Unearthed Like a Graverobber

A few more thoughts on Unearthed Arcana

WotC is doing "physical/digital bundles" for the Dragonlance stuff. Are they finally doing PDFs like every other game company?! Fuck no, it's a "D&D Beyond" gulag access code. Can't use your ebook without gigabit Internet access. That's how they get you. "One D&D" will just update your ebooks to the official standard forever. Print and ownership are dead.

Excuse me while I go hug this little GOZR book and PDF instead. I'll review GOZR soon, it's cool.

Size: Medium (about 4–7 feet tall) or Small
(about 2–4 feet tall), chosen when you select
this Race

Dwarfs with Dwarfism? NO. Big Halflings or Gnomes? NO. Humans range from 2-7' tall, no change in stats (but then, Gnomes are as strong as Humans now). Warwick Davis approves, I'm sure.

Also, Orcs are now 6-7' tall. Back in the day, they were smaller than Humans, just heavier. Steroid abuse.

A player character also gains Inspiration when rolling the 20, thanks to the remarkable success.
Weapons and Unarmed Strikes* have a special feature for player characters: Critical Hits.

Reddit's going crazy over this, but it doesn't say other attacks don't get crits, just these do. And every NPC is a player character to the DM. Ain't no problem if my favorite Goblin Chuck gets a crit and guts your Ardling Paladin open, screaming for his momma on the dungeon floor. Gotta teach the punks respect.

The DM determines whether a d20 Test is warranted in any given circumstance. To be warranted, a d20 Test must have a target number no less than 5 and no greater than 30.

Yes, this avoids the "5% chance to jump over the Moon" problem, but a hard rule prevents awesome bonus characters from doing great things, too. Very badly written/thought out rule.

… On a hit, your Unarmed Strike causes one of the following effects of your choice:
Shove. You either push the target 5 feet away or knock the target Prone. This shove is possible only if the target is no more than one Size larger than you.

Great! You can just push an Ogre down, it has no resistance, it loses its action, buddies curb-stomp it while it gets up. Grapple is nearly as good, you can just move the target around anywhere. Every edition's unarmed rules are dumber than the last.

Nth Edition D&D

Was Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast bought by Microsoft? They're calling the next edition of D&D, 5.5 in any reasonable terms, "One D&D", just like Xbox One (third of that line).

To some extent I don't care, I don't do 5E, it's 1000 pages of rules to do what retro games do in 64 or less. But I keep up with the news!

I will note, I tried to sign in with Apple, and it failed on their end, untested crap code. So I signed in with Twitch, which makes no sense at all. That they can't manage their own sign-in and need oauth, eh, fine, but at least test every one!

"Unearthed Arcana" (the shittiest AD&D book, revived for 5E!), "by Jeremy Crawford, with Christopher Perkins and Ray Winninger". Well, Ray's a bright point, at least. But I'm guessing there won't be anything like Underground in this pablum.

Right now there's Character Origins up.

Superhero monster races, but now nothing mentions that your culture is mostly chaotic or evil. Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnomes, Hobbits alflings, as usual. Dark Elves are only called Drow, and nothing mentioned of the ALL ARE EVIL except for unspoken reasons these jerks "shun":

Drow. Known for their white hair and dusky- gray skin tones, drow typically dwell in the Underdark. Noteworthy exceptions include DRIZZLE DOO-WAH-DIDDY and JAR-JAR BINKS [ed.], two drow adventurers of the Forgettable[ed.] Realms who shun their subterranean homeland.

I often forget just how Disney-level singing-and-dancing treacly sweet official TSR/WotC/FR stuff is, the "Halflings" are all happy farm workers, not the grubby, thieving, murderous, sawed-off, shoeless scum of Mary Gentle's Grunts or JD's Finieous Fingers. Oh, under "many worlds":

For every sequestered halfling shire tucked away in some unspoiled corner of the world, there’s a halfling crime syndicate like the Boromar Clan on the world of Eberron or a territorial [ed: cannibalistic] mob of halflings like those found on the world of Athas.

