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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Pellatarrum: Dwarf Migrations

Given that the dwarven city-state of Agnakorem is both resource-rich and of infinite height, one wonders why dwarves exist anywhere else. After all, was it not designed to be a dwarven paradise?

It was, but that doesn't mean the residents of heaven are angels. Or, to paraphrase Sartre, "Hell is other dwarves." There are a few reasons for this.

  • Dwarf society is extremely conservative. We're talking "1950s America meets the Stepford Wives" conservative. Dwarven society is just so, and it's been that way for millennia, and it works well so there's no reason for anything there to change. If you want things to change, then you're just being selfish -- have you no respect for tradition and heritage? Why do you want to meddle and make things difficult for others?
  • Everybody knows everyone else's business. Imagine Agnakorem as an apartment building; specifically, one of those buildings in New York City where bored housewives look out the windows to see who's coming and going, and bored children play on the stoop. Comings and goings are seen, arguments are overheard, new possessions are noticed as they're being brought up the stairs, kids are tattling and adults are gossiping. There is little to no privacy due to the close quarters and the clannish nature of dwarven society, and so anyone who is just a little bit different is noticed and talked about.
  • There is a fixed order of doing things and if you don't have seniority, you're on the bottom. Let's say that you're a dwarven craftsman, and you discover a new technique for forging mithril that is faster and easier than the traditional method. Not only will no one else use your new-fangled method -- it isn't tried and true, after all -- but no one else will buy your material, either, because it's clearly shoddy because it isn't properly forged. No one wants to apprentice to you, because you selfishly believe that your idea is better than the wisdom of your ancestors, and so not only are you a disgrace to your clan and your profession, but you also taint everyone who studies under you. Or works with you. Or sells to you. Or is related to you. Or... you get the idea.

    The only way a new idea ever gets adopted is if a craftsman submits it to the Council of Smiths, who will carefully look over the proposal and ask questions (like defending your dissertation, only worse), and then if some small glimmer of merit is seen, then a study is commissioned where the long-term impact of your idea is considered. Yes, perhaps you can forge mithril faster, but what will that do the price of mithril? Will the speed of production increase the demand for mithril items? Can the miners meet that supply? Will the increased amount of mithril on the market devalue the commodity? And what about the crafters who make their living forging tools for mithril-workers? Look, there's an entire economic ecosystem here, all very delicate and balanced, and one little change can have catastrophic effects. Let's study it for a century and see what happens -- we don't want to move too quickly now!
  • Dwarves live a long time, so you might have to wait decades or longer for things to change. Imagine a family-run corporation where everyone in management is effectively immortal. It's not enough to have merit; you have to wait for an opening. And if people rarely die or get promoted, there's very little room for upward advancement.
So any dwarf who is a little bit different from the norm, or who is nontraditional, or who likes privacy, or wants to try a new technique, or has more ambition than patience is likely to say "Screw this! I'm out of here. I'm going to find my own mineral vein, and set up my own forge/shop/school/colony, and do things my way!" These dwarves are often charismatic and take friends and family with them when they leave. 

This makes everyone happy: disruptive elements are removed from traditional Agnakorem society, and the young dwarves get to do things their own way... until, of course, they become the Council of Smiths, telling upstart dwarves of the next generation to slow down, think things through, and act in the (new) traditional manner. 

And thus the cycle repeats.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sit! Good boy. Beg! Good boy. Shake hands! NO NOT LIKE THAT

Ladies and gentlemen. What you have just witnessed was a man annoying his girlfriend and making fun of a reviled Authoritarian government system. This was uploaded originally in April of 2016. Over a month later, he was arrested. He was found guilty of being "Grossly Offensive" just yesterday. Off all the things I could talk about this week, it absolutely had to be this one.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a free speech supporter. Not just a supporter of the First Amendment, but the idea of freedom of speech and freedom of expression as well. As long as you aren't causing actual harm, you should not face legal consequence; and if you face social consequence, you should have every right to defend your position.

Being of a strong Irish descent, I used to playfully tease an ex-girlfriend of mine who was of strong Scottish descent that "At least the Irish put up a fight! Scotland rolled over and took it after William Wallace." Part of me really did believe it (probably that same part of me that had signed up to the Sinn Fein mailing list for a few years). But either way, I still really wanted to visit Scotland one day.

