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    1. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      9 votes
    2. Daily coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - April 9

      This thread is posted daily, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the...

      This thread is posted daily, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the situation is like where you live!

      7 votes
    3. This is Trump’s fault: The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures

      This Is Trump’s Fault: The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures. This is a blunt and brutal assessment of Trump's performance during the coronavirus pandemic. The writer...

      This Is Trump’s Fault: The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures.

      This is a blunt and brutal assessment of Trump's performance during the coronavirus pandemic. The writer holds no punches, and uses no weasel words.

      38 votes
    4. Combat-less TTRPGs with stat depletion?

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of...

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of their gameplay: stats like weapon damage and armor resistance are tracked and augmented by enhancements and skills; there are special game states and (for videogame RPGs) controls that separate combat from non-combat; combat serves as one of the major sources of XP for character growth.

      There's probably a good few examples out there of games that tried something different that I haven't even heard about. Disco Elysium does "combat" through skill checks in the few instances that it does tackle physical encounters. Griftlands uses card-based actions for both combat and social encounters, each having their own separate decks and "health" values.

      What I've been looking for was the kind of a system that doesn't take combat for a special game state. A system where the simulation extends to assimilate combat as just... a thing that happens because you're in danger – or looking to be the danger.

      To understand where I'm going with the next bit, you should know a couple of things about Frontiers.

      Frontiers is an episodic story about a group of friends playing a homebrew from-first-principles tabletop RPG system. The system, so far titled Frontiers RPG 'cause I'm very original, deals away with or reimagines much of the classic RPG trope library.

      One thing that differentiates Frontiers RPG is having 20-some traits for characters, where each trait is an abstracted statistic representative of a character's distinct natural-performance categories. For example:

      • Instrumentation determines how well the character naturally operates simple and complex technology
      • Visual Space determines one's eyesight and, consequently, the ability to model the geometry of an environment or an object in the head (because apparently these things are linked in the human brain)
      • Biomechanics determines how well does one's muscles perform under stress
      • Presence determines the strength of the vibe the character gives off naturally; the vibe itself could be intimidating, commanding, or inspiring, depending on said character

      Traits are tracked on a low scale:

      • −10 is the lowest possible for any living creature with any amount of agency.
      • −5 is the lowest any human could possibly get without outside intervention, and means the person is unable to perform in this area completely.
      • 0 is average human performance.
      • +5 is the best a human being could naturally achieve at their peak.
      • +10 is the epitome of human potential when amplified with hyperadvanced technology or supernatural effects.

      This means that when someone with Presence +1 enters the room, people can't but notice, even if they don't concern themselves too much with the person. When it's someone with Presence +3, however, most will stop what they're doing for a few seconds and pay attention to what the person is doing. Presence +5? The party stops when the person enters the room: they inspire this much awe and respect (or fear, depending on the person). Characters with high Presence naturally make for excellent leaders, teachers, negotiators, and point-makers.

      There are no dice rolls. Each challenge has a difficulty rating on the same scale as traits, which is how the outcomes get determined: either by checking the trait itself or the average of a set of traits (which are sometimes conceptualized into skills and sometimes only exist as checks). For example, if your character's Conditioning (representing physical endurance) is +1 and the challenge is a short jog (difficulty 1), they succeed without a problem.

      What makes this system not entirely deterministic is stat depletion. Each trait value above 0 grants the character 1 point of the trait. These points may be used to assist oneself or another character in a challenge if the challenge is of higher difficulty than their trait would normally allow to automatically succeed in. Points are regained at rest, up to the maximum of trait value points: e.g. Instrumentation 2 grants you maximum of 2 points you can have on your character at any given time.

