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The Law According to Dungeons & Dragons

posted Wednesday, June 27th 2012 by Jonathan Drain
None of the Above

Here are five reasons why you don’t want to live in the world implied by the Dungeons & Dragons rules – unless, of course, you’re an adventurer.

1. Theft is legal if the owner is already dead
Dungeons never belong to anyone. If they did, you wouldn’t need traps and monsters to guard your treasure – just an alarm spell that calls the police. Likewise, if you kill someone, it’s pefectly legal to take their stuff.

2. Orcs don’t have rights
Neither do kobolds, goblins or ogres. You want to live in uncivilized tribes, you don’t get the protection of law. In fact, it’s considered polite to murder you on sight. The exception is if they’re an adventurer. If you’re a crazy enough orc to steal from dungeons instead of raiding caravans, the law begrudgingly accepts you as a good guy.

3. Adventurers pay no tax, ever
Somebody must be paying for all these town guards, city walls, roads, abandoned fortresses and cultist-infested public sewers. The king evidently funds all of this with some kind of tax, but nobody ever taxes the adventurers. Impoverished farmers pay ten percent of their crop while millionaire dragon-slayers waste their savings on personal fortresses and marginally sharper magic swords.

4. Prices are fixed by the government
No matter where you go, a Magic Sword +1 costs the same amount. Whether it’s 2,000 gp in your kingdom or or 360 gp, you’ll never get a better or worse price. Why? Clearly, the king is secretly price-fixing to control the supply of magic items. Otherwise, supply and demand would eventually let every peasant own a magic sword and the people would overthrow their tax-happy king.

5. Beggars are the richest peasants in town
If you’re a farmer, you maybe earn the equivalent of one or two silver pieces a day. A hundred gold pieces is more than you’ll see in a year. Imagine how much more profitable it is for the beggar in a major city, when a high-level adventuring party drops him 100 gold in “spare change”. All he needs to do is sit outside any tavern with adventurers staying in it, and he has a hard-working man’s annual salary. No wonder the peasants are fomenting rebellion.

Spare a Thought For the Poor Town Guards

posted Sunday, June 17th 2012 by Jonathan Drain
Fluff/InspirationGame Design

Attending a gaming convention is a lot like being a town guard in a fantasy RPG or mediaeval settlement. You spend a lot of the day on your feet, possibly wearing a cumbersome outfit, and at the end of the day you go back to a cramped room with your comrades.

Let me tell you, spending three days at Anime Central dressed as a Whiterun town guard from the game Skyrim has given me a new appreciation for how careless we Dungeons & Dragons players are when we design characters’ outfits.

1. You can’t see crap out of a face-concealing visor
I opted to do without the Whiterun guard’s iconic face-concealing helmet, since it would limit visibility of the convention stalls and events. Just ask anyone who goes dressed as a Power Ranger.

But the real town guards also need good visibility more than protection. As one says, “I mainly deal with petty thievery and drunken brawls. It’s been too long since we’ve had a good bandit raid.”

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Natural 20 by the Blibbering Humdingers

posted Thursday, June 7th 2012 by Jonathan Drain
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