Thursday, March 2, 2017

CO2 trends vs temperature

I mentioned to a friend on Facebook that global temperatures have mostly levelled off compared to CO2, and he got confused and gave me a link to a claim that January 2017 was the "third-warmest January on record." That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is the fact that we've done NOTHING substantive to reduce CO2 outputs, so total atmospheric CO2 continues to climb approximately linearly--but temperatures basically stopped rising around the year 2000.

It seems like an important fact to be aware of for anyone who wants to understand global warming.

You see how the gap between the red line and the blue line keeps growing after the year 2000 or so? It's hard to know for sure, but possibly that's because physics says that adding more CO2 to an atmosphere has diminishing returns: CO2 captures energy in certain bands, but at a certain point it's already capturing pretty much all of the energy and after that point more CO2 doesn't matter--except of course that if CO2 concentrations get a few thousand times higher it will kill you from CO2 poisoning. (You can die from oxygen poisoning too, but IIRC CO2 is lethal in lesser concentrations. "The dose makes the poison" as they say--almost anything can kill you if you have too much of it.)




(http://www.climate4you.com/images/MSU%20UAH%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20AndCO2.gif)

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Friday, February 24, 2017

More on 5E Mass Combat

Contrary to what I'd previously believed, the CR table is surprisingly linear. Between 1st and 20th level, 1 point of CR pretty much gains you 15 HP and 6 points of damage. Between 21st and 30th levels (inclusive), the rate of gain triples: 45 HP and 18 points of damage. CR 1 has about 5x the HP and 2x the offensive power of a typical CR "step" (but of course, most CR 1 creatures in the MM are not actually as tough as that table predicts). That means that all of the non-linearity after CR 1 comes from gains to-hit and AC, which kind of offsets the early stat HP/damage boost that comes before CR 1. Linear is good for mass combat because if you sum a linear measure, you can be pretty sure the result will come out close to your actual result.

I'm still running sims to find a BR measure that is plausible to me. So far, it seems roughly plausible to assign BR = CR for CR between 1 and 20.

Data points: purely by the numbers, a Marilith can take on 20 orcs, just barely, but loses pretty badly to 21. A Githyanki Knight can take on 6 orcs, about 70% of the time, but loses about 60% of the time to 7, and it's hopeless against 8. (In a real fight these differences would be less extreme because terrain and tactics come into play, but we're just talking pure numbers here, which is what mass combat is all about.) A pit fiend handily beats 30 orcs reliably (10/10) but loses reliably to 35 (9/10); the tipping point seems to be about 32. (Pit fiend winds 50% of the time against 32 orcs.)

So, I think you wouldn't go far wrong to start off saying that BR = CR (in conjunction with some set of rules that's better than the UA rules, e.g. http://bluishcertainty.blogspot.com/2017/02/mass-combat-rules-revision-to-unearthed.html), with CR 1/2 counting as BR 2/3 and CR 1/4 counting as BR 1/3, and anything over CR 20 counting as perhaps BR 20 + 3 * (amount over 20), so CR 30 is BR 50. Then the DM can adjust things on the fly as needed, e.g. he can say that an ancient red dragon (BR 32) against 300 orcs (BR 200) counts as BR 320 for offensive purposes because its breath weapon scales so well against massed targets--so the ancient red's commander just needs to find some kobold or goblin meat shields to soak up orc javelins while the ancient red annihilates the orcs, and he'll be able to win. Similarly, a DM might reasonably rule that Ogres are not BR 2, they are only BR 1, barely better than orcs. (He might also downgrade them to CR 1 as well, but that's a separate conversation.)

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mass Combat rules (revision to Unearthed Arcana system)


(1) Every mass combat turn takes 10 minutes, not 1 minute. (This is an aesthetic choice to make battles feel right; choose a different timeframe if you prefer.)

(2) Use everybody declares/everybody acts resolution, like BattleTech or AD&D, instead of turn-by-turn resolution. This is important for resolving battles.

(3) There is no Attack action, only a Fight action. When a unit Fights another unit, both of them are fighting and either one can take damage. See below.

(4) Resolve movement before resolving Fights. You don't need to Disengage unless you were already adjacent to the enemy at the beginning of your turn (during action declaration).

(5) When a fight occurs, you total up the BR of all allies involved in the Fight on each side, and roll [B]3d6 * (BR/100[/B], not rounded). The enemy units in the fight must lose that many BR--the enemy commander(s)/players can allocate the losses wherever they chose. Whoever loses the most BR is the loser and must make a morale check or disband and be destroyed. There is a cumulative -1 penalty to the morale check for every 5% casualties the unit has taken. 

Example: If 200 BR of dwarves are Fighting 300 BR of Yetis while 150 BR of elven archers fires arrows at the Yetis, the dwarves and the elves roll 3d6 * 350 and the Yetis roll 3d6 * 300. If the elves and dwarves roll 11 and the Yetis roll a 12, then Yetis lose (11 * 3.5) = 38.5 BR, rounded down per usual 5E rules to 38. The elves and the dwarves lose 12 * 3 = 36 BR, which the dwarven commander allocates to the dwarves (because that makes sense, since the elves aren't in the melee and Yetis don't have spears). The DM is playing the Yeti commander and allocates all 38 BR to the Yetis. Since the Yetis took more BR damage, the elves and the dwarves win the field, and the Yetis must make a DC 10 morale check at -2 (they've taken 12% casualties) or be disbanded. The DM rules that the Yetis are normally Stalwart (+4), so the Yetis roll at +2 total. They roll a natural 14, for a total of 16, and remain intact. The Yetis and the dwarves will continue to fight next turn.


