Pixel Scroll 6/5/16 Scroll Sung Blue, Everybody Knows One

(1) D&D. Josh Kramer at the Washington Post created “An illustrated guide to why grown-ups are playing Dungeons & Dragons again”.

With a jolt of popularity from its latest edition and a larger pop cultural footprint, Dungeons & Dragons might be making a significant comeback. (A handbook for the game topped Amazon’s best-sellers list for several days in 2014.) The largest group of players are millennials, and more of the new devotees are female than you might have thought, too. As a freelance cartoonist, journalist and a game-player in D.C., I wanted to explore why D&D isn’t just a throwback.

There are 16 frames – this is the second.

d and d

(2) WHAT WRITERS GET PAID. Fynbospress at Mad Genius Club sounds the alert – “New Author Earnings Report Out!”

This report is in far greater depth – not only did they crawl the top 100 in subgenre, but print, audio, and also-boughts as well. It’s tracking over 1 million titles, to shine a light into the previously dark unknown of who and what isn’t on a bestseller list but is still selling, and how, and where. And the results – are impressive!

Where does the information in the “May 2016 Author Earnings Report” come from?

Our methodology employs a software spider that crawls across Amazon’s bestseller lists. The 200,000+ titles on those lists make up roughly 60% of Amazon’s daily sales. This leaves an appreciable number of titles and sales unaccounted for. There’s more elephant here to uncover! We’ve long heard this might be the case, as independent authors familiar with our data have claimed to be making a livable wage without a single one of their books appearing on any Amazon bestseller list. These are the truly invisible among the already difficult-to-discern. We wanted to see if they could be found.

So for this report, we went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of “tax brackets”.

The report has lots of graphs and interpretive text, and ends with this comment:

When we lowered the author earnings bar to $50,000 a year, we found 142 invisible authors that were earning that much or more on Amazon.com, without any of their titles appearing on any category best-seller lists. 105 of those 142 were self-published indies.

We live in exciting times. Today it’s possible to be a full-time professional author, quietly earning $50,000+ a year — even six figures a year — without ever sending a query letter to anyone. On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.

The only gatekeepers that matter now are readers.

(3) BUT THE REAL MONEY’S IN THE FUNNIES. “Comic books buck trend as print and digital sales flourish” reports CNBC.

Digital disruption has upended virtually every corner of publishing, but in the world of comic books, something curious is happening: Print sales are thriving alongside the rise of their digital counterparts.

Print comic book revenues have been on the rise in recent years, even as digital comics’ sales boom. Print receipts have held up at a time when publishers have introduced all-you-can-download subscriptions that offer thousands of comics for a flat monthly or annual fee.

In 2014, digital comics revenues excluding unlimited subscriptions reached $100 million, according to ICv2, an online trade magazine that tracks comic sales and other trends. That was up from just $1 million seven years ago, when ICv2 started collecting data.

(4) RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY. While members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association have already received a copy, the public can buy from Amazon the 2016 Rhysling Poetry Anthology with the works nominated for this year’s award.

The anthology allows the members to easily review and consider all nominated works without the necessity of obtaining the diverse number of publications in which the nominated works first appeared and serves as a showcase of the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry of 2015. The Rhysling Anthology is available to anyone with an interest in this unique compilation of verse from some of the finest poets in the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry.

(5) CLARION FUNDRAISER. Clarion UCSD’S Seventh Annual Write-a-Thon is looking for participants.

What is a write-a-thon, anyway? Think charity walk-a-thon. In a walk-a-thon, volunteers walk as far as they can in return for pledges from sponsors who make donations, usually based on the number of miles the volunteer walks. Our Write-a-Thon works like that too, but instead of walking, our volunteers write with a goal in mind. Their sponsors make donations to Clarion sometimes based on number of words written, sometimes based on other goals, or just to show support for the writer and Clarion.

And there are incentives.

As always, we have prizes for our top Write-a-Thon earners. In addition, this year we have surprises as well as prizes!

