Saturday, July 20, 2019

Quick Update - Back End Work and Musings of How I Came to Be Here

Not much to report today. I am doing a little back-end work on the website now that I have users coming in again. I recently added links back to my pages on Facebook, MeWe, and Pluspora and I need Google Analytics data. The last year has been wild and I really let things go.

Typical view when your
ribs are screwed up
Let me tell you where this journey began. In June of last year, I was finishing up a long term subbing post when I broke half a dozen or so ribs. My normal favorite summer activity is a local amusement park, Darien Lake. I was off of work for about 9 weeks in the middle of summer and couldn't ride a single roller coaster.

I spent a few days laying on my back trying to decide what to do that day. My choices were sort of limited to sitting, laying down or standing. I had no patience for drawing or painting owing to the profound lack of sleep. Standing is Darien Lake's wave pool was soothing but nerve-racking because there was a serious danger of drowning when the waves started up.

I decided to write a book. The first thing that popped into my head was something for D&D. I had some old character sheets lying around from a decades old campaign. In that campaign, I had 3 players write "chemist" under non-weapon proficiency. Three different bids to get their characters TNT or at least gun powder.

Yeah, no. That did not fly.

Then I realized that I actually had a bunch of great ideas for non-weapon proficiencies. In the previous semester at school, I found a great book called Everyday Life in Early America which seemed to mirror my thought process. People have skill sets. A weapon proficiency is the ability to use a weapon, a specific item, with a specific set of skills. A profession is more than a singular skill but less applicable to adventuring.

D&D and AD&D does not call these extra abilities skills, they are called "non-professional skills" meaning that they have nothing to do with the character's current class. But they aren't really quantified.

I quantified those abilities in Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. I built a list of 50+ different professions from history, broke them into three categories and then defined what each could do.

One of my pet peeves from D&D is the lack of a "shared world" from outset of a game. I had people looking at characters' sheets and declaring that their ranger couldn't swim, but had a recipe for dynamite. Yeah, BS. What do you mean a ranger can't swim? That isn't a skill I want you rolling against. If I'm gonna kill you, it won't be with a bunch of die rolls to see how long you can tread water.

By allowing someone to select from this long list of professions, characters gained depth. And a smidgen of hit points and a whole set of ancillary skills which were had some semblance of the reason assigned to them. It stands to reason that a trapper can set a trap, a farmer knows a bit about cobbling junk together to get stuff done and cook can identify plants and build a proper fire.

The ability to make a rutabaga pie isn't going to buff your character, but it could make for interesting role play. On other hand, some tools are killing machines. But there is a reason why they aren't used as weapons. It's very hard to do carpentry or woodcutting after someone has killed a person in plate armor with your axes.

Some of these skills are immediately pertinent to characters. If my cleric was a chef, why don't I use knives in combat? Because that is something you choose to forego, it doesn't mean you can't throw knives at a bulls-eye. Can my wizard use a small hammer (1d4) because he is a former mason? Sure, but he has to give up one other weapon.

These professions add to each character, without overly unbalancing a game.

Well, this is much more than I meant to post, but this is why what is happening on the back end of my site. If I mean to keep producing products, there has to be some data tracking to see what other think, which I will put into some of my future works.

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