Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apologizing In Advance For This. Hey Grognards.txt!

This is pretty skippable when it comes to game content. Sorry.

So, first of all, here's a thing about Vornheim being part of a not-pen-and-paper RPG game festival. WeirdNeat.

Second, here's the publisher telling you we're running out of copies. So unless you want to take some chances with The 2nd Edition, maybe get one.

The third is a personal matter.

So, there's a website where people talk about games.

This conversation occurred there where they were complaining about OSR dice notation:

My blog's not called "Playing D&D With People Who All Graduated High School". I will tell you right now, if I tell Kimberly Kane* she's got a 3d6 weapon or a 4d4 spell she will not know which does more damage.

Dear God. The misogyny, it burns.

A Hungry Mouth
That's...not misogyny

"My female sex worker players are literally too stupid to do third-grade multiplication" isn't misogyny? I guess he just could be generally misanthropic.

Um, this is getting gross and disturbing in the assumptions you're making but I'm KK's math tutor for the GED--I know what math she can and can't do.

She should probably get a different tutor if you can't teach her how to multiply two numbers.

A Hungry Mouth
At worst it's "Some of my players, specifically Kimberly Kane, have trouble with simple math," which for all I know is true. You guys realize that people who are illiterate/innumerate/have extreme difficulty with reading or mathematics actually exist, right?

e: PeterWeller you're being kind of mean and I have no idea why.

Stupid Bob:
 God drat you guys are being a bunch of dicks. Especially you Gau, what does her being a sex worker have to do with anything? Nobody brought that up and it's not relevant to the conversation.

Yeah. This is hosed, I am out.

Zak S is saying this works for him and his group, and you guys are jumping all over him like a pack of hyenas. It's dumb as poo poo. Stop.


Now all this happened here  and you can read it for yourself--I left out stuff for clarity if you want to check the thread for context.

Now, today, months later, this person Gau, said:

It has more to do with the fact that Zak was a misogynistic rear end in a top hat who just assumes that his HOT PORN STAR PLAYERS are uneducated and can't determine which is bigger: 1d4 or 1d8.

This is a lie, obviously but he is telling people this lie about my attitude toward my best friends and this evidence needs to be here so that no-one believes it, because that shit is fucked. Like really fucked far beyond just some dumb monkey shit-fight about games. Ever wonder where the line is? This is where the line is.

Say what you want about what you want about games and game designers but don't do that.

I'd post it there but I am, of course, banned.


So this worked out, we now have Gau's acknowledgement and defense. I'm putting this here for anyone's future reference:

That isn't what I said.

What I said was:

"It has more to do with the fact that Zak was a misogynistic asshole who just assumes that his HOT PORN STAR PLAYERS are uneducated and can't determine which is bigger: 1d4 or 1d8."


  1. SA changes asshole to Read End in a Top Hat if you don't have an account, dumbass.
  2. That's still a lie, though, Gau.
  3. koboldstyle, I think this is a evidence of a greater fundamental truth. As said in one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces, "many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."
  4. So long as you are able to recognize that you lied--even if it was in the service of some principle that you believe lying serves--we have enough evidence on the table for everyone else to make their own call.

    Thank you for your time, Gau.
  5. Any time! Hit me up the next time you need someone to e-stalk and then hate. I'm always good for it.


I apologize for the interruption of service for "Troll Psychology Theatre", we will  resume rebroadcast of awesome game stuff tomorrow or later today or next time I think of something.

*KK is very open about working on her GED and her lack of math skills, it's not like I was blowing her up here, if you're wondering. She is, however, awesome.


smiler said...

That's grim, I'll be avoiding that forum. It's pathetic the things people say anonymously that they wouldn't dare face to face.

That photo is amazing, really unsettling, tell KK she needs to start selling prints.

5stonegames said...

Don't let the jerks yank your chain Zak.

1st, its not 1982 when almost every D&D player was a STEM person or other geek. When you get a wider range of players, you get a wider range of skills. This is good

2nd, I've played friggin Rolemaster with innumerate players. They are out there . Brains differ and many smart people , me included can have trouble with common skills.

3rd, Darn it you made me look up Kimberly Kane. If she is the Kane Army one, Wow!

4th Props to KK for working on her GED and for her quality photography.