Ardling (animal-headed god-spawn):

An ardling gains a measure of magical power from their celestial legacy, as well as the ability to manifest spectral wings. An ardling’s moral and ethical outlook is self-determined, however, not fixed by ancestry.

Fucking Dragonborn. I hated DragonNewts in RuneQuest, clearly Stafford just powergaming and almost jerking off into the page over his immortal lizard-babies, and they're just the worst PCs or NPCs in any game that's picked them up since. Why don't people steal Ducks from RuneQuest?! Ducks are awesome, hilarious and petty and venal little shits, and not OP fan-wank. Anyway, I get distracted. Fuck Dragonborn (except scalies, quit fucking Dragonborn).

Orcs. As previously mentioned. Heroical but not nice background somewhat implied, which is about as strong as WotC can be anymore:

Young orcs are often told about their ancestors’ ancient conflicts with elves in forests, dwarves under mountains, and invaders from evil planes of existence. Inspired by those tales, young orcs often wonder when Gruumsh will call on them to match the heroic deeds of their ancestors, and if they will prove worthy of the One-Eyed God’s grace.

Tieflings. Like the Ardlings:

This connection to the Lower Planes is, for better or worse, the tiefling’s fiendish legacy, which comes with the promise of power yet has no effect on the tiefling’s moral outlook.

While I don't like the monsters-only-party tone of this stuff, I have nothing against Ardling & Tiefling characters for high/stoner fantasy games, they're OP but they fit. We all liked Thundercats. The wussing out of Orcs & Drow is, sigh, sadly necessary, to quit giving shelter to actual fucking racists.

I just adamantly oppose making a monster race like Dragon-spawn into PCs. That's a KOS (Kill On Sight) monster, as in Dragonlance. OH! They're doing Dragonlance (Railroad Choo-Choo!) as next year's campaign setting. Awk…ward. Run a few Draconians ("DRAGONMEN" as DL1-Dragons of Despair called them) up against the party, see how they feel about hanging out with a scaly traitor. And KENDER! Oh, here's a nuclear hand grenade character to throw into parties of unsuspecting 5E noobs. Suddenly the railroad becomes more of a trainwreck, and I'm keen to watch it explode.

None of the "races" (which term they should abandon for "Species" as I do, or "Kindred" as Ken St. Andre does) have any stat mods, but most do give advantage on saves for 1-3 stats, which is like a +8 stat mod (giving a +4 bonus, equal to advantage) mechanically, so it's far far worse. Total fail on toning down the species superiority complex.

Backgrounds are careers, and give ability score bonuses, proficiency bonus to some skills & tools, feats, and equipment. They're like a whole second class. There's a weak version of these in the 5E rules, but much more powerful here. Who cares if you're a Human or an Orc, when Gladiator or Laborer makes you a tank; I will say at least they mostly paired one useful stat with a dump stat (WIS or CHA), but several add to two primary stats, and have a synergistic feat. Laborer's trivial, right? No, it gives +2 CON, +1 STR, Feat Tough (+2 HP per Level), for a total of at least +3 HP per Level. Cultist gives +2 INT, +1 CHA, Magical Initiate (+1 Arcane 1st level spell/day). Backgrounds just went from optional cute story thing, to more meta than race.

Feats are pretty standard, but several are extremely easy to abuse and get too much power from, at least on an OSR-scale. Against other 5E stuff, it's probably nerfed a bit, but getting a free Feat from background is the problem.

Spells are now merged into just 3 lists, Arcane (magic-users, spoony bards, etc), Divine (useless clerics & racist paladins), and Primal (hey nonny nonny dancin' skyclad in the woods rangers & druids). That's actually a good change, back to the simplicity of OSR. Of course, what's even simpler is deleting Clerics and having one spell list, but WotC's not ready for that yet. "Two D&D" in 2030, perhaps.

MineTest skins

So I hate the default adventurer skins, even if it's usually covered by armor and I use first-person camera. I have my own skin. But MineTest has no built-in config for skins! Mods to the rescue.

On your world select, hit Select Mods, Find More Mods, and search for skinsdb, and smart inventory, install both.

