Thursday, December 27, 2007

The best alignment, truly

I don't usually do those internet personality quizzes but this one is D&D, so I had to.

I Am A: Chaotic Neutral Elf Sorcerer (3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Chaotic Neutral A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal. However, chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

also: Waaagh!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So as part of my finals, I wrote a few essays. Here are two in case anyone is interested. I'm using Google Docs to share them. If anyone wants nicely formatted pdfs, just shoot me an email and I get one to yah. I'm make put them up somewhere if it turns out that there is some interest in it.

Abstraction :
George C. Berkeley in the Introduction of A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge has an argument against Abstraction (having abstract ideas of things) that bothered me for awhile. It's just not necessary at all to his Immaterialism. So I decided to write a paper objecting to that.

Learning and The Extended Mind :
So in the Philosophy of Mind there is this pretty cool theory of 'an extended mind.' The idea is that cognition may be a process that's not entirely in the head. Our brains may be taking advantage of external processes to do some of the cognitive work. Thinking may involve a causal loop that uses both internal and external states. That's the super quick gloss. The paper, really, is still kind of a gloss since the topic is so deep, but whatev. I even got to talk about videogames a little in this paper!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

the XP mistake

You know, doesn't the XP system of computer RPGs and many pen and paper RPGs seem odd sometimes? Doesn't it seem backwards?

I was reading an article my dad sent me about the role making mistakes has in learning. Consistently it was proven that those who think that doing things right was more important than struggling in the process i.e. being smart is better than trying hard, were more motivated to work hard and took on more challenging problems. In short, they learned better.

Playing and learning are intertwined, amirite?

So, shouldn't games reward players for trying rather than succeeding? And certainly XP is the appropriate bonus. A number that is supposed to be abstracting the total experience of the PC should be measuring the mistakes far more than victories. Giving the PC some badass scars would be cool too.

Methinks the "grind" would be discouraged, no?

'Course it requires and RPG where failure doesn't equal death and this is not exactly an original idea. Some RPGs do give XP for battle loses as well as gains, usually tactics games where its units who level up.

Though, I suggest that we do not give XP for successes. Especially if winning already confers enough game rewards. I can't think of any RPGs that do that.

also: this principle would work for use based skill systems.