      What I've been working with for a few months was HP-like stats derived from specific traits:

      • wounds for physical damage, derived from Conditioning
      • willpower for mental stress, derived from Volition
      • stamina for physical performance, derived from Stress Response

      (Having willpower as a stat works because for normal humans, D&D-like adventures would inevitably take their toll. Seeing people suffering may damage the will of a high-Empathy character, but then, everyone would suffer from seeing their loved ones in danger. Seeing a giant fucking monster would certainly make you consider your life choices. Persevering through emotional and mental challenges where your willpower is mechanically limited – a person can only take so much within a limit of time – is an underexplored, underdeveloped field of roleplay, and it fits into the story thematically.)

      This naturally geared itself to combat-as-special-state. Abstracting "health points" only makes sense when the only thing that matters is whether you're able to fight further. To this end, I figured that at a certain level of wounds, all traits would take penalty (to simulate being beaten up and stressed from combat) until such a time when the character receive proper care and rest.

      Lately, however, I came upon a way to streamline the system and make it "wider" (i.e. not just combat/non-combat simulation): use the trait points directly. This approach enables the player by allowing them to use their whole potential in all manners of situations, and have said potential used against them if they're facing a challenge their ability does not allow them to surpass.

      • rather than exchange punches in a bar fight, you can use your Executive Function – your thinking-on-your-feet – to distract your opponent and sucker-punch them while they're looking away
      • in a fistfight, character may use their Coordination to deflect a blow – or two points to direct it in a specific way: for example, to harm their proximous ally
      • before approaching the bench in order to testify, characters may use their Empathy in order to read the room and understand what sort of an appeal would work best
      • seeing an atrocity committed would take a point away from the character's Volition; if they have none left, they may faint, become disstressed (receiving a malus to all checks of a particular nature), or even become catatonic (unable to act coherently until snapped out of it or well-rested)
      • being shot by a scared youth may take a point or two of the character's Conditioning, but because they're still standing, they could use Volition to "not fucking flinch", which gives them a temporary bonus to Presence that they can use to interrogate with greater success or otherwise use the youth's capacities

      This works, at least on the surface, because it reflects the potential traits grant almost exactly. Someone with Conditioning 0 may be able to take a punch, but it would leave them seriously disoriented or may even inflict lasting damage (broken rib, dislocated jaw etc.); meanwhile, another character with Conditioning 4 may be able to get shot with a pistol and still function to a degree. Someone with Inner World +3 should find it little trouble to jot down a short story to tell their children before bed, while someone with Inner World 0 would find it impossible to come up with a logo for their new product even with intense consideration.

      What I haven't yet figured out is:

      • how to handle such "shooting above one's head" attempts for trait values lower than 0 (which is encouraged for challenge and roleplay reasons)
      • how to handle situations where all points are depleted and the player still wants to try a difficult thing that's just above their character's level
      • whether players should receive more than one point per level of trait, or even see points granted scale with value (Engineering 3 → 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 points total)

      The system is not perfect, but it's hella interesting, and I'd like to pursue it. If it leads nowhere, at least I explored. What I'm looking for from this topic is review of the concept of stat depletion and its potential implications. Assume that the rest of the system is perfectly viable and feasible unless its parts directly contradict or hamper the system as a whole. What problems can you see with this section? What benefits can one derive from it?

      5 votes
    5. What are your favorite fun/happy facts?

      Mine is about my spirit animal. Manatees have long been known as gentle giants, and somehow sailors once confused them with beautiful women. What fewer people know about manatees, is that they...

      Mine is about my spirit animal.

      Manatees have long been known as gentle giants, and somehow sailors once confused them with beautiful women. What fewer people know about manatees, is that they control their buoyancy with flatulance. Their whole life is floating around and eating seagrass. They get gassy and start to float up, so they let a few farts out to get back down to the seagrass. And you thought dolphins had life figured out.

      17 votes
    6. Recommendations for Android messaging app, please

      I've been using Textra for years, but there's some new protocol whose name I don't remember that Textra isn't compatible with. This results in some messages (primarily from other LG phones to my...

