the 1632 universe, there's Dr. Gribbleflotz, who went to Grantville, and came up with centuries of odd ideas (photgraph your aura, ma'am?). He is, however, amazingly rich, because he *also* found a jackpot, and manufactures (his company does) the little blue pills.

Aspirin.

So, I hereby apply for a patent/copyright/trademark in the Laundryverse. There are millions, no, billions of people terrified of what's happened, and can't get to sleep every night, or keep waking up. I invented a small artifact, useable 6 or 7 times before needing to be recharged. It only affects a small area, meaning the user, and anyone next to them: the SilverDragon's Sleep Spell Artefact. Get at least a solid four or more hours sleep any night, works immediately, and you won't wake up thinking you heard something.

Then, I'll invest money in setting up a training program (you or your company pays), with a HUUUUGE job market: insurance company protection spell adjuster, how protected you are from spells and monsters depends on how good your insurance is, re-done every payment (meaning six months or once a year).

Told you I'm about to be rich.

117:

Charlie, one more thing - a question. Folks running games, or clerics in existing games: what will the NM do, if they're doing rituals, etc, for NON-Lovecraftian deities (Odin, Isis, the Morrigan, etc)?

118:

If you want to know what’s wrong with policing in the U.S., read this very interesting story of the office fired for not shooting a suicidal suspect. Note some interesting things as you’re reading. First of all, note the poor communication by all involved, particularly the police dispatcher. Note the poor job done of evaluating the shooting; neither the captain in charge nor the police chief of the (small) 35-member department involved ever questioned or formally interviewed the officer who didn’t shoot. Note the instant rejection, by other cops, of the officer who didn’t shoot the suspect. Note the clumsy attempts at a coverup…

https://features.propublica.org/weirton/police-shooting-lethal-force-cop-fired-west-virginia/

119:

He also pushed "care in the community" as a solution to horror stories about psychiatric hospitals, which resulted in shoveling a lot of folks with mental illnesses out onto the street, where they couldn't support themselves and ended up in prison.

Actually on that issue the left was the most active in closing down the evil mental institutions. But while lawsuits can close such places, lawsuits don't pass legislation to replace them. So in the name of "fixing" the issue we just dumped them all on the streets.

It was a spectacular display of unrealistic thinking about how the world of politics would work.

I was in my late 20s / early 30s at the time and when I asked what would replace the institutions I kept being told community solutions. But no money was being allocated. A when a bit of money was there amazingly when the discussion started about converting a suburban home to a place for 5 to 10 mentally ill people to live "normal" lives the torches and pitchforks would come out by the impacted neighbors.

120:

Mods, go ahead and kill my post at 118 if necessary. My apologies, I posted first and caught-up later.

121:

Charlie
You are reinforcing what I was suggesting ... It was always (?) bad, but DT has made it much worse.
Thanks for the insight about arsehole Noxon, though.

whitroth
A merely pale-brown man being elected Pres drove the New_Confederate nitters into voerdrive ...

Troutwaxer
That's really horrible.
Here, & in the W European countries, he'd get a commendation.

122:

But you expected Raygun to spend FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS (bow, please) on wasteful things like that, when he was busy shoveling money into the military-industrial complex?

The FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that I ever saw a homeless person was somewhere between 1979 and 1981.

123:

Folks running games, or clerics in existing games: what will the NM do, if they're doing rituals, etc, for NON-Lovecraftian deities (Odin, Isis, the Morrigan, etc)?

Obviously in the Laundryverse there are three types of god that might occur in a D&D game:

1. Can't exist. (Incompatible with the laws of nature the Laundryverse runs on.)

2. Don't exist.

3. Do exist.

The New Management is not stupid; the NM understands the concept "fiction". So the NM couldn't care less about Type 1. And it is less concerned with Type 3, because a campaign with 2-7 participants (including the GM) is unlikely to concentrate enough mana to invoke a Type 3 manifestation, and if the players knew it was even remotely a possibility they'd burn their rulebooks because it's a horrible way to die and groups of people don't generally get together to commit suicide for fun and recreation.

The NM's main concern is therefore with Type 2 entities, which are not known to exist but also not known to be impossible.

... And I can't say anything more on that particular topic until I've written "A Conventional Boy" which has been on the do-to list for about five years (it's Derek the DM's origin story).

124:

Replying to self @ 97 & also Charlie
Opinion poll numbers show a shift in attitudes in the US that is jaw-dropping in its magnitude and speed.
Which will mean less than nothing if DT succeds in stealing this year's election.
His minions are busting guts & straining muscles to rig the vote, by every just-about-legal means possible, as far as I can see - yes?
What happens if it s "close" as a result, &/or if the R's still have a majority in the Senate?
And don't forget the now-rigged Supreme Court.
Or will the tsunami/landslide overwhelm them as well?

Charlie?
US residents?

p.s.
whitroth
The first time I saw any numbers of homeless-on-the-street was in the late Thatcher years ....

125:

No. There was this expectation that the states (who ran the evil institutions) would allocate more money to deal with community solutions.

Heck here in NC we are still in the middle of this fight. It was going on when I moved here 30 years ago and still is.

As to homeless, there is a huge pile of reasons for this issue. Mental illness being a major one. Another being you can't be poor and live in a shack. Those are now illegal. Pick a side on that one. I can argue either side myself. As long as we limit the discussion to just that. Housing. Which is shouldn't be but is.

PS: Reagan's military spending was in line with Carter's plans. Carter just didn't brag about it.

126:

So in the name of "fixing" the issue we just dumped them all on the streets.

Note that the first true modern antipsychotic meds came along in the early 1960s. So the thinking was probably that "this is curable now, why are we institutionalizing these people when they can just take their prescription and go back to being productive members of society?"

Trouble is, first-gen antipsychotics had horrible side-effects. (For values of "horrible" that mimicked the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.) Also, prescription drugs and medical treatment aren't free in the USA. So you got a toxic brew of patients coming off their meds because (a) they didn't like the side-effects and (b) they couldn't afford them because (c) they couldn't hold down a job with medical benefits if they kept coming off their meds but (d) if they were on their meds they were basket cases.

(The UK got the same meds around the same time but also had the NHS and a working social security system and public housing. Upshot: it was still a problem -- especially in the 1980s after Thatcher and her heirs tried to gut the unemployment system -- but much less of a problem.)

127:

Which will mean less than nothing if DT succeds in stealing this year's election.

Latest polls I've seen show Trump trailing Biden by 16%.

Yes, he can steal an election if it's close, and US presidential elections are usually close. But it'll be next to impossible to steal a landslide. The most he could do would be to declare a state of emergency and try to cancel or postpone the election entirely ... but the Military looked that one in the eye last week (handing out live ammo to units facing off against unarmed demonstrators) and blinked.

If he doesn't have the Joint Chiefs on his side he probably can't make a coup stick. And he doesn't, and the numbers have got him in an emotional meltdown, and the further into meltdown he goes, the lower his chances of winning.

128:

CONFESSION TIME:

So I, uh, just mail-ordered a dead-tree set of the D&D 5e rule books, to shelve alongside my original AD&D books and hopefully Do Something with.

This is a business expanse: they'll come in handy when I write "A Conventional Boy", which is set in 2010 and therefore immune to COVID19 or Brexit or New Management fuck-uppery.

Now I just have to find a D&D campaign running on Zoom that can ease a player back in after about 37 years away.

129:

Which will mean less than nothing if DT succeds in stealing this year's election.

US residents?

Stealing an election is not the same as refusing to accept the results. That is where it can get very ugly. As some have said, what if Trump says it was rigged and he will not leave? I suspect that as soon as Biden (if the winner by the process) is sworn in, the Secret Service will grab Trump by the arm pits, put him in a van, drive him past the demonstrators to his "home". By law he gets SS protection but that doesn't extend to staying in the WH.

As to stealing I expect the overall results to be valid. But have concerns about Georgia and Wisconsin. I can see their legislatures legislating an electoral college vote if it's close and if they make the difference. Then things would get very ugly very quickly. Most of the other legislatures of likely close states don't seem to be that arrogant.

130:

My son runs a weekly game. Or did. I'm not sure what he's doing with it just now. I can ask him what's up with Zoom D&D these days.

131:

I am under the impression that Raygun's was higher than Carter's. Note that I was NOT happy with
Carter's military increases, and voted Anderson (3rd party). Had I but known, I would have voted for Carter.

132:

He's melting down *now*. His "lawyers" send a Cease and Desist letter... to CNN.

I'm not making this up.

For publishing a poll showing him behind Biden by 14%.

CNN, having serious money, and its own staff of lawyers, told him his letter had no merit, and FUCK OFF.

133:

I am puzzled. That implies that a ritual couldn't open a channel to, say, the Sleeper in the Pyramid - not a full invokation, obviously, but the original channels to it must have been opened SOMEHOW.

And I would have thought that the New Management would have had a real down on such things, just as most gummints in my lifetime (especially during the cold wars) have had a real down on agents of what they feel are hostile states. My understanding of the Labyrinth Index is that there was an ongoing cold war between Himself in the UK and It in the USA.

134:

Getting the Joint Chiefs on his side for a coup, esp. noting the new Black general of the AF, approaches 'not a fucking chance". The Marines, for one, will probably start talking about Gen Chesty Puller (in the thirties, some ultrawealthy tried to talk to him about a coupe against FDR: he went and testified to Congress about it).

Remember, it was just last week that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs sending out the official memo reminding the entire US military that the Oath of Office is to the Constitution.

135:

Not Chesty Puller. It was Smedley Butler.

136:

Sounds like characters from "I thawt I thaw a puty that" flick.

137:

Hey Charlie, what's the current status on the Sleeper in the Pyramid. Is it out of the running in the quest for Earthly power, or was the death of Schiller merely a setback?

138:

I was thinking more Abbott and Costello... "Coups on First?"

139:

I sit, and type, corrected. Thanks. The point, however, stands - neither of them were nice people. but the Oath meant something.

140:

Nah, Abbott and Costello were nice guys. This crew is like a vile version of the Three Stooges.

141:

There should be a throw away line that makes it obvious they are role playing THIS pandemic specifically, then the focus shifts and we hear no more of it.

142:

sorry for the typos
Not your fault. :-)
Typos and other mistakes are a big thing these days, particularly in US politics.
I'll try to map that into a new DnD entity type today.

@Charlie Stross 123: And I can't say anything more on that particular topic until I've written "A Conventional Boy"
Does Derek Know what he is? Was unclear whether he knew the last we saw of him in published work. (Not clear to me either, to be ... clear.)


143:

David L
I suspect that as soon as Biden (if the winner by the process) is sworn in ...
And THERE is your problem.
The elcetion is on 3rd Novemebr 2020, & including suborning the Electoral College before 14/12/2020 fdollowed, perhaps by swearing-in day on 20th January 2021.
And just what do you think DT & his crooks & militias will be doing in that interval?

144:

Until the STATE electoral votes are submitted to Congress in early January it IS a state thing. If mischief (that might succeed) is to occur it will be between the popular vote and the electoral college vote a month later. After that the process is mostly locked in.

145:

A bit more on the US economic front. Curious as to how this is playing out in the UK and EU.

Realtors I know (the folks that handle buying and selling houses in the US) reporting great numbers. It seems that the Federal Reserve dumping $$$ into the US economy to keep it lubed up has driven down interest rates on mortgages such that those with seemingly secure jobs and were thinking of buying a house are doing so.

And I've seen some reasonable talk that this slush pile of money is also what is keeping the stock market up in general. Buying a T bill means you get no return on your money so why not go for some stocks.

146:

This should have gone in the previous post. Sorry bout that. Admins move it if you want.

147:

I'm not going to spoiler an unpublished (indeed, unwritten!) novella that examines exactly that question. But note that it's set well before the New Management comes along.

148:

Thanks. That is a Clue, and I now have my Suspicions, but I shall have to wait for the Denouement :-)

149:

For US readers, principally.
Is there a respectable US "newspaper" or equivalent which can be read here, on-line, without either a paywall, or a very limited number of "reads" before on hits a subscription/paywall limit, please?

150:

The Onion? Hard Times?

It depends on what you want to read, but there are lefty online sites, for instance Politico and Vice, that are pretty much freely available. Inewsource is a good investigative nonprofit in San Diego. If you can be more specific, I'm sure lots of suggestions will float to the top.

151:

Ok. I read articles from the WaPo a lot (but NOT the NYT).
1. I'm running firefox on CentOS, with noScript. I do NOT ALLOW ANYTHING but what's necessary to read the article. That means start with only one thing, and the one thing is *no* always the paper.
2. Mostly, I don't go directly to the papers: I run google news, and you can set a country, and follow *their* links.

Btw, news.google.com is, like google search, *far* worse than it was 6-8 years ago. I used to see articles from the Hindustani, and the Scotsman, and the Asia Straights-Times. Now, it's oh, you only want to read news from your country....

152:

respectable

is in the eye of the beholder. ;)

Axios. Politico. Both do good reporting. But unless you want to try and read through a festival of ads (people got to get paid) it's hard to find sources that are "free".

Check out NPR. (npr.org) They are a bit to the left (depending on where you are standing) and free. I listen to all things considered on my phone via their app. This is their evening 2 hour news show. I tend to run a week or two behind real time. Which works as many of their stories are NOT about what happened 5 minutes ago. All of their stories are in text on their site as far as I know.

PBS has a lot of news type shows. Not sure how many are GEO locked or available as text.

I also like PRI's Marketplace podcasts. Not sure if they are online in text form but they are a reasonable source of mostly US based business news that isn't cheer leading. (Most of the time.)

Lately Apple has been stuffing my news feed with way too many Guardian (US) articles which can be a bit annoying.

Many times you can get to a paywalled article for free if you find it in Google News then open it in a private window.

153:

So, a giant revival for Traveler! (Except classic Traveler was absolutely not a game where you could go full murder hobo and expect to survive your first combat, so I'm guessing there'd be a bunch of updates to make it workable for the nuke-em-till-they-glow-then-shoot-em-in-the-dark demographic.)

This was also my take: space opera as escapism. However in a world with public and irrefutable superheros and magic, that would likely have to leak its way in to anything that claimed to be "science-y". I imagine games like Traveller would evolve in the same way that they did to take into account the changes between late 70s "high-tech" and 21st century "high-tech". Which is how you might get your murder-hobo aesthetic: the PCs all have superpowers/psionics/indistinguishable-from-magic-tech/etc. that allow them to transcend the rather deadly combat of those sorts of systems.

Either that or a revivial of games like Paranioa as a way of coping with the dystopian present via black humour. Which could either be viewed as subversive or a harmless pressure release, depending on the attitute of the powers that be.

Although thinking about this, you could imagine Paranoia being set in the post-nightmare-green Laundryverse: the Computer as an early AI that accidentally starts warping reality, sealing itself and the city it was located in into the impermeable bubble that is Alpha Complex. And then the AI develops the electronic equivalent of K syndrome...

154:

The Onion?

Been a few years since papers in China referenced "The Onion" stories on their sites. Made for some amusing reads.

155:

Totally off subject: a few months back, Charley, you and Greg pointed me to a clamshell. We're on our first post-lockdown trip (to one of Ellen's daughters and a son-in-law) and having so much grief with my 11-yr-old Netbook that I'm starting to think about replacing it (it's 32 bit machine anyway), and I was trying to look around for that one or others like it.

I adore google, given -ipad -apple clamshell showing me apples as the first hits....

Link, please?

156:

This reminds me of an image in (I think) a Top Ten comic (Alan Moore/Gene Ha), where everyone is a superhero, and a kid (with a mask and a cape) is reading a Business Man comic.

157:

Charlie Stross @ 52:

Video games in general will probably take a hit at the publishers mostly sit in the USS (United States of Sleep)

Ahem: You know GRAND THEFT AUTO was made just up the road from my flat?

The UK video game industry is big, much bigger as a proportion of the global industry than the UK film/TV sector. While it's significantly smaller than the US games industry, that's really because the USA is a larger/more populous nation.

Tariffs/trade barriers: we're getting a crash course in how they don't affect trade in soft goods that much -- they merely affect the price the end consumer pays, and prices of software can be tweaked endlessly: once you've amortized the development costs in your home market, exports are basically free money and you adjust the pricing to maximize revenue.

I've never played Dungeons & Dragons (it came along about the time I married a narcissistic sociopath and allowed her to wreck all of my external friendships, so I had no one to play with.)

I do play video games (mostly first-person shooters), so I looked if there is an online Dungeons & Dragons. It seems there is a "free to play" MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons game that you can play from your home computer. I wondered how true it is to the original concept? I have a vague idea of how multiplayer gaming works in the realm of first person shooters, so I know you can build build online teams to go off adventuring together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMrN3Rh55uM

I don't play online because my reflexes are shot & I don't have a powerful enough computer or a fast enough internet connection to keep up. If I ever decide to join in I'll need to build a dedicated gaming computer.

Beyond that, I wondered how online gaming would work in the universe of the Laundry & New Management, since magic is computational? What would happen if you woke up a dragon in an online video game? Would it manifest in the real world of the Laundry & New Management?


158:

Martin @ 70: When things get really ratty, people tend to head for comforting safe tales from youth. So in an era of tzompantli, I rather suspect that the UK Gold style of programming will leap up in popularity; 1970s/80s sitcoms like “The Good Life” / “To the Manor Born”. Basically, anything featuring Penelope Keith or Felicity Kendal. “Midsomer Murders” might not make the cut - too many deaths in a time of dying.

The New Management might of course be dropping heavy hints to broadcasters as to what programming is deemed “more suitable” in troublesome times. Can’t see “Secret Army” or “Allo, Allo” getting a repeat, and “V for Vendetta” is right out.

What about Doctor Who? I'd really hate a universe where I didn't have Doctor Who.

159:

whitroth
It's a Planet Computers "Cosmo Communicator"

160:

Charlie Stross @ 104:

The American model of policing
Which always was brutal, except it seems to have actually got worse, significantly so, in recent years - Trump, I presume?

Nope, went all the way back to Nixon: Trump merely accelerated it.

Nixon kicked off the war on drugs specifically so the cops would have an excuse to crack down on hippies, young people, and BAME communities. (It was a reboot of a 1930s era program to maintain Jobs For The Good Ole Boys who'd just had their Prohibition gravy train derailed.)

Reagan -- nobody's idea of a civil rights activist -- accelerated it. He also pushed "care in the community" as a solution to horror stories about psychiatric hospitals, which resulted in shoveling a lot of folks with mental illnesses out onto the street, where they couldn't support themselves and ended up in prison. (Not a coincidence: most people with schizophrenia smoke, and many use cannabis because it is a self-administered palliative: it shuts the internal narrative down. So war on drugs = war on the mentally ill, too.) GHWB continued, then Clinton triangulated on the more right-wing congress elected in 1994 and accelerated it.

I think you're missing the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in two ways - "qualified immunity" and "involuntary commitments". I don't disagree with the Supreme Court's mental illness rulings regarding the rights of the accused and/or less than well individuals, but the unintended consequences have been dire. Taken together with the neo-conservative movement's full on assault on anything remotely resembling a social safety net, they have established a right to rot on the streets. There's nothing inherently wrong with "care in the community" if those who need care could actually get it.

Qualified immunity has been the more disastrous, because it essentially placed cops above the law. They can break it with impunity. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

161:

David L @ 125: PS: Reagan's military spending was in line with Carter's plans. Carter just didn't brag about it.

Remind me to comment on this after we get past 300.

162:

I went to one of the websites, and looked... I *REALLY* like the PDA, which is cheaper by about a third... and that KEYBOARD! Tactile?

I think when I sell my second story to SFWA rates, I'll buy one.

163:

Charlie Stross @ 127: If he doesn't have the Joint Chiefs on his side he probably can't make a coup stick. And he doesn't, and the numbers have got him in an emotional meltdown, and the further into meltdown he goes, the lower his chances of winning.

Still, that doesn't mean he won't try or that certain enablers won't support him.

164:

David L @ 130: My son runs a weekly game. Or did. I'm not sure what he's doing with it just now. I can ask him what's up with Zoom D&D these days.

Speaking of Zoom:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/11/zoom-suspends-us-based-activists-account-after-tiananmen-square-commemoration-event.html

165:

What greater sign could there be that the universe truly is a cold, uncaring waste? (Well, maybe a world without Star Trek. And a world without Godzilla would definitely be a world wherein the media gods had been imprisoned beneath an Elder Sign.)

