Monday, December 30, 2019

Jaded Gamer - Sunk Cost Fallacy Bullshit

Sunk Cost Fallacy:
"the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do"

I've seen this term used against gamers who don't want to invest into another game other than the one they are currently playing. Usually when the game they are playing is one version of Dungeons and Dragons or another. When somebody else suggests to a group that they try something else or buy into a new game and the group declines stating they are having fun with what they have, are invested in their characters stories and have invested plenty into what they are using. Many times I also see them say they don't have a lot of money to put into another game, especially one they may or may not like. That is when they are accused of making a Sunk Cost Fallacy.

This is complete bullshit.

Those making the accusations completely ignore one part of definition in particular. The "even when continuing is not the best thing to do" is the part. Who the hell says that a group choosing to keep playing a game they like and enjoy is the wrong thing to do? Who says that switching to something different is the right thing to do (game publishers who have new games to sell will tell you hands down it's the right thing to do but they have something to gain)?

Another thing they completely seem to forget is that Sunk Cost Fallacy is normally harmful to, as the definition says, a company or organization. Not an individual or group of friends. I believe it is up to them to decide if it's a good thing to continue on their way or to switch paths. But some folks sure want to shame them into one direction over another.

Normally they want to send them in the direction of spending more money for their product or a product they support. Which leads us to my final observation on the use of the term in the gaming hobby. It is yet another tactic to push poor people in the hobby out. If you can't afford to switch to new games or buy new products often then you are a problem. This is the line they are feeding under adapted corporate speak and layers of bullshit.

Do not be pressured into changing what you enjoy because somebody tries to convince you that you are wrong. Instead tell them to hit the fucking road and continue along your merry way.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Horror - Cursed items to punish characters

Want to introduce a nasty cursed item in your horror games to punish your players? Roll a D10.

1 – A dream catcher that when put up causes anybody sleeping near it to have vivid nightmares. Any injury they receive in the dream happens to their physical bodies.

2 – A bronze plaque in a foreign language that when translated and read causes the reader to completely forget how to read and write their native language.

3 – Set of brass knuckles that when used in a fight inflict equal damage back on the user as they do their opponent.

4 – An actual human skull that has been made into an ashtray. When ever anyone flicks their ashes into it their bones become ever so slightly more brittle. Eventually after many uses their bones will become so fragile they will break at the lightest impact.

5 – A beautiful tongue ring with a small red gem embedded. When the wearer is asleep all spiders within a fifty foot radius are attracted and rush towards the stud. Biting anything that tries to stop them. This lasts for twenty minutes after the wearer wakes up.

6 – A set of diamond stud earrings that allow the wearer to hear those around them. But not really. What they are actually hearing is false and makes the wearer think others are thinking horrible vile things about them.

7 – A black corkscrew that curses any bottle it opens. When anyone drinks a small amount of the contents they get ill within a few minutes. Soon they start vomiting up a stream of what looks like a mix of blood and maggots which swell and quickly turn into large flat flies that swarm around the person.
8 – Thin black belt that once buckled cannot be undone. Within a few minutes it begins to tighten and keeps getting worse. Eventually causing a great deal of pain and internal damage, if left on long enough it will cut the person in half. Cutting it is the only way of getting it off.
9 – A dog whistle that when blown causes immediate hearing damage and pain to them and those nearby. Even to the point of causing them to bleed from their ears.
10 – A small music box that when somebody winds it up and listens to it they feel completely relaxed and feel no pain. However as the song plays their skin begins to dry out to the point that it will begin to crack and bleed if the music is not stopped.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Horror - Cultists identity in public

How do the cultists identify themselves in public? Roll a D10 to find out.

1 – A tattoo on their left hand.
2 – A specific earring worn on their left ear.
3 – Two lines shaved diagonally on their right eyebrow.
4 – A small scar on their nose.
5 – Thin black headband with a few red lines on it.
6 – Smear of blue paint on their right forearm.
7 – They paint their pinky fingernails a light shade of blue.
8 – A lapel pin with a specific symbol on it.
9 – A blood colored braid in their hair.
10 – They all dress in a specific fashion that is identical to each other.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Horror - Horrible Cursed Candles

Horrible cursed candles - Roll a D10 to see what you get.

This article is no longer free and is available as part of Clandestine Societies Issue One over on DrivethruRPG. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Horror - The creature feeds on what?

Need to have a supernatural creature with an unusual diet of sorts? Well here is a random list of ten to keep the players on their toes and maybe make them cringe a little bit.

