Sunday, September 24, 2017

Measuring Yourself as a DM

I'll ask you to take the time to figure out the total amount of time you've spent actually running as a DM. Make a guess.  Take the total number of years you've been trying this.  Then figure out approximately how many times a month you've spent sitting in the DM's chair.  Then make a reasonable guess at how many hours each running lasted.

Suppose we take a baseline candidate: we'll call him Paul.  Paul has been running for two years.  For about four months at the beginning, he ran about five times.  Then he ran every week for about six months, for a total of 26 more times.  In the last year, he's run once every two weeks, about another 26 times.  Paul has run 57 times.  Paul figures these runnings have been about 4 to 5 hours long. We'll say 4.5 and multiply that by 57, for a total of 256 hours.

57 sessions sounds like a lot.  But let's compare it with something else.

Last year, Paul got a job as a full-time line-cook at 37.5 hours a week.  They gave him two weeks cross-training on most of the kitchen stations ~ 75 hours ~ and then got him settled on one station, where he stayed for twelve weeks: 450 hours.  Paul had never worked as a cook before, so it took most of that time for him just to get comfortable with the restaurant: to learn the menu, to barely master the most basic of knife skills, to physically adapt to the temperature on the line and get used to being around very hot surfaces and a lot of boiling substances, like oil.  Paul's hands are nicked and cut up, he's got little burns everywhere and he hasn't even remotely begun to develop the calluses a cook gets on the hands and fingertips.  To the rest of the kitchen, at 525 hours under his belt, Paul was a NOOB.

But Paul kept at it.  He's been working for 52 weeks now, with not many days off (cooks rarely get holidays, because they don't get paid for them).  We'll say a week of sick days and lost hours.  Paul knows this restaurant, now.  He's had a total of 1,912.5 hours at the job and guess what: if Paul were to go work another restaurant, one he doesn't know, it would take him another four months to get comfortable there.  It takes me three months and I have 14 years experience; and I'm really smart, as my boss keeps telling me all the time, given the morons she will describe to me.

If Paul puts out his resume and claims one year of experience, no one in the business will think he's experienced.  They might hire him if he's young and eager-looking and is prepared to work for poor wages; but they won't think he's experienced.

Now, the reader should go ahead and look into their own industry and occupation and ask themselves if a year experience is treated as "experienced."

How many years does it take before you're a veteran?  On the whole, I'd say about four years.  7,600 hours. On the job.  Talking specifically about the time spent actually doing that job.

Here's the point.  You tell yourself you're not a "good" DM.  You hold yourself to that standard.  Well, maybe you're not.  But if the reason includes your coming up with a number of hours less than 2,000, then give yourself a break.

With DMing, you haven't got anyone there to train you.  You haven't anyone standing next to you telling you how to make a map or build an adventure.  You've got no paycheque, no intrinsic threatening motivation to make yourself run or improve at running.  No one is there to say if you don't get your shit together, you're fired.  You're free to learn at your own pace, which practically guarantees your pace is zero movement unless you're obsessed.

Give yourself a break.  You're putting in hours, you're learning, you're watching people play, you're getting something out of every session: and if you don't prove yourself to be a genius with 1,100 hours under your belt, get off your own back.  You're being stupid about this.

Making a sandwich isn't hard, dropping fries into a fryer isn't hard, mopping a floor isn't hard.  But if you're not used to doing it really, really fast, yes, you're going to have trouble adapting to the work.  It takes time to see the big picture.

DMing isn't hard, either.  But it's strange, it's complicated, there's a lot to remember.  It takes time to see the big picture.

Give yourself a break.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

We Among the Left and Right

Calling someone a name serves to bolster ourselves.  We might imagine that, metaphorically, when we call someone "stupid" or "reprehensible" that we look to left and right to see those others who agree with us.  We expect to be agreed with ~ that's the point in using a label.  We presume that our tribe will also see those people as silly.  Or reprehensible.  Or, as came up today, "elitist."

No one stops and thinks before using a label what the label really means.  It's a gut response.  I hear something that sounds like I might personally be disenfranchised from something and immediately I slap an elitist label on that thing.  It is a terrifically safe label!  There will always be others to the left and right who are also afraid of being disenfranchised, so I am certainly in good company.  And that's what elitists do; they create rules and restrictions, measurements and boundary lines, just to keep out people who are "good enough."  You there.  Yes, you.  Get out of here.  You're not good enough.

