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Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond Wednesday, 13th February, 2019 09:44 PM

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Friday, 16th November, 2018

  • 09:12 PM - rmcoen mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Seems like I read a game or a class recently - this thread? a link? - where powerful spells were built across rounds like Jay Verkuilen mentioned. Your normal comabt actions were Words of Power, which had a low-level effect. But over time, the Words you used in the combat built more powerful spells with more powerful effects. Making up an example: Force (direct damage spell) + Levitation (perhaps used as a defense, lifting a temporary shield of debris to block an attack) + wYld (raw power, used to push enemies back a few steps) = FLY, enabling the wizard to escape from his foes and hover above the field of battle. 3 rounds to cast, with minor beneficial effects along the way. But then we're designing a whole new magic system, which isn't the same as "fixing" D&D. Guys (and gals), we're 89 pages into this disucssion. While a very interesting debate that has wandered about the field of battle.... what's the point? what's the goal? Are we trying to make 4e less artificially balanced? Give 5e martial characters more flash, more high level power? Make a better mousetrap?

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018

  • 10:32 PM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Dragon Reflections #16 – Gygax Fights Back!
    Jay Verkuilen - I like your suggestions better than power attack - the latter is purely an optimisation problem, whereas trading attack for defence involves intervening variables that are outside the player's control and that can't be readily computed. So it becomes more like choosing an orientation for your PC, than solving equations.

Monday, 5th November, 2018

  • 09:08 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    ...ive Fiction, and they appear in all sorts of Spec Fic. Is it a robot or a golem? Well, really, it doesn't matter all that much. What does matter though, is the different themes of the story which do (usually) differentiate fantasy from SF.I agree that tropes on their own don't do a perfect job. But for the reason I've given I don't think your version works either - it fails to pick the radical difference of both internal and external aesthetic of (say) LotR vs REH's Conan. That tropes don't do a perfect job doesn't mean that they do no job at all. What inclines us to call Star Wars sci fi? They talk about parsecs, and planets, and hyperdrives, and the like. That's tropes, and it pushes away from fantasy. Is Star Wars nevertheless really fantasy because it involves magic, and princesses, and dark lords, etc? Certainly the absence of those tropes from 2001 is what helps make it clearly sci-fi. But in Star Wars they are present in combination with sci-fi tropes. I think I'm with Jay Verkuilen in doubting that really is going to help us here. Genres aren't natural kinds; at best they're shortcuts to help us engage in analysis and criticism of a work.

Wednesday, 24th October, 2018

  • 12:40 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Jay Verkuilen I haven't played or run Conan 2d20. But I've GMed Burning Wheel with a bit of a S&S flavour. I've also GMed a 2 PC, all thieves AD&D game years (decades) ago which had a bit of a S&S feel. D&D-style dungeon crawling is not very S&S at all (Xuthal of the Dusk and Red Nails not withstanding). S&S has quite a social dimension, and doesn't have to be urban but frequently is.

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

  • 04:30 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Jay Verkuilen Absolutely! I've often posted on these boards that if you want to get REH Conan-style Swords and Sorcery adventure, you've got to change the D&D XP system (at least) and probably other aspects of the system also, so that players are rewarded for having value beyond the acquisition of loot, and don't get hosed when they leap before they look.

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 09:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Keeping numbers low (so basicly the same % chance thru the levels), while increasing, instead, the tiers of power/influence/effect of the pc vs the world and viceversa. (Like: on an enemy inferior by two/three tiers, you just deal damage/crit; one tier below: roll to hit with automatic advantage, same level: no change; and viceversa)4e is a version of this: in combat, for instance, PC and opponent bases scale at basically the same rate, and so the % chance remains largely the same through the levels; but creatures that are inferior per the fiction relative to the PC tier are framed as minions, and hence die on a hit; or get bundled up as a swarm, and hence get taken down in swathes. 4e non-combat has less tight maths, which can produce some of the issues Jay Verkuilen has identified (the big offender in my game is the +6 to all knowledge skills that a Sage of Ages gets). But the orientation of the game is still towards what you describe - level-appropriate DCs that try to establish roughly consistent chances of success, with the differences of tier being expressed in the fiction rather than the mechanics. I think this kind of approach could lead to getting rid of levels and DCs altogether, in favor of a more spread out growth and resolution mechanic, with more emphasis on situational, narrative bonus/malus, extended contests, multiple successes and the like.Again, 4e can be considered a version of this (and literally is a version of this if you strip out the level adjustments for creatures and the stat gain and enhancement bonuses for PCs). The differences between tiers are really about complexity (higher level PCs have more, and more complex, options); the range of effects available, which straddles fiction and mechanics (eg flight is available...