  • The top fundraiser will receive a commemorative 2016 Clarion Write-a-Thon trophy celebrating their success.
  • Our top five fundraisers will each receive a critique from a well-known Clarion instructor or alumnus. We’ve lined up Terry Bisson, David Anthony Durham, Kenneth Schneyer, Judith Tarr, and Mary Turzillo to have a look at your golden prose. A roll of the dice decides who is paired with whom. (The authors have three months to complete their critiques, and the short story or chapters submitted must be 7,500 words or less.)
  • Our top ten fundraisers will each receive a $25 gift certificate of their choice from a selection of bookstores and stationers.
  • A few small but special surprises will be distributed randomly among everyone who raises $50 or more. Lucky winners will be decided by Write-a-Thon minions drawing names from Clara the Write-a-Thon Cat’s hat. These are such a surprise that even we don’t know what they are yet. We do know that certain of our minions will be visiting places like Paris and Mongolia this summer. Anything at all might turn up in their luggage. In addition, who knows what mystery items unnamed Clarionites might donate to the loot!

(6) SECOND FIFTH. CheatSheet refuses to allow anyone to remain ignorant — “’Voltron’: 5 Things to Know About the Netflix Rebook”

For those who don’t know, the series was a top-rated syndicated children’s show during its original two-season run. Despite its initial success, previous attempts at bringing Voltron back haven’t worked out, and the show hasn’t returned to air in three decades. That’s all about to change now, thanks to Netflix. Here’s what we know about the company’s planned upcoming revival so far….

Here’s a trailer.

ROAR, created by the Voltron production team, is a special look inside Season 1 of the Netflix original series DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender, which reimagines one of the most popular fan-favorite shows of all time in an all-new comedic action-packed show from executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender) and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery (The Legend of Korra).


(7) BRADBURY. The New Yorker published Ray Bradbury’s reminiscence “Take Me Home” the day before he died in 2012.

When I was seven or eight years old, I began to read the science-fiction magazines that were brought by guests into my grandparents’ boarding house, in Waukegan, Illinois. Those were the years when Hugo Gernsback was publishing Amazing Stories, with vivid, appallingly imaginative cover paintings that fed my hungry imagination. Soon after, the creative beast in me grew when Buck Rogers appeared, in 1928, and I think I went a trifle mad that autumn. It’s the only way to describe the intensity with which I devoured the stories. You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion.

When I look back now, I realize what a trial I must have been to my friends and relatives. It was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another. I was always yelling and running somewhere, because I was afraid life was going to be over that very afternoon.

(8) MORE BANG FOR THE BILLION. The news is filled with speculation about the Rogue One reshoots – which may involve literal shooting judging by the latest hire.

Veteran stunt coordinator and second unit director Simon Crane has been tapped to assist with the lengthy reshoots for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Rogue One, being directed by Gareth Edwards, will undergo significant additional filming this summer, it was revealed earlier this week. Disney and Lucasfilm are hoping to accomplish several goals with the reshoots, including working on the tone of what has been described by sources as a “war movie.” The lightening of the feel of the film is meant to broaden its appeal.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Angel Johnston for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

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82 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/5/16 Scroll Sung Blue, Everybody Knows One

  1. 1) I found this very interesting, because it is opposite of my experience. The local game stores couldn’t sell 5e and no one runs games at the local gaming haunts. I go to both GenCon and Origins and the 5e presence at those two major Cons is a shadow of what D&D once was.
    Many of the changes in 5e are abhorrent to me, however, I could see where it would help with entry into the hobby. I can also see where people who loved 1st and 2nd might see the changes as a huge improvement.

    At first I was annoyed with 5e, and I have now just realized it isn’t for me. If I want to get a game on, I have 5-6 systems that I can choose depending on what I want.

    On another point, excluding preteen boys club games, I am used to having a pretty even mix gender wise. As the eternal vice-president(8 semester terms, it became a joke after the first two terms) of my college’s gaming group, I served under more female presidents than male. I know the stereotype is out there, but talking about 20-30% women like it is some sort of amazing stat, sort of rubs me the wrong way.

    As con game writer/runners, we do need to remember that when we write the modules. I run Call of Cthulhu, and it seems like default character is cis white male. This tendency has lead to a custom of offering women the first pick of characters if there is a female character so they have the opportunity to not cross-gender.
    I have been seeing people working against this habit recently, You too can Cthulhu for instance, has two all female games at this year’s GenCon. And both of them are not new games to this con.