166:

Is there a respectable US "newspaper" or equivalent which can be read here, on-line, without either a paywall, or a very limited number of "reads" before on hits a subscription/paywall limit, please?
OK. I connected a Windows machine to a London VPN endpoint and tested a bit.
Note that I have not (yet) sniffed the network traffic to see if the mentioned plugins are obviously tattling (non-obvious being near impossible to detect).
First, install at least a minimal tracker/ad blocker loadout; "Privacy Badger" and "uBlock Origin" are often suggested as a base and they're available for many browsers (I don't know about Safari). Enable them in private browsing/incognito windows. (In Firefox that's a separate setting page that you get by clicking on the extension in the list, not the options for the extension itself.)
Second, always recall that your ISP will record all connections and turn over logs to the government without your knowledge in some jurisdictions, probably including yours (they know just the domain for https), unless you use a no-logs (paid) VPN and/or Tor. (Tor Browser generally works, a bit slow, though I haven't tested it with the below.)

Optionally (but preferably if you want to further limit trackers and/or are logged into any social media including google) start a private browsing/incognito window.
I suggest going to https://www.hvper.com/ - a meta news aggregator with a mostly-US focus. The free version is fine; the paid version shows more headlines.
Click on some of the news links and see what happens. These worked for me.
- Washington Post - Launch in a private window. you will be given a panel. Select free viewing samples, then press OK. Will forget the count when you close the private window.
- Vox
- Slate
- Huffington Post
- Others.

(There are also other options if you're willing to use legally dubious tools, but this is a good start)

167:

Only played twice many years ago.

For escape, I'd prefer something as far removed from my physical reality as possible so that if I lived in a city then I'd probably want a pastoral escape. Less possibility of blurring reality if my mind really started going or of being reminded of my actual reality if I really needed to escape for those moments. Learning and practising some new skill would require enough focus/concentration that it could work as a form of escapism. Ditto some new manual skill -- like the current upsurge in home baking, esp. bread, also vegetable gardening.

Character types/traits - Unlikely that an evil overlord would allow me a form of escapism where I could pretend that I was wise and powerful just in case such a belief (and eventually learned - neurologically consolidated - behaviour) spilled over into real life. Therefore allowable character types would have to look and act meek, weak, obedient/obsequious even if they were rebelling inside. They'd be polite to the point of parody or too stupid-seeming to be a threat.

168:

I'd have to think something escapist and not smelling of the current reality. May a Pirate or maybe Dumas-esque kind of thing. Lots of wit, and courage and swordplay and such.

As for D&D by Zoom - I started a 5th ed campaign for my kids (middle and high school) and their friends. First time with that edition, but I've been playing since the cardboard box sets of the 1980s. We're using Google Meet since I'm too cheap to spring for Zoom that allows meetings over 40 min. It's worked surprisingly well. My daughter signs in her cell phone to the meeting and we use a flexible goose-neck mount to hold it over or beside. I stated them with a couple of sessions where they could join in a number of games and contests at the village's "Spring Fair" that I designed specifically to teach the mechanics of the game before they needed them in life-or-death situations. I then hit them with a plot train powered by children in need that has led to fighting skeletons. I count it as a feather in my cap that I was able to creep several jaded American teens with some of the lowliest undead in the game.
TL:DR The mechanics of 5th Edition are fairly simple, hit up Google (or your search engine of choice) and find a combat cheat-sheet. It's still really cooperative storytelling, find a group you want to share a story with.

169:

Never been to hvpr. Tried one link, though, and it wanted me to sign in.

170:

Folks keep talking about escapism. Seems to me to be a chance to do things you wouln't do in real life, and become powerful, to actually take control of things.

Which, given that I've named it a war game, makes it a training tool for life. I've seen teenage boys run a female character - a chance to try something out without any threat to your own personal ego/self.

Actually, a friend I had back in the eighties got into martial arts, and told me how his dojo had gone into the woods for a game against another dojo... and he went into D&D mode, and set up traps to warn them when the others were coming, etc, and they slaughtered the other dojo.

171:

We're using the Rolld20 app and Discord (when discord doesn't do that thing where it screws up the audio for one person only.) The Line App for audio when Discord fails.

172:

Ahem: You know GRAND THEFT AUTO was made just up the road from my flat?

The UK video game industry is big, much bigger as a proportion of the global industry than the UK film/TV sector.

And just today got the prime first position in Sony's Playstation 5 event demoing games coming to the new console - Grand Theft Auto 5.

173:

I'm not sure it's as simple as lead-free petrol

The same effect has been noted in other jurisdictions as well - that 15-20 years after removal of lead results in dramatic change in society behaviour.

174:

I believe it is CNN and other real time news networks. They need to keep people glued to the TV set, so anything gory is GOOD to play in an infinite loop.

Anyone of a certain age from Western NY/Southern Ontario will remember in the 70s or 80s period the Buffalo Channel 7 news with Irv Weinstein, which almost always seemed to lead with "Buffalo's Burning" featuring a fire of some sort in Buffalo.

Thus sensational stuff has been part of the TV news long before CNN and other things arrived on the scene.

What of course has changed is the so called reality TV, shows like Cops (Fox/Spike/UPN) and Live PD (A&E) which have both now been cancelled thanks to the BLM protests this month. They always, more so than news networks, made it seem like the streets at night were dangerous and violent.

175:

Oh, dear, there is no way the New Mgt would tolerate Doctor Who being broadcast, let alone Doctor Who RPGs. Because if the Doctor should happen to actually show up he'd consider it the kind of problem that's right up his street. He'd have the whole lot of them trapped in the heat death of the universe by eating their own feet in no more than 6 episodes and one of those he'd spend so much time basically scratching his arse that they wouldn't be able to find a decent cliffhanger.

It's not as if we don't already know the show in the circumstances we're familiar with is poisonous to entities of that kind. Calling attention to things certain forces don't want noticed yet. Who do you think Mary Whitehouse and John Nathan-Turner were working for? And there was definitely something trying to eat Tom Baker's brain and I'm not so sure it didn't have a go at Patrick Troughton too.

176:

What about the areas of the country where water is still supplied through old lead mains? They were said to deliver about as much lead to people's bodies as petrol did. There should be some noticeable difference between areas that do have them and areas that don't.

177:

ill Arnold
Thanks
SO: WaPo / HuffPo / Vox / Slate
Open in incognito window, always & turn Java off?
Yes / No / insufficient?

Pigeon
Only mattered where the water was/is "soft"
Anywhere with any significant amount of chalk or limestone in the water minimises that problem.

178:

For those who aren't up to date on the latest developments in D&D it is now very much digitally enhanced and a lot of people are playing campaigns online without any sitting around a tabletop. The dndbeyond website provides the latest 5th edition (5e) rulebooks, character generation, encounters, dice, and homebrew options all integrated into one place.

Coupled with Discord for voice/chat/video communications, Avrae for combat management, and your choice of mapping tool make for an online game that is really well supported in mechanical terms, and there are numerous other options besides the ones I'm familiar with.

Additionally, D&D is currently very much a media phenomenon. Voice actors like Mike Mercer of Critical Role are streaming their gaming group and receiving a lot of attention. There are people watching these sessions that have no intention of playing the game but are now very much aware of it.

So things have changed a lot and most of it in the last year or two so anyone whose been out of touch with D&D has a lot of interesting changes to catch up with.

179:

Moore had something similar in Watchmen, except it was a pirate comic.

180:

>>The New Management might of course be dropping heavy hints to broadcasters as to what programming is deemed “more suitable” in troublesome times. Can’t see “Secret Army” or “Allo, Allo” getting a repeat, and “V for Vendetta” is right out.

>What about Doctor Who? I'd really hate a universe where I didn't have Doctor Who.

Of course there's Doctor Who. There's always Doctor Who.

But it's not always the same Doctor Who any more than it's always the same Doctor.

This is a show that started as a low-budget way to teach children about history. After a while (and to lower the budget even more) Patrick Troughton got exiled to Earth and hung out with UNIT. It's been lots of shows. Around 2015 people will be criticizing Peter Capaldi for not being Matt Smith, as happens after every regeneration; under the New Management the audience won't be getting the same stories we got in our universe but they'll be getting something. Possibly an entire season in the far future and outer space, with the companions involved with various antics of the Doctor and River Song yanking each other's chains. ("You know what this is, Doctor? This is four hundred years of foreplay. I hope you're building up to something good.") Someone more expert about Doctor Who than I could probably remember the longest gap between episodes that show Earth.

181:

"What about the areas of the country where water is still supplied through old lead mains?"

Saying "it depends" does not even start to cover it...

As Greg says, if the water deposits scale, that will cover the lead up pretty fast and make it a non-issue, other impurities can pull the result in either direction.

How harmful the lead is on ingestion ... depends on pretty much everything, including what you just ate, what your microbiome finds interesting and various obscure biological signalling mechanisms relating to trace mineral balance.

The complexity is why civilized countries simply throw their hands in the air and ban lead in drinking water.

In recent years it has been found that the actual armatures in your sink is a significant source of lead, because they are made out of recycled metal and nobody bothered to check how much lead was in that.

In rural water supplies, arsenic washed out from the ground is generally a bigger problem than lead ... until you start to look for metabolites from pesticides and fungicides.

182:

That always was somewhere between seriously misleading and wrong. O-level chemistry teaches that lead is very hard to dissolve (it is), so there is a significant amount only in very soft water, and then only in water that has spent some time in the pipes - hence UK water companies running such water through chalk (or otherwise hardening it) before supplying it, and the old recommendation to run water for a bit before drinking it or using it for cooking. I agree that it is a POTENTIAL problem, if mishandled.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_Water_Crisis

Also, essentially all inhaled lead is absorbed, and only a proportion of ingested lead. What's more, we do excrete lead, so continuous, very low levels are not the problem they are with some other toxins. If that were not so, places like parts of Wales would be too dangerous to raise children in, even without mining.

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=34&po=6
https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=34&po=9

183:

Whitroth: maybe hold off a while on buying a Planet Computers product. (I have a couple. So this is experience speaking.)

They are a very small company, and while the products are real and exist, they tend to ship late and have software quality issues. In particular: the Gemini PDA is underpowered and runs a now-ancient version of Android, and the Linux port to it was never fully developed (because they picked a CPU/chipset that relied on proprietory binary blobs). The Cosmo is a much better finished device but has horrible firmware woes -- we're still waiting for a months-overdue update to fix major bugs introduced by the last-but-one update (the immediate fix was pulled, for quality reasons).

In particular, their focus on making the Cosmo work as a smartphone was laudable (the Gemini ... didn't, to be polite) but ended up with a tiny battery-draining external display for calls: it's usable but kinda sucky. Turns out that the 1990s/2000s Nokia Communicator model they were shooting for hasn't aged well as a phone (although they more or less nailed the PDA hardware side of things the second time around).

There is a new holy grail in kickstarter on IndieGogo at present, the Astro Slide, a third generation product. It's like one of the older slider phones, only with the keyboard of the Cosmo/Gemini behind a 6.5" display, so it'll be usable as a touchscreen phablet phone with the keyboard closed and as a PDA/pocket computer with the keyboard open. If they ship on time (cough cough, only six months late, as usual) and don't bork the software this time it might actually be a useful gadget, if a bit on the hefty side for a phone (as in: suitable for clubbing muggers to death with).

184:

Oh, dear, there is no way the New Mgt would tolerate Doctor Who being broadcast, let alone Doctor Who RPGs. Because if the Doctor should happen to actually show up he'd consider it the kind of problem that's right up his street. He'd have the whole lot of them trapped in the heat death of the universe by eating their own feet in no more than 6 episodes

Disagree, strongly. Escapist media that encourage the passive consumers to look to be rescued from their fate-worse-than-death by a kindly, benevolent, superhuman being from beyond spacetime sounds like the perfect propaganda vehicle for the New Management!

And lest ye forget, Josef Goebbels' propaganda ministry was really big on producing bread, circuses, and high-budget escapist movies with classy production values to keep the home front amused during the darkest days. We don't see much Nazi-era German cinema these days because it's got Nazi cooties all over it, but he had Leni Reifenstahl on staff and allegedly tried to hire Fritz Lang: he knew exactly what he was doing.

If anything, one of the signs of UK conservative governments' intellectual bankruptcy is their complacent neglect of the British movie and TV industry as a vehicle for propaganda via infotainment. It's like their reaction to the existence of Ken Loach was to assume that cinema was irredeemably socialist and therefore the entire sector needed to be starved of resources.

185:

Upon further reflection, I could see D&D moving into a more Conan/Fafhrd & Grey Mouser direction, where spellcasting is downplayed and magic is, on the balance, mistrusted.

In other words, expect the Barbarian class to get a fresh coat of paint, and probably a few more Rogue variants like Swashbuckler & Pirate.

186:

(CH₃CH₂)₄Pb - Tetra ethyl lead, 10^9 grams of it, one Canadian province, one year.(1)

Although debate continues about available particulate Pb correlation effect on violence in society, this is more-or-less confirmed by the ability of certain governments to RIF the national police force & PCSOs by very large numbers in recent years. Of course, in parallel, the risk from terrorism has also declined, as has the risk from Dragons, Sorcerers, et al.

Our glorious Media seems to overemphasise the dangers of Paladins & righteous warriors, and humanity is pretty useless at understanding risk, “monsters” being spotted every day. I think we need more flying cops in response, and less environmental pollution, I would like to see the Media eaten by something unpleasant, karmic.


(1) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31466-6/fulltext
quite a few correlative studies have shown that our care-homes are/were filled with lead-poisoning sufferers, this is just one paper from 2017

187:

Washington Post - Launch in a private window. you will be given a panel. Select free viewing samples, then press OK. Will forget the count when you close the private window.

Not so much anymore. I was doing similar / almost identical things and just subscribed when I got a deal.

Am I Unique will tell you if the ad trackers can know you. And the paywalls use this more and more.

amiunique.org

The finder print of the machine I'm typing this on plus my laptop are both unique out of a sample size of 2,135,820+.

188:

Yes, though part of that was signing ourselves up as a Mini-Me to the USA. Traditionally, Britain lead the world in propaganda, but part of that was by getting private enterprise on board (via indirect methods, honours etc.), and there was no history of direct state involvement except during wars. That bumbled along more-or-less adequately until the 1960s, but the world was clearly changing and Britain's approach and industry wasn't. I remember the debate over the Americanisation of our media starting then, and how the establishment did not (and does not) regard it as a problem. So, while the current gummint (and the conservatives) are intellectually barren on this topic, they are not alone in that!

189:

PH also matters a lot, water supplies not managed by political appointees* will use PH modifiers to avoid leaching lead.
GOP apparatchiks.

190:

Josef Goebbels' propaganda ministry was really big on producing bread, circuses, and high-budget escapist movies with classy production values to keep the home front amused during the darkest days.

And there's this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prora

191:

Greg- I would suggest the Politico website. It is comparatively centrist and seems to allow unlimited views. Politico Europe is also worth a read on European issues - while basically pro-Brussels they do try and cover Europe generally and clearly people do talk to them. If you do a bing/google search on Politico these should be the first two entries.

192:

Back in the 80s my father surprised me when I asked him why he didn't get a leaf blower. His comment was that he didn't think blowing up into the air decades of road dust with lead particulates from gasoline was all that good of an idea.

Took me a few seconds of thought to agree with him. My wife is still a big miffed I'll not get one.

They CAN be useful when you have 2 feet of oak leaves covering your yard and want to drive them into a pile on a tarp. But way too many people use them to blow leaves down the street into the storm drains. To the heartburn of the city folks who have to keep such things unclogged.

193:

"We're using the Rolld20 app and Discord..."

Yeah that's the setup my group uses and it's pretty smooth - Roll20 has some nice pre-built character sheets for the more popular games which speeds up handling time and it being totally browser-based means that it's really easy to bring new people in to the game. The tools have noticeably improved since the last time we experimented with running sessions online a few years ago.

We meet up for D&D on Monday evenings London time Charlie, so I could wangle you a slot if you wanted to sit in for (ahem) research.

Regards
Luke

194:

I'll confess that I only got halfway through the thread and apologies if I missed that someone already called it.

But.
Isn't a campaign about telling a story? i.e. The DM has a broad plot which they absolutely wouldn't railroad people into but...

So what would a story, film or other media property look like in the new world order?
What would fan-fic of same look like? Would it be future alien worlds or past early industrial?

I'd suggest that Bioshock has a strong magic infused vibe of a dungeon crawl of the latter, although I couldn't speak to whether that would be influenced by the new normal.

195:

True, but the 24-hr-channels, coupled with the death of unions and the 8-hr day, and the massive growth of a 24-hour workday, has insisted on more content.

See ESPN trying to find something to show on its multiple channels at 03:00 Eastern US time.

196:

Dunno where you are, but in the US in some cases, water mains are still WOOD.

On the other hand, if you have a coffee maker... how many times a year do you have to run vinegar (or whatever) through to clean it out?

Same thing on the water mains.

I really need to clean our espresso maker....

197:

No. Turn off javascript.

Can't understand how anyone could *possibly* confuse java with javascript, they're so unrelated....

(Of course, satire) Really, if you run firefox, install noScript, then you can pick and choose. Just say NO to anything with "ad" in the URL, and doubleclick is right out.

198:

Scott Sanford @ 180:

The New Management might of course be dropping heavy hints to broadcasters as to what programming is deemed “more suitable” in troublesome times. Can’t see “Secret Army” or “Allo, Allo” getting a repeat, and “V for Vendetta” is right out.
What about Doctor Who? I'd really hate a universe where I didn't have Doctor Who.

Of course there's Doctor Who. There's always Doctor Who.

But it's not always the same Doctor Who any more than it's always the same Doctor.

This is a show that started as a low-budget way to teach children about history. After a while (and to lower the budget even more) Patrick Troughton got exiled to Earth and hung out with UNIT. It's been lots of shows. Around 2015 people will be criticizing Peter Capaldi for not being Matt Smith, as happens after every regeneration; under the New Management the audience won't be getting the same stories we got in our universe but they'll be getting something. Possibly an entire season in the far future and outer space, with the companions involved with various antics of the Doctor and River Song yanking each other's chains. ("You know what this is, Doctor? This is four hundred years of foreplay. I hope you're building up to something good.") Someone more expert about Doctor Who than I could probably remember the longest gap between episodes that show Earth.

I've only been watching since the early 80s when the local PBS station started carrying it. I'm up to date through The Timeless Children

I have almost all of the then available episodes on Betamax cassettes & then later up through the end of the Sylvester McCoy era on VHS. I also had every available episode (including the Loose Cannon recreations) digitally until that hard-drive crashed (only the third hard-drive failure I've experienced since I first got my own computer some time in the late-80s. I have the DVD sets for the first 5 series of New Who

I also lost my collection of Red Dwarf & 'Allo 'Allo episodes on that hard-drive.

I'm slowly rebuilding my Doctor Who episode collection.


199:

whitroth @ 197: No. Turn off javascript.

Can't understand how anyone could *possibly* confuse java with javascript, they're so unrelated....

(Of course, satire) Really, if you run firefox, install noScript, then you can pick and choose. Just say NO to anything with "ad" in the URL, and doubleclick is right out.

... and allow me to sing the praises of a good hosts file

https://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

200:

Maybe ON topic, given we are looking at an "alternative" model for the planety ...
Hubble Costant vs "Standard" model don't agree apparently there sre serious Q's to be answered.

201:

Open in incognito window ...
Yes / No / insufficient?

So
Incognito/private browsing is to try to get the browser to forget counters, depending on how the counting is implemented.
Also such windows don't have access to most stuff outside the private browsing window. So it's good hygiene for helping to limit tracking (excepting by your ISP).
Install some ad and tracker blockers, seriously. I mentioned a couple that never seem to mess up websites. Performance improves, for starters, particularly on many news sites. NoScript is a bit more of a chore in firefox. ScriptSafe in chrome can be helpful and has some anti-fingerprinting support. Both will break many sites until/unless you enable some scripts and it can be hard to tell which are needed for function. (There are others as well.)

As far as news sites, I was suggesting hvper.com as a handy diverse list of clickable news site links to try out. (A few are American right wing.) Other people have made good suggestions. Some US news sites block European (presumably UK) IP addresses, which is annoying when using a outside-the-US VPN endpoint.


202:

As the stars come right for world-wide magical havoc, possession by disembodied entities would be trivially common and a known occupational hazard for certain professions. Performing arts like theatrical drama being particularly susceptible, anyone trying to act the part of an historical personage would run high risk of directly channeling the voice, manner and memories of that individual, under its control until the actor fell asleep or otherwise went unconscious. Even personality traits of purely fictional characters could resonate through the etheric medium until some approximately similar consciousness was lured in to take over, often with lethal consequences.

Authors, songwriters and poets trying to emulate the style of long dead mentors would feel compelled to binge for days nonstop in round the clock automatic writing, after which they'd collapse, awakening to bemused perusal of seemingly lost original works by their chosen culture heroes.

Amateur role players also would run amok right from the start, until game organizers check WikiLeaks for the wards, spells and protective plug-in pentagram designs that somehow find their way online from the Laundry's highly classified files. Gaming under the comfortable glow of a room sized shield-field would be wildly exciting, with conjured spectral menaces floating harmlessly around the perimeter, so long as wires remain securely connected and the power stays on.Whole game tournaments could be wiped out in a minute, however, if energy supplies like wind and solar got interrupted by a storm, lull, or sudden cloud cover hundreds of miles away. Just more senseless tragedy brought on by those damned intermittent renewables, when will they ever learn.