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 09:00 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    ... Iserith, is that if you play it your way (do not assume players are examining until told), the players always fail to spot the gloves. <snip> Unless of course, in the fiction ofthe world, they spot it by accident when moving past. What mechanic exists like that? A Perception check. Or at the very least, a dm examination of passive pereception, maybe giving a different description to a play with a passive score of over 15. Or at least, that's the way I'd do it. Some of the description is sometimes driven by random chance: that randomness being whether you by accident happen to notice something or not. if the history check fails the PCs just have to carry on without whatever clues might have been hidden in the Dwarven runes - if any. This is why pre-emptive checks can be useful - sometimes things just get found (or missed) by random chance en route to doing something else unrelated.There is another reason being suggested for GM-called for/deterined Perception-type checks, by Jay Verkuilen, which is that they serve a metagame purpose of mixing things up and putting the players on edge: that's exactly what I use an informational check for, as well as tension building. A failed check often does move the tension up. The players know there were failed checks with potential information missed, which makes them start to wonder what's going on. (Well at least I would hope so, but clearly that would depend on the player.) I've definitely curbed my own propensity for calling for rolls where there isn't any consequence but in this case or when the player's description is just fluff, but something like the check I outlined has consequences. I think this often depends on the table. Folks I've played with for many years will often call for checks where there's something that the player seems to be missing and it is possible the character might know something. I'll also call for checks from out of seeming left field to stimulate the player or push them in a different directi...

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 10:50 PM - Lanefan mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Tony Vargas - Jay Verkuilen - first off, xp to both of you for a really interesting and civil discussion this last 20 posts or so. And then, a question: am I reading both of you correctly, when you're talking about how easy/hard it is/was to change or kitbash 4e, that it's relatively easy to drop things out you don't like but much harder to add things in you do like? For example, hit points and effects - if I'm reading you right you'll both say it would be way easier to drop or ignore the 'bloodied' mechanic than it would be to introduce a wound-vitality or body-fatigue system. Just curious... Lanefan

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 03:37 AM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Hit points that aren't strictly meat damage can still be understood from a character being increasingly tired out or weakenedBut not so tired that you can't still move at your maximum pace, carry your maximum load, climb walls just as well as you could before entering melee, etc! But suppose we downplay the "weakened, tired" aspect and emphasise Gygax's other elements - luck, divine favour, magical protections, etc. Even here there are multiple subsytems that don't interact - saving throws, as per the quote upthread about poison saves, are a separate subsystem for this stuff, and then magical protections and divine favour can also be the result of magic items, spells etc. 4e closes some of these gaps - there is generally no distinction, for instance, between the threats of physical harm that AD&D handled via saving throws and the threats of physical harm that AD&D handled via hit points; and as Jay Verkuilen (I think) mentioned upthread, it uses healing surges to handle exhaustion. But 4e opens up at least one new gap (or, perhaps, generalises it from the 3E barbarian's rage) - namely, limited use non-magical capabilities that manifest as martial encounter and daily powers, and action points. Putting everything into a common pool can reduce the odd (non-)synergies between abstractions, but of course also reduces moving parts which itself has implications for game play. 3E is my personal least favourite for this stuff: it replaces poison saves (which, as Gygax describes in the quoted passage) were a type of luck mechanic, with Fortitude saves - but Fortitude is a mechanic largely independent of the hit point system; and poison doesn't do hp damage but stat damage. So your magical protections and luck stop you getting squashed by a hill giant's club (a mid-to-upper level PC can soak the 20 hp easily enough) but don't help agasint the STR damage (and resultant penalties to attack and...

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

  • 03:52 AM - pming mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Loops in RPG Adventure and Game Design
    Hiya! Jay Verkuilen, yes, exactly. For a video game this is fine, the "loop method" works...minor variations of the general 'thing'. Different weapons, enemies, etc...but it's still very much the same thing: combat and tactics. Toss in a little bit of percieved overland travel to break it up, maybe a cutscene or two, but it's still a loop of "fight, fight, fight, fight, end, roll credits". This works for a lot of video games...even MMO's where people do the same "boss fights" over and over to get specific rewards. If you know what you are going into, this isn't a problem, it's a feature. :) In a First Person Shooter, I'm expecting to be doing a lot of shooting bad guys. For table top RPG's, however, using the loop method just isn't going to work. Well, I suppose it could if everyone at the table is going for this sort of game. The only time I can remember doing this was when we played the Street Fighter RPG when if was first released. Then again...it's a TTRPG based on a video game, so...uh...yeah. ;) ...

