Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Community Proves It's Worth

So there was a flame war and I missed it.  The various political elements at TARGA (Traditional Adventure Roleplaying Games Association) got into a big fight about how important it was to protect the children from a film featuring a number of oddly dressed women sitting around a table making a few crude sexual jokes between playing a very casual game of D&D.  The film comes from Zak of Playing D&D With Pornstars fame, and he made great hay out of the professional standing of his players.  I can't possibly blame him ... if you've got porn stars, flaunt porn stars.

Beyond that, I can't tell you much.  I missed the actual war.  I was playing D&D and Sunday, I was having very kinky sex with my partner.  All day.  I had just got these thigh high boots, and I was anxious to put them on and ...

But that's not important right now.

It should surprise no one that as soon as a community installation like TARGA gets the slightest bit of honest attention, all the morality crap is soon to follow right behind.  I doubt very much when the group was launched little more than a year ago (their blog begins with Jan, 2009), anyone gave two thoughts for the importance of protecting children.  The only comment about children on their introductory post was that they weren't going to force lead miniatures into their children's hands as proof of their old schoolness.  And I'm not sure if TARGA gives a shit about children even now.  I haven't seen the posts that made up the flame war, I can't find them and I don't know which side the powers that be came down on - although Zak's video is still there for anyone to see.  Makes no difference to me.  Someone at TARGA or who reads TARGA or who thinks TARGA should correspond to their personal morality was there to use the existence of the group to pound out the same old morality play we've all watched destroy every valuable institution in the last fifty years.

Boo Hoo.  It was inevitable.

You know, when I sit here and preach and piss people off, you know it's me, and only me.  I'm not using an acronym to back up my opinion and give it a false value.  I'm not pitching a philosophical position that you're meant to believe is held by a host of people, who are all approving me, and disapproving you.  However you feel about me, we are one on one - I hate you, you hate me, and that's as far as it goes.  Play the game however you like.  Doesn't affect me.  Just as what I do really doesn't affect you.

We don't have to tailor our comments here or anywhere else, because we're not representing a 'Front.'  We aren't protecting anyone's thin skins but our own.  Let the rest of them harp and debate about the public relations policy a generalized union ought to have for the good of everyone, and you and I will just kick back.  We'll talk about the game, what we love about it, what we're doing with it, where we hope our world will be twenty months from now.

Twenty months, when TARGA is either a sick, dead joke or a puffed-up pomposity with nothing to say.


Ryan said...

Sunday, I was having very kinky sex with my partner. All day. I had just got these thigh high boots, and I was anxious to put them on and ...

Nooooo! Think of the children, Alexis!

...but in all seriousness, I enjoy your blog so much because it stays apolitical. I've also learned a thing or two from it.

Let TARGA become the equivalent of a suburban neighborhood covenant, sending nasty notes when you leave your garage door open or paint your picket fence the wrong shade of off-white.

PatrickW said...

Completely out in left field: Do you do separate terrain maps from your topology maps (i.e., maps that show forests and such versus elevation)?

I ask as I went to convert a map I did one way to your way and realized I've always mapped terrain and never elevation.

Just curious. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I think PatrickW's response here is the best thing that could have happened to this blog post. He directly took the advice offered by the author. I hope "the community" does the same.

Zzarchov said...

I have mild concern for the issue in that it affected me marginally (and you as well given the blog roll) since for some reason it caused the 'Old Guy RPG' blog to go down, and I read that blog.

not sure what the story there was.

I had never read Targa so I really don't care about its going ons. I did watch "I hit it with my axe" though and it was kinda cool.

Alexis said...


I would recommend doing a second map for vegetation and a third map for climate. Have a look at the world climate link on my blog, and at this page on wikipedia.

You're absolutely right, Andrej - I don't think the question is out in left field AT ALL. It is spot on the money, as far as I'm concerned.

I found the video mildly amusing, Zzarchov, and in no way bothersome. Regarding Chgowiz, I feel that he's fine, he's dealing with things in the best way he can and that if he finds himself missing the blogging, he'll start it again under this name or under another - in the latter case, if he wants the D&D without the hassle.

Darok said...