What does the creature feed on? Roll a D10 and find out.

1 – Physical pain of those it injures.
2 – Emotional pain of those it tortures.
3 – Bones but it really loves fresh marrow.
4 – Life force extracted by lacerating the victims skin.
5 – Cerebrospinal Fluid, as fresh as they can possibly get.
6 – Grief and sorrow, which is why they like making lairs under funeral homes.
7 – Human skin, the softer the better, none of that old dried stuff.
8 – Bleach and chemicals like it.
9 – Human ashes.
10 – The fatty tissues of animals, with human being the preferred variety.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Jaded Gamer - Saying Yes

I've seen the line "Never tell them no" when it comes to player requests or actions they want to take. Or also "Tell them yes but...." is another common phrasing for the same thing. It means that you should never tell your players they can't have something or can't do something. All I keep thinking when I see this is "Damn they must not have had any asshole players in their GMing experience.".

Seriously if I told some players I've had over the years "Yes" on some of the things they wanted to do I would probably be out of the hobby by now. Just from stress alone. I mean there have been things that go against all good taste, things that would make other players just get up and leave and things that would just suck all the fun from a game except for the person wanting to do it.

So my advice is this "Be ready to say no when the player is being an asshole.", pretty straight forward and simple.

Now I have seen the say yes work in amusing ways. One GM whom I hold in high esteem would ask us to submit a 'wishlist' for new characters. A list of things we want our new characters to start the game with. He would then go through and check off what we can and can't have. Every now and then we would toss in something for fun (I asked for the Devil in a Dorito bag but didn't get it). One player asked for a thermonuclear warhead in a trailer hooked to his vehicle.

The GM said yes, sure, you can have that.

Later I asked why he allowed that. His response was simple, "He wants his character to live so what is he going to do with it? He can't set it off without killing himself." Yeah that was a brilliant move by that GM.

Friday, December 6, 2019

WthC Starting Gear

What a workers starts with day one on the job.

First they get some living basics provided to them by the city. A cheap two room apartment, medical assistance coverage, a weekly paycheck. The apartment is in one of many blocks that were made specifically for the workers so they are near a public transit center. Also each block has a grocery and bar/restaurant at the base level.

They are given five pairs of their basic blue coveralls, a bullet resistant vest, five sets of undergarments, belt with utility attachment hooks, two pairs of work boots and gloves, two ball caps, one hard hat, one air mask and an ID card with holder as their uniform package. A utility knife, basic 9mm sidearm with three eight round magazines and a holster, a multi-tool and a communication headset. Also included is a wallet version of their ID Card, a public transit card, medical card and a pay card.

Finally they get a City Connection Unit. This resembles a cell phone and how the city sends orders to their crews and for their crews to contact the switchboard for job related tasks. There is a built in messenger that includes the rest of your crew but is only supposed to be use for work related reasons.

Anything that needs replaced, repaired or a request for something essential that may have been over looked can be taken care of by filling out the proper forms. How long it takes before somebody actually looks at those forms is anybodies guess. Not even to mention that somebody can always deny everything for pretty much any reason.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

WthC City Locations part one

The City itself.

The City is impossibly huge and seems to go on for an eternity in any direction. New levels have been built up over old ones leaving them dark and isolated. Roads weave throughout this mess of architecture going down through tunnels and constantly splitting off like a mockery the human circulatory system. Also the tubes shuttling high speed trains are webbed through the entire thing as well. Everywhere you go there are people, even in the darkest deepest sections there are those desperate few scraping out an existence on whatever they can. Some have never been far up enough to have seen daylight their entire lives.

A few highlights.

The Mass. There are various portions of the city that have grown up so high that the section stands above the surroundings like small mountains. Each of these is called a 'mass' for short, usually named after what has caused the build up. GovMass is the central location for all government buildings, CorpMass is one that houses a major corporation, DeadMass is a giant mausoleum located far in the desolate outskirts, and several others.

The Fields. If you travel far enough out you eventually come across the fields. Aqueducts, holding tanks, sectioned off areas of water that are miles long. With housing for workers built in pillars that go straight down into what were supposedly oceans at one time. Now it is all used to grow and harvest biomass like seaweed, rapid growth worms and various other lifeforms genetically created to be sources of food. The fields feed the city.