Not anymore, though. Fair Glasgow, you have been struck from my bucket list; I'm not setting foot in the country that plans on jailing a man for teaching his dog to shake hands in a tastelessly funny way.

From The Great Dictator to Monty Python's "Mr. Hitler" to Captain America: The First Avenger's skits with Cap punching out Hitler, Hitler and the Nazis have been played for laughs at their expense dozens of times. Games from Wolfenstein to Sniper Elite have let you play out the fantasy of being the one that kills Hitler, not to mention scores of Nazi soldiers. And that's not even getting into memes -- how many remixes of that bunker scene have we seen? I don't even need to say the name of the movie for you to know what I'm talking about. Chances are you've laughed yourself hoarse over some version of that scene that you've found particularly hilarious.

But here we are now. A man annoys his girlfriend by teaching his dog to shake to a historically vile set of words, even saying "there's nothing less cute than a Nazi," and his country arrests him, drags on legal proceedings for almost two years, and finds him literally guilty of being offensive.

To the crown of Scotland:
I am Salem and I confess.

I have been #GrosslyOffensive.

I wish to be barred from entering your country.

On pain of death if need be.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

All Aboard the Hype Train!

Buckle up, buttercups, because at least one of these announcements is going to BLOW. YOUR. MINDS.

The Return of Weerdy and Pony
Last night, Weerd Beard and I recorded episode 001 of the Assorted Calibers Podcast!

ACP (yes, that was deliberate) is the spiritual successor to the GunBlog VarietyCast. Not only will we talk about issues of the day relevant to gunnies, but we also have gunnie contributors talking about the things they find interesting.

In Episode 001, I discuss Florida's new gun control bill SB 7026 and what it means for Floridians. There's also a Patented Weerd Audio Fisk (tm), and new contributor Savage1R from We Like Shooting tells us about bitcoins in his Savage Segment.

Want to know more? Of course you do! So stay tuned for more information on when the Assorted Calibers Podcast drops!

UMW Speaking Engagement
On March 30th I will be in Fredericksburg, VA at the University of Mary Washington for their first annual 2A Day! As you can see by the schedule below, there will be a lot of great speakers, so if you're able please come by and hear me speak.

For those interested in attending, this map shows the parking areas (circled in blue) relative to the building where the even is being held (circled in red).

Stop by and say hi!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pellatarrum: A Brief History of the Fire War

Really, it's the elves' fault.

Everyone thinks the Fire War is the fault of the orcs. and to be fair, they did start the war. But you see, there's an important distinction between "Who started it" and "Who caused it", and it's the elves who caused it.

Back before Pellatarrum was created, when the Heroes Who Would Be As Gods discussed their rebellion, the original plan was to overthrow the genie races and have each servitor race live in their native elemental plane as conquerors: air for dragons, earth for dwarves, fire for orcs and water for elves. However, that plan was quickly revised during the initial slave uprising when it was discovered just how powerful and how entrenched the genies were. The four races' strategy was converted into something which looked like a rag-tag rebellion but was really a delaying action while They Who Became As Gods looked for places where their people could escape and the genies would not follow.

Unfortunately, their choices were limited. The negative energy plane was nothing but entropy and death, with positive energy plane not much better because the life energy radiating from it would be too much for any mortal body to contain. The ethereal plane was a realm of formless mist with no resources for sustaining a civilization, and the timeless nature of the astral meant that their populations would never grow and their people would forever be stuck in stasis.

Therefore, it was decided (mainly by the dwarves, but the dragons thought it was a good idea and so everyone else went along with it) that they would make their own realm for their people to live, one with bountiful resources for all and toxic to geniekind.

Thus began the quest for the Engines of Creation, objects of mystery and wonder of which little is still known. The wisest sages of Pellatarrum can only describe them as "conceptual lenses" (Do you mean they're lenses for concepts? Or do you mean that they are lenses in a conceptual sense? ... yes.) which focus the raw creative force of the positive energy plane into true substance. Through means unknown, They Who Became As Gods re-aligned the Engines of Creation for a brief period of time, creating Pellatarrum according to the dwarven blueprint.

