Terminals, Tea, RPGs

Infrequent thoughts on technology, history, and role-playing games

Police officers fight crime. Police officers are neither case-workers, nor teachers, nor mental-health professionals, nor drug counselors. One of the great hallmarks of the past forty years of American domestic policy is a broad disinterest in that difference. The problem of restoring police authority is not really a problem of police authority, but a problem of democratic authority. It is what happens when you decide to solve all your problems with a hammer. To ask, at this late date, why the police seem to have lost their minds is to ask why our hammers are so bad at installing air-conditioners. More it is to ignore the state of the house all around us. A reform that begins with the officer on the beat is not reform at all. It’s avoidance. It’s a continuance of the American preference for considering the actions of bad individuals, as opposed to the function and intention of systems.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Myth of Police Reform"

Structuring Redux Reducers by Action Type

I recently refactored a personal project of mine written using React & Redux. I've been thinking a lot recently about how to organize reducers. Previously I utilized the reduce-reducers library, and organized my reducers both temporally and structurally. That proved untenable in the long run.…

Table Roles in RPGs

A table role is a formal responsibility a player assumes to manage or track some aspect of the group experience in playing a tabletop role-playing game. Table roles exist to speed up and facilitate the game, and address needs at a particular table, so not every group will find every role useful.…

Compelling Plot Verbs in Role-Playing Games

Matthew Colville put up a video a while ago [https://youtu.be/g6w_DRHRDDM] on verbs and role-playing games. Or really verbs and fiction and narratives in general. Matthew Colville does a lot of videos on role-playing games (and Dungeons & Dragons in particular) and I greatly appreciate a lot of…

Keeping Notes on Secret Doors

Recently I've since been reading all the advice on D&D I can get. I'm particularly fond of the UA on traps that WotC released a while back, and appreciated the structure recommended in there for designing traps. I thought something similar might be useful in creating secret doors and passages.…

A man may well be less convinced of a philosophy from four books, than from one book, one battle, one landscape, and one old friend.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Why did men fight? The old man had always been a dutiful thinker, never an inspired one. Now his exhausted brain slipped into its accustomed circles: the withered paths, like those of the donkey in the treadmill, round which he had plodded many thousand times in vain. Was it the wicked leaders who led innocent populations to slaughter, or was it wicked populations who chose leaders after their own hearts?

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"You must remember I am the King of England. When you are a king you can’t go executing people as the fancy takes you. A king is the head of his people, and he must stand as an example to them, and do as they wish." He forgave the startled expression in Lancelot’s face, and took his hand once more. "You will find," he explained, "that when the kings are bullies who believe in force, the people are bullies too. If I don’t stand for law, I won’t have law among my people. And naturally I want my people to have the new law, because then they are more prosperous, and I am more prosperous in consequence." They watched him, wondering what he meant to convey. He held the look, trying to speak with their eyes. "You see, Lance, I have to be absolutely just. I can’t afford to have any more things like those babies on my conscience. The only way I can keep clear of force is by justice. Far from being willing to execute his enemies, a real king must be willing to execute his friends."

T.H. White, The Once and Future King