  2. Okay I mentioned in a different thread that I was working on a filk for E. Pluribus Hugo. I’d like to run it past you guys, and see if you think it makes sense. Here’s what I have so far.

    E Pluribus Hugo
    By Cat

    First I would note, this is not for the vote
    It’s just nominations in play
    For members it’s great, cause we just nominate
    Up to five in the usual way

    A Worldcon member may nominate
    The works of the year they believe were great
    A ballot contains in the final pass
    Up to five works in each Hugo class
    One ballot gives works in one class, in joint
    Fractions that sum to a single point.
    Across all the ballots those fractions sum
    To say in the rank where each work will come

    Now I would note, this is not for the vote
    It’s just nominations in play
    For members it’s great, cause we just nominate
    Up to five in the usual way

    The challenge comes next, where the bottom-ranked may
    Fight for the right to remain in play
    We count up the mentions that each received,
    The one on more ballots is thus reprieved.
    The works that have lost in the challenge round
    Are crossed off the ballots on which they’re found
    As the number of works on a ballot wanes
    It gives bigger fractions to what remains.

    Now I would note, this is not for the vote
    It’s just nominations in play
    For members it’s great, cause we just nominate
    Up to five in the usual way

    And over and over, the best to seek,
    Sum up the points and then challenge the weak;
    The mentions save one at the top of the range;
    Cross off the rest and the fractions change.
    Count up the items that still survive
    Repeat till you winnow it down to five
    These are the finalists. Cheer! And then
    Take the next class and begin again.

    In closing I note, this is not for the vote
    It’s just nominations in play
    For members it’s great, cause we just nominate
    Up to five in the usual way.

  3. Just stumbled across this SF cross-over fan-art. (Since MLP is nominated for a Hugo this year, it is doubly on-topic!) Could use some fan-fiction to go along with it, though.

  4. Ancedotal observation, at least on weekends. My Friendly Local Gaming Store (The Source Comics and Games) is all about Pathfinder in that d20 niche. I don’t think I’ve seen a 5e game there to play.

    Of course, my group and I play all sorts of more independent and other more nichy stuff (although we did play a small bit of 4e). I just started Gming HILLFOLK for them this last weekend.

  5. I do give 5e credit for the updated version of Appendix N (the recommended reading list) in the back of the PHB.

  6. @Snodberry Fields:

    As con game writer/runners, we do need to remember that when we write the modules. I run Call of Cthulhu, and it seems like default character is cis white male. This tendency has lead to a custom of offering women the first pick of characters if there is a female character so they have the opportunity to not cross-gender.

    I’ve absolutely experienced this – in CoC, and at GenCon, just like you mention. I may have told this story before, so to keep it simple: The gamemaster was happy to see two women had signed up, because the module had exactly two female characters, so that was perfect! Only problem was, all the male characters were players in the rock ‘n roll band, while the female characters were both hangers-on whom none of the other characters, in-character, liked.

    As you also noted, the GM made sure to let the female players choose their characters first. But it was less “Which character would you like?” but rather “Hey, I have not one but TWO female characters for you to chose from! Which would you like?” He was very surprised when I chose neither and instead opted for the lead guitarist.

    I like Dread modules. Most of the ones I’ve played in are gender-agnostic, and the characters are fleshed out via a series of leading questions that are a lot more fun than math-stats.

  7. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: the module had exactly two female characters, so that was perfect! Only problem was, all the male characters were players in the rock ‘n roll band, while the female characters were both hangers-on

    Ugh. Just ugh. Please tell me this happened 20 years ago.

  8. @Leslie C Seveneves ending discussion: Nterrq ba gur gvgf! Jung qvqa’g znxr frafr gb zr vf gung obgu zra naq jbzra unir znzznel gvffhr, naq gurl’ir vaqvpngrq gung ba gur guveq crefba gurve sng unf ribyirq gb fbzrguvat gung jbhyq erqhpr urng ybff haqrejngre, fb jul jbhyq gung abg unir unccrarq gb znzznel gvffhr sbe obgu frkrf?