Sunday, 1st October, 2017

  • 01:57 PM - pemerton mentioned Jay Verkuilen in post Power Creep
    Can't you just use classes and monsters from AD&D?I wasn't replying to you. I know (from reading earlier posts/threads of yours) that you want a system for pricing/buying/building magic items that is balanced from the point of view of PC build mechanics. But that didn't seem to be what Jay Verkuilen was asking for. It's quite conceivable that there is no mechanic that will meet your requirements. But Jay Verkuilen pointed to AD&D as providng an example of what he might want - and the AD&D rules manifestly are not a balanced system of PC-build rules. Rather, they're guidelines for how the GM should handle the item-creation process, which includes injecting balance at whatever point s/he wants to in whatever way s/he wants to. It's nothing like what 3E or 4e provided. (And it seems to be widely recognised that 3E fails in what you're asking for, and 4e largely achieves it by making magic items "boring".) To some degree I could, but it would require a good bit of calibrating to get right. I won't say that the 1E system was perfect, just that it's there. I shouldn't have to. That's what I pay game designers to do. It's not some kind of weird monster that only appeared in 2E, it's fairly core functionality.The AD&D system has rules for costing potions - gp = to XP value, whic...

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Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 11:22 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    I was very much referring to how successful things were overall. What I meant about "they got lucky" was that I don't think anyone in 2014 would have anticipated the really substantial success that's happened and their released for a while afterwards felt a bit uncertain because it wasn't too clear where things would go. And I will say this, which you can take as being belittling if you want: WotC may playtest like heck, but their math skills haven't really impressed me in a lot of areas and it really never has. 3E had chained rounding errors in the saving throws which led to some really strange stuff and there are a number of areas in 5E as well. I don't recall ones in 4E but I'm sure they were there, too. Doing a good job with an established game like D&D is hard and in general they did a good job, although there are some poorly functioning aspects of 5E, still. I'd like a 5.5E that fixed up some areas, e.g., saves and skills especially at high levels, and made a few classes less prone to ...
  • 12:11 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    But you're right, it's tough to see a clear logic---I think they got lucky with 5E in many ways, which makes figuring out how this happened tough. I'm totally moved! Someone shares my opinion about this! Please believe me, I swear no irony here, I would never expect that. thanks, really. I feel this extremely belittles the amount and length of the ongoing playtesting and feedback process, of both mechanics and adventures, that Wizards has its content undergo.
  • 07:09 AM - Whizbang Dustyboots quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Pages From The Upcoming Nautical D&D Book!
    The U1-3 series was published a few years after the 1E PHB was released. The date on U1 is 1981. The PHB is from 1978. Yeah, that's what I was saying. Illusionists don't exist from the very start of the game -- they weren't in OD&D, but appeared in The Dragon thereafter -- but have been in the rulebooks since the 1E PHB era.
  • 05:22 AM - ClaytonCross quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    I don't know their data specifically, or their general structure, but a mechanism that more clearly reveals the intent of the user would very much improve the nature of the data, so long as it was cheap to gather and consistently filled out. Otherwise there's uncontrolled heterogeneity in the data. Upthread I offered myself as an example: Of the five characters in my DDB account, only one is an active PC. The others are either NPCs or, more commonly, test builds of some sort, which I find DDB to be particularly useful for. This is pretty typical for me. Is it typical for others? I have no idea, but without a method for the user to signal this, it's a guess. (I speak as someone with a graduate degree in statistics who teaches the subject at a graduate school. That doesn't make me infallible, but does mean I have a better idea than Joe Average.) I have 19 characters. 2 are active . 17 are Theory Crafting. At one point I had 2 NPC mules as second characters which represented actual mule NPCs and hel...