203:

NPR, a "bit to the lefT"

Tell me another. When I happen to listen to the news, I *constantly* seem to hear a right-wing economist or politician, and then "and the Democrats said"....

No. They sold in to the Grinch in 1995. They pander to their corporate sponsors. The public is an afterthought, except to local stations.

204:

Oh, *crap*. That was so nice. And you say I can't just install the disttro of my choice in it?

I'm really not hot on a "smart" phone. I was looking at it as a replacement for what I take when traveling, my HP Netbook 1101, from 2009, that's 32-bit architecture.

Prefer the clamshell to the slide, want the screen not visible (and protected).

I have to admit, it struck me earlier today, what it reminded me of: the TRS 100, the 8-line sceen (later 16 line), that every reporter in the world bought....

205:

Or blow them into the neighbors' yard.

206:

whitroth
The software glitches on mine seem to have disappeared, though admiteddly I'm not doing anything exotic.....

207:

An app, to roll up a character? Why?

In my day, we rolled. And unless the character was completely unplayable, we ran with that.

I have a character, an elf, who started with a strength of 4 and a charisma of 6. He was *interesting* to play (he's a thief, of course).

Last time I played, his charisma was 12 or higher, strength was over 12, level 9.

Oh, and when he hit 9, he converted, from religion of Orthodox Coward to Reform Coward.

208:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/nrao-ndm061120.php

Turns out the "standard candle" supernova ain't quite so standard.

209:

You should be able to install Linux on a chromebook for travel purposes. Look up a program called "crouton." You'll probably be limited to a distribution that's optimized for smaller memories, but that's not a major problem.

210:

*sigh* Yeah, but the clamshell they were talking about has *figured* keys, and is tactile. Chromebooks seem to be laptop-ish, and heaving leaning towards "you're not typing, you wan to use your touchpad for everything....

211:

Now I just have to find a D&D campaign running on Zoom that can ease a player back in after about 37 years away.

With covid drastically reducing our social commitments, some friends and I recently started a weekly campaign on Roll20. I suspect the time difference (afternoons, PST) would make it untenable, but you're welcome to sit in. In any case, we've found that while Roll20 has many rough edges, it works pretty well once you know how to avoid rubbing up against them.

212:

Yeah, but if all you're looking for is something for travel purposes... The alternative might be something like my little Lenovo laptop. It's got an eleven or twelve inch screen and a five-hour battery life. I bought mine used for 105 on Ebay and I've been very happy with it.

213:

Re: ' ... anyone trying to act the part of an historical personage would run high risk of directly channeling the voice, manner and memories of that individual, under its control until the actor fell asleep or otherwise went unconscious.'

Okay, so we could end up channelling JC (or closest match to the guy that kickstarted Judaism 2.0), Nero, Attila the Hun, DaVinci, Ponce De Leon, Shakespeares, Lenin, Ghandi, Einstein, JFK (find out if he had any forebodings about Dallas), etc. Could be interesting to get their POVs on current situation. Maybe run some of them through the Hare psychopathy test.

Speaking of psychopathy ... if experts can no longer tell whether someone is experiencing reality or a delusion, what happens to societal norms?

214:

“cops haven't adjusted to the idea that there are cameras everywhere, and thus whatever they do will be subject to public evaluation.”
It’s entirely possible that the violence is not at all worse than it ever was, just better documented.

215:

You can still use dice if you want, but once you've rolled you can click on a spell and it will show up on something like the RollD20 app. Or when you level up the app will give you a choice of feats and you can simply click and it will automatically adjust all your stats.

216:

Yes, and I've been thinking that for years.

217:

This is starting to sound like a demo that runs by itself, no humans needed.

Oh, whoops, Laundryverse... how fast is NM going to be pulled in?

218:

Not at all. It doesn't restrain creativity or make a character less interesting, but it does, for example, allow you do roll your dice in public when you're playing online - otherwise it's just another helpful app. That being said, some are definitely better than others!

219:

What do RPG’s do for people ?

One common benefit is escapism. That will drive people toward Scifi, thought probably more of the “Fading Suns” variety then “Traveller” , something rooted in comfortable past institutions the way Fading Suns Isen the medieval era. I’d expect similar steampunk era games

People also use RPG’s to confront fears and unknowns. This was why “Twilight 2000” was popular during the height of the Cold War. I’d expect a version of “Shadowrun” that is modded to an even more dystopian version of what people perceive as the current world

I’d also expect deep epic horror like “Kult” or the world of darkness games where you become the thing you fear

Sometimes they are to explore how things could have been different in history . I’d except versions of role playing games that explore the periods right before the Great Reveal where players play undercover agents, magicians etc in parallel worlds

Superhero games are clearly going to be popular

I actually think classic D&D wouldn’t fit any of those niches well anymore and might decline in popularity

220:

Here ya go: I noted, earlier, that as a war game, D&D is a teaching tool. So, a variation of D&D, where you're *you*, and you have to defeat superheros, monsters, etc....

221:

I've played off and on for (gah) 40ish years, in a number of groups. I have to say it vastly depends on the GM and the players: using the same rules (usually some variant of D&D 3.5/Pathfinder) I've seen everything from hack-and-slash with no real plot to intricate ritual-based role playing. The most common recurring theme is escapism: trying to set up a mindscape that allows for people to do what they can't or won't do in real life that they can in a fantasy situation.

If things are really going into the crapper in some regard, I'd expect that to be the least important part of the game: the gamers are trying to avoid having to deal with that, so if magic/superheros/plague is prevalent in the real world, I'd expect those aspects to be missing in the game-verse. Perhaps a "Bunnies and Burrows" or another non-magical universe would be created and explored on the odd Wednesday evening.

That said, I ran a gaming group back in middle school, also around '83, and there's one aspect I experienced in person that has little to do with the rules and more to do with public acceptance of fantasy RPG gaming.

Namely, our group's moms were tired of hosting us, so we applied to the local library to use one of the public meeting rooms, of which there were several, for a once-a-week gaming session. After filling out the form, we didn't hear anything for a couple of months, then the proverbial fertilizer hit the centrifugal oscillator.

I was informed that there had been objections at a high level to hosing a gaming group at the library, and that as a political compromise there would be a public meeting about the prospect. The public discussion meeting was held in the the largest auditorium in the library, and it was standing room only, with even a few reporters and a camera crew showing up. During the meeting, the objections raised were all on religious grounds, claiming that D&D was a pathway to magic, satanism, and all the Jack Chick psuedo-logic insanity about D&D so prevalent at the time. If you haven't read the Jack Chick D&D 'comic,' reading it will show you what many attendees professed as a reason to deny us use of the space.

So, in a universe where such concerns actually had a chance of being true, I would guess that there would be a heavy crackdown on the part of anyone truly religious with any sort of social power against gaming in general, with any such public gaming space, all the school-based RPG clubs, and most likely most of the gaming stores being forced to shut down.

If the NM wants there to be such activities, then they of course would override such objections; if they want those same activities shut down I would imagine they could do so trivially. Either way, the games themselves might well reflect the zeitgeist of the times: escapism by rejecting the NM line in some groups and escapism by going all-in on ritualism and magic-is-power in others, all depending on the GM and players, and where they have their gaming meeting places.

222:

There's a few different types of tabletop roleplaying games being made at the mo. The most commercially viable seems to be rules-light games, ranging from easy games to improv acting with prompts driven by dice. D&D 5th edition barely fits into that category but a big push from Stranger Things-driven nostalgia & of course being the owner of the best known name have made it a relative success story.

Old School Rules (OSR), basically turning back to hack'n'slash wargaming with clunky rules, is another group of new games. Besides the clunky rules there's a strain of outright white supremacy among their makers; avoid.

There's still other games made to fit some genre or another but since they're being made on a shoestring, often by people without the talent to do well elsewhere (TTRPGs are a tiny market, and this is a subset of that market) they can be worse than their predecessors. Which still exist even if there's no more material being made for them, and you can find a game of AD&D or Vampire: The Masquerade or Paranoia if you're in a big city or if you go online.

224:

As far as the New Management or Black Chamber regimes go, RPGs might fly under their radar entirely and if there was any response it'd be highly coloured by the exact attitudes of whatever person did pay attention. Pray that person is not Fabian.

An actual invasion of England in C21 would spawn a hundred wargames and video games and a roleplaying game or two I'm sure. The fact it was over quickly and Alfar sent afterwards to places where they aren't seen much might limit the latter. I'm sure there's fantasies of counter-invading an imagined Alfar homeworld, I'm not sure how much 'the Alfar homeworld is totally dead' got out.

I've read that there's a fair number of roleplayers among US military personnel serving abroad (lots of time to kill in places where you can't go out much) and that they lean towards D&D or Pathfinder (a D&D descended game). I can't tell you much more than that.

225:

That's a bit far off the OP isn't it? Sorry.

As to what a GM might come up with in a D&D game. Start with the players' characters rebelling against an evil empire of elves, then as they fight their way thru a dungeon they find a magic gate - to a strange place called Leeds. Perhaps the elves started having odd weapons show up before that.

226:

I don't have any good evidence for this, but I believe that older UK water MAINS were rarely made of lead, but of pottery, iron, etc. Lead was used to seal the iron, and for distribution pipes, but not for the mains pipes. Lead just isn't strong enough to take the pressure, for a start, and always was fairly expensive and heavy.

Wood was probably used in (say) London - it certainly was for drains - but almost certainly was replaced by iron after the industrial revolution.

227:

OP trope wise: "air superiority"/"call in an airstrike/dronestrike" becomes a shorthand for any favourite spell caster or other PC method for dealing with dragons and/or armies, whether or not the PCs have access to jet fighters or predator UAVs. But you probably already have this.

228:

A couple of general, background questions about this activity:

Who decides what the RPG rules should be?

The only two games I participated in basically involved using some sort of magic wand/gun to overcome/kill the opponent/enemy. My impression: not much call for coming up with creative alternative solutions, win-win outcomes or peace pacts. Also, rewards accrued almost entirely based on number of opponents/foes vanquished/annihilated without any negative consequences to the conqueror. Okay, I realize such games are escapes but if your escape always defaults to some form of violence - and even if you have all your marbles - nevertheless, isn't such activity a form of 'priming'?

(Priming - Yeah, I know that this is the old argument against violent action games for kiddies but 'priming' has been demonstrated again and again as an effective technique for reducing certain psychological and behavioural barriers. And there's some spill-over - Pavlovian/Skinnerian conditioning - in terms of physiological reactions. And if you're into Wm. James: 'You do not run because you're afraid; you're afraid because you run'.
Common counter-argument vs. priming: But this is the same as acting on stage/in film! Okay, but professional actors - who've learned how to yank themselves out of a character - frequently mention how certain roles impacted them.)

Quite a few folks here have sci/tech backgrounds: how does this background change your play vs. someone with a non-tech/sci background? (Advantages/ disadvantages) Which type of player background results in more predictable game behaviour/strategy?

What was the most surprising and/or memorable game gambit - why?

Whether for a novel or something that more folks are going to be spending time doing because of the current 'interesting' times, I'd like to understand what this stuff really is about.

229:

The software glitches on mine seem to have disappeared, though admiteddly I'm not doing anything exotic

Did you ever get Google Maps to work?

230:

It’s entirely possible that the violence is not at all worse than it ever was, just better documented.

I'm firmly convinced of this. When your only news source was the local paper and 30-60 (well really 15-30) minutes of local TV news, and half that of national TV news plus whatever magazines you got the story count had to be low compared to 24/7 multiple cable news channels. And my local news today is on the air 3 to 4 hours per channel when you add up the sunrise, mid day, early evening, and then late night broadcasts. Lots of repetition and commercials but still room for way more stories than 30+ years ago.

231:

David L
Perfectly
I tried it .... again ... about 2 weeks after I last mentioned it & it worked out of the box - the software people had obviously been" doing things" in the background.

Also your reply to R v d H .....
Yes - it's the "good" side of universal surveillance, as spoken of by Brin, for instance.

232:

Well, you wrote 'em, it's up to you to say... just seems to me that since the show (and people connected with it) are already known to have attracted the malevolent attention of brain-eating tentacled Things*, such Things being actually here and immanent could be expected to take a similar position but with considerably greater effect. Unless they are already regarding it as a case of "job done", I suppose.

*It is possible that that point has eluded your attention, but then that was basically what was supposed to happen, of course.

233:

The artificial hardening thing in the UK is news to me, it has to be said, though I do wonder how long it has been standard practice; it seems to me that people talk rather less about whether places are in a hard water area or a soft water area than they used to, which suggests that normalising hardness is a practice that has become more prevalent in a period noticeable on my personal-experience timescale. We do have quite a few large towns which get their water mainly from moorland sources and which have a lot of Victorian housing whose eventual connection to mains water was done out of concern with bacterial contamination at a time when people weren't right bothered about heavy metals. Since we also have towns which are essentially the same in terms of development history, clobberage by industrial decline, deprivation, and general crappiness, but with a hard water supply, I was thinking that there ought to be a good chance of being able to extract a pretty decent signal for exactly how much difference lead in the water does make, and someone might have made some pretty coloured maps of it.

234:

Certainly no later than the 1980s, but I believe it was done considerably earlier in some places (if not always reliably).

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/RP97-65/RP97-65.pdf

235:

Thank you, that's most informative.

236:

"Air superiority" - *snicker*

Nearing the end of the second (and last) Armageddon in my world/dungeon, the PCs found that they were in a cave, that opened on a 20-mi-wide river valley, steep cliffs, and figured out they had to get to a cliff on the other side.*

Ah, yes, the First Elvish Air Cavalry: those who couldn't fly via artifact, or sword ability... were on the flying carpet, or on the Tensor's Floating Disk being pulled behind the flying carpet....

* Note that it was also hard to breath. The player characters, with some clues from the DM (me), realized that this 9th level of the "dungeon" was actually 2B (US) years ago, and there was a lot less O2 in the air.

237:

Back when I was gaming, dungeons ranged from the ones (usually run by 16 yr olds or such) Monty Hall dungeons (you killed a hobgoblin, and got his 1M GP treasure, and....) to killer DMs (can I, heh, heh, kill all the PCs?). Fortunately, never was in either of those.

The games I, and my buddies ran, all were along the lines of the DM, in the weeks or months of preparation, set up the outline, and in the game, they were collaborating with the PCs to write a story worth being in.

There was one campaign I was in where the DM (a lawyer) had so overdesigned that too many Sunday afternoos, the only thing that happened was intra-party bickering.

238:

The game you run does depend a lot on the players and what they want to get out of it and how skilled in their craft they are

You just need to know what kind of game you are in

I generally most enjoy running heavily character driven sandbox games. Detail out the world and the npc’s and their various motivations, agendas and plots and let the story evolve as the players interact with it. This requires the most sophisticated players though and a lot of upfront work and a lot of time commitment from everyone

This is pretty much the only way to run a large LARP as well, when you have a couple hundred players they pretty much have to be making their own stories. In the San Diego vampire larp i ran half the time I didn’t even know what was going on until someone died or broke the masquerade .

The next rung down for me are the narrative driven games with a more or less predetermined story arc. This is the way most computer rpg’s work, though in a pen and paper game you can allow a lot more influence over the storyline then you can in a computer game .

The lowest rung is the dungeon crawl where you mostly kill stuff. I got bored with those years ago and mostly do that kind of thing through board games

239:

A friend of mine worked before retirement at the Swedish Television Company as responsible for incoming newsclips from news channels abroad. Already in the late 90s for every 24h period, they received over 40h sendable material.

I can't imagine the stunning amount of material they receive today...

240:

Lead was used to seal the iron, and for distribution pipes, but not for the mains pipes.

About ... 15-20 years ago? In my previous tenement flat in Edinburgh, it began raining in the front hall one day. This was a big oops, as we were on the ground floor of a 4 floor apartment stairwell, dating to circa 1880.

So we got the plumber in, and lo! What they found was that the water main came into our building through a boxed-in casement beside our side door (into the common stairwell). And a spur pipe, over the ceiling of our hallway, split off from the mains on the first floor to feed the flat above ours. They went up and yanked the pipe and, lo and behold, it was an original late Victorian lead pipe, that had become brittle and friable with age. (It got replaced and the leaks stopped.)

Lead was too heavy/expensive for large mains, but due to its ductility it was popular with house/tenement builders -- made it easy to bend around joists/through holes and hook up to fittings. These days we'd use steel wire-wrapped plastic hoses or just straight plastic pipes hacksawed to length with lots of cheap joints.

241:

These days we'd use steel wire-wrapped plastic hoses or just straight plastic pipes hacksawed to length with lots of cheap joints.

PEX that is rapidly taking over the US supposedly came from Europe.

cross-linked polyethylene pipe

Great stuff. Bend radius of something like 4 or 5 CM.

Beats CPVC (which I think you meant above). And really beats copper and flame soldering.

242:

"It’s entirely possible that the violence is not at all worse than it ever was, just better documented."

Almost certainly true. And what I believe is that the police are so protected by the media, prosecutors and the judiciary that they're simply assuming that they can brush off videoed crimes.

243:

"As far as the New Management or Black Chamber regimes go, RPGs might fly under their radar entirely and if there was any response it'd be highly coloured by the exact attitudes of whatever person did pay attention. Pray that person is not Fabian."

Remember that the situation of the universe here is one the likelihood of summoning Something have gone up by a vast factor.

If I were in the ranks of the 'middle management' of society (e.g., school principal), I'd be very aware of that. I would also be very aware of the consequences of summoning the attention of the higher levels within the New Management.

Remember, at the very least there are vampires who need (IIRC) a death a week each? And that's just one small niche branch of the new system.

244:

“Souveillance”. Those below watching up instead of those above watching down.

246:

there are vampires who need (IIRC) a death a week each?

A death every six months, minimum. (In "The Rhesus Chart" the newbies are (a) unclear on their needs, (b) sloppy, (c) figuring things out the hard way.)

But yeah.

However the New Management is sane enough that they'll probably deal with RPGs by realizing that gamers are going to find an outlet, so should be co-opted rather than forced underground, by a combination of subsidizing approved materials and providing supervised venues (e.g. school gaming societies, with oversight) to educate gamers about the risks and ensure nothing bad is allowed to happen. Which should reduce the problem by about 99% compared to driving it underground.

They'll also be using the same techniques to police MMOs. Think 50 Cent Army rather than Gestapo.

Of course, the odd high-stakes underground game is potentially very risky indeed ...

247:

Attached to all this is the problem that cops haven't adjusted to the idea that there are cameras everywhere, and thus whatever they do will be subject to public evaluation.

Elsewhere (news article?) someone made the point that this isn't true.

What the cops quickly realized was that (at least up until June 2020) being recorded didn't matter.

Even if internal affairs and prosecutors decided they had enough evidence to prosecute, the public wouldn't convict - that the police lawyers in court would turn that video evidence around and convince the jury it was justified due to the limited time and possible threat - ie. can you tell in 1/2 second that the victim wasn't reaching for a gun.

Thus they continued on there merry way do things as they always have.

248:

Oh, that's *interesting*: a *really* high stakes game....

249:

"...the water main came into our building through a boxed-in casement beside our side door"

That's not the water main, that's the supply pipe. The water main is the big pipe buried under the street. A lot of the remaining lead pipework is in the form of supply pipes, because they don't actually belong to the water company, they belong to the building owner, and a lot of people either think they do belong to the water supply company or can't be arsed with paying themselves for all the digging their house up required to replace them. EC's link above explains how this peculiarity is used to argue against taking official action on the grounds that it's all the householders' fault.

The problem with lead for large mains from a Victorian point of view is that the larger the internal diameter of a pressure vessel the thicker the walls have to be to withstand the same pressure. Lead is strong enough that you can get away with it for small diameter pipes, but full size mains type pipes would need to be impractically thick-walled.

"These days we'd use steel wire-wrapped plastic hoses or just straight plastic pipes hacksawed to length with lots of cheap joints."

And it would look a complete fucking mess. Places plumbed like that look like nothing so much as if they had been plumbed by me when I was a little kid plumbing up my dens and tree houses with bits of garden hose and iron/brass/copper fittings. To some extent that is understandable since it is nothing more than a commercialised standard-parts version of the same technique, but that alone does not explain why they also share the characteristic of looking like a six-year-old did it. At least with lead plumbing people used to take some pride in making a decent neat job of it.

250:

And it just hit me: anyone here ever heard of or read Jerusalem Poker, by Edward Whitmore? There the Mufti, and this Irish gunrunner, and... seriously high stakes poker.

And a *very* strange book.

251:

"Great stuff. Bend radius of something like 4 or 5 CM."

