Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Editing Patrick Stuart

I was the editor on Veins of the Earth. Here are a few excerpts from the first round of edits, from like 2014 or whatever.

Patrick's text is in italics.



"...Hit Dice 5, 23hp, in situ…"

I think you want "immobile" there or something, not "in situ"

"…a chance to fight and die for all mankind. (Save vs Spells)."

Or what?

"…A cloud of algal backs…"

What's an algal back?

"…If Gargas takes you inside the rock…"

Is this the result of a successful grapple? Grapple--now you're in the rock?

Zax Two Cents

I think the visions meaning nothing is kinda cheap, given how much cryptic stuff that does mean something (maybe? kinda?) is down here in the Veins. It punishes thinking about the clues--which is kinda mean.


Insta death maybe=500xp? Come on.


Zax Two Cents

Ok, so the spore child translations are unreliable. This is only dangerous if people think the translations ARE reliable. But why would they? It's a translation by a creepy dead husk hosting a bulbous parasitic freak. Can you give some examples of how this would actually affect something.


These two sentences seem to conflict:

"Radiolaria will adapt to any blow, spell or tactic, no matter what it is, the moment after it is used"

"The radiolarian gets a save against each kind of attack after the first example. This save starts at 11 on a d20 ad gets one better each time the attack is used, down to a minimum of 2."

A save of 11 isn't THAT good, nor is 8 or 9 or 10. If this is what you mean by "adapt" a party could use the same tactic 4 or 5 times in a row, beat the thing, and never notice it was getting better at resisting.





These names are cool but (unlike the monster names) seem doomed to be forgotten or mispronounced or not pronounced at the table due to their length, exoticism and unclear plurals (if this were a novel, the reader would get used to it, but at the tabletop, only the GM has read the book so ends up going "the Janin oerden…it's like a genie" and the players go "Ok, so the genie…"). Here are some optional alternates if you're not attached. Maybe you are attached, in which case disregard:

Drow= Ælf-Adal

Adriælf --from the latin adria meaning dark, Oscælf, Adrælf, Dælf, Drælf, Drælven

Dao= Janin Eorðen

Janeen, Janoerden, Erdgen, Eoridjinn, Eorðjen


Deepgar, Untergar, the original norse is 'Dvargir', Subgnomen


Gignome, Blaugir, Gignomen, Nonmen, Gnonnmen

Also, a short physical description is in order for interested parties who don't know (for instance) what a "dao" or ""duergar" is to begin with.  You can't assume total Monster Manuall 2 fluency. Or we need pictures in this section.


Reading linearly here, in order, page by page, here at "Death Hope Mural" is where I first thought "Oh it would be fun to run the veins, I should do it soon"--and I HATE. HATE. HATE caves. Shapeless, organic, rounded hippy things devoid of rigor or civlization.

Here is why I think I finally thought that:

There is a simple vision at the core of the Veins: actual spelunking as mysterious and exciting.

And there is a simple tool of expressing that vision at the core of the author: Writing compelling prose descriptions.

These cave descriptions are the first time in the text that vision and that tool have both been simply apparent, alone. Up til now its been monsters, details and mechanics. Finally we have The Caves and Why You Like Caves. I think finding a way to get this (or prose like it) closer to the front is a good idea. 


Zak Sabbath said...


sorry no anonymous comments allowed

Matrox Lusch said...

I had no idea you edited "Veins of the Earth" and there you are listed TWICE on the copyright page. I also forget when I list out your RPG works you co-wrote the newer edition of "Death Frost Doom."

RasheedKnox said...

I would love to play veins! Really liked the different types of for the hobby y'all my opinion

Zak Sabbath said...


Then go to his blog and leave a comment and tell him to apologize to the community for lying about me. Easy.

People like Patrick lie until the truth is the path of least resistance.

MicktheDik said...

Why are you posting these? Boredome?

MicktheDik said...