And everything was fine... for a time. The dwarves lived in the Dayspire, the elves in the seas, the dragons ruled the skies, and the orcs had everywhere else. Yes, all right, technically the dragons lived on the ground and under the ground and underwater and wherever else they wanted, but 1) they were big and 2) they were loners, not a growing and sprawling civilization, so the orcs were generally okay with this because they had all the rest of the land. Besides, dragons are apex predators, and orcs respect strength.

Yes, everything was fine for thousands of years, until the elf schism. Something happened within their culture to split them so thoroughly that roughly half of their population fled the seas and used magic to evolve themselves for land habitation.

This was, to put it plainly, a massive problem for the orcs, because now they were competing with the elves for territory and resources. While elves didn't reproduce as quickly as orcs, they lived far longer, which gave them an edge in terms of knowledge and power. More importantly, to the orcs this was a violation of the treaty which had been forged at the creation of the world. Was the full and proper name of the realm, written in the tongues of the four races, not "This beautiful thing, crafted with toil, and home to all orcs?"  It was right there in the name, and yet the elves invaded their lands and violated the compact. To the orcs, this was not just a legal misunderstanding or a diplomatic gaffe; this was invasion. This was rank betrayal and theft. And they would not stand for it.

So, in proper orcish fashion, they invaded the elves right back, to show them how it felt and to drive them back to the sea where they belonged. Naturally, the elves didn't care for this and counter-attacked, and soon it was open warfare.

Both sides petitioned the dwarves and dragons for redress of grievances. The dwarves essentially said "This isn't our problem and we don't like either of you enough to make it our problem. Work it out or kill each other as you see fit, but leave us alone." The dragons had to be swayed on an individual basis; some sided with the orcs, some with the elves, but most of them also just wanted to be left alone.

Then the orcs had The Idea. Since elves magically evolved themselves to live on the land, the orcs could do similar (they were not the broken, barbaric race of today, but a people of great strength and magical power). They took advantage of their short lifespans and rapid breeding cycles by force-evolving themselves into perfect warriors, and then they created many races to serve in their armies. Goblinoids, ogres, beastmen; all had a part in the Great Conflagration, with the orcs as their heroes and generals. The war was long, and bloody, and took many orcish generations (both in terms of time and in terms of lives lost). But the Fire Army was powerful, and they broke the back of the elven foothold and began to drive them back to the sea.

If the orcs could have contented themselves with beating the elves, they would have won, and Pellatarrum would be a different place indeed. But they were insulted by the dwarves' lack of honor, and irritated with the aloofness of the dragons, and decided that they would make "home to all orcs" a literal truth by destroying everything which was not orcish.

The fact that the elves, dwarves and dragons needed to create ambassador races to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation during the war shows just how real the risk to them was. Think "Zerg Rush" on a massive scale, bolstered by powerful magics and champions who could inflict hideous casualties even after being dealt a mortal wound. The Great Conflagration was indeed like a terrible wildfire, whipping itself into greater and greater fervor, consuming everything in its path.

The Fire War was terrible in ways that Pellatarrum has never seen again. It was every fantasy battle you've ever seen the movies combined with World War 2. Yes, even the atom bombs. It reshaped the landscape, flattening mountains and creating valleys, boiling seas and burning nearly everything into ash. The most brutal, decisive battle of the war took place around the Dayspire, which had been turned into a massive weapons factory and siege engine platform. Dragons and elves lured and herded the Fire Army into cleared killing fields around the dwarven stronghold, then took shelter in pre-made bunkers which ringed the perimeter. Their job was to prevent the army from escaping while the dwarves annihilated them with technology, and magic, and raw elemental power.