We built a new house a couple of years ago, all water is distributed using PEX pipes.

I was surprised to see that they put the PEX inside a 20mm PVC sleeve, but the explanation made a lot of sense: If the PEX develops a leak, the water comes out in the "wet rooms" at the ends of the PVC sleeves, and they can trivially replace the PEX, should the ever need to.

I asked if they had ever done that, and they said once, when a batch of PEX tubing had been recalled.

252:

I believe is that the police are so protected by the media, prosecutors and the judiciary that they're simply assuming that they can brush off videoed crimes.

And evidence suggests that so far that has been a valid assumption.

253:

New character class: "Demagogue", specialist Illusionist/Cleric subclass. Requires charisma score >16, and combined wisdom plus intelligence score of at least 32 or of no more than 8; in the latter case, no penalty on spellcasting success. Gains bonus modifiers of +1 chance of spellcasting success or –1 on victim saving throw (per level) for all spells related to making people take acts that are against their self-interest. Double those bonuses if the action conforms with the victim's alignment. Demagogues are mostly lawful or neutral evil; chaotic evil is permitted, but tends to have short life expectancy. Double all experience point bonuses for forcing good (chaotic, neutral, or lawful) characters to act against the interests of society.

254:

Why wisdom? Why not, say, constitution?

I mentioned, some posts ago, that my spell point system gave MU's spell points == intelligence + constitution, and clerics == wisdom + constitution.

A demagogue, I can't see having a lot of use for "wisdom".

255:

By the way, back when we were gaming, I got a reasonable metric for "how far can a fighter run in armor in a melee round": melee round == 6 sec. That was before I left Philly... I was in good shape, and I put on my full SCA heavy fighting armor (solid steel breastplate, two-piece backplate, brigandine kilt, greaves, vambraces, two-layer freon can helmet, steel sword, shield. IIRC, it's about 120'.

256:

It’s entirely possible that the violence is not at all worse than it ever was, just better documented.

That can be true at the same time as "there is extra police violence right now because the PTB want to send a message" (as they so often do) and that many PTB are caught in a "I've started so I will finish" trap of their own making. Or they could just be parading around behind the best-dressed emperor in town.

But the undeniable context for this is a much more militarised collection of police forces. Both equipment and training all too often put cops in a context of "suppress the enemy" rather than "protect the community".

As always #notallcops, there's a range of attitudes from "kill them all" through "meh, I'm not sticking my hand up" to "this is bad, I will fight it then quit if they don't fire me first". Many of the latter have already been fired.

The other context of course is the leadership who are willing to accept more deaths as the price for power.

Or some combination of the above that varies from place to place.

257:

solid steel breastplate, two-piece backplate, brigandine kilt, greaves, vambraces, two-layer freon can helmet, steel sword, shield.
Minus the sword, would that be legal to wear to a street protest in the US? And what would the police reaction be?
Say, hypothetically, that it was all spray painted Drunk Tank Pink?
You know there would be a bunch of people recording people wearing such gear. Would make the news television/videos for sure.

258:

I'm not sure I'd waste something that expensive.

However, I think that plywood tower shields, panted drunk tank pink, with various hearts and rainbows, is just what a nonviolent (definitely not antifa, oh no) protection wall needs to deal with some wannabe Proud Boys. Especially if the wall's being held by women. And people are spraying cheap perfume out over da boyz from behind the wall. Nothing like coming home smelling like a naive tween girl after failing to get through a simple shield wall to make someone feel truly manly.

259:

Re: 'There was one campaign I was in where the DM (a lawyer) had so overdesigned that too many Sunday afternoos, the only thing that happened was intra-party bickering.'

Ahh ... gamespace intrudes on reality, or vice versa!

Actually sounds like it could be a Python skit - amusing if you don't have to live through it. :)

260:

Re: 'Both equipment and training all too often put cops in a context of "suppress the enemy" rather than "protect the community".'

Depends on the tech you opt for: where body cams have been used, crime rates and citizen complaints dropped.

https://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Research-shows-police-body-worn-cameras-reduce-misconduct-and-cost-for-Las-Vegas.html

'Other studies have shown activating body-worn cameras decreases use of police force, decreases citizen complaints and officers report they are a good tool for training.

Wright’s research focused on how camera usage influences outcomes – crime rates. The camera can address the problem of distrust that can occur between the public and policy because the taping can impact police behavior.

“It provides accountability so officers have less discretion to act rogue agents,” said Wright, who hopes his findings will inform potential policy makers.'

261:

As you say, it's "where cameras are used". It's not enough just to give cops access to body cameras as we see from all the "not turned on", "turned off" and "lost footage" incidents.

262:

The Virtual Balticon: well, didn't run into any of you there, and I was hoping to.

I know, not 300 yet, but we just had our debrief meeting. Over 1000 people on Discord, not sure how many "attended" the zoom panels, talks and koffeeklatches. Attendees from SIX continents (we're wondering about getting someone from Antarctica next year).

New Zealand, the NASFiC, and other conventions (and I hear someone from the US military) are talking to us about how we pulled it off. We may, possibly, have some things virtual in the future, when we're back to in-person conventions.

Oh, I think some of the panels are on youtube, if you're interested.

263:

Other than the steel sword, yes. Back when I was fighting heavy, around '75 or so to '81 or '82, I used to walk from practice, on the UofP campus, home. In cool weather, I did have my large wool cloak over it... it was easier than dragging it in the canvas laundry bag.

Always thought about an attempted mugging, and they tried the knife.... *snap*.

264:

Oh, if you're interested, I do have a photo of me, armed, from '83, I think - some friends were in an art class, and they got the instructor to invite me to pose, so they'd have something *really* different to paint.

My armor was spray painted dark green. Well, except for the shield, and I can describe it, if you want, since it bears my registered Device. In proper heraldic, if you like.

265:

In proper heraldic, if you like.
PLEASE!

266:

In other words, expect the Barbarian class to get a fresh coat of paint, and probably a few more Rogue variants like Swashbuckler & Pirate.

Also classes with ranged combat abilities. There are still text-based MUDs out there, with now decades of evolving incremental improvements based on their various player communities. Swash made me look...

267:

In many ways the MMORG scene is one end* of the RPG spectrum.

There is also Path of Exile, a basic "run round and hit things" game like Diablo or any other FPS dungeon crawler. But with 10 years of development behind it and a new theme every three months they have explored an awful lot of the "run round hitting things" space.

I quite enjoy it, and until relatively recently thought that it ate video cards in a dramatic fashion. But then I downloaded my first "Unreal Engine" game and my relatively new video card almost caught fire... playing a very basic intro tutorial for a World of Warcraft style real time strategy game. Not impressed. Yes, it runs at 4k... so does Mashinky, and that has more going on than that tutorial and runs a lot easier on the hardware.

* in the sense that multidimensional phase spaces have ends

268:

It could be fun. I made a shield for firstborn’s primary school “dress up as your favourite book character” day. The layers of cardboard, glued together crossply with a slight curve, with proper arm straps built in. Got told by beloved to cut the size down, because I’d obviously made it big enough to hide behind. Really light, quite strong.

I was trying to persuade him to go for the family device of argent, a cross engrailed sable; but he wanted argent, a cross d’or, like the book.

He’s still got the shield, it turned out to be sturdy as hell.

269:

Re: '"not turned on", "turned off" and "lost footage" incidents.'

Agree. Yet it should be pretty easy to log and analyze by cop, number and types of arrest, neighborhood/patrol area, complaints, etc. vs. bodycam status [on or off]. A work-around for the forgetful cop is to have the bodycams on/off switch centralized from the police station: as soon as that cop goes on duty, camera goes on and stays on for the rest of the shift. Not sure but guessing this could be similar to presumed always reachable by police car radio, phone or beeper - always on. Also think there's an argument to be made from the perspective of the cop's personal safety: if the cam is off, then he/she might be in danger, i.e., some bad 'un turned it off.

A centralized bodycam control system would also mean that all video would be immediately sent to the police dept which would probably use cloud storage. I'm of the impression that it's very difficult to 'accidentally' erase/delete anything from a massive centralized system which probably also had backup storage systems.

* Bodycam - I'm guessing that current bodycams are video cameras only but it would make sense to integrate a phone/radio. The phone part would probably mean that any bodycam would always be locatable.

270:

"Big enough to hide behind" is what you want, right? Because now it's useful for a proper shield wall...

271:

whitroth wondered: "Why wisdom? Why not, say, constitution?"

Mostly because manipulating others requires either intelligence (to have studied and learned what works to manipulate people) or wisdom (insights into how people think and feel and how to use that to manipulate them). Either works, but you see both extremes: First, Trumpian demogogues, who are brilliant at manipulating people while (probably) being unable to walk around the block without collapsing from the effort (low CON) and who don't have enough brains to blow their nose without assistance or to look both ways before crossing the street. Second, fundamentalist religious demogogues, who deeply understand how to manipulate their chosen people. Realistically, there will be demogogues all across the statistical distribution for INT and WIS, but for humor purposes I assumed two extremes.

whitroth: "I mentioned, some posts ago, that my spell point system gave MU's spell points == intelligence + constitution, and clerics == wisdom + constitution."

I used exactly the same system for my mages, with spells costing 1 point per spell level and with the footnote that once you ran out of spell points, you could tap into your intelligence; the more you did that, the more fatigue caused and the lower your INT in the next round, thus lower chance of maintaining enough concentration to cast subsequent spells until you rest and recover concentration. For fighter classes, I used constitution for additional fatigue and hit points (to overcome fatigue and temporarily shrug off non-disabling injuries). For clerics, I didn't implement either system because most cleric subclasses implicitly rely on "please [deity] may I have X" rather than on heroic efforts of intellect or body. For ritual clerics (e.g., clerics who must dance to achieve a divine intervention), the INT/CON system was an option if it made sense for that form of magic.

272:

Bodycams are a sticking plaster on a myocardial infarction.

The real problem isn't being able to prove specific allegations of violence against specific police officers when they act out; it's the entire concept of law enforcement by policing, combined with the mass incarceration system and a prosecutorial system that produces wildly discriminatory outcomes based on the race, class, and wealth of the accused.

Really, do I need to remind you about Policing by Consent and the Peelian principles again? Or point out that in a healthy society where the public consent to the laws governing behaviour, proactive policing is seldom needed?

273:

Martin
Then the book ( whatever it was ) was wrong - I don't think you are allowed to have a metal ( Or ) on another metal ( Argent ) - are you?

Charlie
From our p.o.v. the US "system" of so-called "policing" is wierd & scary & ours is supposed to be "soft" & "useless" by theirs.
Even allowing for PC Savage & known disregarding of Peelian Principles, that is the model we are supposed to be following & it looks as though ( For "normal" police, anyway ) that most EU countries are now similar.
But the US ...
I only recently realised that no matter how stupid, dangerous or painful, if a US so-called "policeman" gives you an instruction, you can't argue...
Which is a fundamental flaw, simply because it clearly encourages authoritarian & violent behaviour.

274:

I only recently realised that no matter how stupid, dangerous or painful, if a US so-called "policeman" gives you an instruction, you can't argue...

"Failure to comply" is an automatic felony offence in Wisconsin.

275:

The system is working as designed, I suspect. It's just that the targets are now more visible.

Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon, which won the Pulitzer in 2009, details how "hired" convicts were used as slave labour by US corporations, and how the legal system was set up to facilitate this (including sheriffs and judges being paid bounties on convicts).

Convict labour sounds like the gig economy version of slavery, actually.

276:

Vert, a dragon, in annuleto, argent, surmounted by a glaive, or; in chief, limned argent, three etoile of the last.

277:

ARGH!

Vert, a dragon, in annuleto, argent, surmounted by a glaive, or; in chief azure, limned argent, three etoile of the last.

278:

Back in the day, folks told me my shield was about the lightest they'd felt. It's a round. Most folks just used heavy plywood. What I did was 0.5" plywood, and an oak-veneer panel from an old, tossed out door... and around them, a bicycle wheel, with the spokes sandwiched between the wood and the veneer, with a dead bike tire over the rim, to protect opponent's weapons. The veneer took a *lot* of abuse, along with the bike rim.

279:

Heraldic: nope. you don't have a metal on a metal, a color on a color, or a fur on a fur. If you're looking out of your helm on a dusty day in the middle of a battle, you can't tell the difference.

280:

Bill Arnold @ 257:

solid steel breastplate, two-piece backplate, brigandine kilt, greaves, vambraces, two-layer freon can helmet, steel sword, shield.

Minus the sword, would that be legal to wear to a street protest in the US? And what would the police reaction be?
Say, hypothetically, that it was all spray painted Drunk Tank Pink
You know there would be a bunch of people recording people wearing such gear. Would make the news television/videos for sure.

Here in the U.S. it would probably be legal WITH the sword, although the fashion police might object.

281:

_Moz_ @ 261: As you say, it's "where cameras are used". It's not enough just to give cops access to body cameras as we see from all the "not turned on", "turned off" and "lost footage" incidents.

And a lot of the video from when they are turned on is just plain useless.

They should be using helmet cams that are securely mounted, stabilized and point where the officer is looking. Even better, four stabilized cameras, front, back and sides with overlapping FOV.

282:

@213 asks "Speaking of psychopathy ... if experts can no longer tell whether someone is experiencing reality or a delusion, what happens to societal norms?"

There' d be a range of outcomes based on how closely the delusional state under consideration adhered to real world observations. Most would have wide enough overlap, in a Venn diagram that modeled their mental state with what we usually think of as reality, to provide an adequate common frame of reference for some meaningful interaction. More or less anyway. As a result, societal norms would have to be flexible if they didn't want to completely alienate and marginalize "guest" personalities during their visitations. Sliding scales would apply, pirates you'd cut more slack than the archbishops. If all else failed you'd keep a rubber mallet handy to whap the back of their heads and hope they wake up as themselves again. Then wait to see if you get, "Ow, whudja do that for, asshole!" , or "Arrr, ye scurvy dog!", or "Guards, seize him! Burn the heretic!"

Good list of culture names, by the way.

283:

"Failure to comply"
Straight-out DEFINTION of an actual Police State ...
And ... it's been that way all the time & we didn't notice & believed the USA was some bastion of "freedom"?
This is such total bullshit as to be ridiculous.

284:

_Moz_ @ 267: In many ways the MMORG scene is one end* of the RPG spectrum.

* in the sense that multidimensional phase spaces have ends

There is also Path of Exile, a basic "run round and hit things" game like Diablo or any other FPS dungeon crawler. But with 10 years of development behind it and a new theme every three months they have explored an awful lot of the "run round hitting things" space.

I enjoyed Diablo & Diablo II, but Diablo III was a real disappointment. I took a quick look at "Path of Exile" and it looks a whole lot like Diablo III.

I quite enjoy it, and until relatively recently thought that it ate video cards in a dramatic fashion. But then I downloaded my first "Unreal Engine" game and my relatively new video card almost caught fire... playing a very basic intro tutorial for a World of Warcraft style real time strategy game. Not impressed. Yes, it runs at 4k... so does Mashinky, and that has more going on than that tutorial and runs a lot easier on the hardware.

I'm more into first person shooters. I started out with the original "shareware" DooM and Wolfenstein 3D ... and then Half-Life came along. I never liked games based on the "Unreal Engine" ... the graphics were just TOO unreal.

And "World of Warcraft" is everything that was wrong with Diablo III plus being a HUGE money suck.

I've never had problems with video cards from playing games. Like anything else in a computer they will fail over time. I'm currently using a mid-level 8GB Radeon RX-570, but that's because of the 4k monitor and that seemed to give me the most bang for my buck, although I think it is considered a gaming card.

My main consideration was that it was available in a form-factor compatible with my existing motherboard.

285:

Well you can play more military traveller there was a whole expansion which went from tech l 4/5 up to 15/16 - but that was more for wargamers.

Could get interesting tech 15 verging on 16 (culture level) Jump Commandos 100% teleporting very high tech power armour.

The more likely winner would be starfinder aka pathfinder dnd in space.

Not sure how the new management would take to WH40K I suspect there might be a reboot of the system

286:

And a nice call out to Brecht as well - if you noticed it.

287:

I see new rules and uncontrolled access to roleplaying materials be a major national.security risk.

Consider a half dozen 14 year olds role playing based on rules created by someone with nefarious intent. They go through various motions turning the dials and setting the levers of a metaphysical machine and do highly complex calculations using montecarlo like techniques with 20 sided random number generators vectoring into look up tables.
At some point, a the old lady next door calls the police about a suspected cult operating out of their neighbors basement, SWAT breaks down the door, finds six teenagers dressed in wizards robes chanting in Old Enochan and follows their training which says to use any possible means necessary to stop them from doing whatever unspeakable thing they are trying to do. That actually wouldn't be so bad in the grand scheme of things. Mistakes get made, even deadly ones and some people resign, and politicians promise to take steps to make certain it never happens again.

Then problem is, when they light up that room with automatic weapons fire, it does not just end with a massacre of six innocent teenagers who were just plating a game harmless game. In fact, the game actually WAS harmless ... without the virgin sacrifice. (what better place to find one, or six, than a bunch of role players) With that sacrafice, the final lever is thrown and all hell is unleashed... Literally.

288:

And now we know in advance the exact and complete storyline of at least one Meddlesome Ratbag strip in the NM-era Viz.

289:

From experience I have been playing online AP (IE streamed live) Gaming for a 18 months or so post covind I have been doing 2-3 games a week - a mix of pathfinder (1 & 2) Starfinder, Digenisis, Modern Age, and Proper Dnd 2nd edition having to remember how thaco work took a bit of getting used to.

This is tonights game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVGOl2n8MAY

People use Roll d20 https://roll20.net/ or fantasy grounds as a digital table top and then either those platforms audio or a separate service we use google hangouts on ours. Most also often set up a discord for out of game chat.

All you really need is a decent headset (not a 9.99 one) and ideally a separate webcam the ones built into laptops are normally rubbish.

Really want to do it a lot and you will probably want an external sound card and a better mic.

290:

To be fair, I've never heard of a police officer using those rules in anything other than the context of policing, in large part because the relevant parts of the Constitution prevent a lot of that sort of thing. For example, a police officer can't say "Let me into your home or I'll arrest you for failure to obey," because the Constitution mandates that the police get a warrant before invading someone's home.

291:

Re: 'it's the entire concept of law enforcement by policing,'

Agree - generally.

I guess I'm too used to not having issues with the police so haven't seen as much of the dark side - knock wood!

Societal expectations, recruitment practices, training plus access to community support services all impact how any person who's different along any parameter will be treated and by whom. Backdropped by the overall (and type of) religiosity of that particular society and whichever cop you happen to encounter.

Wondering how much the size of your 'local' population matters. I moved from the commuting burbs of a major urban area to the equivalent of a much smaller city* last year. Right away noticed a huge difference in interpersonal interaction style and frequency both downtown as well as in the burbs. Mostly -- the 'interpersonal' interactions here are in fact 'personal': you're not treated like a number or automaton. There's more tacit 'interpersonal' responsibility for everyone here as well as direct interpersonal feedback - I've seen this in who helps whom, when and how.

Networks also seem much tighter here - maybe 3 or 4 degrees of separation vs. the 6 degrees a la Kevin Bacon. Seems that in this type of environment where you can get personal inside dope on just about everyone in your community, BSing ain't gonna work - you'll get called out. A side effect of this - not being able to claim ignorance of as large a proportion of the population therefore hide anonymously as one more mote in a swirling mass of humanity - is that if something's happening in your community, it's personal.


* This city also has a long standing reputation for being very friendly and open.

292:

Troutwaxer
Erm, bollocks ....
Breonna Taylor shot in her own home by stupid cops with a "No-knock" warrant.

293:

Right. Those cops were terrible. But they had to apply to a judge for a warrant and could theoretically have been turned down. - And the current expectation is that no-knock warrants will rapidly become illegal, probably along with other abusive practices.

294:

You might find this essay interesting:

https://medium.com/@OfcrACab/confessions-of-a-former-bastard-cop-bb14d17bc759

As someone who went through the training, hiring, and socialization of a career in law enforcement, I wanted to give a first-hand account of why I believe police officers are the way they are. Not to excuse their behavior, but to explain it and to indict the structures that perpetuate it.

I believe that if everyone understood how we’re trained and brought up in the profession, it would inform the demands our communities should be making of a new way of community safety. If I tell you how we were made, I hope it will empower you to unmake us.

295:

Greg, you might find this essay interesting, too. It's about the rumours of antifa action that have small town militias all hot and bothered.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/antifa-rumors-george-floyd-protests

Militia members get to plan, anticipate, and enact the idea at the foundation of their existence. And they get to do it in a way that positions them as “the good guys,” fighting a cowardly bogeyman easily vanquished by show of force alone. As a popular meme circulating in North Idaho put it, “Remember that time when Antifa said they were coming to Coeur d’Alene / And everyone grabbed their guns and they didn’t come? That was awesome!” It doesn’t matter if antifa was never coming in the first place. They didn’t come, and that’s evidence of victory.