5th and last There are way too many overly sensitive
Liberal types in gaming these days who take offense where none is warranted. Ignore them. It makes life better especially since well your digs put you in with real people not just academic BS.

OlmanFeelyus said...

I can tell you this, for sure Gau is getting mad-laid with that approach...

fugaros said...

That isn't what I said.

What I said was:

"It has more to do with the fact that Zak was a misogynistic asshole who just assumes that his HOT PORN STAR PLAYERS are uneducated and can't determine which is bigger: 1d4 or 1d8."

Mel said...

Wow, Mr. Gau is a total jerk. Your initial comment about math ability was even MORE benign than, I think, you are giving yourself credit for. 4d4 vs. 3d6 isn't easy math at all. It's like asking which would you prefer, 2d10 or 3d6? To get at the "correct" answer you need to understand distributions and be able to figure them out in general and across multiple dice types. Then there's the issue of whether the roll is about gains vs losses (according to behavioral economics it makes a difference). This isn't easy math, and so asserting that someone has trouble with it, isn't disparaging in the least!

Zak Sabbath said...

That's still a lie, though, Gau.

fugaros said...

koboldstyle, I think this is a evidence of a greater fundamental truth. As said in one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces, "many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

fugaros said...

I think the assumption that I am male tells you everything you need to know about this blog.

Zak Sabbath said...

So long as you are able to recognize that you lied--even if it was in the service of some principle that you believe lying serves--we have enough evidence on the table for everyone else to make their own call.

Thank you for your time, Gau.

Zak Sabbath said...

I takes about 3 seconds to figure out you're a guy named Bryan. Duh.

ravenconspiracy said...

I liked your responses in the interview; felt real, man.

Regarding jerks on an internet forum; you are a saint/masochist to even acknowledge more fo this ubiquitous internet BS.

Just another example of how simple maths doesn't equal intelligence; I was an art major and I can easily add, subtract, multiply, and divide dice results far faster than all of the IT/programmers a play with. Some are PAINFULLY slow at dice addition.

fugaros said...

Did you also find my tumblr where I talk about being a bisexual Catholic genderqueer anarchist?

fugaros said...

Any time! Hit me up the next time you need someone to e-stalk and then hate. I'm always good for it.

Anonymous said...

“My blog's not called "Playing D&D With People Who All Graduated High School"”
Hmm, no, but there’s no contradiction in being a porn star and graduating high school either, is there?

»you can't teach her how to multiply two numbers.«

Peter is missing out— 4d8 is smaller than 8d4, for example. (As you probably know, but maybe not all readers know, to get the average result, you add one to the die-size but divide the amount of dice by two. E.g. 3d6 = 1½×7 = 10½, and 4d4=2×5=10.)

»you need to understand distributions«
That’s a bit overkill if you know that gaussian shortcut.

Best wishes

Zak Sabbath said...

No I just clicked on the thing on your screen name where it says your name is "bryan".

joe said...

I'm blinded by the wall of social stupidity and higher math concepts herein contained.

I will provide a math related anecdote instead.

I didn't learn how to multiply until I was a sophomore stocking a soda machine. I had been taught to memorize my tables, but didn't know how that translated into the real world.

Also, in the immortal words of Father Torque, "Give 'em Hell, polecat!"

Zak, can I call you polecat? I feel like I can. I don't know if I should. In any event, Hell. Give it to them. Not in a mean or nasty way, but by being you, who is not mean or nasty.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize until now that this was an old thread and that someone was bringing it up to disparage you. I should’ve read your post more carefully. Thanks for this blog.

Brad said...

Zak, let me know if you ever need help with some fisticuffs.

Rafu said...

Oh, the headache!
I feel sorry for you, Zak. Some guy over the Internet is publicly construing something you wrote as meaning something you never meant it to mean. It happens all the time, but it's still painful.

Zak Sabbath said...

He's not misconstruing, he just hates DIY D&D so much he is willing to be a jerk about and pretend to be misconstruing.

And "painful" is not the issue, either. This is just an exercise in labelling the village idiot for the health and safety of those around.

Christopher B said...

Male or female, it speaks volumes about a person's baggage when he or she cries "misogynist" over a comment without any evidence to indicate that the comment was anything other than a plain fact. (I believe shrinks call that sort of thing "projecting.")