When all was said and done:
  • Agnakorem was a holed, smoldering mess that had lost much of its defenses and more than a few outer layers. 
  • The dwarven army was exhausted, having used nearly all of its weapons and resources in the war. 
  • The elves were nearly extinct, numbering only in the low hundreds and with no home to speak of. (So great was their schism that only a few returned to the sea.)
  • The dragons had lost nearly half their adult population. Fortunately, they had laid many eggs in preparation for such an event, and there were plenty of kobolds to sing their eggs through gestation. 
  • The orcish civilization ceased to exist. Those who survived fled into the wilderness as refugees, where they had to compete with the other orc-spawned races for resources.
It took centuries for the land to recover. Humans and gnomes, having been granted their freedom, built towns and cities. The elves secreted themselves in the deep forest and the dark jungle, using isolation as a shield while they rebuilt their civilization and studied the magics the orcs used in the war. The dwarves repaired as much damage as they could and returned to being craftmen, albeit ones with an eye towards defensive weaponry. The kobolds were content to serve their dragon overlords. And as for the orcs, one of the few things that the allied races agree upon is that the orcs must never, ever, be allowed to return to their former greatness, so they periodically attack and destroy any orc settlement they can find. The only reason that the orc race is not extinct is because good warriors are also good survivors. Just to be blunt about it: yes, the three races of dwarf, elf and dragon cheerfully committed genocide during the Fire War, and if they could have killed every single orc child they would have.

As you can imagine, the Fire War is a touchy subject.
  • Don't mention it orcs at all. If you're lucky, they'll be ignorant and not know what you're talking about. More likely, it will be seen as a challenge ("You're calling me weak and defeated? I'll show you who is weak and defeated!") that ends in bloodshed. 
  • Dragons these days don't care (much) about what the orcs are up to, but they have their spies and their strings to pull if necessary. Some red dragons, though, are very interested in what a new orcish nation could achieve. 
  • The dwarves are shamed by their actions -- partly because of the atrocities they committed, and partly because if they hadn't been so isolationist the Grand Conflagration might not have happened -- but they aren't so shamed that they've found room in their hearts to forgive the orcs of today. 
  • Elves, on the other hand, practically relish the thought of killing orcs, and those they capture are ritually sacrificed. Elven hatred of orcs is so concentrated, so refined, that it's (nervously) joked that elves don't truly want to kill all orcs, because that would mean there would be no more orcs left to kill; instead, they want to put them in farms so they can be killed in quantity at leisure. 
  • Halflings avoid orcs whenever possible. 
  • Humans and gnomes are the only non-orcmade peoples willing to give orcs a chance. Sometimes that turns out well, and sometimes it's rewarded with violence. 

In many ways, Pellatarrum is quite literally post-apocalyptic. It's just managed to clean up rather nicely.

Friday, March 16, 2018

"Transgender" Does Not Mean "Mentally Ill"

Just about a month ago I posted this picture across social media, and it took off like a rocket. While I'm glad it was so well-received, more than a few replies were in the vein of "Well, isn't it? Transgenderism is listed in the  DSM-V."

... actually, those were the polite comments. More than a few were rather insistent in their declaration that "all trannies be crazy, yo."

So strap in, folks, this is going to be a long one and may take a few installments.

First, a note on terminology
This is another instance of "I hope you don't think I'm scolding you; that's not my intention. I just want to help some well-meaning but misinformed/uninformed people avoid an awkward situation."
  • "Transgenderism" is not the proper term. The clinical term for "being transgender" is gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. To quote Jae Alexis Lee on Quora
In referring to transgender issues as “transgenderism” it can be framed as an ideology, philosophy, political strategy… It places transgender issues in the realm of Environmentalism, Feminism, Libertarianism and any other -ism you’d care to think about. If a thing is a philosophy, ideology or political strategy then it can be diminished from the status of objective fact to controversial opinion. Once you move something from fact to opinion then it’s easier to build “everyone has an opinion” arguments and to place specious arguments on more equal footing.
  • "Tranny" is a word you need to be very, very careful with. Many people find it incredibly offensive, right up there with the sexual epithet beginning with C and the racial epithet beginning with N. Now I personally find the word hilarious, and I will often use the word to describe myself (and only myself) because if I laugh at it, it can't be used as a weapon against me. But I would never describe another trans person using that word unless I was specifically told to, and so as a courtesy you shouldn't either. 

If it's not an illness, why is it in the DSM-V?
The short answer is that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition deals with the brain and its problems. Some of those problems are psychological, like fears and traumas and neuroses. But some of those problems are biochemical or neurological, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. And some can be either: depression, for example, can be caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain, or it can be caused by something really traumatic happening to you.

In other words, if it's a "brain issue" instead of a "body issue" like a cold or the flu, it's listed in the DSM-V. If you're diagnosed with something from that book it doesn't mean you're crazy. It may mean you're mentally ill inasmuch as you aren't at optimum mental health, but that doesn't mean you're a threat to yourself or others, which is unfortunately what people think "mental illness" means. This is a topic I'd like to address in greater detail in a later post.