296:

never had problems with video cards from playing games.

I have a recent GeForce 2070 with a ridiculous amount of memory in it, which is why I was saddened to hear it spool up for takeoff when I started playing that game. When I bought the machine and stress tested it I got that result, and system power consumption hit 500W... which is fine, stress tests do that. But a game? A game when I'm not doing anything, just waiting while a resource counter ticks up to victory and ~200 minions wander slowly round picking up resources? FFS.

Mashinky is a train simulator. I can have 200 trains navigating round doing similar things but the system is barely above idle.

297:

Yeah, I bookmarked that for future use in a fictional setting. Hard to tell if it's a reasonably truthful account or agitprop though, since it's definitely gray literature if not black (Officer ACAB? First publication?).

298:

Re: plumbing & PEX.
When I built my house 10 years ago the standard (for Canadian building) was PEX for all internal plumbing and a waxy polypropylene sort of material for the 7ft underground pipe to the well.
I like the way it saves joints and needs no soldering. Take care to not cut the pipe where you shouldn’t. Use crimp fittings or SharkBite fittings.
Using this stuff instead of old style copper is like the difference between programming with something tedious like C and getting it done properly with Smalltalk. Which to faintly connect back to the subject, is like playing a Skill 20 Sotware Wizard instead of a Skill 5 Code Drudge.

299:

Rbt Prior
Typical Brownshirt posturing, showing how hard they are ...
Makes them worse & worse, actually

timrowledge
All very well for cold water or maybe even domestic hot water - maybe.
What about Central Heating pipe & jointing?
[ Yes, I've got a short length & an awkward bend ( maybe 2 ) that need replacing.
And Im not looking forward to it, as I'm not sure that Cu-compression will hack it, either. ]

300:

Coming in late, missed the new topic, but about those gods which could exist:

My first ideas were about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (in our world I think in the fourth edition by now) and the various roleplaying games set in the Warhammer 40K universe. There were a bunch of them by Fantasy Flight Games (Dark Heresy for playing the retinues of inquisitors, Rogue Trader for playing, well, rogue traders, and I think at least three games for different soldier-type thingies). One of the WH40K games was explicitly about playing Chaos-worshippers, and in that world there are four chaos gods, which are somewhat bad news for all involved. There's apparently a new game in the works or even published, by some other company, I don't know much about that.

I'd say that the Warhammer might be a nice respite - at least in many campaigns you can kill chaos monsters and oppose the gods, though there's the underlying futility in many of them. Less in the Rogue Trader (where you have fleets of spaceships kilometers long) or Deathwatch (where you are Space Marines, the engineered super soldiers), but even they can face invincible threats.

I'd also think that Gamma World might be a nice one to play in the situation. It's a venerable game, with multiple versions, playing in a post-apocalyptic world with psionics, mutated plants, and all kinds of weird stuff. Easily adjustable for whatever apocalypse you want as the game doesn't really tell you what happened.

Also Night Witches might be a "fun" game to play in the Laundry universe. It's about Soviet women bomber pilots in the Second World War, and is just as happy and joyful as that suggests.

301:

PEX
I like the way it saves joints and needs no soldering.

CPVC, copper, and iron piping all have their connections on the exterior of the pipe. So while a connection may create a small turbulence point there is no restriction of flow.

With PEX, the connections on on the interior of the pipe so every single connection means a restriction point in the flow.

The worst is an old school plumber who installs PEX as if it was copper/cpvc and keeps putting in right angle and T connections instead of all home runs.

302:

I have so many questions, I feel I have to zoom out (not that it helps much). Could ask what is going to happen to the culture of Earth.

Maybe a model is a country being colonized. Celtic Britons encountering Romans, or any number of countries encountering Europeans. How much culture is retained, how much is adopted? Are the colonizers metaphorically English or Belgian, and are the differences even apparent to the colonizees?

There is a Vernor Vinge short story where the global south is invaded by anarchist libertarian aliens (the north having wiped itself out in a nuclear exchange)... I think it was "Conquest by Default".

We should expect to adopt the games of the colonizers, or for our games to be viewed throught the colonizer's lens.

Finally, if reality has a right-leaning bias rooted in its (fictional) physics, is the story about the truth of this or the fight in the face of it? Either could be the basis for a game.

303:

Finally, if reality has a right-leaning bias rooted in its (fictional) physics,

It seems that reality has a left-leaning bias, at least in our current political framework. Look for example at the way authoritarian right-wing maximum leader types simply cannot get their heads around appropriate pandemic response measures. (They seem to evaluate everything in terms of primate dominance signalling; chest-beating and roaring may intimidate other apes, but it's useless against a volocanic eruption, an earthquake ... or a viral pandemic.)

There is a Vernor Vinge short story where the global south is invaded by anarchist libertarian aliens (the north having wiped itself out in a nuclear exchange)... I think it was "Conquest by Default".

A more realistic model for colonization is the United States. Where the original residents are mainly known about through archaeological evidence (aerial photography reveals the presence of large pre-Columbian cities). The "native Americans" who got crapped on and intermittently genocided by the white settlers are the post-holocaust descendants of those who survived the original viral pandemic genocide that happened when Old World diseases hit a green field and burned out of control, slaughtering about 90-95% of the population within 1-2 years.

First Contact with any interstellar-capable aliens who happen to be compatible with our biochemistry is going to go very badly for us. As in, forget "adopting their cultural trappings and games", we'll be lucky if any of us survive as zoo animals.

And libertarian aliens? Shudder. (Libertarians are ideologically incapable of getting their heads around public health, because public health measure deals with collective threats that affect species at a cellular level, which denies the relevance of individuality, and libertarians are all about their precious individuality -- and it's freedom -- above any other consideration.)

304:

Graham's comment sounds right

> But in the short term, fantasy RPGs will be trapped in Uncanny Valley as too close to reality but not properly accurate.

Not sure if escapsism is the main driver of RPG players, but a certain kind of what-if is in my experience important for game sessions. With gods and magic suddenly A Thing in the Laundryverse I guess that some (many?) RPG gamers will react with a low fantasy setting: More based along the lines of the actual middle age (from a contemporay POV - it's still a game, I'm not talking about the subgenre of ultra-realism) with less (if at all) magic and mythical creatures. How to explore unicorns as fun pastime when they exist and aren't nice at all?

305:

"An app, to roll up a character? Why?"

Not to roll up a character*, to run the character in play. You have the sheet in a free floating window and when you need to make a STR save or attack with a missile weapon or whatever - you click on the relevant bit of the sheet, the Roll20 macros fire and the results get dumped out to the built-in chat log for everyone to see.

It's pretty smooth, *provided* you are playing a game where someone has spent some time building the sheets. For D&D 5e that's not a problem, but if you're playing something else then you are the mercy of whether someone else in the community of players for that game has written something you can use (or else you get stuck in and become that someone for later groups).

Regards
Luke

[*] Although they do exist also. Fight Club is popular with players in my group. They like it because it integrates material from a bunch of different D&D source-books so it cut down what they needed to have in their bags at the gaming table (back when we got together in meatspace).

306:

"First Contact with any interstellar-capable aliens who happen to be compatible with our biochemistry is going to go very badly for us."

Heh, in the canon background for Traveller first contact went exactly the other way - the Ziru Sirka (trans. The Great Star Empire), which was set up by descendents of archaic humans who were abducted to be slaves by an ancient precursor race, encountered the biotic cess pool that was Terra and was promptly hit by several hundred thousand years worth of co-evolved disease organisms; triggering a number of interlinked crises that did for them.

The Terrans ended up taking over for a while, but it didn't last - that phase of history was called the Second Imperium (if being polite) or, more commonly, the Ramshackle Empire. Then there was an Asimov-esque long night for a few centuries before the Third Imperium got going.

The Third Imperium is the 'big empire on whose frontier the game happens' of the setting.

Regards
Luke

307:

I'm not convinced it's real, but still... nice First Law reference at the beginning there.

One might then also add "A police officer must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law" and "A police officer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law". Might take a bit of working out but it probably wouldn't be too bad an idea.

308:

Also, about the D&D: my view is not from England, but from Finland, and only a small portion of the tabletop RPG scene here (there are a lot of people who just get together and play), and on the Internet I mostly see North American players writing or talking how they play.

The D&D 5e is better, in my view, in many ways than AD&D. It still has many of the old problems, starting with the alignment. What does it mean to be 'good' or 'evil'? It also goes pretty well into the racism with the 'enemy' 'races' (hey, it's in the name already...), and doesn't really talk about are the orcs always evil, and what does that mean. The 4e was much more of a board game or even a (massively) multiplayer computer RPG than the 5e, though.

Of course many people would say that it's just a game, and you can do a lot of things with it other than aptly-named 'murder-hoboing,' but much of the published game material which I have read is about people being good at hurting other beings and taking their stuff, and doing basically just that. Also many, but not all, of the abilities of the characters are meant for dungeoneering and dragoneering.

There's some discussion on the internet about this, and most recently a series on Youtube about dissecting the AD&D 1e Oriental Adventures book has made me think a lot of these issues. If I'll run D&D 5e again, I'll make changes, for example ditching most of the alignment system and trying to figure out a reason for the characters to do also other stuff.

Or course the roleplaying games have evolved during the last 35 years since AD&D 1e, and though not all of them are good, there are better games than D&D if you want to run something else than going into dangerous areas, kill what there is and take their stuff. Still, Traveller was a diversion - it mostly is anything but doing that, and is over 40 years old by now.

However, D&D seems to have degenerated at some point. The 3.x versions apparently did a lot work for 'encounter economics' where the DM was supposed to generate encounters which challenge the characters but not be too hard. D&D 5e has this also, but for example the old D&D, back when there was a distinction between that and AD&D, had a lot more of the mentality 'you don't have to kill the monsters to win,' even in the published material than in the later versions.

Well, yeah, I collect RPGs and occasionally try to play them, too...

309:

If you want an alternative to Google Maps, there's Openstreetmap:
https://www.openstreetmap.org/

310:

Whilst reading a VERY interesting book.

["Parting Shots" by Matthew Paris & Andrew Bevan / Penguin/Viking 2010,
ISBN 978-0-670*91928-4 ]
I came across this factual commentary.

The Trucial States ( Now the UAE + Dubai ) were British Protectorates, established by a series of peace treaties in the 19th Century. ( Imposed as a response to piracy in the Gulf area ) …

As well as playing kingmaker (British) Political Agents often had full legal jurisdiction over non-muslims in the area. The Indian penal/civil codes were imported for the purpose.
Most strikingly of all, British envoys had the power to free slaves. Slavery had been abolished in much of the region, but was still practised in conservative enclaves. In Oman, any slave who touched the flag pole in the British compound, won their freedom, and in the 1950’s the political agent there was still freeing more than a dozen a year. Slavery was finally abolished in Oman in 1970, seven years after Dubai.

Maybe somoene should tell the more idiot of the protestors?

311:

Alas, I didn't, until you pointed it out. I really must make myself familiar with his work - where would you reccomend I begin and what background works would you reccomend?

Ironically, one of my favourite quotes is from Life of Gaileo: Unhappy is the land that needs heros.

312:

"the Ziru Sirka (trans. The Great Star Empire), which was set up by descendents of archaic humans who were abducted to be slaves by an ancient precursor race, encountered the biotic cess pool that was Terra and was promptly hit by several hundred thousand years worth of co-evolved disease organisms; triggering a number of interlinked crises that did for them."

If there are 'several hundred thousand years worth of co-evolved disease organisms' and a reasonably large population pool on the abducted human population, things should go both ways.

Also, if the tech levels were up to commercial interstellar space flight, the countermeasures should be extremely good.

313:

In my day job I interact with police on a 'several times a month' basis, often in the 'I hope they get here soon' mode. (I work in a homeless shelter). Most of my interactions have been positive and I've been glad they arrived. Where our interactions were not positive was when the confidentiality requirements of my job meant that I could not give the the information they wanted (i.e. where is that person, is he in the shelter?)

I can mostly speak to experience with the RCMP. I know that most RCMP need to have at least a Bachelor's degree to have a chance of getting on the force, and I know several with more education who have not been hired. Not that an education solves everything, but I believe it does help reduce (not eliminate) the risk of fascist inclinations.

There is definitely a history of colonialist violence in the RCMP, and the issues of structural and systemic racism in policing apply. But the individual officers I routinely interact with have been quite excellent at de-escalating some extremely hazardous situations. I've only seen one arrest where they were somewhat rough, and that was a fellow who had just assaulted my coworker unprovoked, and he was clearly an ongoing threat to the police (and me) as well. My sympathy was limited, though I was very aware that it happened in view of our security cameras.

314:

David L @ 187: You might try using multiple browsers. Since each one has separate cookies and counters, you may find that you can read your WaPo limit in each one. I currently have Chrome, Firefox and Vivaldi installed on Windows. Another possibility would be to create a VirtualBox Linux VM with browsers installed and create a copy to use weeekly, wiping out all of the cookies, fonts and other stuff loaded by your browsing activity. Right now, I'm still working, so I'm using subscriptions but I've seen these methods work.

315:

Autarch @ 309: If you want an alternative to Google Maps, there's Openstreetmap:
https://www.openstreetmap.org/

But apparently NOT a less intrusive alternative. It wants me to sign up and log in, something I don't have to do to use Google Maps.

316:

RockyTom @ 314: David L @ 187: You might try using multiple browsers. Since each one has separate cookies and counters, you may find that you can read your WaPo limit in each one. I currently have Chrome, Firefox and Vivaldi installed on Windows. Another possibility would be to create a VirtualBox Linux VM with browsers installed and create a copy to use weeekly, wiping out all of the cookies, fonts and other stuff loaded by your browsing activity. Right now, I'm still working, so I'm using subscriptions but I've seen these methods work.

The problem with the Washington Post's stupid paywall is NOT the paywall, it's the STUPID. It keeps telling me I have to turn off my nonexistent Ad Blocker software.

How am I supposed to turn off something I don't have? I am NOT going to turn off my anti-virus and anti-MALware protection; especially I'm not going to do it for the Washington Post.

317:

David L @ 125: PS: Reagan's military spending was in line with Carter's plans. Carter just didn't brag about it.

Clinton was excoriated for the cuts his administration proposed for the defense budget. Particularly critical was Dick Cheney during his time with The Project for the New American Century.

The irony is that Clinton's "plans" to cut the defense budget were left over from the previous George HW Bush administration (remember the "peace dividend" we were supposed to get after the Berlin Wall came down & the Soviet Union collapsed?)

Cheney was George HW Bush's Secretary of Defense who formulated those plans.

318:

You might try using multiple browsers. Since each one has separate cookies and counters, .... Right now, I'm still working, so I'm using subscriptions but I've seen these methods work.

Been way down that path. But after a while (not a long while either) it gets old. So I watch for sales on the subs of things I read and sign up. I own a few domains and email hostings so multiple email addresses isn't hard. :)

319:

It is a well and long established tradition in the US Presidency for the current administration to complain about the previous administration doing exactly what the current one is planning to do.

320:

So you got a toxic brew of patients coming off their meds because (a) they didn't like the side-effects and (b) they couldn't afford them because (c) they couldn't hold down a job with medical benefits if they kept coming off their meds but (d) if they were on their meds they were basket cases.

Just saw this. (It's about US medical system.) Actually mostly those people got their meds for free. (Medicaid) But they had to show up and sign papers periodically and check in with a doctor or clinic and/or such and they couldn't even do that. Especially with taking the meds being volutary. (Major court fights on this last point but the voluntary won.)

321:

Then the book was wrong

I don't doubt it - but I wasn't going to argue too hard with an seven-year-old about the rules of heraldry, while he was determined to dress as Sir Gadabout, The Worst Knight in the Land....

He liked the colours ;)

322:

Seriously, second and subsequent generation neuroleptics were much better, but the first-generation antipsychotics were horrible things. Chlorpromazine wasn't nicknamed "the liquid cosh" for nothing, and that was one of the less bad options. Tardive dyskinesia is a really unpleasant side-effect, and it's bad enough that dosing sufferers with botulinum toxin seems like a reasonable palliative treatment ...

323:

From our p.o.v. the US "system" of so-called "policing" is wierd & scary...

Remember the "individual right to bear arms" interpretation of the 2nd Amendment--an interpretation now codified in jurisprudence by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision--and extrapolate the ripple effects. Militarized American law enforcement is the result of a long-running, mutually reinforcing feedback loop with violent crime. Demilitarizing the police requires demilitarizing, and disarming, society by repealing the 2nd Amendment. Short of that, any attempts at "defunding the police" will die as soon as the crime rate spikes and public opinion swings back toward being "tough on crime" i.e. Finneagan begin-again.

The underlying, tectonic level problem is that the U.S. has become too culturally fragmented to function. There's no common narrative of American identity or values anymore. Multicultural societies can only function to the extent that the values and perceived interests of their constituent factions overlap. In the U.S., that overlap is gone. Indeed, the values and perceived interests of several factions are now mutually exclusive which, in turn, means political outcomes will be increasingly decided by raw power politics. Thus, the most powerful faction will dictate the status quo to the rest.

Breaking that cycle requires restoration of a common national narrative and a political leader charismatic enough with sufficient mass appeal to sell that narrative. At present, no such narrative and no such leader exist.

324:

Problem is if the meds are voluntary lots of people will skip out on them at times for various reasons. Intentional or not. And if you've got Schizophrenia and such and not taking meds for a short while, many times that puts you into a mindset of continuing to not take them. And not trust people who suggest/order you should.

The entire system if out of whack with reality.

How does the UK or other countries deal with these situations. Is there a forced component to any of it?

325:

Always chaotic evil is a known trope to be avoided and these days having canonically evil races is mostly long gone in modern games - though some of the reprints of CoC and Runequest have stuff that's a bit dodgy these days

And how would you define societies in RPG's that make use of slaves eg Drow or say Cheliax in Pathfinder - Cheliex as a society/state is IMHNHO an evil society.

DnD 5th is a bit railroady and has less customisation its also a bit OP at lower levels I think Charlie is going to be " I can do that much damage at L1!"

326:

I'd suggest that there's a variant of the "Zoo Hypothesis" that explains why we don't see aliens, except maybe when they're doing fast recon: or when we develop starflight on our own.

Call it the Mote In God's Eye hypothesis. It's been done several times in SFF, but that's the most famous example I can think of (actually, I believe the Kzin were another example as was Footfall. So maybe this should be called the Niven Hazard?)

Basically, unless you've got momentously superior tech and a huge invasion fleet, invading a planet inhabited by a civilized species is dangerous and unprofitable. At the worst, it may turn out they're better than you are, in which case, by landing starships on their planet, you've given the the keys to the stars and a reasonable chance of beating you, and every reason to try.

At best, if there's a civilization, they're probably in the midst of consuming all the good resources, so you won't have lots of raw resources lying around to easily mine, and will have to trade with them instead. It's likely easier to land on an untapped world and loot it for what you need (oil gushing from terrestrial wells, rather than fracked or sucked from deep underwater, etc.), rather than dealing with a planet that it's been looted for millennia, where all the high grade resources have been exploited.

Plus, if you believe that Earth is a normal world, it takes 4,500,000,000-5,500,000,000 years of a world's history (call it US 5 billion years) to develop a civilization. And if our civilization is normal, said civilization may well crash in 1000 years or less. So of the Earth-like planets you encounter, about 4,999,999,000/5,000,000,000 won't host a civilization. Even if you weed out the 80% of terrestrial worlds that only host bacteria (assuming you can't mine them, which you probably could--and this is from the 80% of Earth's history that was in the Archean), civilized planets, for human values of civilized, are likely rare among the planets you encounter.

So why go to all the trouble of conquering a civilized world? It's simply not worth the cost. Monitoring them discretely is worth the trouble, especially if you have FTL, because that will give you warning if they figure out FTL on their own, at which point you've got to deal with them. Until that point, you're better off leaving them caged by their own ignorance on their own planet, while you loot develop less dangerous planets elsewhere in the galaxy to your hearts' content.

327:

Please don't get me wrong, I accept that real reality has a left-leaning bias, but *what if* reality had a right-leaning bias? In Tolkien's middle earth for example, the rightful king not being in charge disrupts the natural order -- it has physical consequences.

The Laundryverse seems to have a physics that aids authoritarians, because it's possible to impose hierarchical command structures that are physically inescapable. As humans discover this they naturally fall into making use of it, except when they make a principled choice not to.

If what's in store in the Laundryverse resembles the colonization of the Americas, gee. I'm curious to read a novel-length Stross story with that level of grim-dark on center stage, but gee.

328:

Er, is that actually 120 feet in six seconds? Or in sixty?