    V qvq yvxr gur Cvatref zber va trareny gubhtu, zbfgyl orpnhfr gurve fheiviny naq fbpvrgl jnf yrsg zber zlfgrevbhf naq gurersber V pna svyy va jvgu guvatf V guvax ner ernfbanoyr, jurernf gur Qvttref naq gur Fcnpref obgu unq gbb zhpu sevqtr ybtvp tbvat ba va gurve fgbevrf gb jbex sbe zr. 5000 lrnef vf n evqvphybhfyl ybat gvzr gb xrrc 200 crbcyr nyvir va n pnir!

    I noticed one of the most recent reviews on goodreads says they wish Ursula LeGuin had written the third part, which I think is about right…

    @Mark @David thanks for the rec – into the sample pen it goes!

    @Vasha …ew. I might hold off my own reading until I find out if there’s worthwhile things coming later on in the series.

  9. @nicole J LeBouef-Little
    That is an awkward situation, I am glad you discarded the suggestion and took the character that spoke to you. I hope the overall experience was better.

    I do first come first serve, usually they don’t come as a group. A couple of my rounds this year are likely to be slightly delayed as we have some setup, which brings me to an interesting question. Is the tradition of offering women first pick something that one should avoid? If it was handled more neutrally, is it acceptable?

    Thinking about this has me wondering if I could write a completely gender-less module. Allow players to select from a collection of diverse pictures and names. I wonder how that round would play out. The main problem would be avoiding pronouns and avoiding gender relations in the interaction section of the profiles.

  10. @Robin
    Funny! Because our Tolkien students tend to be a mix of our own non-traditional students who are taking it for an elective/lit concentration and other universities’ non-traditional students taking our course online for the same reasons, I do occasionally run into those who appear to be checking on my nerd cred or Ramon’s (former grad student who teaches the course when I don’t). “Fortunately” for me, I was an early-adopter of D&D in college and, after not playing for about a decade, returned to DM for my kids when they got old enough. (They’re all millennials or whatever-else-we-decided-to-call-thems and all still play a variety of RPG and other tabletop games as alleged grownups, including playing by Skype). Ramon has to fall back on playing D&D when he was in the military (he started my grad program when he was stationed in Afghanistan). Most of the students don’t think that way, but the ones that do really do seem to be the “I would be shocked” demographic you noted.

    Continuing a previous conversation (about needing multiple drinks prior to sharing academic horror stories of the admin kind), ANOTHER awful thing admins do to tenure-track or probationary faculty (in addition to conning them into implementing stuff like TQM) is to put them on various diversity initiatives or student-support activities and then zap them at tenure review for doing those things instead of trad academic publishing. Particularly awful in the case of new PoC faculty, who tend to get put on EVERY one of said initiative/committees.

  11. @Sean O’Hara

    I liked AKB0048 a lot more then I expected too. With all the Idol marketing I did not know if I could stand it however they made it work. But it felt more Kawamori to me so I did not include it on my list.

    I mostly watch the more sci fi and fantasy anime so I missed out on some of Okada’s more well known shows such as Hanasaku Iroha or True Tears. However I do remember the uproar while Hanasaku Iroha was airing.

    I decided to watch WIXOSS mostly because there was so little info about what it was going to be about. It was based on a new card game with very little lore so it gave Okada a clean slate to work with and that can lead to some very strange things. But I do not think anyone was expecting anything as strange as what we got. I do wonder what the new season is going to do this fall.

  12. I liked the last part of Seveneves best. I didn’t find it particularly realistic, but I don’t feel I have much ability to predict that far in the future, so I’m okay with pretty much anything. And it had some cool ideas and concepts.

  13. @JJ, @Snodberry Fields – Alas, this was more like 6 years ago. But the rest of the experience was enjoyable! I think it was a case of the GM simply not thinking the module, or his choice of module, through. I got no pushback on my choice at all, and it was a fun time. The guy who ended up with the ex-girlfriend character did a stellar job with that too.

  14. @Snodberry Fields – sorry, posted too fast…

    I do first come first serve, usually they don’t come as a group. A couple of my rounds this year are likely to be slightly delayed as we have some setup, which brings me to an interesting question. Is the tradition of offering women first pick something that one should avoid? If it was handled more neutrally, is it acceptable?