      I've been using Textra for years, but there's some new protocol whose name I don't remember that Textra isn't compatible with. This results in some messages (primarily from other LG phones to my LG phone) going only to the LG Messaging app and not Textra, which is annoying. Any recommendations?

      16 votes
    7. Recommend FLOSS games

      I'd like to ask for recommendations for FLOSS (Free/Libre, Open-Source Software) games, playable on Linux or Android. I saw an old thread on this topic, but it's over a year old, so I thought it'd...

      I'd like to ask for recommendations for FLOSS (Free/Libre, Open-Source Software) games, playable on Linux or Android. I saw an old thread on this topic, but it's over a year old, so I thought it'd be okay to ask this year. Genre-wise, I'm pretty open. RPG, adventure, FPS, RTS, TBS, 4x, puzzle, sidescroller, platformer, single-player, multi-player, online, offline... whatever. I would prefer not needing to have original (commercial) game assets.

      Fine print: I do like a good FPS, but, having played commercial titles on PS3 and PS4, I've found that the FLOSS FPSes I've tried just don't hold a candle to them. Also, I prefer having a short TTK (think: hardcore mode, R6S, BFV), and every FLOSS FPS I've tried has had a long TTK.

      I've already played:

      Linux:

      • Wesnoth
      • 0 A.D.
      • roguelikes (currently have an active character in Angband)
      • Ur Quan Masters
      • Minetest
      • bzflag (long ago)

      Android:

      • SuperTuxKart
      • Pixel Dungeon
      • Andor's Trail
      • Mindustry
      • Pixel Wheels
      • Vector Pinball
      • Minetest
      • Wesnoth
      • HyperRogue

      What I haven't played, but might check out:

      • FreeOrion
      • Endless Sky
      • Glest, MegaGlest
      • Warzone 2100
      • Zero-K
      • KeeperRL
      • OpenRCT2
      • Oolite
      24 votes
    8. What have you been watching / reading this week? (Anime/Manga)

      What have you been watching and reading this week? You don't need to give us a whole essay if you don't want to, but please write something! Feel free to talk about something you saw that was...

      What have you been watching and reading this week? You don't need to give us a whole essay if you don't want to, but please write something! Feel free to talk about something you saw that was cool, something that was bad, ask for recommendations, or anything else you can think of.

      If you want to, feel free to find the thing you're talking about and link to its pages on Anilist, MAL, or any other database you use!

      4 votes
    9. Tildes' Game Backlog Burner Event: Week 1 Update Thread

      What is this? See here for full details on the event. Post Your Update How did your week go? What games did you get through? How did you feel about them? What's up next for you? Focuses for Week 2...

      What is this?

      See here for full details on the event.

      Post Your Update

      • How did your week go?
      • What games did you get through?
      • How did you feel about them?
      • What's up next for you?

      Focuses for Week 2

      • Games in genres you don't normally play
      • Games that take longer than 4 hours to complete
      • Story-driven games

      Let's burn through these backlogs!

      8 votes
    10. Tildes' Book Backlog Burner Event: Week 1 Update Thread

      What is this? See here for full details on the event. Post Your Update How did your week go? What books did you get through? How did you feel about them? What's up next for you? Focuses for Week 2...

      What is this?

      See here for full details on the event.

      Post Your Update

      • How did your week go?
      • What books did you get through?
      • How did you feel about them?
      • What's up next for you?

      Focuses for Week 2

      • Books in a genre you don't normally read
      • Books that you own physical copies of
      • Books with more than 400 pages

      Let's burn through these backlogs!

      8 votes
    11. What programming/technical projects have you been working on?

      This is a recurring post to discuss programming or other technical projects that we've been working on. Tell us about one of your recent projects, either at work or personal projects. What's...

      This is a recurring post to discuss programming or other technical projects that we've been working on. Tell us about one of your recent projects, either at work or personal projects. What's interesting about it? Are you having trouble with anything?

      14 votes