Monday, 11th February, 2019

  • 09:20 AM - Kevin Smith quoted Jay Verkuilen in post More context to derive meaning from the data
    I think what "useless" meant was "miscalculated." As in "how is it that the subclass percentage exceeds that of the base class given that all life clerics are, necessarily, clerics?" That's really, really... weird. Part of it might be due to the fact that archetype is only chosen at particular levels that vary for the class in question. Clerics choose that at 1st level while many others don't choose until 3rd level. Also the class breakdowns are pretty much guaranteed to have multiple counting due to multiclass characters. So, yeah, these data are misleading as presented, or at least confusing. "Maybe misrepresented," or at least, "not given proper context" might be the culprit too. If 62.8% of active PCs are levels 1-4, and 8.4% of active characters are life clerics, could the 10.2% of active subclasses be due to the fact that Clerics start with a subclass? Fighters and Rogues are the two most popular choices representing 24.4% of active classes (in total) and they don't receive a subclass op...
  • 01:52 AM - vpuigdoller quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Pages From The Upcoming Nautical D&D Book!
    I'm running Desert of Desolation now. This is a great series which would be a fantastic rerelease. Not a "spiritual successor" like some of the other things they've done which references it the way Greta Van Fleet cops Led Zeppelin's sound, but the real deal. There's just so much there, especially in the version that was released as a supermodule in 1987. Fill out the setting and work on the bones that are there, which are really solid. They provide a great sandbox (literally and figuratively!) with the PCs being able to seek out the Star Gems once they've gotten into the story in various orders. I've really played up the fact that the gods have cursed the land and left it, which has presented some notable challenges. I put in some quasi-Nazi halflings excavating things, too, to play up the Indiana Jones feel. Unfortunately I feel the campaign may be falling apart but that's due to the group. Desert of Desolation is one of my favorites as well. Such a great adventure.

Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 09:29 PM - 5ekyu quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    They did add a good bit to DND Beyond recently, so, for instance you can now add extra feats, skills, etc., without too much pain, say to accommodate a campaign that gave all PCs a bonus feat at first level. It's still fairly rough to integrate a home built race or class. It can be done by people way more patient than me through some workarounds like making a magic item that provides the abilities. I won't count myself an expert at database programming but from what I know of it, that would be very challenging to do so I get why it's not there.I have been using homebrew a lot for my current game and so far DDB makes it pretty easy. Classes are not there, as was stated, but it's well put together so far.
  • 08:38 PM - BadEye quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    If you could multis in the simple way there's going to be a lot of double counting and thus, you're right it would mess up the class breakdowns. Cleric and fighter are both very common level dips, just as an example. This is my point that no one here (except me) knows the actual dataset and many assumptions are being made. Multiclassing and homebrew subclasses are going to throw off any napkin math you all can do. If we entirely removed multiclass characters, for instance, does this actually still give us the most accurate look at class popularity? Is a class still popular if it is chosen, even if for only a level or two? We can absolutely remove multiclass characters (and we have before), but I can tell you the distribution doesn't actually change that much.
  • 08:34 PM - BadEye quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    tl;dr: If all these data are being used for is to confuse and/or amuse some posters on EnWorld, no harm. If decisions are actually being made from them, for instance to guide future product development, I'm not sure that would be a good analysis, at least as presented. This data is presented as a high-level look at distribution of race, class, and subclass selection for active characters on D&D Beyond. It serves that purpose just fine. It could certainly "confuse" or "amuse" those who want to read too much into it or think it is trying to achieve a different purpose than it is. Actual decisions could be (and are) made from this data. For instance, when looking at future subclass design, maybe the bar would be set at Life Domain and not at the least selected domain. It's a safe bet to say that draconic sorcerers "do well" in the community and other design should target that, or that perhaps people would want to know more about half-elf culture since they are so often chosen. The data never preten...
  • 04:40 PM - DQDesign quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    But you're right, it's tough to see a clear logic---I think they got lucky with 5E in many ways, which makes figuring out how this happened tough. I'm totally moved! Someone shares my opinion about this! Please believe me, I swear no irony here, I would never expect that. thanks, really. I find the logic less clear ever when I consider adventure paths. the most popular according to dndB data is the only non-FR, i.e. Curse of Strahd, which is also the best scoring in the reviews section of this site. and wotc sticks publishing FR-based adventure paths only.
  • 04:27 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    ...Class is a bit easier than subclass due to the fact that one could summarize it with some fairly simple rule, such as giving the percentages for single classed characters and then giving some kind of easy summary breakdown for multis, who often have a fairly obvious mix, such as Cleric 10/Fighter 2 or Cleric 1/Wizard 9; Cleric seems reasonable for the first character while Wizard seems reasonable for the second. Or, conditioning on being a multi, what's the breakdown? That might get messy due to the relatively large number of possible combinations but it's unambiguous as to what's being compared, particularly if broken down by tiers or by common level dips... I agree with most everything you said in this post. About this specific part, I want to add that based on other posters comments about how they handled multiclassing and "mistakes" made in the subclass breakdown, it seems to me the most obvious way they handled multiclassing in their class breakdown chart was to simply count all the char...
  • 03:33 PM - DQDesign quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    You didn't, but the implication was that these data (and experiences on DM's Guild) justified WotC's decision to focus on DM content and to release no "splatbooks" of player options. Hands down, the best selling release WotC made was Xanathar's; most of the sales were driven by players wanting access to the classes and spells. So I don't know I'd conclude that these data say what you said. you are right. for a moment I believed to be able to find a spark of rationality in wotc publishing schedule but, as you highlight, they dropped the most favorable (for a company willing to make profits) option (i.e. continuing with players' supplements). the lack of new official wotc stuff for players it's just another random choice and my data on dmsguild are unrelated to this* :D *but indeed I mentioned they are minuscule.
  • 03:07 PM - FrogReaver quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    It also has a propensity to generate misleading "facts" that last long past when they were shown to be in error. I agree that there are some clear problems in the data as presented. In particular, it looks like the subclass numbers are actually conditional probabilities that are being listed as if they were something else. That's going to be really confusing. Also, the subclass graph doesn't even add up to 100%. Circle Charts always should add up to 100%. Even if the last category is "other".
  • 08:40 AM - DQDesign quoted Jay Verkuilen in post Humans, Fighters, and Life Domain Most Popular On D&D Beyond
    Xanathar's sold quite well. It was featured in the window at the Amazon store on 34th Street by my office in Midtown Manhattan for quite a while! could you please point where in my post (the exact words please) I said Xgte sold poorly?