Here's a question I have been tinkering with that is important in my game (due to a siege).

I've been trying to figure out how to take your economic system and build something similar in my world. I really like the way you handle 'references'.

My PCs are currently in a closed off city of about 15 million inhabitants (don't ask) that is able to withstand siege almost indefinitely due to a highly magical agriculture industry.

My dilemma is this: I'm trying to figure out how to adjust the 'Reference' number for a good by the consumed supply. If my PCs organized a cattle slaughtering holiday where-in 10,000 bulls were slaughtered in a day, I'm trying to figure out what the long term effects on the economy would be.

So really I'm trying to figure a way to convert actual numbers of goods to a reference, and vice versa.

Also: could you elucidate the manner in which you compare say cattle reference to gold reference to get a price equivalency?

5stonegames said...

No group is too small for soap opera or infighting.

Its just human nature.

Anonymous said...

Actually, as both a co-founder of TARGA and someone who attended every conference call, I can assure you that I was a worry-wart all along and I am sure that even my newfound enemies that were there can confirm that.

If you weren't through it, you have no knowledge of what happened and therefore, this is all just theory and conjecture on your part.

I find the most puzzling part of all of this are the people who really have no idea what is going on (from either side of the equation) suddenly being experts and blowing the situation much further out of control than it ever would have been.

Alexis said...

@Alexis who runs this blog--
sorry we have the same screen name--long time lurker, first-time poster

Alexis said...


The tendency is to think that the slaughter of 10,000 bulls would have any effect on the economy, because that is an awful lot of bulls. But consider this:

Where it comes to cows, it is typical (in traditional societies) that they are let live until they are slaughtered in their sixth year, if not slaughtered as calves. From this you may correctly conjecture that 10,000 slaughtered cows would justify an overall population of 60,000 cows. Since you specified ‘bulls’, then we can assume a population of 120,000 cows.

That is not actually a lot of beasts. Through most of medieval history, the number of cows in some parts of the world outnumbered people; given that Spain in the 15th century had a population of something like four to six million, it is quite reasonable for a substantial sized city, like Burgos for example, would be surrounded by well over 120,000 cattle.

All that is significant here is that the bulls in your festival are being sacrificed on the same day. There’s no problem there … the bulls will be slaughtered for meat anyway, and typically in the same month (usually at the point when the grass ran out for that season, before the winter, since the meat needed to stay as fresh as possible until the following spring).

So you’re not affecting your economy at all … the bulls would be slaughtered for meat anyway, the fact that it is being done on the same day is irrelevant.

Cameron said...

Trust me - many snarky comments have just been deleted.

Serious question: Does TARGA serve any purpose not already served by everybody having everybody else linked on their sidebars?

I'd never heard of TARGA nor visited the site until this kerfluffle. GROGNARDIA gets more hits in a day than TARGA has gotten in its lifetime. I certainly didn't need it to find any the information and resources I've linked and/or downloaded.

If - as I think is the case - TARGA exists in order to help define the market base of a growing cottage industry - it might be best if TARGA were taken down until those involved have given a little more thought to the problems inherent in trying to package old-school do-it-yourself-ism as a commercial product.

Alexis said...


Not a group of one. I am dictator here.


I know you are one of the contenders. Makes no difference to me, nor does your snotty “you don’t know, you haven’t been there” nonsense. We have ALL been there … every flame war is the same, every hurt feeling and every righteous indignation rising from the same sense of betrayal or insecurity.

I don’t know why you’d be puzzled at something being rediscussed on other blogger sites. First time on the Internet? At any rate, you’ll note I wasn’t crapping over the actual flame war, but rather that a flame war was inevitable between those who feel that committees, or those who identify with them, have privileges over individuals, ie., censorship. A committee put up Zak’s video. You, as a member of the committee, had an opinion … that you should have taken up with Zak, on his blog, privately between the two of you. But instead you made it public … and now you’re here whining that I’m doing what a journalist does: commenting.

Take it home, brother.


Damn, I thought you’d cracked my password. I’m afraid I’m going to have to delete your comment, as it rightly belongs on someone else’s forum, and not here.

Alexis said...