Also, how do you feel about the chompy grombler? is it a decent satire of Patrick's style in veins?

Zak Sabbath said...


The same reason i post most things—in case it helps someone make something good that i can use in my game.

Zak Sabbath said...


never heard of it.

Zak Sabbath said...


ok, i got the “chompy grombler” description.
it seems like typical 4chan/something awful fodder—someone angry at their own inexcusable ignorance trying to weaponize that to punch up against an author they see as (careerwise or esteemwise) “above” them.

Anonymous said...

"Then go to his blog and leave a comment and tell him to apologize to the community for lying about me. Easy.

People like Patrick lie until the truth is the path of least resistance."

What, specifically, did Patrick lie about?

Zak Sabbath said...


I normally don't publish anonymous comments but if you don't know, then this is an important teachable moment.

If there's even one human being who doesn't know about the bad things Patrick Stuart has done, then they should. Greater good and all that. So:

All of these things are Patrick spreading misinformation. They're either Partick lying or just failing to fact-check by doing any double-checking before typing gibberish that popped into his head:

-Patrick said (or implied) Mandy was telling the truth when she wrote her Facebook post. She isn't.

-Patrick said I was dishonest. He can't find any examples of me being dishonest.

-Patrick said I was an abuser. He can't find any examples of me being abusive.

-Patrick said I couldn't meet my own standards of how to act online. He can't find any examples.

-Patrick accused me of having various mental illnesses (narcissism, aspergers')--I don't have them, mental health professionals agree I don't have them, Patrick didn't consult anyone before making this false diagnosis.

More specifically, from his Mandy-supporting post:

-"Highly intelligent, deeply manipulative narcissist".

Patrick didn't check with any mental health professionals--I don't have narcissism personality. I'm just not a shy depressive like Patrick, so he lack the ability to see why I might, for example, type phrases like "he lacks the ability" when speaking to zillions of nerds who have trouble retaining, parsing, and accurately consistently repeating colloquial speech when telephone-gaming my words to others.

Patrick doesn't even have his shit together enough to say "hey Zak, person I used to play a game with many weekends over vidchat, you do this thing I find unusual--why?"

Could've saved himself a lot of trouble.

-"who rules through a combination of building little systems of control"

Systems of control require coercive power--which I don't have or use. I just leave comments on the internet like everybody else. My "system" (tell the truth, admit when you make a mistake, no first-strike personal attacks, etc) was not "built" by me, it's pretty much standard for professions and situations where people talk to each other about important things (courtrooms, journalism, academia, etc). Shy sad people on the internet are scared of these rules because the internet is a vent space for them and its disturbing to them to be held accountable for their gibberish--but its actually pretty normal for people to expect their colleagues to be honest and to try to stop them from being dishonest.

-"...and absolute sustained aggression for anyone who opposes or steps out of line for even a second."

If someone breaks one of "my" rules all they have to do is apologize and I forget the even did it. Sustained aggression happens if they fail to do that.

-" This guy will say anything to win some fucking internet argument"

Obviously not true. Lots of things I won't say and "winning" an internet argument is never on my mind or even possible--the important thing is that misinformation be contested immediately in the place where it is being spread. You can't "win" an internet argument and anyone who thinks you can is dangerous and irrational.


Zak Sabbath said...


-" never, ever, ever admits wrong,"

I have many times. I was, for instance, wrong to help Patrick. I was wrong to ignore his bad actions when, for instance, he said that he would take action against both people in a disagreement because people arguing around him bothered him and made him feel bad. At that point I should've said "Ok, if you feel like that you need to get offline and talk to a therapist about it, how can I as your colleague help you do that" (well, a more colloquial, chummy version of that lest Patrick mistake me for a "robot" because I'm trying to draw a clear, easily repeatable, universal line)

-"never...recognises the humanity in his opponents."

I always recognize the humanity in my opponents. No other species -but- humans lies on the internet for fun. Just because you recognize someone's motives or feelings doesn't mean it's safe to let them spread misinformation unchecked and not do what I can to make them stop.

