iaiz's blog

this is a place ofr me to put down all of my Thoughts into Words

ttrpg systems

so you've probably played a ttrpg before. chances are there was some form of randomness. common forms tend to be based on a few systems. the most common is likely the dnd-like system, where you roll a d20 and try to roll above a certain value. another common system is the shadowrun-like system, where you roll d6s and add the values and they fall into ranges which determine the outcome. the third system ive commonly seen is you draw a card and then the card determines the outcome, but it tends to be more flexible or narrative-driven than just success/fail. of course they aren't limited to those forms, fudge uses the dnd-like system but with d3s. however, you occasionally see more varied game systems. for example, dread, which uses a jenga tower as its main source of randomness. i think it's fun to think of systems that you don't really see anywhere. for example, what if there was a ttrpg based on poker dice. poker dice (roughly) have 7 outcomes: 5 kind, 4 kind, 3 kind, 2 kind, full house, 2 pair, and nothing. the odds also work pretty well for making increasingly better results rarer, although to make crits more common i suspect that you'd have crits split between full house, 4 kind, and 5 kind. another idea (this one isn't mine, this ones from an episode of Game Changer), was a ttrpg based on scrabble tiles. scrabble has a pretty interesting distribution for points:

the points distribution skews heavily toward 1. you could probably have a system where it's like 0 = critical failure, 1 = failure, 2,3= mixed success, 4,5 = success, 8,10 = crit. alternatively, you could have a type of letter based distribution. vowels vs. consonants vs. ambiguous works pretty well already, but if you want balance you could count j, v, and w as vowels (for justification they originated from i and u, kinda) and move y to vowels for a 49/49/2 distribution, which could be done such that you get a consonant you fail, a vowel you succeed, and a blank you get something extremely good. idk im not a game designer. one last idea could be a game based on investigating a conspiracy, and it could use a dread-like mechanic, except you set up dominoes. each action you take adds a domino to the run, and if you accidentally knock it over you get caught and the game shifts. if you want you could then use the values on said dominoes to add more randomness, but idk. anyways i think we should have more wild ttrpg systems.


i recently came across someone decrying the "trans establishment" for not being able to explain why they should be allowed to be who they are. among the poor arguments (e.g. people didn't respond to questioning, which shouldn't be surprising given that you're asking questions about private details and also match the patterns of those who intend to disenfranchise them) was an argument that they couldn't create a definition of "woman" that didn't include "men" as well. they also claimed that they used circular reasoning, but i think this is a consequence of this last point. the issue with this is that strict definitions don't work for anything but the most abstract things and especially don't work for people.

example, what defines a square? it's a shape with four lines that intersect at right angles. cool. what defines quartz? its a structure made of SiO2 in a tetrahedral lattice. alright. what defines a duck? it can't be just a creature in the family Anatidae, because that would include swans and geese, as well as excluding things widely considered to be ducks (e.g. Donald Duck, a rubber duck). and while you may say that those don't count as ducks because they aren't actual ducks, if you were in a room with a rubber duck and somebody asked you to pick up "the duck", you'd pick up a rubber duck, despite it not being an "actual" duck. the word "duck", in this situation, applies to rubber ducks as well as "actual" ducks, and as such they need to be included in the definition. any attempt at a definition either has to carve out specific exceptions for things, become an arbitrary list of properties (if i tape a beak, feathers, and duck feet to a car does it become a duck?), or is circular in some way (e.g. a duck is something that people percieve as a duck). similarly, what is a salad? remember, pasta salads and fruit salads are salads, but something like trail mix is not!

these problems are even worse when it comes to describing people because people tend to be unpredictable. what defines an American (i'm using the definition based on the US here)? it can't be citizenship, as there are plenty of people who have lived their whole lives on US soil without being a US citizen. it can't be based on origin, as people can immigrate (in fact, that would make many of the original founders of the US not American). i guess you could define it based on if they associate themselves with the US as a community, but that would exclude (for example), micronations that are within US borders. when asking about gender it becomes near-impossible to define as each culture treats gender differently and each person dresses, acts, speaks, and simply is in their own way. creating a strict definition for something like this is impossible and as such claiming that the "trans establishment" is bad because they can't define a "woman" is a poor argument, especially if you start to add qualifiers (e.g. it can't be based on character traits) and possibly even move the goalposts. i know you are probably not reading this but on the off chance you are (you know who you are), please ask yourself if you can define "woman" in the way you're asking first. anyways, words are meaningless and communication is impossible /lh

side note: languages like lojban get somewhat around this, but people are imperfect and will often have to improvise, come up with words on the fly, generalize, describe via metaphor, etc., which often leads to other issues.