As a personal right, we have decided at this late date in civilization that achievement, experience, training, perseverance and personal effort have no right to disenfranchise people who have achieved nothing, experienced little, despised training, quit and have as yet achieved nothing of note.  That is how our society has chosen to define "equality."

If my death is mourned by hundreds of people, that is in no way proof that I lived a better life, that I gave more to my community or that my effort to be a better human deserves recognition.  The fellow who dies and is not discovered until the neighbors begin to complain about the smell, who is tagged and buried without anyone noticing except the services compelled to deal with the body, is just as good a person, just as important, just as valuable as I am.  That is what equality means.

And all the people on our left and all the people on our right who are terrified that it might not be true are shouting elitist just as loudly as they can, in the hopes that the noise will drown out reason.

Yet, in spite of the name-calling, we live in a fantastically elite society, where every move and action of the few noticed, "important" people of the world are given free rein to be as abusive, selfish, smug, profligate, physically aggressive and incorrect as they wish to be, because they are well-known.  Celebrities beat their spouses, scream racist epithets, get hauled into court for sentences that are a joke, casually make plans to disenfranchise tens of millions of people from health care and nothing happens.  Nothing happens.  They lose a few hours of playing sports or have to give up a few thousand of their millions of dollars or they get elected again, and we rush off to see them play a game or perform in a film and we're happy to be there.  Because the society is so elitist we're disassociated from it.

Let the guy in the next blog window, the guy with no power, the guy whose name you will never think of again, say something about why inexperienced people shouldn't be given a voice, and hatred of elitism will rain from the sky ~ for ten or fifteen minutes.  But let the actual people in power, who have guns in their holsters, drag people from their cars and beat them to death with a methodical terrorist agenda to disenfranchise millions of people, and yeah, well, the world's not fair.

The name callers of the world fight the battles they think they can win.  That's the point of it.  There's a risk in saying Chris Brown is an asshole for beating the shit out of Rihanna because one of the people on the left or right might still like Chris Brown.  That might start a fight.  And whatever, it's not like Chris Brown is going to stop being famous or rich or completely oblivious of me.  I really can't win that fight.  But this no-name dude on the internet, who has written a 23-word sentence on a chat window, HIM I think I can take.  So I gear up and take him because, well, he's within my reach.

Because we do live in an elitist society and we know what's in our reach.  We know it instinctively.  We don't have to be told.  All we want is to pretend it isn't so.  It isn't real.  I'm just as good as anyone else, certainly as good as Chris Brown and all the other famous people who are free to spew whatever bullshit they want because they're famous.  Maybe ~ hey, maybe ~ one day I might even get lucky enough to be one of those celebrities.

So we tell ourselves.  So don't tell us the fence is there to keep us out.  It's there to keep other people out, not us.  We're just as good as anyone.  Even if we are just a made-up avatar on the internet.  Among hundreds of others, just like us, above and below us in the chat window.  Fighting each other to make sure that none of us faceless, bodiless, disposable people here on the ground ever think of ourselves as better than our "equals."

My, my, my, we've got to fight so hard for this "equality" thing, or we might just lose it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tommy's Son

From the net, I recently learned that Kiefer Sutherland is in some awful television show in which he is the President of the United States.  From the look of the trailer, it looks like Jack Bauer of 24 got elected; I wonder if he's going to be shoving any towels down the opposition leader's throat.

I have a bit of a soft spot for Sutherland, though I would never watch any of the awful shows he does.  It has some to do with his dad, Donald Sutherland, who is undeniably one of the great actors of the past five decades.  But in a much bigger way, it has to do with Kiefer Sutherland's grandfather.

Donald Sutherland married an actress, Shirley Douglas, who is immediately recognizable to any Canadian born before 1970.  And as it happens, every time I cut something open and get stitches, every time I need a broken bone set, every time I need anything from a hospital, which I will certainly get for FREE, because I am a Canadian citizen, I have Shirley Douglas' father to thank.

Because Tommy Douglas was the Father of Medicare in this country.  Beginning in the 1940s, Douglas led a long-standing charge to make legalized, paid-for medical care the standard in a part of the world little remembered on the world stage: a province named Saskatchewan.  Saskatchewan is as big as Texas; in the 1940s, it barely had 0.8 million people; today, 70 years later, it has 1.1 million people.  In Saskatchewan, that's progress.

In Alberta, we have a joke about Saskatchewan that any Albertan will understand immediately.  "What is the first thing you see after you cross the Saskatchewan border?  Manitoba."