    I think it can be perfectly acceptable, if it isn’t (as in my anecdote) worded in a way to push women to make certain choices. I could certainly see doing this if you think the guys might be less likely to be willing to play across gender lines, and so letting them pick first could mean reducing the gals’ choices down to a depressingly gender-normative set–especially if the module is written with gender-normative roles. Not that it’s your responsibility to force the guys to cross-play; more that you might decide to act consciously to protect the gals from having yet another reduced choice situation. So I guess it’s context-dependent on the group and the module.

    Most of the time at GenCon I saw gamemasters wait until the group was all there before handing out choice of characters, mainly because they didn’t want to have to explain the setting, story, character dynamics, etc. more than once.

    Interested to see what others think about your question!

  15. Cat on June 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm said

    Have this Internet that I’m not using….

  16. @Arifel, Leslie C re: Seveneves third section

    Npghnyyl gung jnf 500 crbcyr va gur ZpDhneevrf’ pnir. Naq lrnu, V qba’g ernyvfgvpnyyl frr nalbar fheivivat nsgre gur rkgvapgvba rirag. Obgu gur Qvttref naq gur Fcnpref fubhyq unir fgneirq, fhssbpngrq, be bgurejvfr qvrq bhg jvguva n srj qrpnqrf.

    (Naq yrg’f abg trg vagb gur vzcbffvovyvgl bs cnegurabtrarfvf, rira trargvpnyyl ratvarrerq. Shegurezber, ubj va gur uryy pbhyq n “ebbgfgbpx” uhzna unir ghearq vagb fbzrguvat pncnoyr bs fheivivat ba gur frn sybbe? Qvq gurl qrirybc tvyyf, n yn Xriva Pbfgare va Jngrejbeyq? Vg’f abg yvxr “oerrqvat n jbys vagb n cbbqyr,” nsgre nyy. Oyrnu.)

  17. Has everone noticed that there is a new Harry Turtledove novel out? The House of Daniel. Takes place in 1934 during the US depression, except in a world with magic, vampires, and zombies. Follows a player in a baseball league. I’ve literally read only the first couple of pages of it so far, but thought it worth mentioning. (At least for those first couple of pages, it is written in an “aw, shucks”, “howdy ma’am” dialect. Not sure if it will remain distracting or not.)

    Also, a tangentially-related aside (what with both being about depression-era baseball players). Mike keeps a copy of an article about Field of Dreams linked at the top of the site. I don’t follow sportsball at all, but really like the movie and the novel. (When I saw the movie in the theater as a teen, I was totally hooked by the end of the opening voice-over.) I happen to live within a few miles of a textile mill where Shoeless Joe Jackson worked as a child laborer at 6 years old, and in doing research on the history of my area have dug up some interesting articles on the mill he (and his family) worked at. It was essentially a little self-contained fiefdom and I’ve long thought it would make a good subject for a movie (or at least a PBS documentary.) Mike, (and others) this may interest you. Here’s an epub I made from a couple of old PDFs scanned by Google Books covering the social history. This is a web article on some of the technological firsts. And, to prove that there are collectors for everything, there is a web site dedicated to insulators from the mill’s power lines.

    (ETA that, coincidentally enough, the town is also the location of one of the helicopter prison escapes referenced in yesterday’s XKCD.)

  18. @Snodberry Fields & @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: I’m confused; are you talking about LARPs, not RPGs? I’m trying to figure out why the gender of RPG characters matters. But I haven’t played an RPG module at a con with prefab characters, soooo maybe they all have highly-gendered interactions and are half-LARP, half-RPG or something. For regular RPGs, it seems like just letting folks pick their gender and name would work. But I’m thinking about the few modules I’ve seen with optional prefab characters (where the names and genders were utterly meaningless) – so probably I just totally don’t know what you’re talking about.

    I have run into issues with genders when participating in a murder mystery dinner (which is LARPing). ;-( I’m not into those events anyway, but being a same-sex couple, I’m pretty sure we got skipped one time because the gender breakdown just wouldn’t work. On the other paw, another time we and a lesbian couple were invited and so things worked out great. 😉

    @Cat: Woah, I did not know you were working on that. Cool! 🙂 I’m too tired to go through it all (stupid work…), but I liked what I read.

