Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Alex Schroeder
Emacs, Lisp, Perl, Wiki, D&D
Emacs, Lisp, Perl, Wiki, D&D
Alex's posts

Post is pinned.Post has attachment
This post is pinned to show at the top of my profile – it is the about me post. I'm on Google+ to talk about role-playing games, most of the time. I'm also interested in history, coding, and a few other things. I use collections to categorize my public posts and almost all of my posts are public.

My Blocking Strategy
I'll block people who circle me if nothing in their profile or posts tells me that we have stuff to talk about. This takes care of spam and I don't feel too much like I'm being watched by bots.
I'll block people who send me notifications of posts that annoy me. Almost all of them annoy me, but I'm more forgiving when these posts look like mistakes. Mistakes happen and the user interface isn't all that obvious.
I'll block people who's comments elsewhere I find offensive. I'm hoping that this doesn't create a political filter bubble—but if I'm creating a filter bubble of politeness and reasonableness, then I'm OK with it.
Everything else can be handled by uncircling.

My Blog
I also keep a blog/wiki: – that's where I post stuff that I expect to keep around for longer. Who knows how long Google+ will last. I don't cross-post a lot. I might often link to a post on my blog when commenting on somebody else's post, but I'll only link to my blog on my own posts when I think there's something worth discussing for a bigger audience. I know, many people have moved their online presence to G+ and don't keep blogs anymore. I guess I still like the idea of running my own site.

How To Contact Me
I hardly ever do video or voice chats. I prefer mail: If I have disappeared from G+, you can hopefully still find me via my website,

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Bringing together both History and RPGs…

Post has attachment
Thinking about cannons, looking at an article by +Edward Morbius. How much wood do you need to destroy for an hour of combat at sea? Here's Edward Morbius:

«It's particularly interesting to convert a sustained rate-of-fire of a full first rate ship's fire would equate to in wood equivalents. I'm basing this off of the HMS Victory, a 104 gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy.
Armament consisted of 30 x 32# guns, 28 * 24#, 30 * 12#, and 2 each 12# and 68# forecastle guns.
A single round from all guns (unlikely -- a broadside would be half the armament) would then unleash 1.1 tons of iron shot.
From Vaclav Smil, iron smelting requires an 80:1 ratio of source fuelwood to output iron, with the fuelwood first being converted to charcoal, a 4:1 reduction itself. Firing all guns of the Victory expends the smelting power of 92 tons of fuelwood -- about 30 cords.
Canon could manage perhaps 2 rounds in a minute, with sustained rates of 20-40 rounds in an hour. At the upper bound, we're looking at 3,600 tons of wood in shot consumption per hour of battle. The Victory herself required 6,000 trees in construction, was refurbished after her first major engagement at a cost greater than her initial outlay, but perhaps in compensation, survives to this day as the oldest commissioned warship, having been first launched in 1768.
I haven't done the calculation of gunpowder usage, though I've got a reference for 6# charge for a 24# gun. If that's proportionate to all guns, then a full round would be 1/3 ton of powder, which had its own set of resource requirements, including both charcoal and saltpetre (which the English obtained from India).»

Post has attachment
Nazgûl Spectre

Post has attachment
I've used a fair number of salamanders in my games. Have you? In my games, they are the generic "fight creatures near laval pools". It's a bit boring, I guess. I guess the half man half worm look gives me Dune flashbacks. In D&D 3.5 the nobles also had awesome magic +3 spears. How can you make these weapons special, if you use them? I decided not to use them because I can't think of six cool +3 spears and I keep thinking: if you want them to be heavier hitters, just increase their HD!
As an aside, the only fire salamanders I knew for the longest time were the actual animals. "The fire salamander's primary alkaloid toxin, Samandarin, causes strong muscle convulsions and hypertension combined with hyperventilation in all vertebrates. The poison glands of the fire salamander are concentrated in certain areas of the body, especially around the head and the dorsal skin surface. The coloured portions of the animal's skin usually coincide with these glands. Compounds in the skin secretions may be effective against bacterial and fungal infections of the epidermis; some are potentially dangerous to human life." <>
Sadly, a new fungus seems to be putting them on the road to extinction. "But the fact that the new fungus was found in the Netherlands and nearly wiped out all of the country's fire salamanders should be cause for international concern…"
But back to gaming. Here's an interesting tidbit from the Talmud: "The salamander is also mentioned in the Talmud (Hagiga 27a) as a creature that is a product of fire, and it relates that anyone who is smeared with its blood will be immune to harm from fire." I think I'm going to add this to my salamanders!

On a post elsewhere I posted my reaction roll table. I just returned to it and fiddled with the wording. What do you think? Any suggestions to make it more useful at the table?

2d6 They will…
2 attack you
3 rob you
4 threaten you
5 make demands
6 refuse to cooperate
7 be skeptical
8 be wavering
9 only take safe bets
10 cooperate
11 be friendly
12 be helpful

Post has shared content
I remember being on that bus...
Public transit in Switzerland.
This post bus climbs up to 28% on a normal road...

Post has attachment
I always expected giant centipedes to be … bigger. But now I read this description by +Matthew Meyer of centipedes in Japan and so perhaps the D&D giant centipedes which are about a foot long can just stay the way they are. Here's Matthew Meyer: "If you can picture a huge, think centipede over 8 inches long with bright orange legs and and head, you’ll have some idea. Also, they are fast, and very aggressive, so they will actually chase after humans! They can’t be killed easily. Even if you cut them up, they will still run around for 30 minutes or more. You can burn them, boil them, but they just don’t die. And if you squash them, they release pheromones that attract more of them to come. They like to hide in shoes, bedsheets, toilets, bathtubs, and clothes drawers… so basically anywhere that you are most vulnerable. They also drop down from the ceiling onto people. They are venomous, and their bites are extremely painful. If a big one bites you on the chest or head, you have to go to the hospital."

(He's the author of the yokai books and the yokai site I recommend for a one shot of Mountain Witch.)

Post has attachment
Added clusters of two or three rooms to the Megadungeon generator.

There are still so many ideas to implement. I think the first one would be to add more density, i.e. if the current seed stops growing, just pick random position in the existing structure and add corridors.
Wait while more posts are being loaded