Yet Tommy Douglas was a powerful speaker.  He was a socialist speaker.  A brilliant speaker.  By sheer force of will, he would ~ through those people he influenced ~ bring this entire country around to his way of thinking.  

"Saskatchewan was told that it would never get hospital insurance. Yet Saskatchewan people were the first in Canada to establish this kind of insurance, and were followed by the rest of Canada. We didn’t have Medicare in those days. They said you couldn’t have Medicare – it would interfere with the ‘doctor-patient relationship’. But you people in this province demonstrated to Canada that it was possible to have Medicare. Now every province in Canada either has it or is in the process of setting it up.
"And you people went on to demonstrate other things with your community health clinics. You paved the road, blazing a trail for another form of health service, to give people better care at lower cost. You did these things. You have demonstrated what people can do if they work together, rather than work against; if you build a cooperative society rather than a jungle society."

That's Tommy.  And while I've been careful to use the last names of his descendants through this piece, I remember growing up when the man needed no other name to define him.  If my grandfather, who was born, who lived and who died in Saskatchewan, started talking about what Tommy said, he meant Tommy Douglas.

And now his grandson, a Canadian, is the President of the United States.

I'm so proud.

Noob-Talk

Not speaking to this audience here ~ I know most of you are lifers or near-lifers ~ but I wonder if the reason why places like bulletin boards, facebook groups and reddit are so screwed up in their role-playing thinking is because they're dominated by people who will only play the game for a year or two.

How much of the community is dominated by these noobs?  Since noobs make the best customers for the game company, is their importance being artificially inflated?

It seems to me that these noobs drive most of the conversations about the same noob-related content: how does alignment work, what races are cool, does anyone have an idea for an adventure, etcetera.  It seems to me that this noob-talk forces all dialogue into the same, tired avenues perpetually, as noobs get excited, buy a bunch of stuff, get frustrated and drop out of the community, only to be replaced by more ignorant noobs.

Can anyone think of another past-time where noobs dominate the field?

Is this choking good game play?

UPDATE:

I'm being told by some angry people that this smacks of elitism.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9 Answers that Don't Say You Like Me

I am perpetually getting this sort of explanation for why some posts don't get comments:
"... and I still don't know what I would say in response to it. Well, I can at least fell comfortable saying "bravo." ... BTW, this is a common occurrence after reading your longer winded thoughts and, I have long suspected, a reason why your best posts so often suffer from a lack of comments ..."

I'm choosing to believe people just don't know how to comment without sounding "sycophantic" ... which is something people also complain about to me all the time: "I would have said it was amazing, but I didn't want to sound s~"

So here are 9 possible choices for answers to a blog post that don't expressly say "I liked this" or "It was great" ~ statements that apparently make people here feel stupid, even though tremendously stupid-minded blogs I have seen have this stated dozens and dozens of times in the comments fields.  I am often in awe of how some addlepated blog meanderings get described as "brilliant post!" without anyone feeling sycophantic.

Oh well.

I suggest the gentle reader should try one of these.  They are expressed in the reader's first person.

1.  This made me think.  I [formerly believed/still believe] that [my opinion] was true.  This [has/hasn't] given me reason to change my mind.  But I may be wrong.
Probably isn't an excuse to build up an argument or otherwise derail the comment into a long-winded description of your point-of-view, unless you can back it up with sources or sound, a priori reasoning.  But a simple statement one way or the other is perfectly fine.


2.  After reading this, I went to the [text/source/video] that you linked.  Here's what I found.
Simple, elegant, expands the conversation and brings the point back to the same inspiration that got me writing the post. Certainly looks like you hold your own in the conversation.

3.  This was something I [had/hadn't] heard before.  I [thought/had heard/had read] that [the point in question] was such-and-such, and not what you're saying here.  [Optional]: I have examples: [quote].
I haven't read everything or seen everything, so I'm always interested in someone else having the same idea or printed material which states categorically the opposite of what I'm saying.  I'm not really interested in someone's blog, but anything that is formally published material is of great interest.

4.  Hm.  I found my attention especially drawn to [this point] and [this point].
Does not expressly state if the points were agreed with ~ but it does help me zero in one what resonates with people who read the blog.

5.  Regarding [this point].  Would you be willing to elaborate further?
This one is a danger because trolls love to press this button.  I've found in the past that a troll will keep asking me to write more and more about a subject, just to see how many words I will pile upon words.  So I can't say that I'll necessarily oblige, but it is always nice to be asked ~ and if I am asked in a particular encouraging way, I'll probably step up.