The much longer explanation is a quote taken directly from the American Psychiatric Association, the group which publishes the DSM-V. All underlined phrases are my emphasis.
Gender Dysphoria
In the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with will be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This diagnosis is a revision of DSM-IV’s criteria for gender identity disorder and is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults.

Respecting the Patient, Ensuring Access to Care
DSM not only determines how mental disorders are defined and diagnosed, it also impacts how people see themselves and how we see each other. While diagnostic terms facilitate clinical care and access to insurance coverage that supports mental health, these terms can also have a stigmatizing effect. 

DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria,” as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  a mental disorder is "a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning."  Dysphoria is "a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort and suffering from restlessness, malaise, depression or anxiety."

As an analogy, then, dysphoria can be likened to having a cold -- which makes a person miserable but isn't life-threatening -- wheras a disorder is more serious, like being sick with influenza or pneumonia. END AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Need for Change
Persons experiencing gender dysphoria need a diagnostic term that protects their access to care and won’t be used against them in social, occupational, or legal areas. When it comes to access to care, many of the treatment options for this condition include counseling, cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender. To get insurance coverage for the medical treatments, individuals need a diagnosis. The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group was concerned that removing the condition as a psychiatric diagnosis — as some had suggested — would jeopardize access to care.

Part of removing stigma is about choosing the right words. Replacing “disorder” with “dysphoria” in the diagnostic label is not only more appropriate and consistent with familiar clinical sexology terminology, it also removes the connotation that the patient is “disordered.”

Ultimately, the changes regarding gender dysphoria in DSM-5 respect the individuals identified by offering a diagnostic name that is more appropriate to the symptoms and behaviors they experience without jeopardizing their access to effective treatment options.   
In other words, gender dysphoria is in the DSM-V so that transgender people can be diagnosed with it so their hormone therapy and surgery can be covered with insurance. Without this diagnosis, it would be considered cosmetic.

For example:
  • A woman who wants larger breasts has to pay for that out of pocket because insurance is not cosmetic surgery. 
  • However, a woman who had breast cancer and two radical mastectomies needs breast reconstruction surgery to help return her to the quality of life she had before. 
  • Similarly, because many gender dysphoric people are so at odds with their body that it's causing them real, measurable distress and degrading their quality of life, hormone therapy and surgery is not cosmetic but necessary to improve quality of life. 
  • I say "many" instead of "all" because some trans people get along just fine once they're accepted for who they are and can dress and act accordingly. 

But if you still need treatment, aren't you ill?
People think that being transgender is a sickness that needs to be cured, but that's not the case. Sick people want to return to their state of wellness before they were sick; but transgender people don't want to revert to an earlier state (which would be what, exactly? A time when we didn't know what was wrong with us, only that we were profoundly unhappy and didn't know why or how to fix it? Sounds hellish if you ask me).

Think of it like being born with a birth defect that handicaps you, like missing a leg. There's nothing to cure because you aren't sick. There's no pill which will grow you a new leg. But you see all those two-legged people, running around and playing sports and dancing and just walking up stairs like it's no big deal and that's something you want, too, with all of your heart and soul, and you can't have it.

But look! There's someone with a prosthetic leg! And she's walking and running and living a normal life. That's what you want, too! So you ask to be given a prosthetic leg so that you can feel normal and do all the things everyone else can do!*

That's what transitioning is for us. Wanting to transition isn't a sickness; transitioning is the cure. It's the procedure which allows us to lead happy, productive lives. It helps us overcome our birth defect.

A Mild Rant in the Footnotes
*To continue the analogy, when people say "Transgender folks are mentally ill" they are doing the equivalent of telling that one-legged person "Your desire to have two legs is a sickness. This is how you were born. You just need to learn how to accept it."

Not only is this incredibly cruel, it's amazingly discriminatory; they wouldn't tell a person with bad eyesight that she shouldn't get glasses but rather accept that she was born with bad eyes and just learn to live with being unable to see properly.

Yet so many people feel they are "speaking truth" and "refusing to pander to mental illness" by misgendering us and calling us by our birth names, when what they are really doing is yanking off that girl's prosthetic leg and saying "Hey everyone, look at the cripple!" and laughing as she tries to get it back.