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 02:26 AM - Gradine quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    IQ tests are certainly not total garbage. They're highly useful in many circumstances, for instance generating an assessment of a low performing student for learning disabilities. However, what they are is more limited than people tend to think. Other than that, I agree---Maher is a smug troll. If I never see him again, I won't feel bad. I would argue that even the limited scope of what they actually measure is not particularly valuable on the whole. But that’s a rabbit hole of social statistics that is too far afield even for this thread.

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019

  • 11:11 PM - Shasarak quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    That's a really cherry picked comparison. Have you seen the blue hairs at a casino shoveling quarters into a slot machine or at a bingo parlor playing over and over? They're the right comparison set to a hardcore "all I do is play CoD" type. Different game but the same basic addiction. I see nothing inherently better at being hooked on bingo or CoD. Lots of people play video games and do a perfectly fine job at living in the adult world. Except that one person is at the end of their life and the other is at the beginning. Its kinda like comparing apples to elephants.
  • 10:46 PM - Shasarak quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    I mean, blood sports used to be considered "adult entertainment." In Call of Duty, it's all fake. Actually blood sports used to be an occasion that the whole family can enjoy it is only in the last few decades that we find out children can not handle violence. Besides I think the main difference between your Granny playing card games and someone playing Call of Duty is that one of those people plays their card games only after finishing a whole day of 'Adulting' and the other is a Call of Duty player.
  • 10:09 PM - Haffrung quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    I also think that what's happened now is that parents back in those days mostly didn't take their kids to more adult movies. There have been a lot of changes in parenting over time, but one was a much clearer separation between "adult world" and "kid world" in a lot of ways. Getting babysitters was a lot easier back in the '60s, just as an example, and expectations were quite a bit different. I think it's fair to say parents of young children used to go a lot more movies without the kids. How else to explain the fact that Kramer vs Kramer, a drama about divorce, was the top grossing movie of 1979. That would be unthinkable today. But it's also true that parents didn't have a problem taking/sending kids to 'adult' movies. I remember going to see Gandhi for a friend's birthday when we were 12, and to On Golden Pond for another friends' birthday when we were about the same age. Again, pretty tough to imagine that happening today.
  • 09:34 PM - jasper quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    Yep, he is that kind of :eggplant emoji:. I was going to ask what that meant, but google was not my friend. A friend would not want me to know this.

Tuesday, 5th February, 2019

  • 09:06 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted Jay Verkuilen in post The Battle Continues Over "Childish Things"
    I get that you're playing devil's advocate and I appreciate the role, but Boomers themselves are far from immune. In many respects, they're the worst offenders. Think about the "oldies' station" which plays music from the youth of Boomers. Ditto the bands that were fresh and interesting (or not, as the case may be) in the '60s and '70s that are still touring, charging megabucks, and all they're doing is playing their chestnuts. Rich Boomers have essentially run up the market on "vintage" instruments, some of which are total dogs compared to what's being made today. It's not just music. Look in media that sells guns, golf, cars, etc. They're all selling fantasy. A fat 56 year old ten years off a knee replacement isn't going to be a scratch golfer or an ace tactical shooter, if he ever was. Yet comic books and RPGs get slagged for being "childish." I think people look at hobbies like playing sports for real, collecting/shooting firearms, collecting and working on classic cars as more mature...


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