6.  If [this] and [this] were true, it would probably mean [this].  Have I got that right?
Not everyone has the art of speculation in their veins ~ but speculation is a terrific conversation driver and I encourage it.  Even if you're completely out to lunch, there's the old argument that there are no bad ideas except not speaking.  A bad idea can often get good ideas going, since deconstructing ideas, both bad and good, solves problems.

7.  You once talked about this before [link if it can be find].  Has your opinion changed over the years?  Will it change?
Taking my temperature is a good way to get a back and forth started.  Giving your temperature as well, if you're up for it, is better - but perhaps you can get me to say something you'll feel more comfortable commenting upon.

8.  As long as you were willing to talk about [this], do you have an opinion on such-and-such?
I'm always hunting for new subjects for a post.  It can't hurt to give me one.  If I start getting a lot of them, obviously, I'll pick and choose - but I might get to everything eventually.  Remember, I started all these posts about monsters because a single reader mentioned that I had never written down my rules about dragons.

9.  A point I'll support.  I linked this to my [blog/facebook/twitter/whatever].
Positively the best thing in the world you can do for me, apart from supporting me on Patreon.  Being told that I'm liked or that a post of mine is liked is a very small thing.  Being willing to step up and connect YOUR NAME with something I've said is HUGE.  If you want to tell me how much you liked something I wrote, try this.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Say It

In the context of a proposed history podcast (because life continues), I have communicated some with a regular reader here who responded to the linked post.  We have been talking and this is something we're interested in doing.  It wouldn't be role-playing driven, though we might mention RPGs ... it would be the more difficult pretext of spitballing historical events, patterns and geography: either a particular moment, or a process that covers a lot of periods and cultures, or a specific cultural region.

We've been talking about an overview of the history of Korea, most likely from the late 1800s, in light of recent events ~ considering most people have little to no idea why or even when the peninsula was subdivided.

This reminded me of a Sam Kinison cameo in the 1986 film, Back to School, which was a fairly intellectual romp featuring Rodney Dangerfield.  Still a lot of fun.



No doubt about it.  I hold History sacred also.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Shot in the Head

Some who are connected with me on Facebook know that it's my birthday today.

I'm not going to stop blogging, not going to stop working on D&D and not going to give up the agenda.  But I definitely needed a break.

A lot of people have told me lately that every field has its morons and jerks, and that's right.  I never thought otherwise.  My chief problem isn't that the community is filled with morons and jerks; it is that other fields also include academics, experts and people of influence, who could conceivably find me worthy of inclusion ~ as has happened when I had taken time to be in theater, film, music and journalism.  Hell, I've met people like Colm Meaney, Rick Mercer and B.B. King (seriously) in a professional, laid-back, everyday manner. But there's no one like this that's meetable in role-playing games.  It's a wasteland.

Every once in awhile I get a cold slap in the face that reminds me that I picked a field that is intellectually shot in the head.  That was not a good decision; but I made it when I was young and stupid and thought this game could change the world.

Stuck now.  Not going to go out and do theatre now (though I could, I did a little acting in 2014 to pump up money for taking How to Run to Toronto).  Journalism, as it happened, was also shot in the head in 2009. I know only one film maker and, though he's great, a wonderful, talented guy, going places, he's not going to find work for me.

So here I am.

I've always really liked my birthday.  I guess that's because I'm a narcissist.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Stream of Consciousness

Sometimes I write just to figure things out.

I write about four hours a day.  That's counting time spent on the blog, on the wiki, on things of my own interest, writing answers to emails and writing cover letters so that I can get myself a better job.  Some days I write more than four hours; rarely are there days when I write less than one.

I never spend a day when I'm not on a computer.  I get up in the morning and I sit at my computer and drink my coffee, watch the news and think of things to watch or read until I feel awake.  If I'm feeling low, after that I'll play a game, unless of course I have to go out and give my time to someone else.  If I'm feeling good, and I have the day free, I'll settle in to working around noon.  After that, most days when I have the day, I don't stop until I go to bed.

I take breaks.  I walk for an hour.  I give my Tamara a massage or we sit and talk for an hour, or we make plans for much longer; but when those plans are done I sit right back here and go right back to work.  Tamara loves me and she understands.  She likes watching me work and she likes what I do.

