Monthly Archives: August 2015

Avenging the Squirrel: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Murderhobos and Play D&D My Way


One warm spring night, I was at an awesome International Gaming Day hosted by Dungeons and Drafts. I had just finished losing badly at Council of Verona, and moved on to my next scheduled game, which was D&D.

Before we get into this, I think I should tell you that I’m not fond of role-playing. No. Not in a dickish way where I hate everyone who does it. I don’t go out of my way to kick a person in the shins if they’re playing Masquerade. Nope. I’ve just had bad experience after bad experience, and spoiler alert, the story I’m about to tell goes along those lines. However, this time, I think I grew from it.

But whatever, back to the warm spring night where I sat down with six other players to do a quick one hour session of Dungeons and Dragons 3.0.

The DM randomly handed out character sheets, asked us to read them, and then declared whoever is the most in character for this particular story will win a set of dice.

I’m not really all that competitive, but I figure I’ll get into character because why play D&D if you’re just going to be the same do-nothing asshole you always are?

assholestarbucks
I’m always rolling 1s…

The DM handed me a character who was a Chaotic Neutral Ranger who really hated Orcs. Easy, I thought. I just need to like nature and play by my own rules. The dice is mine.

Then, our DM described our scenario: In the forest, a dark tower looms. In that tower is the sorcerer we were bade to kill by the local townspeople.

Obviously, the DM wanted us to just storm the castle and be done in an hour so he could host the next game and someone else could win a set of dice.

So naturally, to speed it along, I decided to talk to squirrels…

…which really annoyed the rest of my group.

Don’t jump to any conclusions. I wasn’t doing it to be annoying. I just felt that as a ranger, if I could get a squirrel to do some reconnaissance work for us on the tower, maybe it would be easier to besiege the place. I thought it was a damn brilliant plan.

Unfortunately, the squirrel did not help much. Instead, it just followed me, and did it’s own thing.

Whatever. At least I tried. The group, however, was annoyed that I spent five minutes doing charisma checks with a small mammal.

Reconnaissanceless, we went to the tower, and started a fight immediately. When I tried to use the squirrel to distract the enemy, one of my team members (who was really annoyed about my foray into squirreldom) killed it.

I debated what to do as Ven’ai D’lek, not as Boom Baumgartner, so I glanced at my character sheet, made sure I was a nature-loving ranger and chaotic neutral, and left the fight on my turn.

Then everybody was pissed at me. Yeah. You read that right. Me. Not Ven’ai D’lek, the elven ranger whose character sheet specifically says she has no loyalty to the group and has a strong affinity for nature. They were mad at me.

Long story short, we did eventually win, though when I returned to the fights, I made it worse because I instantly attacked all the orcs (my character sheet said I should, goddamnit). But whatever, we won.

Then the DM looked around, knowing he had to award the prize, but also aware that only one of us actually even looked at the character sheets. Then, he apologized to each one of the group members, and handed me the dice with as little ceremony as a person handing out a receipt.

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The dice I won.

I sat there, flummoxed, feeling more than a little bullied (not by the DM, mind you, just the group). At no point had I deliberately set out to be annoying. I had just read my character sheet, and went with it. But the rage people were feeling for my character was all directed at me. They felt that deep down I must be just as irritating.

You know what, though? I am. And that’s what this little hour long game taught me. Fuck everyone who isn’t willing to play their roles and play with them. I don’t want to go out and murder shit for the sake of murdering it. I want to be a totally different person in a totally different world, and explore it. I want to think outside the box. I want to have fun. I do not want to storm a tower and kill things before I know why.

Let me be clear. I think you should role-play the way you want to. If you want to be a muderhobo (someone how basically plays to roll dice, kill, and steal), do it. All I ask is you don’t play with me, and don’t get mad if we accidentally get thrown together for one session.

I think of it like being on a date. Do your thing, and if your date doesn’t like it, good. You don’t have date/role-play with them ever again. If they do, hooray! There is more fun to come.

Because frankly, I am going to be my character, and my character is never going to be all about killing (unless it is, but I should I hope I would give it some nuance).

So the moral of the story is find a group that plays like you do. Why waste time on people that don’t like to let you do what you want to do? Especially if you’re not hurting anything.

 

 


Dragon Ball Z Lied to Us About Gravity… Sort Of… Well, A Little Bit


So here I am, watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, like all 30-year-olds do, and I realize that Dragon Ball Z has led me astray about science. I know. Crazy. It’s almost like we don’t live in a world where people have the ability to shoot laser beams from their finger tips.

File under: Things I see everyday
File under: Things I see everyday

I guess I should have figured that -since our world is bereft of giant monkey attacks- maybe the show wasn’t going to be the most accurate thing in the world.

But whatever, I was watching Bill, and when he started talking about how the larger planets have higher gravity, I sort of went wide-eyed and whispered, “King Kai lied to me.”

For those who don’t remember the series well, I’ll backtrack.

Remember when Goku died (it’s not a spoiler if he does it a lot, right?) and he trained in the super gravity of King Kai’s planet in heaven? Remember how they explained the enhanced gravity was because King Kai’s planet was smaller than Earth’s?

That is totally against what Bill Nye said!

Well, I forgot that supposedly King Kai’s planet used to be 100 times the size of Earth, and somehow when it shrank it maintained the gravitational force because the mass remained the same.

That’s explicable… ish.

But as I was researching this, I started digging more into gravity, and it turns out that while it is totally plausible that King Kai’s planet has a stronger gravity, nothing else about it holds water. Namely, that being used to higher gravity makes you stronger.

King_Kai's_Planet

So, one of the things people are worried about when it comes to humans traveling through space is the lack of gravity. It turns out that gravity is essential to our survival. Our bodies are perfectly calibrated to work with our particular gravitational forces… oh, and by the way, that does include most of your biological functions, including shitting.

Yeah, apparently, NASA spends a lot of time figuring out how we can poop in space without gravity. That’s right. You think you’re doing all the pushing when you’re on the can, but gravity deserves most of the credit for the deuce in the water. Thanks Newton!

So, I imagine you’re sitting here wondering why you’re reading this because what the hell is my point? My point is simple, if humans have such trouble surviving in zero g environments, the Saiyans and Namekians -like Piccolo and Vegeta- should also have the same problem on Earth.

The reason given in the show for Piccolo and Vegeta’s tremendous power was that they were from larger planets with higher gravity, which made them stronger than their Earthen counterparts.

Which… really shouldn’t work. The second they leave their planet, and the longer they stay on the smaller planet, their muscles mass should actually start atrophying because the body thinks that muscles are no longer required.

Yes, our astronauts exercise to try and combat that, but since the environment is zero g, it is really difficult for them to work hard enough to successfully stave off the atrophy.

My point being that Piccolo, who has been on Earth for years, should just be a quivering mass unable to move, calling out for someone to feed him because  he can at least do that without the aid of gravity.

Oh, and I forgot… you lose bone mass too. So, like, Piccolo’s bones should be super easy to break.

Honestly, his power level should be around -1.

Don't move him. His back'll break.
Don’t move him. His back’ll break.

But that’s just part of the problem. All of the fighters in the series obsessively train in higher gravity to become stronger… which would work if creatures didn’t have a limit to their muscle mass. However, the second they stop the training, their muscles would go back to what was required for the gravity they inhabited.

So, yeah… Dragon Ball Z lied to us. Training in higher gs doesn’t make you a super man, and being from a bigger planet essentially means you’re going to waste away on a smaller one. Really, this show should just be men weakly slapping each other, and crying about their broken fingers. I’d watch it.