--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

5E old-school multiclassing rules

Old-school Multiclassing in 5E: rule variant

Remarks: with this variation, you gain some potential synergies that in some ways make a fighter/mage more powerful than a fighter and a mage working together. For instance, you can wear heavy armor and cast a Blur spell and Shield when hit, which is more than twice as good as either heavy armor or Shield + Blur spells by itself. But you're more fragile (fewer HP) than a fighter and a thief, you do less damage (get half as many attacks), and your attributes are spread thinner because you're only getting half as many ASIs to boost both your spells (Intelligence) and your fighting (Dexterity or Strength). It remains to be seen whether a party of three multi-classed PCs is stronger or weaker in practice than a party of six single- or dual-classed PCs, but it will certainly be more complicated and therefore potentially interesting! ~Max


Rule 0.) For purposes of this discussion and for historical reasons, 5E PHB-style multiclassing will be referred to as "dual-classing" and this proposal will be referred to as "multi-classing". Where ambiguity exists, this proposal may be referred to as "concurrent multiclassing" or "old-school multiclassing" to resolve the ambiguity.

Rule 1.) Dual-classing and multiclassing are mutually exclusive and must be decided at character creation time. You cannot dual-class and multi-class with the same character. Some DMs may wish to impose additional restrictions, e.g. only humans can dual-class and only demihumans can multi-class, or perhaps only certain multiclass combinations are available (e.g. paladin/warlock/rogue may not be an option). Do what works for your campaign.

Rule 2.) When you multi-class, you may have either two or three classes. You split your experience among them evenly and level them up simultaneously.

Example: John is a 1st level fighter/rogue. He earns 300 XP from adventuring, which gives him 150 XP as a fighter and 150 XP as a rogue. Since he needs 300 XP to reach 2nd level and has only 150, he does not level up until he gains another 150 XP in each class.

Rule 3.) You must meet the same ability score prerequisites as a dual-classed character, using the usual PHB table for multi-classing ability score prerequisites.

Rule 4.) At first level, you may take the best HP, armor and weapon proficiencies of all of your classes. You may select one of your classes from which to gain saving throw proficiencies--you do not gain all saving throws from all of your classes.

Example: Rupert is a 10th level Hunter/Battlemaster/Illusionist. Because Battlemasters are proficient in all weapons and armor, Rupert is too. Because Hunters and Battlemasters both have d10 (6), Rupert does too, even though Illusionists have only d6 (4). When he goes up to 11th level, Rupert will gain d10 (6) HP plus his Con bonus. Rupert is proficient in Strength and Constitution saves because he chose at first level to take his saving throws from his Fighter class.

Rule 5.) Class features with the same name may only be gained once. For purposes of this rule, "Nth level ASI" is considered a distinct feature. Spellcasting is an exception (see rule 6).

Example: Rupert is a 10th level Hunter/Battlemaster/Illusionist. He has one fighting style (Archery) chosen as a fighter at first level; he has earned 3 ASIs so far at levels 4, 6 (as a fighter), and 8.

Rule 6.) Spellcasting is tracked separately for each class. You cannot mix and match spell slots or spell points between classes unless they are the same type of spellcasting, i.e. come from the same class spell list. (So basically, Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights are cumulative with wizards.)

Example: As a 10th level Hunter/Battlemaster/Illusionist, Rupert has 4/3/2 slots for Ranger spells (or 27 spell points by DMG spell point rules) and 4/3/3/3/2 slots for wizard spells (or 64 spell points). Wizard spell points/slots cannot be spent on ranger spells, and vice versa.

Example: Rupert's friend Durk Dursley is a 10th level Eldritch Knight/Abjuror. Durk has 4/2 wizard spell slots (17 spell points) as an Eldritch Knight and 4/3/3/3/2 wizard slots (64 spell points) as an Abjuror, which means he has a total of 6/5/3/3/2 (81 spell points) wizard spell slots (spell points) to spend on any wizard spells he knows as an Eldritch Knight or has prepared as an Abjuror.

Note: when Rupert's single-classed friend Olaf the Stout is a 17th level wizard with 240,000 XP and 107 spell points with access to 9th level wizard spells, Rupert will still be 10th level with 80,000 XP in each class and 91 total spell points with access to 3rd level ranger spells and 5th level wizard spells.

--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

5E: Trap Gremlins

IMC, that's why I created Trap Gremlins. Their one purpose in life is to create nasty-but-theoretically-solvable traps exactly like the ones which amuse evil DMs everywhere; more powerful Trap Gremlins create more creative and more deadly traps; various rituals can attract or even summon Trap Gremlins of varying strength, e.g. leaving junk food out after midnight may attract a few weak Trap Gremlins into your kitchen, but leaving a gigantic golden idol unattended in a stone chamber is almost guaranteed to attract a powerful Trap Gremlin, especially if you trace a pentagram around the idol made out of honey mixed with your own blood.

Therefore, a relatively cheap and easy way to create defenses is to perform rituals which summon powerful Trap Gremlins. True, it is less effective than setting a genuine, secure, deadly trap like dozens of Symbol of Death spells layered on top of each other... but it's also cheaper, quicker, and easier. Besides, you can always use both kinds of traps for really important stuff.

A Trap Gremlin can transform into the shape of an inanimate object, and when you fall victim to a trap, you may often hear a high-pitched giggling. However, disarming a gremlin's trap causes the gremlin to explode as if it were a soda can full of ugly green goop being squashed by a giant hammer, no matter what shape the gremlin is currently in, so if you solve a puzzle guarding a door and the barrel next to the door explodes into green slime, you have probably just slain a Trap Gremlin. (This is also why disarming traps often grants kill XP.)

TL;DR I invented a monster to explain why dungeons are full of traps that are amusing (to the DM) instead of lethal.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?519194-UA-and-depth-of-complexity/page7#ixzz4Wukwxsrg


--
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."