I also find it laughable when a person leaps to a stranger's defense over an imagined slight by attacking another stranger. Genius in action.

Methinks Gau doth protest too much.

Rafu said...

What about dice notations, anyway? Was any interesting alternative proposed, before the discussion got derailed by rabid trolls?

Daniel Dean said...

...In all seriousness though, buy Vornheim, guys.

Zak Sabbath said...

And this is where it's at at this point, and I don't know why.

Apparently WAAAAAAY back in time I (and all people who have blogs about old versions of D&D) committed some philosophical sin which nobody at g.txt cares about enough to explain usually, but which I have heard explained roughly as:

-"Old School refers to the Old School Manifesto" (which I read maybe once years ago. I doubt, say Scrap Princess ever has)

-"The Old School Manifesto is full of bigoted opinions about new games" (Hey, maybe, I can't remember)

-"Therefore all Old School Renaissance blogs are run by bad people who subscribe to this bigoted creed"

-"Zak is referred to as a member of the OSR, plus once he talked about his AD&D game: "

-"So Zak is part of this bigoted enemy"


1. No tactic is unfair against such a dangerous and implacable foe

2. Everything he writes must be read with suspicion and in the least favorable light. If we make a mistake, and it is pointed out, attribute it to his writing style."

It is a philosophy that has no room for sane discussion.

They can talk about games within their circle that match their own taste, but once they butt up against anyone with different ideas, they just switch to ad hominem attacks and broadbrush assumptions and don't care because, hey, the OSR is evil, so it's all good.

It sucks.

Chris A. Field said...

Zak I feel your pain, the site you were very careful not to mention is a seething horde of remoras.

Zak Sabbath said...

well, a bucket. but then: it's a forum.

S. P. said...

Sorry to ruin a perfectly good internet fight, but if we're on the subject of difficulty with maths, something occurred to me in the process of teaching math and I don't know if it will help you.

We teach English in language arts, but Arabic in mathematics. It never occurred to me until after learning calculus and Arabic and then teaching math to children that we are expected to read numbers backward in order to do arithmetic with them. And we expect this of five-year-olds, and are then aghast when they totally don't get it. And then we just give up and convince them they're bad at math.

This system is totally fucked.

I still haven't thought of a useful application for this epiphany, but I have found it occasionally useful in teaching math to remember that you are literally teaching another language to someone.

Zak Sabbath said...

That's a good point.

Maybe a visual aid, like.....ok you have all these test tubes left to right. Then one in the far right, then two, up to ten, then one in the second to furthest right

Everloss said...

I thought your statement was very clear with your first sentence. I think "Gau" or "Gua" (whatever, I don't really care) was looking to pick a fight. I can only assume why, and my assumptions aren't very nice, so I won't write about them.
Anyways, why did you post this on SA? That's kinda like you baiting a douchebag trap with douchebag bait and not expecting to get a douchebag.
And I've been there since year 1, and I like the joint.
Also, I'll admit that I didn't read any of the other 33 comments.

Zak Sabbath said...

Long story:

1-There was someone on there who seemed like *not* an asshole who I wanted to talk to about games but I didn't have an account

2-So I posted a blog post here saying "Hey, (person's name) on g.txt come out and play, let's talk about games"

3-G.txt being G.txt, rather than going "Oh, let;s see where this is going," they all started calling me names and assuming I had some nefarious motive. Cause, y;know, I use houserules and know James Raggi or something.

4-One of them bought me an account--hoping, perhaps for fireworks. So then whenever they were talking about something I knew about and getting facts wrong, I would show up and explain the mistake. And invite people to come play games on G+ and see what DIY D&D was about. Thinking maybe it would be good and nice. It worked on a couple people.


In this particular case someone was going "OSR stats simple! Those aren't simple! This is all lies meant to...(whatever, I don't know)" And I went and was explaining that "simplicity" meant a short easy-to-read statline in this case, and gave an example.

Not realizing, of course, that the insane will-to-nitpick meant *someone* had to find some reason that an old school statline was confusing and arcane and solely meant to drive away minorities and women and young players and whatever in the name of nostalgia.

So someone seized on that and...shitshow. Link above.

