Saturday, May 4, 2019

Elf Stones

I woke up this morning with what may be a complete understanding of elves.

It's Their Infravision

When I was a kid, I always wanted to play an elf in D&D, specifically because I'd have infravision and could "see in the dark". Getting older I moved away from that because it felt lame, but then the other day I saw this gif and it hit me that elves usually appear so aloof and borderline disgusted with the world because they are visually accosted with actual out gassings of everything in the world.

Yes non-elves, their smile does look pained because every single one of your farts is an assault on their eyes.

Naturally, it would follow that elves themselves wouldn't fart, or burp, sneeze etc. But their bodies would have to do something with that stuff, and as elves are normally depicted as being somewhat "pinched" anyway, it seems likely that their body would compress the disgusting stuff into a sort of pearl, or stone, or "pill".

These elf stones would naturally be terribly pungent in their aroma, and in civilized circles they would be discreetly disposed of. But outdoor types, such as hunters and rangers, would likely value them highly and probably carry around a small pouch of the things. They could wet them, and flick them onto targets they to help track their quarry.

Would likely prized by more traditionally disgusting races such as goblins.

Elf Stones:
All elves produce d4 "elf stones" each week. The stones are about the size of a pinky fingernail, and appear to have a hard opalescent casing that subtly flashes purple and green in the right light. If soaked in water, the casing will begin to disintegrate and the stone will become incredibly sticky and rapidly adhere to flesh and hair. Elf stones without a casing have an incredibly pungent, cloying, aroma that some compare to the smell of rotting roses. A stone that has lost its casing will stink strongly for 72 hours, and even if the stone is found and removed, the smell will linger for d6 hours.

Elven Rangers and outdoors types, will traditionally wet the stones by sucking on them for a short time, and they can flick them onto any target within 50' with surprising accuracy (+5 to hit). They deftly manipulate the wet stones with their fingernails and (to non-elves) never seem to get the smell on their person.

During periods of high stress or poor diet, elves can produce up to d10 stones per week. Half Elves have a 50% chance of producing elf stones in lieu of other forms of excrement.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The thing about G+

Patrick asked if about people’s feelings on G+ being gone. He doesn't miss it.

I do.

It took me a few weeks to bring myself to delete the app (and inbox) from my phone, and I still tryto click where it used to be out of force of habit.

But what about it do I miss? Patrick’s points about it having been on a major downturn for quite a while are very much on the nose, so why even miss it?

1. It’s core idea was excellent. The root of google plus itself was excellent. The wall is a wonderful way for me to find and consume content. It was simultaneously a good way to share visual and text based content. The wall pushed my dopamine buttons because there was this mild “hunting and finding” element to it, that didn’t descend into the tumblr/Pinterest wall madness.

Circles were exceptional. I didn’t use them to post to (almost always posting publicly because I always wanted strangers to be able to find and reference my stuff if they stumbled upon it). Rather, I used them to sort people I was following. It enabled me to basically rank the content/people I wanted to see. I bundled up illustrators and nap makers. I bundled up Game Masters. People in Texas. Layout people. People I personally considered “elite posters”. General posters. And perhaps most importantly: The Abyss.

There are lots of damaged, or depressed, or politically obnoxious, or meme posters, etc out there. On the whole, much of what they post is stuff I’m not really interested in. Perhaps it’s even mostly trash. But. There’s always a chance they’ll post something good. Something quality. And so, a couple times a week I could peer into the Abyss and hunt for the quality. While simultaneously keeping the garbage posts out of my home feed.

Likewise I could focus my feed down and say: “what are the mapmakers and illustrators talking about this week?” and I could glimpse more focused memetic “pulses”. I miss this more than anything about the platform.

2. The good times were great. The golden era was phenomenal. Full stop. The crumbling, and destruction doesn’t change the fact that the good times were just so fucking good. Perhaps the branches all bloomed so heavily that their breaking was both natural and inevitable.

3. It was a Goldilocks zone for posting. Twitter is too shot and fragmented to have decent conversations or make truly decent posts. Reddit is a cesspool. Everyone worth a damn is banned from Mewe is all walled off and only members can see your posts. Blog posts have always felt more “formal”, perhaps that’s just me, but I feel like I need to try with a blogpost whereas G+ felt perfect for half formed fragments that could then get “workshopped” in the comments. Discord is too transient and fulfills different needs. Tumblr is both insular and undead.

G+ just really nailed “microblogging” better than anything else I’ve ever seen.

4. It had just enough critical mass. Swordfish Islands likely would never have existed without G+, and the pledge data on Kickstarter showing pledges that came from a G+ link are pretty significant. And I’m sure that doesn’t just apply to my Kickstarter. 

It may have been a small community, but the people were actually fucking real, and they backedeach other’s projects with real money. Perhaps other platforms are like this too, but those platforms appear to lock the post access behind paid promotions. 500 people may like your page on Facebook, but only a tiny fragment of those people will see your post unless you pay. G+ did not seem to do this (at least on that level).

The key that made all this possible was the ability to share circles early on. Community hubs were able to basically curate people. And since G+ more or less pulled all its early adopters from bloggers, those early curated circles had a foundation of “here are people who produce, relatively consistently, and of good, or better, quality.”

That was just unbeatable.

It was special. I’m glad I was able to be a part of it. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and my life. Of course I’ll miss it. But perhaps the line gets all muddled when someone says G+. Are they talking about the platform? Or the community? Or bits of both?