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This is Dan and Andrew’s Gaming Place.  We will be making posts on Tuesdays.

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Continued Service After Death

topSpoiler alert. In Mercedes Lackey’s series The Heralds of Valdemar the heralds are bard-like individuals with mystic powers that serve and guard the Kingdom of Valdemar. They ride really smart, faithful, telepathic white “horses” called companions. The companions have some connection to the mechanisms of fate because they are the ones that set their heralds on quests. Here is the spoiler: many of the companions are reincarnate heralds. This is the point of departure for this post: continued service after death. If a companion had a past life as a herald, then they will have a unique appreciation of a herald’s tasks and problems. This idea works on several levels.

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Hivehell: a Netherworld of Arthropods

Water Bug Giant Water Bug Alligator Tick Toe BiterIn an earlier post on designer netherworlds, Dan and Andrews proposed a model for transforming normal worlds into planes of the netherworld. This post is about hivehell, a netherworld of giant arthropods and hive-minded monsters. Giant insects are always problematic because they violate the laws of physics, but in the netherworld, supported by ancient magic, they are a little less implausible.

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Games of Chance for your players: One Card Two Round Poker

We continue our series on alternative to hack and slash this week.  The game described in this post allows for including a very simple poker variant that is usually over very quickly, into your table top game, without actually playing poker. Along with Liar’s Dice, this game is intended as a way to spice up the party’s time in a typical tavern or other  wretched hives of scum and villainy. The other nice thing about this game is that you do not need to know how to play any version of poker to understand one card two round poker.

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Quantoi, a Temporal Maelstrom

topThe nether plane of Quantoi has a difficult history to recount. The world of Wenwei, its precursor, was an almost classical attempt by the forces of darkness to gather in a world as a new nether plane. They encouraged two states, one with mage aristocrats and the other with spiritualist aristocrats, to try to conquer their world and gave aid to both sides. The plan was to create a situation in which the mage aristocrats would open the gates of the netherworld to access a quick army, after which Wenwei would be vacuumed into the dark realm.

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Games of Chance: Liar’s Dice

Liar’s Dice is a game that features dice and bluffing. It is a game with many variants, but here is a version I like the best.

This is a game for as many players as you like, as long as each player can start with five six-sided dice. The following description is stolen with adjustments from the Wikipedia page:

Each round, each player rolls a “hand” of dice and looks at their hand while keeping it concealed from the other players. The first player begins bidding, announcing any face value and the minimum number of dice that the player believes are showing that value. This bid is about all of the dice on the table, not just the dice in the bidder’s hand.

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The problem with exponential monsters

topIn the first version of Advanced Dungeons&Dragons, both demons and devils had the ability to summon other demons and devils. Some other monsters, like night hags, can also summon demons and devils. There is an apocryphal story that the inventor of chess was asked by a king to name his reward. He asked for a grain of wheat on the first square of the chess board, two grains on the second square, four grains on the third square, and so on. The joke is that this is 36,893,488,147,419,103,231 grains of wheat — exceeding the mass of planet earth. This emphasizes the problem with fiends summoning fiends: they can multiply like the grains of wheat. This is a wonderful example of a game balance problem.

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A RISK-like Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournament

OPrisonerne of the tournaments I ran in my game theory class was an Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma tournament with a bit of a wrinkle. This article assumes you know about the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Please read up on it (it’s a short read), before moving forward if you are not familiar.

In a standard IPDT (Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournament), like the kind that Robert Axelrod ran, every strategy plays every other strategy for a certain number of rounds, and the average score over all of the games was used to compute a strategy’s tournament score. If you are interested in reading about Axelrod’s work, click here, and follow one of the many links to his seminal work. The results of his tournaments are very interesting, and really demand their own post in another kind of blog. I am going to move past what Axelrod did, and write a bit about my tournament.

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