329:

"If what's in store in the Laundryverse resembles the colonization of the Americas, gee. I'm curious to read a novel-length Stross story with that level of grim-dark on center stage, but gee."

Unless I'm misreading it (quite possible), that level of casualties is what the subverted Black Chamber has in store for the USA in the Laundryverse, because they will be expending much of the USA's population of human computational units in their attempt to summon Big Sir.

330:

Just struck me: I very, very rarely open the paper. I'm reading collected news - google news, Daily Kos, people's cmts, etc, and go directly to the article. IIRC, I do *not* have the WaPo ok'd in noScript, and I've never gotten a paywall note.

331:

I do *not* have the WaPo ok'd in noScript, and I've never gotten a paywall note.

I think they and a few other major US newspapers have timers. 4 articles per week or month or similar. So if it don't go there often you don't hit the wall. And some let you in more often if you are coming from a link in places like Google news as it promotes them higher in Google news so it's sort of kind of marketing.

332:

Eh? I use OpenStreetMap and I've never had to sign in.

They do, quite reasonably, want you to sign in to edit anything, but as you can't do that at all in Google Maps, that's not an issue.

JHomes

333:

Doesn't hit me, and I know I see more than 10 articles/mo. The NYT paywall does, even going from google news.

Note that it does *not* block Krugman's opinion page, presumably because they're not paying him to write it.

334:

JBS @ 316: If you install VirtualBox on Windows and create a VM using your choice of Linux distro, you can have FireFox and Chromium and maybe other browsers. If you don't share host directories, your VM is, in theory, separate from your Windows machine and you don't have to worry about it complaining about anti-virus and anti-spyware. Using a copy of the VM and throwing it away once a week gets rid of lice, ticks and alternate cookies schemes like fingerprints and invisible Flash files. It's a bit of a hassle, I admit. I do something similar for connecting to banks and other sensitive sites, using a VM that I don't do any other browsing from.

335:

No metal on metal or color on color is a rule of the folks currently in charge of UK heraldry. Historically there are exceptions, such as the Papal flag (yellow & white) and the Albanian flag ( red & black.)

336:

I suspect that the reason we dont see any aliens is that interstellar space travel is impractical combined with there being only a brief window in which we leak enough radio signals to be detectable.

Notice how we are going to smaller and smaller transmitters with directional antennas to maximize what we can do with the limited bandwidth physics provides us. Cellular, wifi etc. Eventually everything is point to point wireless links and cables or fiber optics between them. Anything you leak interferes with something nearby and reduces the amount of spectrum thats usable because you will interfere with somebody else's signal. At that point your civilization is no longer detectable. We've been leaking signals for around 100 years. Figure at the most, another 100 of leaking left.

So if you dont have a pretty advanced radio telescope pointed at a civilizations star during that brief 200 year window as the signals reach you , you will never know they were there. And you probably have to pick up the leakage because , at least the smart ones, wont risk saying hello.

337:

Yellow and white would be a metal (gold) and a color.

338:

Another alternative on Windows is sandboxie, which I use occasionally for sandboxing a browser on Windows. (Mostly I use Linux and other tools.). Almost certainly not as secure as a VM for sandboxing (though maybe less targeted by adversaries), but plenty good enough for browsing with tracker/counter forgetting after closure. There are still binaries available at https://www.sandboxie.com/DownloadSandboxie
though they've just moved to open source at https://github.com/sandboxie
(Haven't looked at the source, other than the build instructions which look to be annoying unless one develops windows applications.)

339:

Much of fantasy is about nostalgia for the way things weren't.

Tolkeinesque fantasy is an anti-technology romance about a non-existent past where you didn't need giant factories, huge corporations, technology that relied on huge logistic chains and inter-connected economies. Back when heroes were real heroes!

There are other related genres - Westerns as movies are again about an imagined past,and Country and Western music is a related romance about a non-existant US rural past (it and Blues diverged about a hundred years ago partly because black Americans in the 1920s were *not* nostalgic about some imagined good 'ole days).

Under the New Management, playing AD&D will be a nostalgia kick. Just a Steampunk is an unrealistic "how technology should have been!", AD&D will be "how magic should have been!". That will mean some changes to make it less realistic. So for example, modern AD&D editions introduced a Warlock class that gets magic via a compact with some fell demonic beast - my guess is AD&D would remove than class.

340:

I've argued before that it's not necessarily impractical, but rather how much in the way of resources are you willing to spend on exploration?

When we've expanded into the solar system, and if/when we come up with an FTL drive, we'll look at a lot of *nearby* systems, and go to ones that are attractive...but at some point, we'll be maxed out. Remember, overwhelmingly, most ocean travel for millenia was *not* exploration, but from known ports to known ports.

In my future universe, over the next few thousand years, we expand to cover maybe a 4k LY. There are *tons* of viable planets, and resources, and humans are just *not* going back to having a dozen kids per woman, just so we can Colonize The Universe.

341:

at some point, we'll be maxed out

For all the bullshit about colonizing Mars there's empty, unclaimed land right here that is a damn sight more hospitable than anything we're likely to find off planet. Yet somehow people are not saying "oooh, like Mars but you can breathe the air, and it's much warmer and there's more insolation" and the million other things that will kill people stupid enough to visit Mars.

About the only thing Mars has going for it is a lack of political problems. Which situation will last, at best, until the second colonist arrives.

342:

*not* going back to ... just so we can Colonize The Universe.

The list of things that we're not willing to do just so we roam and be free is fricking enormous. Despite the intense propaganda efforts within the USA even the resulting 300M "rugged individuals" very rarely travel out of sight of a Starbucks for any longer than they have to. You have a whole pile of vicarious pioneer stuff going on, and about four ghost ships worth of actual pioneering. And most of that is "anywhere that has cellphone reception and access to the electricity grid" style, rather than boldly setting out to feed the bears in Alaska, Tennassee where the land is cheap or something more organised like 100,000 of you move to Wyoming and take over democratically.

The same happens with Pacific Islands or even the more accessible parts of Australia. You can buy a farm for a dollar but the reason it costs that is because not even idiots think it's a good idea.

343:

I'm actually having a lot of fun right now playing with a story line that starts off as "the super-rich get their hands on an FTL drive and settle Proxima Centauri." And I'm not an apologist for the rights of the plutocrats. But as a fantasy setting with built-in class struggles, it ain't bad. Plus I figured out some really cool ecological details for a biosphere orbiting a flaring red dwarf.

Otherwise, of course, I agree with you. If Muskypoo was serious about settling Mars, he'd be cranking out cost-effective shipping container farms that could be distributed by the thousands to refugee camps in Bangladesh and Jordan (among others) to feed large numbers of people from ludicrously small spaces for real cheap. And I'd be reasonably impressed if the Seasteaders (for example) started building domed cities on Baffin Island or the Antarctic peninsula. Or the middle of the Atacama or Sahara. Or on closed hazmat sites in central Russia.

344:

That PEX thing -
Central heating - no idea. It’s not a thing to have hot water based radiator heating anywhere I’ve lived since ‘91. One would have to consult code.
Joint obstruction/turbulence - well, it works very well in practice and sizing is the solution. Use suitable sized pipe and it works. Consult IRC or your local code compliance officials.
Hey, I bet you could make an RPG about building a house an arguing with planning departments, code officials, suppliers, contractors, buyers...

345:

Had a complete central heating system replumbed in flexible plastic pipe, around 25 years ago. The plumbers added short stubs of copper pipe for the last few inches to the radiator valves, for appearance. Otherwise all plastic.
This was for a system with an instant on-demand hot water boiler, no immersion heater or storage tank, and mild positive pressure not gravity fed from a header tank.

346:

Paul Harrison
Well, in "communist" countries, reality did have a right-leaning bias, didn't it?
WHich taken in combination with our present situation, should tell us/you something.
[ Like pay attention to facts, not opinions, maybe. ]

icehawk
The Numenoreans had a technology at least as good as that of the 1960's .... Um.

Dark Blue
Are you in the UK, or elsewhere?
Because that would be an instant solution for my problem - & any future ones that show up, too.
( I have a small header tank in the loft, but that is not "mains" pressure, of course. )

347:

Anyone trying to settle Bir Tawil is going to be @#$%^ in the #$^ by Egypt and Sudan simultaneously in a rare display of international solidarity.

348:

Elon Musks vision of colonizing Mars is totally consistent with most distopian future visions of what its like to live on Mars,when you take into account that there's no way Elon Musk would not set him self up as the Emperor Of The Red Planet

349:

Look, regardless of what you think of Elon Musk as a person, they very thing he tries to achieve, namely cheap space travel, will preclude him from being an Emperor of Mars. Other companies and states will copy SpaceX technology (which is easier than developing it from scratch), and there's no legal framework by which Elon can get exclusivity on the use of Mars.

350:

>The Numenoreans had a technology at least as good as that of the 1960's .... Um.

Only in earlier versions of Numenor. Tolkien had the idea of "Atlantis with lost technology" but down-scaled it later. More likely, Numenor just had a superior bureaucracy and organization, which allowed it to pursue large scale building and infrastructure projects. Not very different from Roman Empire in this regard.

351:

Remember the "individual right to bear arms" interpretation of the 2nd Amendment...and extrapolate the ripple effects.

An interpretation pushed hard by the NRA, since it was cored out and repurposed as a lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers during the 1970s.

The "simplest" solution isn't to repeal the 2A, but to add one word, disambiguating it so that it specifically gives the right to bear arms to state militias, i.e. the National Guard.

The underlying, tectonic level problem is that the U.S. has become too culturally fragmented to function. There's no common narrative of American identity or values anymore.

It depends what you mean by "function"; the USA probably has a much stronger, more cohesive narrative of common identity than, say, disparate bits of the EU. (Quick, tell me what Greece has in common with Ireland!) At least the USA has an almost-universal language, and a second large-minority language that overlaps with many speakers of the first and almost all of its non-speakers: if you've got English and some Spanish, or vice versa, you've got 99% coverage.

Arguably what the USA needs is to be decentralized, along the lines of the EU, with some common core stuff (the bill of rights, a common defense force, a common overseas diplomatic/trade policy), internal free movement and free trade, but otherwise greater regional autonomy.

352:

How does the UK or other countries deal with these situations. Is there a forced component to any of it?

The UK deals with it even worse than the USA -- mental health services were never great and are currently a smoking crater after a decade of de-funding and neglect by the Conservatives.

The silver lining is that although the UK incarcerates more prisoners than any other country in Europe, including Turkey, it hasn't full-on copied the USA: there are a few privately-run prisons subcontracting to the Home Office, but none run as essentially slave farms, and we're still imprisoning less than a tenth as many of our population per capita as the USA. But yes, about 50% of folks in British prisons suffer from mental illness of some description, and most of the rest are illiterate/innumerate/unable to function in a complex society (read: can't fill out job applications, can't fill out forms for the benefits agency, end up drifting into crime because it's easier).

353:

If what's in store in the Laundryverse resembles the colonization of the Americas, gee. I'm curious to read a novel-length Stross story with that level of grim-dark on center stage, but gee.

I'm not going there with the Laundryverse. (More like the cliff-hanger at the end of "The Italian Job".)

354:

I do *not* have the WaPo ok'd in noScript, and I've never gotten a paywall note.

It's not a paywall note, it's blocking of entire networks because users of those networks are in nations covered by the EU's GDPR which makes the WaPost's sleazy and intrusive advertising practices illegal.

355:

I suspect that the reason we dont see any aliens is that interstellar space travel is impractical combined with there being only a brief window in which we leak enough radio signals to be detectable.

That assumes radio detection is a useful SETI strategy.

We're now at the point where we can identify thousands of exoplanets, even though putting telescopes in space is still in its infancy (there's going to be an explosion of them in 10-20 years' time if reusable/cheap commercial space access becomes widespread, as seems likely). Short of building larger imaging surfaces that can directly view continent-sized land masses (that's still a decade or two away) being able to do atmospheric spectroscopy of terrestrial planets is an option. If you spot oxygen in the atmosphere of a water world or an earthlike world in the triple point zone around a star small/cool enough for evolution to have time to get off the ground? That's not stable: it means it's probably a by-product of life.

If your spectrophotometer detects chloroflurocarbons in the ozone layer, you've almost certainly got air conditioning, never mind life!

Go a bit further out: if you point telescopes at a land mass on such a planet (having first confirmed an unstable atmosphere) and detect light patterns during its nighttime period that are inconsistent with lightning or forest fires, you've quite possible got cities.

And all bets are off if your imaging system is the phased-array eyeball you end up with if you build a Matrioshka brain -- a light-gathering surface roughly 1 astronomical unit in radius (so, 300 gigameters in diameter). It's probably able to read newspaper headlines at a thousand parsecs ...

356:

Yet more UK COVID stats, I am afraid. This explains why the experts have been banished from briefings - they are not prepared to support the gummint's claim that it is safe to relax lockdown. While the official figures indicate a continuing drop, the other data looks far more as if it has merely leveled off.

https://imgur.com/a/fN6U3YL
https://imgur.com/a/zyBGUlF

While Scotland is somewhat insulated from England, it's not separate; things should clarify by the end of the month. I am expecting the start of a second, smaller and more spread out, peak.

357:

An improved version of the second graph:

https://imgur.com/a/hUg5pTX

358:

Using a copy of the VM and throwing it away once a week gets rid of lice, ticks and alternate cookies schemes like fingerprints and invisible Flash files.

If it works for you, great. For those of us with 2 or 3 daily use computers (for whatever reason) using disposable VMs and all the constant 2FA for each new instance can get old quickly.

To each their own.

359:

About the only thing Mars has going for it is a lack of political problems. Which situation will last, at best, until the second colonist arrives.

Yes. It's the problem of home churches. They are always dividing once they grow to more than a few families. The reason for their existence to to get away from the corrupted institutional churches. Their failing is that the people involved don't seem to see that they really don't have a common vision for what the "non institutional" church should look like.

No difference between these and the political utopian libertarians.

360:

TBH, I'd cut the Gordian knot, and run something narritivist, vis a vis TTRPG. Less liable to produce something mathematically dangerous and, frankly, there's a lot of much better systems then D&D out there, which is a goddamn dinosaur of the highest order at best of times.

361:

Tennassee

After fixing the spelling [grin] you'll find that Memphis and Nashville are as cosmopolitan as most any other major city in the world. Their reputation for being county bumpkin spots came about for a reason but at the end of the day they are modern big cities. And after you toss in Knoxville you're never more than a 2 to 3 hour drive from any of them.

Their politics, like a lot of other similar places in the US, are currently driven by their rural areas but demographics and urban to rural are switching that much to the consternation of the existing power bases.

362:

Had a complete central heating system replumbed in flexible plastic pipe

What you describe is the way more and more housing in the US is going. I've starting doing all my repairs this way.

363:

Re: 'We've been leaking signals for around 100 years.'

Okay - however doesn't this assume that aliens would first have to know which types of signals/radio bursts are 'natural' and which aren't? Every once in a while there's a headline about some new type of solar or interstellar, cosmic signal/activity that's just been detected. Such newly discovered signals usually result in scientists re-examining the current narrative of how bits of 'known' theory are strung together. Here's a recent example with the potential of changing the current best-guess narrative as to the 'evolution' of stars:

'Astronomers discover new class of cosmic explosions
Blasts differ from 'ordinary' supernovae, gamma-ray bursts'

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200526161131.htm

Also, I wonder how much of our civilization's noise is blocked/dampened by solar activity. Earth is tiny, our star is on the small side and both are in a fairly large galaxy.

364:

Thanks for the overview.

My question:
Is there a forced component to any of it?

was about forcing those with severe metal illnesses to take their meds. Is that done in the UK or is it a voluntary thing. Which in many cases can lead to the eventual incarceration?

365:

Re: ' ... "non institutional" church should look like.'

Isn't Lutheranism supposed to be the model for this where every person is free to interpret the Bible as long as such interpretations incorporate a few basic tenets/principals?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheranism

Luther nailed his theses to the door in 1521 - 500 years ago next year. That's a pretty long time to figure out how to incorporate the notion of equality of individual freedom on one key social parameter.

366:

Oh if it were that simple.

Can a woman teach a man in terms of anything related to the religion. Or at all.

Should all heads be covered? Those of women?

Should men and women worship in separate spaces?

What is purpose and meaning of communion? How often. Is it OK to use grape juice instead of wine.

Which translation (and edition) are to be allowed to be read? Tolerated? Required?

Can you shop on Sunday? (Or Saturday if you decide that is your day.) How about mowing the yard? Changing a flat tire?

Home church advocates tend to think everyone ELSE has it wrong and they (and only they) have the true and one and only "secret sauce".

It even has a small sub plot story line in Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon stories. Which if you don't know was a part of his weekly US public radio show. In it he told a tale of the last week or so's goings on in the fictional town of Lake Wobegon. As mentioned above it was about wanting to return to a time that never existed in mid western US of the 50s and 60s. And the happy talked clothed very biting satire of such life. Ans lots of funny stories that reminded many of us of true events in our life.

367:

"So for example, modern AD&D editions introduced a Warlock class that gets magic via a compact with some fell demonic beast - my guess is AD&D would remove than class."

True dat!

Of course the RPG company that's going away instantly under the New Management is Chaosium. "All our game designers were eaten by shoggoths on the same day? How likely was that?" After which all the other RPG companies will fall in line very quickly!

368:

a light-gathering surface roughly 1 astronomical unit in radius (so, 300 gigameters in diameter). It's probably able to read newspaper headlines at a thousand parsecs .

Not quite, but it could do 1 meter out to 100 light years, and that's not bad...

r = λR/D with

λ = 3e-7 meters (atmospheric ultraviolet cutoff)
R = 100 * 9.5e15 = 9.5e17 meters
D = 3e11 meters

r = 0.95 meters

369:

> (atmospheric ultraviolet cutoff)

That's earth-like atmosphere at the other end, of course.

370:

Memphis and Nashville are as cosmopolitan

I was going purely off land cost found via a search for "cheapest land in the US".

371:

Oh. I see.

I'm betting that the large amount of near vertical rock at the eastern end mixed with a few left over strip mines is dragging down the average price of the land by quite a bit.

Drives through the area are really beautiful but it's hard to imagine using the land for anything but scenery.

372:

Auricoma
No
In some of the background books, it's clear that the Numenoreans had post wwII tech.
Though, it was, like the future, unevenly ditributed, IIRC.

EC
I'm looking at "Worldometer'" statistics - it's a very long, slowly declining tail - at the momnet, anyway.

373:

Yet more UK COVID stats, I am afraid. This explains why the experts have been banished from briefings - they are not prepared to support the gummint's claim that it is safe to relax lockdown.

I expect this isn't a surprise to those on here - after all it is the same government that yesterday was claiming Brexit can be finished by July with just a bit of extra effort.

But the government is really just following the convenient lead of the public, who with their flocking to public places now that the weather is nice have made it clear they don't want to hear about any more Covid bad news.

Though I expect the last several days in Bejing with have made anyone interested in reality sit up and take notice - that a new apparently serious outbreak can happen that quickly in a country with as much monitoring as China likely has health experts elsewhere in the world concerned.

Though in some good news a steriod has been found effective in treating the most serious cases of Covid with measurable (if not great) success.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-coronavirus-steroid-dexamethasone-1.5613706

374:

Apropos of nothing, I'd like to pitch out an alt-historical scenario that could be used in a steampunk or "gaslight fantasy" setting.

Call it the "Lincoln-Albert Continuum."

The basic idea here is that two powerful men who were involved in major social reforms died in the 1860s. Those men were, of course, Abraham Lincoln and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.

Imagine, if you will, a world in which both men lived. Lincoln wasn't assassinated, Albert didn't die of whatever killed him. Both men lived to ripe old ages, and the monumental cultural changes they started didn't fizzle in the late 19th Century.

Allow this heady brew to culture for 50 years. This is the new world.

If you're lazy, you can simply take the racial politics of the 21st Century and put it on the geopolitics of the early 20th Century.

More interestingly, you can solve some racial injustices, but probably at the cost of increasing class warfare. The early 20th Century was the time that communism and anarchism were on the rise after all. What if the poor of all races learned how to make common cause with each other, despite all efforts by the wealthy to divide them and conquer?

Whichever route you take, build a world with this batter, season with steampunk inventions to taste, and serve up as an RPG scenario. Perhaps a rather different SPACE:1919?

375:

I came up with a similar idea once while I was working on a webcomic about an Elf and Orc who travelled the dimensions together. In one of the universes Lincoln was an early practitioner of economics instead of a lawyer, and he was able to sell the South on trading slavery for a better economy. In that world, James Earl Jones played Captain Kirk...

376:

They will be using the same data, possibly delayed, and possibly munging them in some way. The graphs I showed are as up-to-date as anything you will find unless you have a mole inside ONS, and I stand by what I said. Watch this space, in a couple of weeks' time - unless I go down with it!

mdive makes good points, too.