I figure I've spent about 1,000 hours this year, this far, writing.  I write more today than I did five years ago, or probably any time in my life.  I'm clearer.  I can think of more things to write about.  My mind seems to be endlessly fertile.  I get ideas all the time.  More often than not, I'm get to working on something in exclusion of my ideas and they are lost to the wind.  And I don't mind, because I know another idea will come.

These last seven or eight months, I've been seeing a counselor.  I know, I know, I said in July I was going to stop talking about my private life and I'll keep to that as best I can.  Just to cover some fundamental details, my father is in permanent care in a hospital for Alzheimers.  He thinks he's in the year 2046 and that he's being watched by aliens.  It is extraordinarily difficult to visit him.  I'm living in a bad situation right now, not one I would choose to live in.  I can't get a job that treats me with respect.

And I can't seem to write this damn book about Herzog and Ruchel, that I call the Fifth Man.

More than anything, I've been seeing the counselor about that.  About why I can't write this book.  We've talked our way all around it, in fifteen different ways, and it just doesn't seem to get anywhere.  I haven't seen the counselor since the beginning of August and at that time, we agreed, it just isn't going anywhere.  He suggested I should take a long break and think.

I've been thinking.  Those sessions had some value.  I would think about things and feel a release of stress and begin to work on the book.  I took myself back to the beginning of it and worked through the 17 chapters to the present all over again, reworking the second draft, then felt ready to refinish the book by writing from chapter 17 to the end.

Then, nothing.  Nothing.  Ten weeks now.  Nothing.  I look at that notification on the blog and I want to tear it down, make it go away.  My readers see that notification and wonder.  I can't take it down.  But it is eating the shit out of me and I don't know why I can't write this book.  I can write and write and write about anything else, everything else, comfortably, peaceably, enjoying the process of writing, not feeling short of words or that I'm struggling, but not with this.  Just not.

I've had these things happening lately.  These frustrating, ego-wrecking things, not my fault, just shit going on around me I had a long time friend on the Internet go nuts on facebook a month ago, doing that thing a lot of us saw after Chancellorsville, comparing the racists against the liberals and treating them like two sides of the same coin, false equivalency ... and it hurt because he went straight to that aggressive place where he struck for the most hurtful arguments he could reach for; and I unfriended him and left it there, okay, happens, no big deal.

I got into the fight with an artist about an image I used for the monsters on the wiki, not a very good image, not really, but of course I took it down immediately; and then I gave an answer and got back this level of vitriol, unbelievable vitriol, from the artist's wife of all people, real 4chan stuff ... and I laughed and blocked the thing and didn't answer.  And again, no big deal.

Then there was that thing with the Pathfinder wiki, which shouldn't challenge my sense of wellbeing; connor gave me a great response to that, saying that "Very little of it is home brew collaboration" ~ and that made me feel better, definitely better, so it really isn't a big deal, it isn't.

And yesterday a friend put my Wishes entry off the wiki onto a private DM site on facebook, which I applied for and got into, and ... oh gawd.  Nearly 200 comments of people who clearly did not read the post (there was no impact on the viewer numbers), spewing the most toxic D&D crap imaginable, no one talking about anything I said because clearly no one went to the link, but immediately exploding into endless self-righteous bullshit about rules as written and I do this and I do that, and no one listening or seriously responding to anything that anyone else wrote, just there to write to see their own words in print.  Awful.  Really awful.  Just the sort of thing that convinces me the community is broken, hopelessly broken, beyond broken.  A lot of hateful, spoiled brats.

And no big deal.  Nothing to do with me.  But I've been looking at D&D today and wondering, where would I be if I had been interested in anything else?  If I had a blog about real estate or economics or fishing, anything else.  Where would I be?  Because just now I am seeing this hateful bullshit on the net and trying to deal with having connected myself to this, this albatross, this painted ship on a painted ocean, writing four hours a day for the same 250 people, with no hope of ever reaching anyone else, ever bringing about any change, ever getting this damn bird off my fucking throat.

Where would I be?  What if I just went and spent ten years writing about something else, to someone else, to adults, to people who can talk about their interest without having to hide their face in shame, without having to explain every time that yes, I'm actually designing a game, yes, I'm wasting my time, apparently, because I'm not writing a blog about Canadian politics or the aerial photography or theatre arts.  What am I doing here?  With this?  What?