Shy, sad, non-Jewish people often fail to recognize that just because you know someone's doing something bad and that you have to stop them doesn't mean you don't understand they are capable of feeling pain. You still have to stop them.

-He states I was angry for making his little "history of the Zak wars".

I wasn't angry--I thought it was nice and helpful since I am innocent and that timeline proved it. It was also a rare example of Patrick standing up for someone instead of being a tedious quietist who benefitted from other peoples' stuff while protecting his own ass. I thought he was making progress as a person and it was heartening. I never said otherwise and I directed people to that post a lot.

(It was stupid of me to have faith that Patrick could become better. In 10 years I've never seen any bad actor online become better.)

-He claims I "impersonated" Shannon Appelcline.

I did not. At no point did I claim to be him nor did anyone else, so far as I know. In his Paolo post he claims I did this in order "to make them look bad;" but... Patrick didn't actually read the comments left to check if that was true. Or, maybe, he did read them and then decided to lie about it.

From his Paolo-and-Zak-are-fighting freakout post:

-Patrick claims my style of arguing provably does not "lead to good outcomes".

Lots of people who lie on the internet have admitted they stayed off various forums, out of various discussions because of my style of argument, which is absolutely a good outcome.

It's not the best outcome: the best outcome is someone, when caught, admits they were wrong and improves. This used to happen a lot--I thought--but the Mandy incident proves they had not actually improved and still wanted to spread misinformation. So while the bad actor just getting offline isn't the 100% best option, it's likely the best realistic option.

Is Patrick "lying" here or just stupid? Idk.

Zak Sabbath said...


-Detail on that last point: "...a shit fight with a neurotic like Paolo, someone who lacks the strength to either disconnect or fight back directly."

This is proving my point:
A person who lacks the "strength" to go "sorry I made a mistake" or even just "sorry, I can't have an argument on the internet, it would be bad for my mental health, I will remove the comment I made since I can't defend it fully" is literally someone who should not be making accusations on the internet and should be in therapy instead.

It's an unhealthy pattern of behavior to be like Paolo or Patrick or Jensen Toperzer or Ash Kreider or Shoe many people and follow this chain of logic:
Im shy and sad and scared of real life so i will go be online a LOT AND I will live an alternate life there, with online "friends" BUT have convictions though, so I will occasionally attack people for doing what I think is wrong, politically or socially BUT since I;m sad and shy I can't handle the conversation justifying those accusations require AND I will then cry

That's not healthy. The person who does that should be off the internet and in therapy. It's not good to constantly escalate arguments about games until they are about sexism, harassment, homophobia, abuse, personal attacks, etc and then use "self-care" as an escape hatch to avoid any substantive discussion of the thing you raised.

If I make that person not be on the internet, I have done a good thing (and, as I've described above, probably the only realistic good thing you can do). They need to be accessing offline medical resources and offline they can do less damage to their victims.

-"Put simply, it is logically impossible for you to look at your own behaviour and say 'I am not an aggressive man'."

This isnt' exactly a lie but it is terrible thinking on Patricks part, equating "aggressive" with "bad".
I never claimed not to be aggressive. Most halfway-decent people are in the face of injustice.

Failure to be aggressive in the face of injustice is being a dick.

-" you enjoy stressing and intellectually dominating people"

No, but like anyone with a conscience I see that you have to stop people from spreading misinformation. It isn't fun or exciting to watch someone who could've been contributing to a collective creative thing be a stupid dick--but if they are, a stupid dick you need to demonstrate it so that people know to stay away from them.

Again, Patrick mis-sees this because he's shy and sad (and not Jewish) so the idea of even being -remotely ok- with having an argument looks to him like enjoying it.

Patrick also doesn't have much sense of helping other people or a community. He just wants to avoid pain for himself or people he sees as like himself.