377:

Re: 'Oh if it were that simple.'

Ummm ... actually it's supposed to be that simple.

The examples you cite reflect certain authoritarian asses' personal pet preferences and interpretations of what/how things should be for everyone else. In fact the more these folks insisted on imposing their personal biases on everyone else, the more they antithetical to Lutheranism they actually were. Luther's main point was that every human experienced 'God' as an individual ... in their own way.*

Thus explaining the 10,000 plus 'Protestant Christian' sects in the US.


* In my (RC) high school world religions class, Lutheranism and Buddhist were student faves because our common interpretation of both boiled down to: (1) don't be mean and (2) you have a right to be an individual.


378:

Perhaps a rather different SPACE:1919?

I'd play that.

379:

Re: ' ... some good news a steriod has been found effective in treating the most serious cases of Covid'

Yes - this is 'some' good news if the primary problem is pulmonary.

'It reduced deaths by 35 per cent in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20 per cent in those only needing supplemental oxygen. It did not appear to help less ill patients.'


I'm not sure how this works out overall or by various genetic susceptibility types, i.e., vascular system (incl. Kawasaki-like syndrome) and any other parts/organs with tons of ACE-2 pockets.

381:

Not sure about post-WW2. They had intercontinental missiles, so during-WW2, but no semiconductors, lasers or other quantum-level stuff, no computational engines, no theoretical medicine, and certainly none of the rampant gene-hacking and similar biotech that certain parties were into. And of course the guidance for such missiles is a lot easier when it's all planar and no Coriolis, so we're probably basically talking about overgrown Congreve rockets. I'd rate them as a lot closer to a naval version of the Persians or Egyptians at their peak than to Phryges and Kinnexa and pals.

Oh yeah, they did have rigid foil sails. Popular on racing boats these days but I don't know when the idea first came up; could well have been in parallel with early aviation wing development, but it's a simple enough idea that it could have been around for centuries somewhere obscure.

Of course they also had a seven-node long range communications network with similar functionality and security problems to early WW1 field telephones (I wonder why, hehe), but they didn't build that, it was another legacy HuaweiFeanor product with the usual dodgy firmware.

382:

Re: 'Yet more UK COVID stats, ...'

Your first graph looks like there's about 50K 'excess deaths', i.e., approx. 8K more than the JHU COVID-19 Map which is based on NHS provided data. That's a pretty substantial difference.

Serious question: How many of the excess deaths can be traced to illegal street drug usage? Every week or so there's some local news coverage mentioning increases in ODs. A few stories even say that desperate users are turning to new sources and these drugs are sometimes spiked with fentanyl. (Anyone here from BC, Canada? - That's the only region I'm aware of that has fairly extensive support for this population. How are these folks doing during COVID-19?)

383:
There is a Vernor Vinge short story where the global south is invaded by anarchist libertarian aliens (the north having wiped itself out in a nuclear exchange)... I think it was "Conquest by Default".
It's notable for being a Vinge story where the libertarianism isn't seen as a totally good thing.

(Doesn't get into the real problems with American style libertarianism, that it's actually just a thin skin over Feudalism wanabees).

384:

Yes - this is 'some' good news if the primary problem is pulmonary.

Pulmonary damage -- the lungs being trashed -- seems to be the commonest single cause of death in severe COVID19. Corticosteroids are wide-spectrum immune system down-modulators, so learning that dexamethasone reduces inflammatory lung damage and increases survival rates in severe cases is unsurprising (although it's nevertheless good news to get a rigorous controlled trial supporting a cheap treatment option).

As non-pulomnary organ damage from COVID19 also appears to be inflammatory in nature, there's some hope that dexamethasone will work there, too -- but with a smaller number of cases, it'll take longer to gather the figures.

There's some evidence that COVID19 causes damage by causing inflammation of the vascular epithelium -- the cells lining the small blood vessels. The lungs have a lot of these, and are also the entrypoint for the virus, so get hit hard, but it may also be the mechanism for attacking other organs -- in which case dexamethasone ought to work there, too.

This also suggests that statins may be helpful, too. I imagine that's a topic of some interest in the large-scale screening program that reported on dexamethasone.

385:
If you want an alternative to Google Maps, there's Openstreetmap: https://www.openstreetmap.org/
Which can be a much better map than Google's when Google make silly fuckups importing the datasets they buy, like the time they disappeared all of the sous-prefectures in the western Ivory Coast, leaving only the larger towns and smaller villages, or where they haven't got around to mapping the new quartier in Abidjan where I have my new house, or, bizarrely, because they (Google) accept user edits with little validation and show pharmacies in entirely the wrong location.

(No Google, I told you, the Pharmacie Val-d'Oise is not there, and the "Mache Alimentaire Corasa" (sic) simply doesn't exist).

386:

But radio IS how we do SETI. We may do it differently some time in the future, and at that point we may find ET under every rock. But if my supposition is correct, then its why we dont find anything now.

387:
But apparently NOT a less intrusive alternative. It wants me to sign up and log in, something I don't have to do to use Google Maps.
You only have to sign up if you want to edit the map.
388:

The one problem I have with the dexamethasone study will hopefully resolve really fracking soon. That problem is that so far, all we've seen is the press release, not even the preprint paper. That, unfortunately, is not a good sign. Hopefully it's a PR screwup, and not a sign of other issues.

389:

FUBAR007 @ 323:

From our p.o.v. the US "system" of so-called "policing" is wierd & scary...

The underlying, tectonic level problem is that the U.S. has become too culturally fragmented to function. There's no common narrative of American identity or values anymore. Multicultural societies can only function to the extent that the values and perceived interests of their constituent factions overlap. In the U.S., that overlap is gone. Indeed, the values and perceived interests of several factions are now mutually exclusive which, in turn, means political outcomes will be increasingly decided by raw power politics. Thus, the most powerful faction will dictate the status quo to the rest.

Sadly, I fear you are correct.

390:
Quick, tell me what Greece has in common with Ireland
Christianity and a long history of being colonised by near neighbours.
391:

@Everyone:
As of now (10:57 PDT) the USA has now exceeded the number of Military deaths in WWI (116,516) by the number of documented COVID-19 deaths (116,526).

392:

whitroth @ 333: Doesn't hit me, and I know I see more than 10 articles/mo. The NYT paywall does, even going from google news.

Note that it does *not* block Krugman's opinion page, presumably because they're not paying him to write it.

I don't think any of the New York Times opinion pages are behind the paywall, nor is "headline" news ... their paywall appears to me to only cover the deep stuff that would be on the inside pages & special sections in the Sunday Times. At least that's the only place I've ever encountered it.

I'm still miffed at the NYT for their first attempt to institute a paywall back in 2003. I signed up and paid for an online subscription but when I got to Iraq, I couldn't access it. It wouldn't let me in even though I had a user ID & a password.

And then the whole damn thing collapsed and they abandoned the paywall, announcing they would go back to the status quo ante, but they didn't refund the subscription ... and even then I still couldn't read the NYT on-line while I was in Iraq.

So, fuck em'. Nothing I want to read is behind the New York Times paywall.

393:

I was pointing out that the "how will Mars be governed" is a similar problem to that of "home churches".

As to the validity of their theology I was making no claims. Or that Luther "fixed" all the issues with the Catholic church.

394:

Probably only a few. The two main reasons are (a) COVID deaths that is not officially classified as such and (b) deaths due to people not being hospitalised when they needed to be. We have no idea which is larger.

395:

RockyTom @ 334: JBS @ 316: If you install VirtualBox on Windows and create a VM using your choice of Linux distro, you can have FireFox and Chromium and maybe other browsers. If you don't share host directories, your VM is, in theory, separate from your Windows machine and you don't have to worry about it complaining about anti-virus and anti-spyware. Using a copy of the VM and throwing it away once a week gets rid of lice, ticks and alternate cookies schemes like fingerprints and invisible Flash files. It's a bit of a hassle, I admit. I do something similar for connecting to banks and other sensitive sites, using a VM that I don't do any other browsing from.

Yeah, I could do that ... if it wasn't more bother than I want to go through to read an occasional Washington Post article.

I don't use the Chrome browser. Almost every complaint I have about Firefox relates to ways in which it attempts to look & feel like Chrome. I mainly use two browsers Firefox & Pale Moon (a Mozilla browser that split off from Firefox about the time Firefox's developers started to make it more "Chrome like". I have No-Script installed on Pale Moon and I only use Firefox for those sites, like Charlie's blog, where I haven't figured out how to make them work with No-Script - note I'm not saying it won't work with No-Script, I just haven't figured out how to do it.

I also have a fairly ragged copy of Micro$oft's Internet Exploder for one U.S. Government site that won't accept anything else. Fortunately, I only have to log in there a couple of times a year.

If something is important enough that I feel I must read it, I can often find those Washington Post articles syndicated to other newspapers where it won't be behind a paywall.


396:

Genarally ... anti-inflammtories seem to at the very least, damp down & suppress the worst effects of C-19.
Previous comments referring to Ibuprofen come to mind. Plus taking vit-D supplements.
Not going near statins with someone else's thank you.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Oh yes - adding to my own historical comment @ # 310
If people are exited about slavery, rather than going after figures who are 200 years dead ... then why are they not demonstrating outside the Saudi & especially the PRC's embassies?
In the case of the PRC, they are holding two entire enthic groupings in servitude: The Tibetans & the Uighurs.
Um.

397:

Trust me, you won't like the society they create.

Me? Writing that short where they escape? Writing what it's like, almost 800 years later?

Nahhhhh....

398:

"What the US needs is decentralized"...

*shudder*

No. REALLY NO. That's how you get the century of Jim Crow South. And how they're state-by-state trying to kill abortion rights, and trust me, any form of birth control is next.

399:

What we need is a *serious* wall between church and state. As in, start with "you pay taxes like any other organization".

And explain to us why a church needs a golf course....

400:

There's more significant questions, such as "who's listening right now to those bands?"

My take has always been that you have to have a civilization, that's into tech*, and is at *our* tech level, +/- 150 yrs. Before, they can't hear it, after, perhaps if there's the equivalent of ham radio operators still using morse code....

One "didn't happen" - the comet that did the dinosaurs, an ice age that ended sooner, or later, and they're 10 million years earlier than us, or beyond us.

Given the number of planets and stars, yeah, maybe 200 civilizations in the galaxy in that sweet spot.

401:

Charlie Stross @ 351: The "simplest" solution isn't to repeal the 2A, but to add one word, disambiguating it so that it specifically gives the right to bear arms to state militias, i.e. the National Guard.

It's already unambiguous. Only stupid, selfish assholes argue that the placement of commas changes the meaning of the whole. And if you were able to examine the original, hand-written copies of the Bill or Rights, you'd find that the commas wander all over the place or even disappear completely.

Arguably what the USA needs is to be decentralized, along the lines of the EU, with some common core stuff (the bill of rights, a common defense force, a common overseas diplomatic/trade policy), internal free movement and free trade, but otherwise greater regional autonomy.

That's pretty close to the original intent behind the U.S. Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States government proved to be too weak to handle the common stuff in the face of conflicting regional interests. The founders wanted to keep the national army small, but there was no way to call up the state militias when military force was needed, nor was there a way to force the militia in one state to come to the defense of another state, so if there was an insurrection that was beyond the ability of New York's state government to handle with New York's resources, there was no mechanism for the central government to utilize militia's from Connecticut, Pennsylvania or Maryland ... to assist New York. All New York could do was to beg the other states for assistance, which might or might not be provided.

I guess it's time again for my favorite blockquote:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

In fact, the Second Amendment is not a grant of individual rights, it's a grant of STATES RIGHTS, a guarantee that Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 16 of the Constitution will not be used to abolish state militias ... "the people" being plural, not singular.

402:

"And explain to us why a church needs a golf course...."

Golf is a devotional activity. Just listen to the golfers. They keep saying things like "God, this hole is difficult" and "Jesus, how did I miss that?"

403:

Heteromeles @ 374: Imagine, if you will, a world in which both men lived. Lincoln wasn't assassinated, Albert didn't die of whatever killed him.

I think he suffocated after they put him in that can.

404:

John Hughes @ 387:

But apparently NOT a less intrusive alternative. It wants me to sign up and log in, something I don't have to do to use Google Maps.

You only have to sign up if you want to edit the map.

What if I only want to get rid of the "unobtrusive" Welcome to OpenStreetMap [Learn More] [Start Mapping] advertising box that takes up 1/3 of the window?

405:

A year or so ago, I went looking for information on 18th century grammar. What I found was Johnson's dictionary, the first of English. ALL the Founding Fathers would have been familiar with it.

And in it, he uses commas to delineate PAUSES, as when speaking, not clauses.

The NRA, in their building (it should be blown up) have the 2nd Amendment... MINUS those first words.

406:

I'll bet none of them want to learn the lesson of the old joke....

Pastor goes golfing on a Sunday. St. Pete mentions this to God. God looks down, and makes sure the pastor gets a hole in one. St. Pete is aghast. "Why'd you do that?" God smiles. "Who's he going to tell?"

407:

The NRA, in their building (it should be blown up) have the 2nd Amendment... MINUS those first words.

Actually, this does lead to a fairly important point: what happens if the NRA leadership suffers a, erm, catastrophic omnigonadecotomy (metaphorically speaking) and loses its current political mojo?

It's an interesting question, because the vaunted political strategy of "do what we want or white male lone wolves will spray innocents with bullets" is failing rather badly right now.

I mean, uppity black people* are marching in the street and gaining political victory after political victory without a single gun in sight, while guys packing heat and not masks looked like idiots just two weeks before and didn't accomplish much of anything. Nor have a spate of police violence, lynchings, and random shootings done anything to stop the BLM protests, to the point where cops are even (gasp!) immediately arresting white guys shooting at blacks.

And the NRA is kind of falling apart, canceling events, fundraisers, and political actions. It'll be terrible for them if it turns out nonviolence is the way to political change, and fearmongering with phallic gunnery is increasingly less effective.

So if the NRA falls, how long will the 2nd Amendment continue to be interpreted as it is today? Inquiring minds really do want to know.

*Uppity black people? Yes, we very definitely need more of them. Black lives matter. (/no sarcasm).

408:

As I recall the old joke, the hole-in-one happened in some ridiculous fashion. As I heard it (and I'm sure there are variations) the ball bounced from tree-to-tree, then was eaten by a bear that crapped it into the hole - and God asked, "who can he tell?"

409:

So if the NRA falls, how long will the 2nd Amendment continue to be interpreted as it is today? Inquiring minds really do want to know.

Depends in part on November - you need to change the Supreme Court before any more sane laws that might get passed would survive (even without the NRA, someone would fight them as there is too much money in gun sales to that very small minority of people who buy them).

410:

Uppity black people

I just realized the polite version of this as applied to non dark folks is "getting above your raising".

411:

The line I've been using for decades about the sixties: too many people took advantage of the GI bill after WWII, and a generation came up that actually *believed* what they were taught. The result was a whole generation of uppity ethnics, uppity women, all the lower classes who didn't know their place....

412:

The irony of who the Boomers tend to support now in political terms is not lost on many.

413:

Oh goody. DARPA has sent out a presolicitation for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO program.

"Activity in cislunar space is expected to increase considerably in the coming years," Maj Nathan Greiner, manager of the DRACO Program, told Ars. "An agile nuclear thermal propulsion vehicle enables the DOD to maintain Space Domain Awareness of the burgeoning activity within this vast volume."

In "Phase 1" of its solicitation, DARPA has asked industry for the designs of both a nuclear thermal reactor and an operational spacecraft upon which to demonstrate it. This initial phase of the program will last 18 months. Subsequent phases will lead to detailed design, fabrication, ground tests, and an in-space demonstration. No contracts have yet been awarded, and award values will be determined by industry submissions.

Golly gee. Nucular Rockets In Space. What could possibly go wrong? Guess what the US Space Force has the hots for? And they're so tastefully subtle with their acronyms too.

414:

Not even vaguely all of us.

But then, you young'uns think you know what it was like back then.... It was 10%, not sure if it hit 15%, antiwar; Maybe about the same pro-war. Most trying to keep a low profile and stay out.

And anyone who tells you everyone was against 'Nam has brown eyes, because they're that full of it. I knew, and read of plenty of people whose folks literally disowned them for being against 'Nam, and not wanting to be drafted. And it went downhill from there. Those are the ones who support the GOP, because they were more anti-commie than the other....

415:

I knew, and read of plenty of people whose folks literally disowned them for being against 'Nam, and not wanting to be drafted. And it went downhill from there. Those are the ones who support the GOP, because they were more anti-commie than the other....

You mean like my parents? Worked for Goldwater, voted democrat under Clinton?

416:

More like this old, um, maybe "friend" isn't the right word that I'm exchanging email with. He thinks he's a moderate. He also thinks Raygun was the best Prezidnent ever, and that The Turnip's ok.....

417:

Oddly enough, "You were only supposed to blow the bloody portal shut!" fits [I]The Atrocity Archive[/I] to a T.

418:

Apologies for that - I'd forgotten how it displayed for those who don't login. (Longtime OSM contributor.)

How does this look:
http://hikebikemap.org/

The obvious thing is the Greenwich meridian may render in ways that are unpleasant to look at for some magnifications, but that's after a quick look in a private window with no login. Are there other issues?
(Same database, but there is a time lag between the two versions, looking at a village in the UK where I've edited the residential area.)

419:

Re: ' ... but it may also be the mechanism for attacking other organs -- in which case dexamethasone ought to work there, too.'

I hope you're right.

420:

That one seems to have approximately three months latency.

This one may be more recent, with more emphasis on topography:
https://opentopomap.org/

This one seems to have less latency, looking at a village in Ireland that I did some landuse mapping on, though residential land use is just visible to my eyes on this map.

421:

Greg @346:
Yes this was in England. The plumbers/fitters replaced and upgraded the entire heating and hot water system for a 4 bedroom bungalow in about 3 days, including replacing all the underfloor pipes with flexible plastic as described, new boiler with pressure vessel, new and upgraded radiators, thermostatic valves, shower mixers...

My only warning is that if you choose an on-demand boiler, check it has the performance to maintain your target output temperature at maximum water flow rates. We found ours was marginal; ok for a medium-flow-rate shower, but only if nothing else was drawing hot water.

On the plus side, because both hot and cold water are pressurised, there was no need for expensive thermostatic mixers.

422:

If one comprehends how the economy of the southern slaveocracy operated one wouldn't do that scenario. There is no way to convince them of doing anything different because their economy -- literally their money -- was entirely wrapped up in the bodies of the enslaved. Their wealth could not be divorced from owning the bodies of people. This wealth couldn't operate anywhere but within the milieu of the slaveocracy. Every child that was born increased a slaveowner's wealth -- not that the baby would be sold, but on the books of the creditors it increased the owner's wealth by at least $75, which increased rapidly throughout that child's life through puberty and early adulthood.* That wealth was credit. Within the south itself, the literal body could be exchanged for goods and services. But not anywhere else. And the the south didn't produce anything but cotton and slave labor and slaves. It was an immense ponzi scheme which meant that in 1860 Mississippi was the richest state in the union, with the most millionaires by far. In 1863 it became the poorest and has stayed the same every since.

* In contrast to the person then reaching the age in which s/he couldn't reproduce, especially for female slaves, which, as in Thomas Jefferson's account books, any female slave who couldn't have children had a worth of -- 0. Yes zero. Literally listed in the book as 'worthless."

423:

Google Maps used to label the east and west piers in Dún Laoghaire as east and west piers Howth Harbour (which are 10km away), Harbour Road was labelled "Harcourt Terrace" and the South Wall in Dublin Port was "South Hill" (completely illogical as it is a long stone pier into the middle of Dublin Bay and Dublin is fairly flat anyway).

Fortunately, they have since been fixed.

Anyway, I'll stop here as these digressions are really off topic.

424:

Re: 'I was pointing out that the "how will Mars be governed" is a similar problem to that of "home churches".'

Depends on how the first few waves of colonists/settlers are selected. And how soon they can survive without Earth.

Selection criteria - I don't think that just wanting to go to Mars would be sufficient. Too expensive per colonist, and too risky to everyone else heading out to Mars. Overall, I think they'll need to use similar selection and training to whatever NASA and the other countries with astronauts currently use. The only astronaut bio I'm really familiar with is Chris Hadfield via his book: 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: ...' which left me with the impression that in order to survive in space, you'll need to be sane, be able to work with people - follow as well as lead, have at least one area of expertise, respect that local resources are limited/precious, and not be prone to panic attacks. Yes, I realize that the kids of the first generation of settlers are probably not going to be psychological clones of their parents but because their parents were so carefully screened there's a pretty good chance that these kids will have the psycho-social environment as well as the in-depth training they will need in order to fit into their particular society and survive on Mars.