Back to menu, select each of those and Enable. Save.

Now in terminal:

cd ~/Library/Application Support/minetest/mods/skinsdb/textures
cp ~/Pictures/My-Minecraft-Avatar.png character_whatever.png

This only seems to work with MC 1.0 avatars, even tho skinsdb says it works with MC 1.8; if you have multiple layers, remove those and resave without them. I tried installing the 3d_armor mod, which might enable that, and it has broken dependencies. 🙁

Play Game, and in game, open inventory, click the skin icon, and at the bottom of the big new Smart Inventory screen, skin icon. Select, done.

(The skin was originally a Spider Jerusalem skin, which I wanted a Nine Inch Nails shirt on, but there's only room for NI, which makes it even better.)

What I'm Playing: MineTest, MineClone2

So, ever since Microsoft bought Mojang, they've been boiling the frog, and finally with the "Xbox accounts" and 1.19.2 the Java edition has reached surveillance state nightmare (however ludicrous that sounds for a game… it's still a game we play) parity with Xbox Live Arcade (aka "NAMBLA") and the inferior mobile/"Bedrock" edition, and it's really time to look for alternatives.

One such is MineTest, which is an open source blocky game engine, with easy modding in Lua. The base MineTestGame is a very simple peaceful/creative mode, which isn't that interesting, but mods change everything. One of the mod packs ("games") is MineClone2; it aims to recreate MC 1.12.2 with some improvements, while MineClone5 (I guess 3 & 4 fell into a swamp) is a much less stable fork that chases current features. Other games aren't concerning themselves with MC-like-ness at all, I'll look at some of those later.

Download the client from the MineTest page, then at the bottom bar hit + and type in MineClone, hit + on MC2. Back on the Main Menu, select the 2-grass-block icon from the bottom, the screen should change to show a MC2 logo, hit New to make a new world.

When I started testing MineTest, it was very laggy, the Mac display & input was completely broken. In 5.4, it got up to usable but not fun, with a really horrible input lag. In 5.6, just released on the 4th, it's actually playable! FPS rate is a little low (15-30 instead of the 30-60+ I expect), picking up/moving inventory can be sluggish, but the game is on par with any older edition of MC now.

MineClone2 can have some remarkable terrain, tho there's something a little off, I get broken Nether portals every few hundred meters in plains. The mobs are dumb but as dangerous as MC and I'm less skilled here. Villagers work, I don't have a proper screenshot of the village I've started trading with, I need to clear some land and fence it off, after I set up my next base near it. Animals are a bit odd, they're persistent but spawn in randomly on grass when you enter the area, there's a river below my base, and it's constantly splashing with sheep & llamas that fall in; I should build a lava blade trap for them. I've made a map, but it's uselessly small and can't be resized, but does point back home. The built-in minimap (hit M, repeatedly to cycle views) is very useful.

By default there's no access to debug. You can open the console, but no command shows coords AFAICT.

So edit ~/Library/Application Support/minetest/minetest.conf (probably ~/.minetest on Linux, WTF knows on Windows):

keymap_console = KEY_F5
keymap_inventory = KEY_TAB
keymap_minimap = KEY_KEY_M
keymap_mute = KEY_F10
keymap_screenshot = KEY_F2
keymap_toggle_block_bounds = KEY_F6
keymap_toggle_chat = KEY_F7
keymap_toggle_debug = KEY_F3
keymap_toggle_fog = KEY_F8

Or whatever keys you like for those. Now I can hit F3 and get a teeny text status of FPS & pos, hit it again and get full debug/lag spike data.

What I'd like is a bit more of Life in the Woods, or Super Hostile type modpacks, make survival hard and more complex, but with a gentler introduction than Feed the Beast etc. There is Exile in the ContentDB, and I kind of glazed over looking at the wiki, my one test of it I punched some sticks but couldn't make anything, then got blown up, but I'll run at it again.

There's not a lot of Youstubes or Twitches of MineTest yet, but there's a few "punch wood" demos, and a lot of what you know about MC just works in MineClone2.