I'm so inaccessible, you know?  So inaccessible.  I can be calm and friendly and answer questions and give the best help I can, but I can't seem to get myself down to where I'm dumb enough to be popular.  Even now, this, this strange thing I'm doing, this writing, where my hands are flying over the keyboard like I'm playing piano, and it feels like music to me ... this thing I'm doing ... it's more words than I'm supposed to write.  I'm over a thousand words now and I've been writing for all of 25 minutes, just 25, no pauses, no breaks, the music just pouring out, pouring steady, stream of consciousness ... just trying to work out a thing that's been on me all day.

If I can't be popular, is there a way I could at least write about something people would, I don't know, be educated enough to read first before spewing an opinion.  Not even original opinions, just the same bullshit opinions that have been spouted about wishes since the beginning of the game; the same stuff my 16 year old friends and I used to say, all the things about wishes that make them such a broken, awful, abusive, crippled part of the game. Jeez, if I were writing about water-filtration systems in Western Canada I could conceivably get the readership I have now in ten years and I wouldn't have to deal with people being infantilized swine when someone linked my blog or my wiki to another site.  There might be a dim chance that someone in a university or connected with the government might think, "That Alexis, he's making some good points, he's done his research," instead of, "If a player of mine wished for a sandwich I'd find a way to fuck him."

Being this inaccessible, there's no chance that anything reputable would look at me twice.  I'm just another one of them.  Another freak.  Another dick.  One of them.

There's no future here.  No future.  I always wanted a future.  That was the goal.  That's what artists think.  They think about the future, about having one.

The only damn future I have is in that damn book I can't write.

I shouldn't publish this.  I shouldn't.  It's too personal.  People will take it personally.  People won't get it, won't empathize, won't understand.  I'm too inaccessible.

Too inaccessible for D&D, that's for sure.

Should not publish this.

Should not.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Four Elements

On each of the inhabited continents, the same four elements were distinguished as building-blocks for all the substances that could be observed: earth, air, fire and water. Within the game world, it is accepted that these four elements exist, and that they represent the Four Elemental planes. However, science indicates clearly, even in the Dungeons and Dragons world, that science dictates the existence of many more elements than four, and that tradition practices as followed in Earth's history were a load of rubbish.

To be sure, to retain the effects of magic and the presence of elemental beings, both science and elemental theory must be true ~ with the latter explaining many of the magical effects that science cannot explain. Examples of elemental influence on reality would include ...

(continue reading)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Djinni

The reader doesn't mind if I just keep posting monsters as I make them, nyet?  Very well, the Djinn (I have a different take on it):


Formerly worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, these beings have been mischaracterized by sources as air elementals, geniuses as appear in Roman mythology, angels, demons and wicked spirits. In fact, like other hemitheioc creatures, these beings are something like mortal demi-gods, comparable to heroes who are born of one divine and one mortal parent. They have no known origin, except that it is believed that whenthe world was created, the djinn were created also.

Djinn inhabit the plane of Jannah, the Arabic paradise, where they grant wishes to the loyal and pious dead to dwell there. It has been told that these are the jinn that remain following the cull of the Pre-Adamites, djinn who were killed by ...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Crann Bethadh

Also called the Tree of Life, that grew from the womb of the center of all creation. Among the Norse, the tree is called Yggdrasil. The tree exist outside the Prime Material Plane, and in fact enfolds all planes of existence: the outer planes, the astral and ethereal planes, the elemental planes and the negative and positive planes. Crann Bethadh exists as the axis mundi that supports all the planes and whose branches interweave between the planes and create passages from one plane to another.

Though there are hundreds of planes of existence, conceived of by every culture, both in the Prime Material and elsewhere, Crann Bethadh encapsulates them all. Most cultures vastly underestimate the ...

Wishes

Because of fairy tales such as The Ridiculous Wishes or The Monkey's Paw, the value of making a wish in the Dungeons & Dragons game setting has always been subject to a thematic taint. It is unclear, from the style of a particular DM's play, whether or not the existence of the wish is a game feature or an opportunity to produce a spontaneous morality play, with the DM as moralist. Thus players have been required to produce exact words of uncompromising perfection when stating a wish, as an effort to restrain the DM from twisting the intended meaning of the wish and thus punishing the player for daring to use this ridiculously dangerous stab-yourself-in-the-chest ability.

D&D is not a morality play or story and the rules that apply to wishes must restrict the DM as much as the player. The DM cannot be allowed to use his or her discretion. Everyone using a wish should have a clear and reasonable idea of its effect and limitations, enabling them to employ this magic without fear of arbitrary consequence.