Let me tell you about my love for Persons of Interest. The show was on the air between 2011 and 2016 and dealt with a range of complex notions in the framework of the shows premise, which is described in the opening narration.
You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people, people like you. Crimes the government considered irrelevant. They wouldn’t act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You’ll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up…we’ll find you.
I am going to stray away from game design for a moment. I should start with, I am big fan of audiobooks. I have listened to hundreds of them, over the years, maybe a 1000 or more. I like them as a thing to have in my ear as I do other things. I listen to them while I do housework, walks, exercise in general, and long drives. Anytime there is empty time when I am doing something more or less mindless, I have my headphones in. This may make me anti social but between podcasts and audiobooks, I take in a lot of stories and information all the time.
So a friend shared the Boing Boing post about Googles new DRM free audiobook options. Cory Doctorow has banged the drum for a DRM free option on audiobooks for a while. In general, I tend to agree with him. Audible keeping the DRM format in place on the audiobooks is galling. There is no real argument for keeping it that make sense. The people who want to pirate can with little effort. It is only inconvenient to legal purchasers. They absolutely should have removed it years ago. So, we have reached the DRM free utopia with Google Play store. Huzzah!
Well….not so much.
I decided to try the Google audiobook offerings and see how they operate. I have had an Audible subscription for a very long time now and I have something to compare it to. Google offering a discount on your first audio-book is also a fine inducement. Let compare.
I am writing this for use in the Midgard setting, but I should state upfront that this can be used for just about any setting. A grappling style Monk would fit in just about any setting that allows monks. I recently wrote a blog post about the weird misconceptions held about martial arts and how they shape their presentation in D&D. One of the reasons I wrote that was because I could see some specific archetypes for Monks in Midgard I wanted to make.
Along with Jeff Greiner and Tracy Hurly, the usual hosts, I am also on with fellow guests Rabbit Stoddard, and Quinn Murphy. We talked about the Midgard Heroes Handbook. This wass one of the books from the Midgard kickstarter. This was the one with all the player options.
In this one we are again working with Tracy and Jeff. I am also joining Louis Brenton, a good guy I used to appear on Appendix N with. We discussed the Warlock patreon backed Midgard 5e zine.
I also produce a show for the Tome Show feed called the Monstrous Ecologist. In that, I am reviewing real world inspirations for monsters and their iterations through the editions of D&D. I have been a bit slack of late but I will give you a preview. The next one is a first part in a discussion of Liches.
So, there is an idea out there that monks have no place in a western European inspired campaign setting. Settings like Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk owe a lot to western European history, legends, and literature for their basis, and monks are not part of those traditions, or so the argument goes. This came to mind while looking at the Midgard setting and noticing they had many character options for the range of character classes, but not for monks. I asked about this and was directed to this blog post about monk weapons characteristics, which is awesome, but was also told there was not a lot of places for monks in Midgard to be from. That feels like something I can counter. Note: I love the Midgard setting and I am not offering criticism here. I am writing this because I feel this is a common sentiment that maybe should be countered.
I proposed a question a while back. Are immortal PC’s a problem or are they workable? The consensus appears to be that they are workable. I decided to take a pass at setting up a framework for using it in D&D. Death is ultimately just a small challenge after all. Immortality offers a range of cool stories that make the PC’s feel special in the world, which is sort of the point.
Here is another installment of my describing a post apocalyptic fantasy setting called God Thrones. This is the ruins of Chapel Hill, which is pretty different in the world I am describing. It is a stop on on the way to the capital of Durnham. If people like these, please let me know. I will keep writing more.
When I began writing a post apocalyptic fantasy setting, I knew a radiation or toxic corruption would be a recurring theme. It is part and parcel in the genre. The Blight Elves were part of that, and so is today’s offering. There will be others. Thing is, I am not personally afraid of all things nuclear. I grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This is where the material for the first atomic weapons came from. My grandfather was scientist at the labs, and I grew up understanding that nuclear was not necessarily a bad thing. Nuclear medicine was saving lives daily and nuclear power, while not yet perfected, was easier on the environment than coal burning plants.
That said, nuclear war is the thing that kept you up at nights back in the cold war. It was terrifying to think of a war where dying in a flash was probably the “good” option. This vision of apocalyptic war shaped the genre. The irradiated mutant is a trope that comes up often. With this in mind, I wrote this little variation on orcs.