Right now, I think it's a toss-up as to which of the US or China will be first in establishing a populated base on Mars. The US has done most of the distance exploration (e.g., Rover) but China's been doing a ton of different types of civil and environmental engineering under all sorts of different climactic (Earth) conditions. They've even built some man-made islands. If it boils down to which gov't is less likely to cut space exploration spending, then China will have the first settlement.

If China settles Mars first, then what kind of society/culture would there be after 3 or 4 generations? Probably not identical to whatever it might be in China for the same reasons that if the US established the first Mars settlement, the 3rd or 4th generation would not be very similar to USians back on Earth. Both would have to adapt their ethno-cultural identities to local Mars conditions: USians would have to suck up the stereotypical hyper-individuality while the Chinese would in turn lose some of their stereotypical submissiveness to tradition and hierarchical authority figures.


Government on Mars - probably more leadership and expertise-based decision-making for community/social and resource related issues and hands-off otherwise. Things could screw up really fast as soon as someone starts diddling with definitions of 'community', 'resources', etc. (Maybe they'll have a genetic test for authoritarianism by then and screen those out.)

425:
Er, is that actually 120 feet in six seconds? Or in sixty?

120 feet in six seconds is 20ft/sec, or 6m/s. That's about 12mph; perfectly possible over short distances for an able-bodied human in good condition. (Yes, even if they're wearing metal armour - a good suit of plate weighs less than most standard modern infantry packs.)

I wouldn't expect a DnD fighter (or Whitroth) to be able to maintain that pace for a marathon, but in short bursts it's absolutely doable.

120 feet in sixty seconds, OTOH, is about the speed that I walk at, and I have serious joint problems and need a surgical brace on one leg in order to get out of the house at all.

426:

Games involving settling Mars or the asteroids might be popular. They're less likely to summon gibbering terrors from beyond reality and the New Management might encourage them to search the possible strategy spaces that rival abominations might use to reach their goals regarding summonings or to prevent the New Management from maintaining or expanding his realm. (As Charley noted, we are as bees to him and he loves his honey.)

427:

a) I think it was 120'/melee round (6 sec)
b) under no circumstances are you going to keep that up.

Btw, when you first start SCA training to fight heavy, after a few minutes of trying to beat on someone with something weighing about what a baseball bat does, your arm is ready to fall off. At the second session, where you're trying even a light shield for the first time, your arm will not last 5 min....

All those exotic swords in pics, and for sale as wall-hangers, etc? There's no way you could use it for more than five minutes. Real weapons weigh *under* 5 lbs.

428:

learning that dexamethasone reduces inflammatory lung damage and increases survival rates in severe cases is unsurprising

MedlifeCrisis on utube suggested that the surprise is because (that?) steroid isn't much use with other similar respiratory diseases. But in this case the overenthusiastic inflammatory response does seem to be the big problem, so looking back this solution is obvious :)

429:

Real weapons weigh *under* 5 lbs.

*mass*, darling, it's *mass* that counts. Remember we're in magic RPG land, so gravity will always be exactly 1G but the actual value might change.

(yes, I had this "discussion" in high school. Saying "gravity has a value of one gravity" is tautological)

430:

You're quite correct, but I came up with the scenario before I learned about the financialization of slaves, and of course the Civil War was instrumental in demonstrating the ultimate value of the financialization of humans vs. an industrial economy. And no American proto-economist would have noticed the issue until the war was over.

431:

How will Mars be governed? It will be governed in whatever manner the paymasters back on Earth require, for reasons explained by OGH some time ago.

TLDR there may be research bases on Mars, but nothing that could ever be described as a colony. Think Antarctica.

JHomes

432:

the golfers. They keep saying things like "God, this hole is difficult" and "Jesus, how did I miss that?"

... and then God answers and their problems really start. Sure, you might just get a convenient fireball removing that tree you're stuck behind*. But you might also find that God has noticed you and thinks you should have more wives.

Especially when it's the one associated with Jesus petitioners very rarely good good results. At best you get "watch the cat chase the laser pointer into the wall" and worst it's more like "into the fire" with the bonus feature that you suffer torments for all eternity because he is a just and loving god.

* this is how the dinosaurs disappeared. On a scale of universes the difference between "fireball for one tree" and "fireball for one planet" is negligible

433:

I used to agree that the 2nd amendment was only about militias. Give heard people ask smugly "what part of to keep and bear arms isnt clear",as if there were no rational.answer. I would always respond "the part about a militia". But then the supreme court weighed in. The reality of the way things work is, for all intents and purposes the supreme court says what the Supreme Court says it does. So I was wrong and the 2nd amendment provides for an individuals right to keep.amd bear arms, but only small arms that fire one shot per pull of the trigger and not machi e guns or artillery or a nuclear powered missile submarine with a dozen thermonuclear tipped ICBMs. Which is kind of odd, because unlike the first amendment t that protects the vast majority of speech, the second amendment only protects a tiny minority of arms.

434:

Hi Charlie. While I haven't read every comment here, I didn't see a call to end submissions for a 5e D&D game for you, so I registered to comment. I've been a sporadic lurker for a long time.

While I never intended for this to be the case, I'm a pretty experienced DM, at least for pre-written adventures. I don't have the creative spark to run something completely home-brewed. I've run a 3.5e campaign from 1st to 20th level and am running two 5e groups that are currently running online in Roll20, though they're usually in-person.

I don't imagine you're looking for a full-on long-term campaign to join, so I'd be up for running stuff that has been made for one player (the content in the "Essential's Kit" has a one-player & DM option and I'm betting there'one-player content on DMsGuild) until you've gotten what you want out of it. I'm flexible about working out something to help out. I'm a big fan and if nothing else, I can do this to help someone out in this off-kilter world.

The biggest downside is that I live in the USA, on the east coast, but I'm certainly up for trying to work things out.

Thanks!

435:
What if I only want to get rid of the "unobtrusive" Welcome to OpenStreetMap [Learn More] [Start Mapping] advertising box that takes up 1/3 of the window?
Click on the near invisible "x" on the top right of that pane, just under the directions arrow.
436:

Real weapons weigh *under* 5 lbs.

Coincidentally, just a few hours ago I was listening to the frequently amusing Lindybeige explain that "Battle-axes were SMALL".

437:

JBS
You click on the (difficult to see) little "x" in the top RH corner of that box & it vanishes ....

darkblue
OK I need to do some research as to what brands/types of fitting I nedd, as that will mke my life so much easier [ I do all my own normal plumbing ]
Boiler is normally run at about half heat & the circulation pump has 4 settings - I normally use either "2" or "3" - plenty of capacity.
Oh & check what type o fittings I need were it goes platic-to-copper or the other way around.
I would, of course only be using platic for replacement "bits" as the system as a wholw works well ....
Thanks for that

Foxessa @ 422
There's also the Niven arument about technology affecting morality ...
Britain did not need slavery at all ( except in the W Indes, what a suprise! ) because, certainly by 1780/90, we had something the rest of the planet did not have: Steam Power - which renders slavery totally unnecessary, except for political/power/exploitation "reasons" - which is why the Han are doing it right now, of course.

438:
Britain did not need slavery at all ( except in the W Indes, what a suprise! ) because, certainly by 1780/90, we had something the rest of the planet did not have: Steam Power - which renders slavery totally unnecessary,

Slaves in the Americas were mostly used in agriculture and steam power was not being used in agriculture in the 1790's.

Britain did not need slavery because it was cheaper to use near-serf labour in Ireland and India in agriculture.

439:

Brit, Lombardy resident reporting back from the French beach, near Beaulieu, near Monte-Carlo. Nice weather, some clouds, 23C/73F. Vaut le voyage! Nice croissants d'isigny, 1€30each.

By car - there were zero border controls, not that many locals are wearing masks. Indoors, perhaps three-quarters were protected. The Monaco police are out in force, on little Vespas.

Italian medical chiefs (1) applaud the Oxford desametasone study, they can’t predict a second wave - but are ready for one, positive swabs are down in the very low percentages - seems to be a long-tail-effect. COVID was circulating around Milan in January, where one in six of Italians live, in the highest density. No evidence yet of increasing transmission rates, following our local-lockdown end, travel to other Italian provinces , two weeks before. Now we can travel anywhere, Spain excepting (14-day quarantine required for another 13 days at least, and the coalition gov has been suppressing infections data for a while, WTF?)

On arriving in our FR seaside place, a quick wipe down of all surfaces with “mister-clean Bactericide/fungicide/virucide” Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) cloths, took ten minutes, (was this more harmful than the virus - prob not) Cinemas still shut in France, many bars open, perhaps 10% of businesses shuttered, some for good. Ground-truth from a quick drive through Nice. Macron was again admitting “mea culpa” on TV; I haven’t yet encountered waves of ‘hot’ Parisiens, that will be a sign that it’s time to head back to where the virus is still circulating - but where the (northern?) Italian face-covering, social distancing and good sense will bring a sense of stability. There’s no evidence of viral mutation - the potential hosts acting rationally & sensibly is what you need, for several months more. I think we’ll easily get through autumn/winter second wave, good luck.

(1) (a javascript-off website, otherwise nudge-wall): https://www.ilgazzettino.it/pay/attualita_pay/per_la_lombardia_servira_piu_tempo_perche_il_virus_ha_circolato-5292739.html

440:

That is grossly over-stated, to put it mildly, and is more accurately described as revisionism. Yes, the slaveowners wealth was tied up in the bodies of their slaves, but the south was not made up solely of slaveowners and slaves. If it had produced nothing but cotton and slaves, the civil war would have been over within a few months.

No matter how evil a behaviour is, demonising a population for being associated with it is never justified.

441:

Foxessa is probably right-enough where my specific scenario was concerned. The main thing that gave the South a chance was President Buchanan not taking action to make sure the U.S. armories in the Southern states were properly secured, and those provided virtually all the guns the South used in the early part of the war. (This is why Buchanan is widely considered to be the worst president in U.S. history, though Trump is likely to make Buchanan look like Churchill when all is said and done!)

442:

John Hughes
Oh dear ....
Ireland may have been a net exporter fo food before the awful winters of 1847-9, which devasted Europe, but England supplied most of its own food - were Brit agricultral labourers serfs as well, then?
I think your "argument" is fake. You are also ignorant - I suggest you look up "Mansfield Decision".

443:

Now that I've reminded myself of Lindybeige it occurs to me to share something relevant to the alleged topic of this thread. He's got three commentaries with self explanatory titles:

Early D&D was rubbish
Mid-period D&D wasn't great
Fourth Edition D&D is terrible

Fourth Edition D&D, which was roundly hated by pretty much everyone, was still a thing back in 2015. A few early adopters were trying out the Fifth Edition which had just appeared the previous year and many other people were still back at 3 or 3.5 where things made sense.

The nice bit for Charlie's purpose is that the Laundryverse Fifth Edition won't be set in stone yet; it'll still be new enough to recast into something similar yet different.

444:

Oh & check what type o fittings I need were it goes platic-to-copper or the other way around.

In the US there are 3 major ways to "do" PEX.

At the higher end there are tools that expand the diameter of the tubing (manual and powered) buy inserting into the tube. Then you insert the fitting and the PEX fairly quickly returns to its normal size for a very tight seal.

Then there are the ones where the fitting barely fits inside the tube and you crimp a ring around the tube. Also powered and manual crimpers. They look and work similar to bolt cutters including the force multiplying hinge. I have one of the manual kits.

Then for the one off things there is a brand (and I'm sure others) called Shark Bite which allows you to insert the tubing into a fitting where once it goes in it does not come out. Most expensive per fitting but no tools required so great for a quick job with only a few things to do.

As to O rings, no real need. The Shark Bite things likely have them but it is inside the fitting and so you don't notice it.

Biggest thing is getting the right adapter from whatever you currently have to one of the standard PEX sizes.

PS: Always do runs with a bit of slack. So if things need to change later or you make a mistake you can cut off the last inch or so and go at it again.

445:

Yes, I realize that the kids of the first generation of settlers are probably not going to be psychological clones of their parents but because their parents were so carefully screened there's a pretty good chance that these kids will have the psycho-social environment as well as the in-depth training they will need in order to fit into their particular society and survive on Mars.

There will be no kids on Mars for a long time.

Firstly, the initial astronauts are going to be high skill/high training people: typically astronauts don't fly til they're in their mid-thirties and tend to have multiple degrees (even multiple doctorates) or a career as a medical doctor or equivalent behind them, plus pilot time. Those folks have typically already had kids before they climb in a capsule for realz for the very first time, and they're too old for seconds. Indeed, I expect the first Mars expeditions to be crewed by 40-50 somethings.

A second wave of construction crew types will then show up, if there's a permanent base to be built -- after the initial research is well under way into figuring out how to build a permanent base, never mind a city. But they're not going to be normies. Again: they've got to be highly skilled and used to working in a lethally hazardous environment -- oil rig maintenance diving skills and 3D printer maintenance and troubleshooting seem likely to be semi-transferrable: bricklaying, not so much. I'd expect a minimum of a degree, then 4-5 years specialist training on Earth, then 1-3 years to get to the construction site is going to push their average age into their 30s, and it will be (at best) like living on a North Sea oil rig, minus the accommodation platform. Not somewhere to have kids.

Kids won't happen until basic accommodation is sorted (couples' bedrooms with doors on them, at minimum), there's a base medical facility that can handle an ob/gyn emergency, and enough surplus cash to cover shipping at least two nannies/childminders/teachers to Mars on a ten year rotation (read: millions) just to keep the kids out of trouble. Then ... childproofing. You know how much fun it is to childproof a house? Now imagine that instead of sticking a fork in the electricity socket, your 2 year old is going to let all the air out.

Historically, having children was a useful source of cheap labour. On Mars, for the first 2-5 decades, children will be an outrageous luxury and a huge drain on colony resources, unless we get to colonize Mars via teleport booth (not Musk's Superheavy/Starship colony transporters).

So I'm going to submit that labour on Mars is going to be expensive at first and stay expensive for a very long time, with most folks working in an ambient-pressure office environment (underground, safe from space radiation) and teleoperating drones and robot bodies on the surface. Imagine a workplace where everyone needs to work an 80 hour week, there are no vacations for the first few years, and you're hot-bunking ... but if someone quits, the cost of going to HR and issing a "sits. vac." notice starts at $2M and goes up from there. It's going to be weird ...

446:

... working in an ambient-pressure office environment (underground, safe from space radiation) and teleoperating drones and robot bodies on the surface. Imagine a workplace where everyone needs to work an 80 hour week, there are no vacations for the first few years, and you're hot-bunking ...

It sounds like what happens to video game developers during "crunch" times, only a totally permanent crunch, which some companies are heading towards. Huh.

447:

How will Mars be governed? It will be governed in whatever manner the paymasters back on Earth require, for reasons explained by OGH some time ago.

Nuanced afterthought:

Where there are humans in groups, there will be social events/gatherings. And where there are social gatherings, someone needs to organize the food and drink, and also tidy up afterwards.

It might be as formal as a mess hall/official bar (for people who are very definitely off-duty), or it might just be that couple in Accommodation Block C who repurposed the bedroom next to theirs (where the air circulator has been broken for six months) to home-brew beer and invite a few friends round every Thursday off-shift, but there will be rec facilities, and they will be sanctioned officially (just to keep them under control, if nothing else) after the first sit-down strike.

And the ents person will delegate and become an ents committee, and the ents committee will take on additional responsibility (who's going to decorate? What about replacement soft furnishings? who's running the fund-raiser for X's spouse back home who's been rendered homeless by a hurricane?). And ultimately the recreational activities will spawn their own administrative structure and it's probably going to be a democracy of some description, even if only a directly-voting one with a few rotating semi-official posts.

Iterate for a century and Kim and Stu's jailhouse bar in Block C will become a de-facto government with more authority than the company head office 50 million kilometres away.

448:

Now imagine that instead of sticking a fork in the electricity socket, your 2 year old is going to let all the air out. ... but if someone quits, the cost of going to HR and issing a "sits. vac." notice starts at $2M and goes up from there.

Any kids born on Mars will have mental aptitudes that are somewhat randomly selected. What do you do with the misfits? Toss them out the door?

I'm in the middle of a situation where a teen from an adjacent lot is using my yard to sneak in and out without his parents supposedly knowing. When I talked to the father yesterday his comment was "Call the police. He doesn't listen to us."

So what do you do with such on Mars? What if it's an incorrigible 10 year old? Airlock them? Wait. That would be cruel. Send them over to the counselor service for them to fix things. [sarcasm off]

Then here's the bigger elephant in the room. Does everyone going have to be sterilized? If not there WILL be babies. Or at least pregnancies. Maybe require Norplant/Jadelle? But what if the 0.05% makes it through? Mandatory abortions? Is this discrimination against women?

And I agree with Charlie's point on the ages involved. Which means if there is a birth it is more likely to have genetic issues.

Ugh.

Some people think it is discriminatory for the US Navy to shore women who become pregnant. But I can't see any other option past a certain point on a warship.

449:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-linked_polyethylene

Decent overview. At least from the US point of view.

450:

Oh, dear,

I notice you are unable to defend your original absurd remark:

Britain did not need slavery at all ( except in the W Indes, what a suprise! ) because, certainly by 1780/90, we had something the rest of the planet did not have: Steam Power - which renders slavery totally unnecessary,

and immediately go on the attack.

You are obviously a master debater.

451:

So what do you do with such on Mars? What if it's an incorrigible 10 year old? Airlock them? Wait. That would be cruel. Send them over to the counselor service for them to fix things. [sarcasm off]

That's a very American approach to children -- that is, to assume the two-parent nuclear family is the default that has to fix everything. Frankly, I think it's doomed to failure.

More likely by the time having children on Mars is remotely feasible they'll arrive in the context of a village/tribe society, where cohorts of kids bunk/are raised together by a rotation of responsible adults. They'll be eased into work duties from about age 8 -- even if it's just make-work that can be better done by CCTV -- to get them used to being responsible. There'll be no concept of teenage rebellion tolerated, not even in sanctioned cultural media from Earth -- and they'll be raised to expect a degree of collectivism that would be abhorrent to current American style individualists. Because in an early Mars base, everyone lives together or dies together.

452:

Yup.

Greg doesn't seem to get that even if you outsource your slaves to third parties living overseas, you are still a beneficiary of the slaveowning system.

The UK pioneered overseas outsourcing centuries ago, and not in a good way.

453:

More likely by the time having children on Mars is remotely feasible

I'm NOT talking about how it will work under some plan at some point in the future.

I was commenting on how the unplanned sooner than expected would work. Unless you sterilize both sexes before they head out there WILL be kids. And no structure to support them.

454:

It's so difficult to see that I didn't notice it when I opened it in a private window. OSM really need to fix that - it's really bad UI design.

455:

They'll be eased into work duties from about age 8 -- even if it's just make-work that can be better done by CCTV -- to get them used to being responsible. There'll be no concept of teenage rebellion tolerated, not even in sanctioned cultural media from Earth -- and they'll be raised to expect a degree of collectivism that would be abhorrent to current American style individualists. Because in an early Mars base, everyone lives together or dies together.

To add to my other comment. You're describing how rural farming worked until recently in the US. Completely. My question is what do you do with the kids who don't go along? The parents likely volunteered. Their kids didn't. In the past such kids were just told to go away once they got to their teens. Not much talked about but that's what happened. On Mars that is a death sentence. Or a very expensive ticket on a ship that might not want such a person on board for a year or two. Give or take.

456:

I suspect that Mars colony 1.0 will be a panopticon society -- cameras and sensors everywhere. Kids who want a safe space to act out in will be directed to VR/computer games where they can't fuck real-world shit up. If they persist in showing worrying signs of anti-social behaviour, they'll probably get shipped off to Earth before they do anything bad. In general, antisocial stuff builds over time as the kid tests where the boundaries are by repeatedly over-stepping them.

Note that "Earth" is going to be "big scary space where there is weather, everything weighs three times as much as it should, you can barely stand upright, and everyone you know is 50 million kilometers away." The threat of being shipped off to a boarding school there is pretty draconian.

Flip side: most parents will have been socialized on Earth initially: they're not going to simply march Johnny out the nearest airlock, even if shipping him back to Earth in a straitjacket is fiendishly expensive.

457:
It's so difficult to see that I didn't notice it when I opened it in a private window. OSM really need to fix that - it's really bad UI design.
The thing is that that website isn't OSM's product. The map is what they're making. The website is just a tool. Admittedly not a perfect one.

I, personally, mostly interact with OSM using the Android OSMAND app (which is not made by OSM). I only really use the website for editing the map.

I've been poking around on the website but I can't find where to report problems like the difficulty of finding the go-away button. Bummer.

458:

but I can't find where to report problems like the difficulty of finding the go-away button. Bummer.

You're assuming they would treat it as a problem.

460:

May company's marketing departments want it to be hard to avoid signing up. Or at least not obvious how to avoid such. Even those who are non profit and have altruistic goals.