Bein’ Critical of Twitch-streamed D&D Games!

OK, then, more talk about tabletop RPGs on Twitch. This is where I get critical.

Most games on Twitch are Dungeons and Dragons. This is expected. I don’t play D&D anymore, and I haven’t for several years – and even when I did play it, well, I have been told I don’t play it in a very D&D way. I now have a much better idea of what that means.

Because, here’s the thing, when you start a game – and many of them do start in this exact way – saying a tiefling, a dragonkin, and a drow walk into a bar… that’s not the lead-in to an adventure. That’s an introduction to a fantasy-themed joke.

Continue reading Bein’ Critical of Twitch-streamed D&D Games!

My favorite D&D Twitch stream is…

Critical Botch, GM’d by Brandon Culter with players including Peter Avalon, Orange Cassidy, Leva Bates, Chuckie Taylor, Colt Cabana, and Trent.

They are professional wrestlers.

What I enjoy the most is the sheer honesty of the feed.  In my four-decades experience from coast-to-coast, if you pick up a D&D game, this is what it looks like.  Critical Botch is what D&D looks like.  No prevarication, no bullshit, this is what D&D looks like.  (Well, excepting that the players are probably, on whole, far less attractive than the overall hotness that is the AEW cast.)

It’s silly but also funny and fun.  Y’all rock.

Twitch TTRPGs, Critical Role, and the Mercer Effect

I’m trying to get into the habit of doing more frequent blog posts. I struggle with social media – because it’s toxic, which is by now simply an established scientific fact – but I’m a fuckin’ writer. I’m a content provider. So, I need to do a few more blog posts. Y’know. Provide content. This one is about Twitch TTRPGs.

Because I’m a grognard, I only recently learned about “the Mercer effect.” It’s what happens when a person watches and listens to the webcast Critical Role, a D&D game involving a group of voice actors. After watching the show, some people hook up with a D&D group and then leave because the experience of a normal D&D group is nothing like what happens on Critical Role. The gamemaster is named Matt Mercer, after whom the effect is named – which he finds heartbreaking. He loves Dungeons and Dragons and is simply looking to put on a show, a show he gives away for free, him, and his fellow performers. Even when I’m highly critical – which I will, because I’m a critical person – I absolutely, positively, do not doubt his love of the game or his sincerity or pain that he’s causing people to dismiss TTRPGs because they’ve followed his show.

Continue reading Twitch TTRPGs, Critical Role, and the Mercer Effect

Speaking out about my childhood sexual assault

Today’s post is talking about times I was sexually abused. So, yeah, fun times!

I’m doing this because I haven’t said anything about my sexual abuse, not publicly, anyway. I’m doing it because abuse thrives in silence. I’m doing it as a deconstruction of masculinity, which teaches stoic silence in the face of pain is better than admitting when you were hurt as a means to end violence – which is a technique invented by abusers to help cover up their crimes. Those are my reasons, now to what happened.

This happened when I was a young boy starting from the time I was about seven and lasting until I was big enough to tell people to fuck off, so about thirteen (I was precocious in that regard.)  I had a cousin (twelve years my senior, so he would have been nineteen when this started) who would fondle my arm and thigh while describing the times he’d shit his pants and asking me about how I shit and if and how often I had shit my pants.

Continue reading Speaking out about my childhood sexual assault

Police use of chokeholds as torture

Let’s talk about strangling people. More specifically, how cops strangle people and how it’s a vicious cycle leading to torture and murder.

I’ve been in enough jujitsu classes to have been strangled a fair bit. I’m almost a connoisseur of strangulation. Which is to say that I know what happens when a person gets strangled.

In short – you freak the fuck out. You want it, you NEED it to stop. Panic sets in almost immediately. This is a big part of the reason how waterboarding works. When you can’t breathe, even if for a few seconds, your body freaks the fuck out.

Continue reading Police use of chokeholds as torture

Police and bad apples plus fixing the system

Some jobs can’t have bad apples.

Imagine you walk into a doctor’s office and you’re told, “Well, sure, a lot of doctors are good eggs, but a lot of other doctors are, well, racist. If you’re not a white person, they’ll either refuse to treat you or make your condition worse – not as an accident but maliciously, sometimes severely. And now and then, somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred times a year, they’ll decide to kill you, again, often with malice aforethought. BUT, I, who am a good doctor, will not do anything to fix this situation, because all the other doctors won’t like me, so I tolerate and, indeed, through the continued support of the organizations to which we mutually belong, encourage their racism and violence – and will indeed defend vocally and, occasionally, with the violence of my own those ‘bad apples.'”

Continue reading Police and bad apples plus fixing the system

Seriously, the Democrats Should Nominate Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, or Anyone With Charisma

One of the big problems with the Democratic Party is that they want to win arguments and not elections. But in the American electoral system, you must first win elections.

I look at the Presidental candidates the Democrats have run and who have lost, and they have something in common – they are policy wonks. They’re the people you bring out when you want to win an argument. They line up facts and figures, they respond to their opponent’s substance and appeal to reason. In my lifetime, they’ve included charisma-free candidates such as Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton.

Continue reading Seriously, the Democrats Should Nominate Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, or Anyone With Charisma

Fuck Electric Cars

Let me explain. I ride my bicycle between 4000 and 5000 miles each year. That’s not even counting my ebike, which I use for as many errands as I can, which accounts for another five hundred to six hundred miles a year.

I was reading this content-free article from “cleantechnica”.com where they assert without a shred of, y’know, proof that electric cars are better than gasoline-powered cars. Is it true that e-cars are better than gas cars in terms of energy efficiency? Honestly, I don’t know, but I also don’t care. Like the oil industry, the e-car industry is doing it’s dead-level best to obscure the pass-through pollution – the total pollution the vehicle generates from the manufacture, use, and disposal – it creates.

Continue reading Fuck Electric Cars

To MxR Plays About Jukin Media, or Get Yourselves a Lawdog, Dudes

Dear MxR Plays,

I’m going to say something to you that I doubt you’ve heard very much. In your dispute with Jukin Media, you’re screwed.

The essence of why you’re screwed is clear. You have no idea what fair use is. Let me break it down. Fair use is when you excerpt a portion of someone’s work in a transformational manner. It’s an inherently dodgy concept, I grant, but it breaks down into four things: that your use is a parody, educational, critical, or for research. While there are considerable blurry areas, there are also lots of clear ones, too. To my eyes, you’re not near the line, guys.

Continue reading To MxR Plays About Jukin Media, or Get Yourselves a Lawdog, Dudes

Buy Kit Bradley's Books

Kit Bradley Bookstore