The Issue of Race in D&D

Good morning, world!  It's almost Halloween!  I'm going to completely disregard that today and talk instead about the issues of Race in Dungeons & Dragons.This is something that I've been hesitant to discuss on this channel, because it's incredibly divisive and tangentially political in nature.  I'm certain that depending on what parts of this you pay attention to, you'll either say that I'm virtue signaling or a status quo warrior.  That just speaks to our current climate.  But given the fact that this is such a divisive issue, I'm going to forgo my typical rambles and try to be much more streamlined in my approach.Usually, this thing starts off with me saying I'm a white guy and I have certain obligations to do or say blah blah, but I'm not going to do that. At this point, the whole procedure of doing so feels disingenuous, almost like a religious ritual that must be observed prior to specific acts.  I'm going to avoid that and jump ri…

Blades Drawn! OSR Dueling Sub-System (WIP)

The Blades Are Drawn!
Slugfests between two PCs or a single PC and a single NPC can be boring.  Fuck that!  Let's try something different.  This sub-system is NOT designed to replace combat in the traditional skirmish context, but to use OSR character stats to carry out duels in a way that is more of a spectator sport. more abstract, and less based on AC/HP attrition.  It does not take into account the use of items or magic.  This is more in line with honorable duels.  It could just as easily be used for brawling or grappling matches.How to Duel! The Core Mechanic:The core mechanic for dueling consists of dice pool contests, where the character's level, class, equipment, and stat modifiers decide how big their dice pool can be.  The participants will roll an attack dice pool and a Blocking or Dodge dice pool.  The numbers of successes and failures are compared to decide who won the contest, and the referee will adjudicate and narrate the results.
When you roll your d6s: 1 = Fail…

Cha'alt Game: Campaign Diary #2: The Interview and the People of the Pit

A lot has happened since my last post!  I'm going to try to get things caught up rather quick-like.We've been using a lot of downtime activities to give the PCs opportunities to do things that they would otherwise be unable to in a session without holding the other players hostage.  Here's an idea of what things have been going on in the Gonzo desert wasteland.All of the PCs were interviewed by a prestigious local journalist.  They were given a list of questions that she'd ask and they had the chance to think of the best answers that their characters would give.  Due to the serious waves that the party has made with the ruling class, the journalist's editor seized her notes (her manuscript ended up being skewed in favor of the PCs, which is now a quest item that has been hinted at) and released an overly negative article, taking things they said in the worst context and using it against them.  Admittedly, Breeder-san made it pretty easy.Here's the article as i…

The OSR is Apolitical (A Response to Other Blogs)

Recently, a rash of blog posts have broken out.

By doing some quick contract tracing, I seem to have found Patient Zero, at least in blog form.  Venger Satanis put out a blog entry stating that "the OSR supports Trump."  If anyone took the care to read the rest of the blog entry, they'd see that Venger simultaneously says "I can only speak for myself" and "I speak for the OSR when I say," which suggests that he's both fully aware that he cannot speak for the entire OSR and also completely desiring to annoy those who would be annoyed by such a statement.
I've seen some posts in response saying "the OSR hates Nazis, and Trump and all of his supporters are literal Nazis."  I've seen a wave of mutual validating statements wherein everyone unquestioningly paints Venger as being a villainous alt-right fascist.  I don't think this is true, and if given the opportunity, I'd happily discuss politics with Venger in a public venue so…

One Project Over, Another Begins!

What Remains of Richter Krankenhaus is done!Okay, not really DONE, per se.  But it's been released on DriveThru RPG  and  It's free to download (use the preview on DTRPG) but you can toss in some coin to contribute toward my work.  It's a Weird-Fantasy Horror adventure designed to work with 5e or B/X, where the players investigate and dispel the curse that's been placed on a 1930s German Insane Asylum.  The Doctor has been carrying out bizarre experiments on the patients and is trying to perfect a serum that will create the ultimate super soldier.  An enormous creature roams the halls that will stalk and harass the player characters.  There are ghosts that haunt the premises.  The experience is incredibly atmospheric and during playtests it had some striking similarities to Silent Hill, Resident Evil 3 (Nemesis), and American Horror Story (Asylum obviously).  
Originally, the project was going to be a crowdfunded venture where I'd spring for artwork and al…

You're Not Really Playing D&D

Now hear me out!
I've spent some time thinking about this: what exactly IS Dungeons and Dragons? The disparaging remark that is often raised to voice dissent toward groups playing in a way someone doesn't like is "that's not real D&D." The rebuttal will either simply be a personal attack or a platitude somewhere along the lines of "there's no such thing as 'real D&D.'"
Now, if you know my moniker, you understand that I'm a bit of a pedant. I like to use precise language with agreed upon definitions when having a debate because it's necessary for us to find our way to the truth.
So let's try to define this shit. I'll put forth some definitions I've heard and I'll say my peace on them.
D&D is what happens when you roleplay at a table with your friends. CoC, WoD, it's all basically D&D.
Okay, this one is kind of a joke, but I've heard it said at my table before unironically. If I had to hear it, you ha…

Knowledge Checks Tend To Suck

Does your character know that trolls are weak to fire? Does the player have a chance to roll to see if their character knows something the player themselves doesn't know?
These are the principles I go by on this issue, and I'll expand on why I see it the way that I do.
1. If the player knows, the character can act on it. Call it intuition if you must. But the player shouldn't give the information to other players.
2. If the character knows it, the DM should let the player know what their character knows.
3. If the character might know it, do a roll, with modifiers as necessary to get the appropriate probability based on what upbringing the character should have had, how obscure the knowledge is, etc.. In 5e, this is approximated through skill checks, with advantage/disadvantage used to alter probabilities.
4. If the character has no reason to know it and the player doesn't know it, it remains unknown unless the knowledge is obtained through experience.
This method alleviates…