Ok, then i'll make another comment that's Tao-relevant.

Do you have a wear-and-tear system for weapons and armor? Forgive me if I've missed it.

Darok said...

Thank you Alexis, that is a very good point and, for my situation, points to a very important item-- a city that big, under non-violent siege for that long will inevitably have a VERY stable economy, especially once trade guilds and price setting come into play.

I may as well use the tables on your blog, or from the equipment books.

Alexis said...


Thing about your magic industry ... every system has a virus. Wouldn't your siegers also have a magic counterattack?

Alexis said...

Alexis the Younger (on the assumption that you're probably younger than me),

At present, the only system I use is that on a d20, a natural 1 dictates that a save must be made for the weapon ... for typical weapons, this is a d6, where another 1 indicates the weapon is broken. This seems to produce a fair bit of spoilage.

But no general system yet.

Darok said...

Wouldn't your siegers also have a magic counterattack?

Yes. This is complicated by the fact that

1) Those in power inside (the Mages Guild) have a vested interest in maintaining the standoff, and thus manufacture illusory siegers.

2)The siegers are effectively immortal, but unable to effect magic on the city. (They are demons that have had their home plane reset from Hell to this world, thus when they die they reappear here as the lowest tier of Demon)

3)the Besieged Mages Guild are able to constantly reinforce and undo the physical damage done by the besiegers.

4)The item that binds the Demons to this plane is the same item that allows the city to exist at all. Destroying it will set the Demons free, but also cause the crumbling of the city, and a sizable amount of death.

It's all very convoluted, and really comes down to a hastily laid plan for a campaign a few months ago, that I have since been trying to make rational.

Alexis said...

Damn, sounds like a nice campaign to me.

Zak S said...


So, what we think of as our home plane is someone else's Hell?


Darok said...

@Zak S

Exactly. Our home plane is Hell for the Demons. They want to get back to Hell and their plans laid aeons ago,torment some sinners...

Who have been running amok in their absence, taking parts of Hell over.

But, any more of my campaigns digressions will be taking over Alexis' post.

Zak S said...


Actually, I find it strangely relevant.

PatrickW said...

@Alexis the Elder:

Thanks for the answer - it was the conclusion I came to based on some of the maps you've posted. But I hadn't thought of climate maps - what do those look like?.

Adam Thornton said...

Here's the funny thing, and I think it relates to the recent unpleasantness, and Alexis's post, and Raggi's recent "hey, most people are douches" post.

This is something I already said on Grognardia, so if it seems familiar, that's why.

I went to GaryCon.

I had a tremendously wonderful time.

During that time, I played not only OD&D, Basic D&D, AD&D v1, and AD&D v2 but also a new game that's OGL and mostly d20. While there was a little ragging (C&C player to us: "Why don't you come over here and play a real system?"), really, there was no anger there. I talked about sandbox vs. plot and how to establish the trust-relationship with your players enough to let go of the reins and do a sandbox, and, although I was talking to much newer-school guys (if you (the gamers from Chicago whose name I've forgotten) are reading this, that's a mixed-gender "guys") than I was, and we weren't pissed about it.

More than that: I played something like 28 hours of games with total strangers, probably fifty of them in all, and no one acted like a dickhead at the table. Let me repeat that: NO ONE.

So I don't buy Raggi's thesis in its entirety. Those people who care about gaming, care about gaming. And I guess I share your basic opinion about TARGA: "Who dat?" It's nice that they raised some money for the Gygax statue fund, but, well, so did I. Of course, I was looking for something in return (at the auction), but hey.

Me, I came away from this weekend with a renewed conviction that I like this game and I like the people who play it with me. The rest of the drama? Whatever. Sure, I tried to "protect the children" in that I tried not to say "fuck" at the game I was in in which there was an actual eight-or-nine-year-old, and I tried not to be too vulgar and blasphemous at the games I was in in which there was an actual priest, although I don't think he actually would've minded much. And if you ever get a chance to play with Father Brian of Kansas, take it. He's a lot of fun at the table. But, you know, if you don't want your kid reading Carcosa or watching I Hit It With My Axe, that's your own lookout, not mine. I like both those things and intend to continue doing so.