Zak Sabbath said...


-"then defend your position through invisibly re-defining the original terms of your statement and forcing ever-more-narrow definitions of terms and evidence"

No I don't.
I continue the argument on the original terms. Patrick has no examples of this.

-"You would not survive the rules you impose on others."

Not true, as described above.

-He claims "If the people around you treated you according to your own law, they would have no option but to ostracise you, block you, refuse to work with you and never support anything you did at a minimum."

No the first thing anyone would do if they were following my own "law" (i.e. my way of deciding who to talk to, which everyone has) is ask me to explain myself and then apologize if I could not.

Patrick's whole Paolo freakout is an example of not doing things how I would: step one is always confront the supposed bad actor with what you think they've done wrong and give them a chance to explain.

-Patrick claimed I "stalked" people.

Googling things people say is not stalking. If it were nearly everyone online (and certainly Patrick) is a "stalker" as is anyone trying to make an argument in good faith with reference to facts available online.

-"And again you will not extend the same behaviour to others that you demand for yourself. Your sniping is honourable and decent and dedicated to reminding everyone just how terrible these liars and harassers are. Their sniping and stalking *is* harassment."

This is a lie about how I talk--and about how any reasonable person talks. If someone's claims in their "snipes" are false, their "sniping" is harassment. If their claims are true it's journalism.

This is not only commons sense, it's a universally recognized legal standard in the every country whose laws I've looked at and it.


Zak Sabbath said...

-Patrick makes much of how I am different in real life than I am online and claims it's evidence I am evil or have aspergers.

It totally fails to occur to him that in real life I;m not being accused of various made-up hate-crimes to my face, so, of course I say and do things that I am not called on to do in real life.

If Patrick saw some nerd, irl, walk up to me, call me a Nazi and then run away, you best bet he'd see me act different than I did during that one weekend at GenCon where we met.

-Patrick claims I try to "intellectually dominate and break someone"

No: I try to fact check and do whatever is necessary to prevent bad actors online from doing harm.

Even *just* including the qualities you would admit to, because you think they are good, the aggression and the binary mercilesness, those alone would be enough to reasonably call someone a dick.

Since failing to:
- aggressively address bad actors online and
-create consequences for their bad actions
...leads and has only lead to a bad status quo online then it's child's play to prove what I was doing was helpful.

With large parts of the OSR now acting like honesty is a terrible imposition we have preposterous stuff like the OSR discord removing the rules on lying only to have (repeatedly admitted troll and liar) Cavegirl/Emmy Allen and (serial liar-supporter) Shoe Skogen mutually accusing each other of abuse and Chris McDowall just letting that happen without an investigation because investigation and facts have been determined to be bad, it is obvious my way of doing things was better than whatever other way y'all think things should be done and therefore the people (including me) who support it are the only ones being reasonable and therefore it'd be bs to call them "dicks".

That's not a "lie", but it is very stupid. You don't call someone names for being the only one in the room helping.
I haven't read everything Patrick's posted, so there's probably more. Since he doesn't talk to me and likely doesn't talk to people who know me in real life, any statement he makes about my motives can't really be fact-checked so he's talking out of his ass.

Patrick's in love with the idea of himself as articulate and perceptive, it is his only real source of pride,a s far as I know. The idea of staunching that flow of words with something as humble and earthbound as fact-checking would hurt Patrick's feelings.

As Harry G Frankfurt says in "On Bullshit"

“Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

Zak Sabbath said...

Again, it's possible -none- of that is a lie and is just all Trumpian reckless disregard for what's true by someone with no empathy for the possible victim of their misinformation. Which is as morally wrong as lying but not technically identical.

If it turns out that's the case, I'll have to apologize for saying Patrick lies and instead say he's just a Trumpian monster with no regard for the truth and no conscience. And y'all should just leave dozens comments asking him to apologize for smearing me.

Zak Sabbath said...