My gender and sexuality neither breaks your leg nor picks your pocket. Stop acting like it does.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ideological Whiplash and the Treatment For It

Siddown, kiddos. Uncle Salem's got the whiskey back, and the white collar's going back on. The Reverend is in. 

I have been asked a few times my thoughts regarding the recent noises that President Trump has made regarding violence and video games.

I am, frankly, unconcerned. This is hardly the first time that video games have been put through the government ringer. I'm old enough to remember the Family Entertainment Protection Act and its sponsor. I've heard the tales of Tipper Gore and the PMRC.

I'm only surprised that it took this long for Trump and Hillary Clinton to align on an issue. I'm also aware that, after analyzing (that's not something that you pay Stormy Daniels not to talk about, in case you need it pointed out) the situation, that it's more than likely this is a giant cloud of hot air that Trump is pushing to distract from the NRA.

What perturbs me about the situation is the moral vanguard of defenders that have arisen to defend the poor, defenseless art form against the big scary cheeto man.

Such as Polygon.

Or Feminist Frequency.

Or Vice's Motherboard.

Or any number of examples that I could dig up with a marginal effort.

See, there's something you should realize as you pull an ideological 180 so quickly that your scraggly beards crawl up to cover your prematurely-balding heads: that you're no longer welcome to defend an art form after you spend the better part of the decade bashing it.

You don't get spend five years vacillating between implying and outright declaring that video games will turn you into anything from a rapist to a murderer because the pretty Armenian girl with the teleseminar background bats her eyelashes approvingly at you, then turn around and pretend to be strident defenders of artistic freedom when the mean man in the big house on the hill says the same things she did, albeit not nearly as artistically.

It rings incredibly hollow and lends an inordinate amount of credence to the Trump Derangement Syndrome theory. You truly are pivoting on a position just because he said something you agreed with 10 minutes ago.

Video games survived government overreach once before, and yes, you played a part in that. You're not needed anymore. The internet exists, and gives a voice to each and every person that chooses to use that voice. Even people you don't like. Especially people you've spent the last 5 or so years painting as the most dangerous villains on the planet.

There is the road. Those are some rocks. Kick the rocks. At least the rocks won't kick back.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pellatarrum: Idle Thoughts Lead to Mad Noodlings

Me:  "You know, the Summon Monster spells suck at lower levels. Everything at level 1 sucks, and why would you want to summon anything except elementals at levels 2 and 3?"

Also me, after poking around for a while: "Why are there lightning elementals? Lightning isn't a classical element. Sure, it's the energy associated with Air in Pathfinder, but.... oh. Hmm."

Me, later: "Okay, so I have to dip into 3rd party content to do it -- but it's from a reliable and respected publisher so that's cool -- but I have statted-up elementals for each of the elemental energies. Well, except for fire, because fire is always an energy, but I can deal with that later. But it's so weird that there are listings for mud, magma and salt elementals."

Me, much later: "OK, so regular elementals are their platonic states. Then we have the energy states -- I'll call them 'energetics' -- and they're the ones which have been energized by the positive energy plane. Which means we need negative-energy infused elementals as well -- I think I'll call them 'entropics', nice alliteration there -- and that's great because it means that salt can be the negative form of water. I'll need to come up with entropic forms of the other elements, though. And fire.. okay, I can rationalize that because all of the elemental forms don't have any ranged attacks, so I can further differentiate energetics by making them all blaster types. Which means I need to rename "ice" to "cold", but I can keep the power, and I'll have to stat up a ranged version for fire and call it "heat". Great. But mud and magma are like half-and-half elementals..."

Me, even later: "OK SO I HAVE CREATED A MATRIX TO DEVISE NAMES FOR ALL THE ELEMENTAL HYBRIDS. I'm a little bit crazy, but that's okay. I'm going to need to stat up most of them, but maybe I can steal powers from mephits or other elemental creatures.... but WHY DO THESE THINGS EXIST? Some of these planes don't even touch?"


Me, getting out of bed to write something down because this entire process has shaken something loose: "well that's a clear and easy way to differentiate the major races on a two-axis graph zzzzzzzzz."

The Fine Print

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