  19. @ Bonnie McDaniel: I may possibly have been sputtering for a good bit of the last part of Seveneves, but it was the bit about the oernfgf that finally broke me.
    V gubhtug gur jubyr Cvatre haqrejngre nqncgngvba guvat pbhyq unir orra svar vs ur unq whfg ersreraprq trargvp ratvarrevat engure guna fryrpgvir oerrqvat, fvapr gur vzcyvpngvba jnf gung cyragl bs rssbeg naq zbarl jrag vagb gur haqrejngre fheiviny rssbeg. Whfg xvaq bs fybccl, gur jnl ur qvq vg.

  20. @kendall
    Call of Cthulhu at cons is often actually mini-larps. You will get a character with a back story and usually a grid explaining your relationship with the other players. The dice based rules become very optional.

    The amount of reading before a round starts can be comical. Usually, I budget 15-20 minutes (of a four hour round) for initial packet reading.

  21. Cat, I’ve written a tune for your song. Email me at [email protected] so I can send it to you. I have it in Sibelius 7 format and as a PDF, and I can easily convert it to MIDI and other formats as needful.

  22. @Kendall I was wondering about the same thing. My experience with tabletop gaming, both as player and GM, is that ready-made characters would leave gender/name/looks/orientation for the players to decide. If not, then the players could change it to suit their needs. Those things were hardly ever relevant to the game, but are what makes a character personal.
    Now, if you’re planning a game that challenges the player’s concept of gender, than it’s another conversation (a very interesting one).

    Maybe relevant: I’m not from an english-speaking country, my experience is from before the internet was widespread and we didn’t really get translated game modules, only basic rulebooks. If there’s a tradition of gendering characters in adventure modules, well, we wouldn’t know. We were making things up from scratch, because it was what could be done.

  23. Nicole –
    Dread from Windmill games? The one with Jenga, rather than dice? I’ve really enjoyed playing in that system! And my husband designed and ran a scenario in it at a local con that went pretty well. 🙂

  24. @Saoki: “My experience with tabletop gaming, both as player and GM, is that ready-made characters would leave gender/name/looks/orientation for the players to decide. If not, then the players could change it to suit their needs.”

    That’s been my experience as well. Frequently, published material will set those things for convenience – it’s word-costly to differentiate multiple unnamed and undescribed characters – but I’ve never known GMs to have any reservations about changing those. I can imagine certain circumstances where it could become complicated, such as if the adventure involves Known Characters, but how often does that come up in intro games? Even then, if it was an issue for the players, I’d find some way to deal with it. Player fun is more important than fidelity to a written canon.

  25. @Cubist

    Thanks! I will e-mail as soon as I get to the other computer. I look forward to seeing it/ hearing it.

  26. @Snodberry Fields: Cool, thanks for elaborating! I’ve only played CoC once or twice, years ago, with our own characters. One of these years, I really should play an RPG of some sort at a con. 🙂

  27. Back when I was with WATSFiC (the WATerloo Science Fiction Club), the D&D gaming tourneys we ran there would usually have fairly detailed backgrounds. As in we would usually have two pages of standard character sheet, one page just of personal background, and one page just of ‘what you think of the other five characters’. Then again, WATSFiC tourneys had advancement based on team rather than player, and tended to focus pretty heavily on role-playing, with at least 50% of the score based on that (We even had one game once where it was 100% role-playing, no fixed objectives, and half the characters were 0-level. For the other Waterloo people out there: Ronald M. Green.). GMs would swap stories and argue afterward on which teams played their characters as written most correctly.

    So for that sort of thing, the gender of the characters often was important.

  28. @LunarG – that’s the one. If you knock over the tower while trying to pull a piece, you die. If you knock over the tower by accidentally hipchecking the table, you die. It’s fun watching people scoot their chairs back from the table by half-inches over the course of the evening.

    I was talking about tabletop RPG; though some “acting out” does occur in the room, there’s still character sheets and dice on the table. I’m glad to hear there are so many gender-optional modules out there. Some modules still define their pre-fab characters very precisely in terms of gender, name, age, role in society, past interactions with the other characters, etc.

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