Also want to add for anyone following:

So far nobody's contested any of what I just said. If they do--even if they break the rules while doing it--I'll address it.

Benjamin Cusack said...

I think a lot of these people you have issue with were not meant to turn what they love into a profession, into a persona, into a lifestyle. People have forgotten what makes arguments unwinnable by nature. The calling out, the fact checking, the spotlight scares people, and when they are on a flimsy platform that spotlight downright forces them to abdicate and run, out of logic or stability, and into their emotional mind.
There is nothing wrong with being emotional, there is nothing wrong about displaying or presenting yourself in a specific way, but if in that process you refuse to accept criticism, especially criticism for dangerous or misinformed actions, then your facade must be reevaluated and redefined, so that you can accept or reject the criticism like an adult. Arguments are a way for two or more parties to come to a mutual understanding, not a fight. To attempt to win is folly.
From my limited viewpoint, Scrap and Patrick have done fantastic work from an emotional and artistic and imaginative way, in DCO, In Velvet Horizon, in VOTE, and for Patrick in MotBM, but his concept of himself extends online in a personal way in a professional space. He is a hobbyist receiving checks.
He needs sympathy amd must be convinced off the roof, out of his room. He is a child who needs help, a man who has no way back into your graces because he has messed up, and cannot go backwards out of the squeeze he crawled into headfirst.
Zak, as a professional you should never accept mediocre work, and as a friend you should never accept abuse. But as a human you sometimes must make conessions, and in this case, neither of you has relented, one for fear of wrongdoing, one for the understandably pressing urge to prove yourself a person who has not done anything wrong.
Your creative and original and beautifully envisaged teamwork lies crushed like a miner between two rocks that moved into position and will not relent.
You have every reason to hold him accountable because you ruin his self pereption with reality and he is helping to destroy yours with accusations that can ruin lives, the difference between the two is the emotional and logical maturity presented.
However, there is some middle path left untrodden, some way for Patrick to change his statements and you somehow preserve his visage through the process, but at this juncture it may be too far past, too hard for two people who knew each other so fleetingly, too good for this world.
People get into this because they want good material, and never consider the people behind it, but as you recently said the work is happening, it is real life that is more important here.
I, for one, am sorry for denouncing you, even if I never did in a public way, and hope you can accept the apology of someone who sincerely wishes you and any creative partnerships you to participate in the very best.

Zak Sabbath said...

@Benjamin Cusack

for the most part I think you’re right— I sometimes wonder if Patrick could ever be convinced to reconsider and be a good person and on the surface it seems plausible because he can usually recognize a rational argument when it is presented— but the problem is he carries so much other stuff around in his head that he doesn’t want to talk about and most of that stuff is fear and he doesn’t wanna talk about it because of that fear.

I don’t think he’ll ever consider himself in a safe enough place mentally to be like “ yeah I fucked this up and I will apologize to my victim“.

which sucks because really: he could’ve had a role for himself where he did what he was good at and it didn’t make the weak parts of him worse while he used the confidence he was getting from being successful to get stronger.

maybe theoretically. I don’t know I’m not a shrink. but it seems like if he had kind of learned how to be generous to people who didn’t read as being like Patrick while not suffering any negative feedback he might’ve turned out a better guy.

Zak Sabbath said...

all he has to do is apologize.

But then he’ll have to deal with the Internet not liking it and i don’t think he’s brave enough for that.

Scrap is braver but very eager to be like “fuck that straight guy”

Gregor Gregoriev said...

Bulgarian role play scene need you

Zak Sabbath said...

@gregor gregoriev

alright, fly me in

The Vhaidra Saga Author, Nicholas Stanosheck said...

@Zak as you said, AElf-Adal are Drow, Deep Janeen are Djinn/Genies, dErO are Derro, Dvargir are Duergar, and Gnonmen are Deep Gnomes. What would Substratals be in the regular D&D naming structure?

Zak Sabbath said...


I don't know/remember what those are.