No good deed goes unpunished and never ever try to talk to anyone who isn't totally open-minded to begin with and yes, Virginia there is a reason they are all crowded in that little paybox together.

It sucks.

But we did get a few players and gamebloggers out of it, so I guess really if I don't think of it from a selfish perspective it was basically worthwhile.

Nick said...

Surely Zak is in a better position to know whether his players know maths or not than you are? I mean, they're his friends, not yours.

Anyway - bought Vornheim a few weeks back, it arrived this week. Haven't had any time to digest properly but enjoying it so far!

Mark said...

Wow, that's a really handy trick, thanks!

Brendan said...

Hey Zak,

Long time reader, first time commenter. (We met briefly at D&D melt and you signed my copy of Vornheim, but that's not really important).

What strikes me as interesting is that everyone on that thread assumes KK's hypothetical dice question is trivial, but it isn't. It's actually a little complex.

3d6 has a potentially higher total on a good roll, but a potentially worse total on a bad roll. You could roll an 18, but you could also roll a 3. Chances are, you'll end up with a number between 9 and 12 about half the time (48.14% to be exact).

You've got about a one in four chance of going higher, but also a one in four chance of going lower. (25.92% on each side, if we want to get all nerdy).

4d4 only goes up to 16, but at the worst you get a 4. Getting a number between 9 and 12 is more likely (60.56%), as the probability curve there is a little fatter.

To put it another way, 3d6 is riskier, but has a bigger potential payoff. 4d4 has less payoff but is safer. KK the destroyer would probably prefer the 3d6 to the 4d4 because of the risk/ high benefit, but both dice pools are actually pretty similar, tending to produce lots of 10s, 11s and 12s.

My point is that it's not immediately obvious which dice pool is the "better" choice, despite what some people might think, and because KK's not drawn to math, she might be picking up on some of that complexity intuitively.

Happy rolling!


Mel said...

Exactly. This is what I was trying to get at, too, but you stated it much more clearly. Nicely done!

Zak Sabbath said...

Yeah, I assumed anyone would know that when I said what I said.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Man, I'm surprised that you put yourself through the ringer and even bothered to interact on that forum. They don't call it somethingawful for nothing.

Regarding KK and her GED, if she passes her test, it actually equals a certain amount of high school credits and they could be applied to whatever HS credits she previously had and could possibly get her full diploma.

Unknown said...

And on top of that, the notation you were mentioning (3-18) gives both the max and the range, making very clear the payoff and the peril of going with 3d6 vs. 4d4.

So, yeah, it does have a purpose, just as you said. Clearly. Repeatedly.

And, in response to the commenter who called this sort of outrage "liberal" I'm gonna have to say bullshit. I'm a liberal. A proud one. That isn't being liberal, it's being an asshole. I'll take the socialized medicine, but leave the internet douchnozzles.

Zak Sabbath said...

I doubt think that person was trying to describe a political persuasion so much as an a sociological type. People like Curt here:

Then again, maybe s/he was-- in which case, they can fuck off.

Jeremy said...

This may be wildly inappropriate and might accidentally offend Zak or KK. If it does, that's not the intention. I'm genuinely trying to be helpful and kind. Offense is not my intention.

My profession is school psychologist (not a counselor, I do psycho-educational evaluations to establish the presence of various disorders and disabilities - I don't talk about your mother or whatever).

It is possible KK has one of several kinds of math disorders. If she does, and has documentation to evidence that, she is eligible for numerous accommodations on tests like the GED (as well as in college or other educational institutions). Things like extended time on the exam, ability to take the exam in a quiet environment, the use of a calculator when it would otherwise be prohibited. Stuff like that.

She'll need an evaluation. I office in OK, otherwise I'd be happy to just do it myself. Since you are in CA, you can usually contact a local private psychologist or see if the local university has a testing clinic.

Anyway, not trying to be a dick or anything. Just a thought to help KK. If I can answer any questions about it, I'll be happy to. If I did offend, seriously, I'm very sorry.

Zak Sabbath said...

No, it's cool.

I used to tutor and teach GMATs, LSATs, SATs, GREs, etc so I know about that stuff

Jeremy said...

Excellent. I wish her the best.

Zak Sabbath said...


Sorry--no anonymous comments allowed.