The big sink. One area of the city is constantly slipping away, straight down. A giant sinkhole slowly pulls more into it at a rate of an inch or two a year. Massive structures are partially pulled down inside, their tips still reaching for the sky. There are stories of people climbing down through the rubble and coming across things they cannot describe, things that some say are coming from the other side of the big sink and into the city.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

WtcC technology distribution

As per usual the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed.

Technology is one of the biggest gaps between those at the top and those at the bottom. This is very apparent to the characters who are given only the basics of what is necessary to do their jobs. As the cost of equipping them with the latest and best tools is deemed to costly, especially given the low survival ratings for new work crews.

In the area of weapons they are typically given old fashioned slug throwers instead of the more advanced laser and micro projectile armaments. Using caseless ammunition as a cost saving measure, with durable frames and low jam or misfire designs they are high end standards.... of a style of weapon that was passed up decades ago. Anything else beyond that is issued out 'as needed' per assignment or once the worker gets to a specific level of promotion.

Medical care is also very standard. Medical kits that are issued in their vehicles are basically useful for stabilizing an injury with a few injections to help a worker continue on with their job until its completion. A major injury resulting in loss of limb or organ are usually replaced with a cybernetic replacement instead of vat grown full genetic one.

Communications gear usually in the form of headsets or 'sticky' wearables. However they go through a set of older towers and commo lines that are woven through the city like veins. Some areas these connections are sparse, broken or downright non-existent. If they are lucky their vehicle has a base unit that is somewhat better and can get a signal out even when the work crew is ten levels down in an abandoned subsector of the city.

Personal protection gear is somewhat restrictive and doesn't cover all the body. Limiting hard plates to the larger sections of the body like the abdomen, chest and upper legs. They are, however, given decent boots and gloves as injuries to those parts of the bodies seem to affect the completion rate of assignments the most.

Now this doesn't mean that a worker cannot have better equipment. They may buy it themselves if they can afford it or come across it through other means. The City does not cover lost or damaged personal items in these cases.

Monday, December 2, 2019

WthC Skills part two

How rolling skills works.

All resolution will be done by rolling a specified number of D6s and keeping either the lowest or the highest depending on the skill level of the character. Skills come at four different levels: basic, skilled, adept and expert. The die rolls for each level are below.

Basic – Roll two die and keep the lowest.

Skilled – Roll one die.

Adept – Roll two dice and keep the highest.

Expert – Roll three dice and keep the highest.

Difficulty of a given task ranges from 2 (easiest) to 6 (hardest).

Being specialized in a skill allows you to reroll one die if you wish. Except in the case of Skilled then you are allowed to add an extra die to the original roll and keep the highest.

Now as I've mentioned before all skill levels are shown as being performed under stress. So if you are attempting an action in a pretty much stress free situation it becomes easier to succeed. If you are doing the action at the normal speed and pace you may add an extra die to the roll (except at basic in which you subtract a die). But if you state that you are taking extra time and working slowly then you may add two extra die to the roll (except at basic where you now roll as if you are skilled). If you are rolling dice equal to or less than the difficulty of the task then you automatically succeed.

Various other modifiers may come into play from equipment used and abilities.

You may attempt to perform a skill without having it at the GM's discretion. However these are done by rolling three dice and keeping the lowest and no modifiers may be put in place to help.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

WthC Psionics quick overview

Psionic abilities.

A small fraction of the populace has begun showing signs of psychic abilities. At first thought to be a hoax or some sort of fluke, but after years of testing it became apparent that is was a very real thing. So a good chunk of money was dumped into research, categorization and potential uses for those with these special talents.

First thing the City decided was that it was to risky for these gifted individuals to walk around without a way to pick them out of a crowd. Put into place for this was a tattoo that is given to anyone with psychic abilities that goes down the right side of their face in what look like small lines with a few jagged edges, also known as “The Branding”. Anyone with facial recognition gear can get a read out of that persons psychic abilities and their strengths.

Then those of low powered abilities were assigned to the CWD rather quickly. Which in turn helped increase the success rate of the work crews a few percentage points. Thus bagging a few higher ups some nice bonuses and promotions while keeping the number of psychics loose on the street to a minimum.

Anyone with much higher powers were moved to a facility deep inside the R&D facilities jointly operated by the City government and corporate powers. What is done with them is unknown to the general populace and most are never heard from again.

What they failed to note was that in a contained testing and research area a persons psychic abilities didn't grow in any meaningful way. They stayed at the same level with no change. However those who are out in society, interacting with a myriad of people every day slowly get more control of their abilities and see an increase in them. Something about being out among the people pushes the growth.