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Diecast #113: Cable Companies Suck

By Shamus
on Monday Jul 20, 2015
Filed under:


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Hosts: Campster, Josh, Josh’s Imitation of Rutskarn.

I wasn’t on the show this week, but the rest of the cast (by which I mean almost nobody) carried on without me. As of typing this paragraph, I have no idea what the show will be about. I’m just going to post the show now, and fill in the show notes after it’s up. So we’re going to listen to the show together! This will be fun! These exclamation marks are persuasive!

Show notes:

The first email is from Rutskarn. For some reason.

So the cable internet guy came today! He said he can’t set up any internet, because the building has no cable. An amusing oversight! Kind of makes me wonder what the site inspection was for, but no matter. That only took two weeks to get “expedited” enough that it was actually scheduled and happening. Even internet corporations can make honest mistakes!

The good news is, it would only take him two months to possibly get things set up. Or! I can go to another provider and try to get their block lifted and DSL set up, which from my experience should take somewhere between “I Have No Idea” and “Turns Out It’s Impossible For Some Reason.”

I was gonna tell you guys this on the Diecast this week, but the thing where Josh says, “Imagine Ruts just taking his computer to the library every day!” Yeah, that made me laugh.

That is exactly what I have been doing.

Take care, guys. I’ll try to get this sorted out soon.


Like I said on Twitter the other day:

9:00 I guess we’re talking about GTA now?

Riding on cars in GTA V! Protip guys: Get on a box truck. The sloppy ragdoll thing doesn’t happen.

20:00 Let’s talk about internet providers and services.

Also stuff about streaming, and cell phones, and the twisted hellscape we call Los Angeles.

31:00 Chris has been playing The Magic Circle.

Oh hey! The game also has Stephen Russel in it! (The original voice of Garret from Thief.)

38:00 Rutskarn is thinking of running a game in podcast form.

1:01:00 Chris hates pugs or something.

Well, that was certainly an hour of people talking about things. Thanks to everybody for doing the show while I was busy, and thanks to Josh for editing.

Comments (140)

  1. Felblood says:

    I feel for Rutskarn here.

    I went without an internet connection of my own for several weeks this year. At first I was homeless, and then it took weeks to get my internet set up, after I got myself set up here.

    The second* worst part was defiantly when I had to go to the library to mooch internet like the other homeless weirdos.

    *The very worst part was not seeing my wife and kids for a month, but the internet thing was still a serious problem for me.

    • Volfram says:

      I’m still listening to the podcast, but the question of DSL did come up, and I’m on Century Link, so I went ahead and did a speed test.

      Location: Colorado Springs
      ISP: Century Link
      (my current) cost per month: $50(the introductory deal has mostly expired now. I should probably switch from a rented to purchased modem)
      Customer service: I give them a 4 out of 5.(Nobody’s perfect.) See my blog for information about the setup experience.

      I don’t do streaming, but I have used it to watch anime with friends over Skype, and they’ve generally said the experience was solid. Lag isn’t really a thing(I can watch streams in HD without any chop that other people complain about stuttering on), and I’ve played on an Australian G-mod server with latency about equivalent to a fast 56k connection.

      For a “better than nothing” solution, there’s always… Freedompop? They have that “Agreement to Arbitrate” in their TOS, which I refuse to agree to, but I don’t know anybody else who cares, so if that isn’t an issue for you…

      Maybe other people can post their Speedtest results?

    • Rutskarn says:

      I’m gonna go ahead and say, from this much info alone, your thing was way worse than mine was.

      • Felblood says:

        Mostly just poor planning on my part.

        For some reason, I expected a Washington State government bureaucrat to get something done in only twice the 90 days she told me it would.

        215 days later, my old living arrangements were gone, but my new living space wasn’t arranged yet.

        Sleeping in various spare rooms and whatever got us only so far, and eventually I had to send the girls to live with more distant relative, while I stayed closer to home, in order to work.

        If you ever find yourself saying, “This plan isn’t great, but we’ll only be homeless for a week,” get a new plan. It’s probably going to be a lot more than one week.

  2. Cilvre says:

    how is Rutskarn’s phone service in his area? maybe a good tethering plan could work?

  3. Da Mage says:

    After I moved out of a share house, one of the people who was also there moved into 4 apartment place across the road (so he had a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom). When he went to get internet he was told by 3 providers that his place did not exist and they therefore could not provide internet.

    The final one he contacted worked through the problem with him and sent a technician round to figure it out. He found out the apartment already had a connection, but was not in the system (though apartments A, B and D were). Eventually they found it listed in the next suburb over, and every provider must have been pulling it from the same database. So someone had filed apartment C in a different suburb to apartments A, B and D.

    Since they were the only company that cared enough to help, he obviously went with them for the service. Internet companies are AWFUL to deal with and they take there sweet time setting shit up EVERY TIME.

    I have found that since I started paying for a static IP from my current internet provider, that the annoying customer service calls have stopped (where they call up and try to move you to a newer plan). Nobody in basic customer service group wants to touch a contact with a static IP attached.

  4. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You read Rutskarn’s email first? I see how it is. Its all about who you know.

    EDIT: And I have been pranked. Welcome back Rutskarn. We missed you.

  5. Chaotic says:

    Rutskarn, have you thought about 3G/4G modem? Is this a thing in the US? I have a prepaid internet with something like 50Mbit/s for 20e a month, but this is Finland. It’s fast and reliable but drops packets. It might not be good, but it might get you internet access FAST, and prepaids can be discontinued once you get better access.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Is it a thing? Yes. Will he get a bit rate like that? Where I live, I can get bitrates like that sometimes (depends on where I am in town.) And anything with a decent data cap is kind of expensive. I’m on a pretty high end family plan and it has a cap of 15GB/month (which is actually a pretty recent bump). Not sure that would be enough for streaming. I hear about services with unlimited caps but the ones in my area aren’t any good (the bitrate is more useful than an unlimited data cap for my purposes since I have home internet as well.)

    • Abnaxis says:

      I find that so hard to fathom…

      In my area, I’m on a plan that gets in the teens on Mbps at the best*, with a 10GB cap, and it costs $175/month for two lines (roughly 160 €)

      I’m sure this is because I’m in the midwest (California might have it better), but what I wouldn’t give for over five times the service at 1/8th the price…

      *It’s pretty spotty regarding where I can get enough signal, which is to say it’s the best service available. Most providers have entire zip-codes without 4G, whereas with mine it’s here and there.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The way intelligence is defined in d&d,especially in later ad&d editions,is as a mesh of both iq and knowledge.So a person born into a civilization with less knowledge would be of lower intelligence by that standard,not because they are dumber,but because they know less.This is why orc usually have shamans,who rely on wisdom,more than mages,who rely on actual book knowledge.

  7. AileTheAlien says:

    Sucks that Rutz can’t get internet. In general, cellphone and internet are still viewed as being used for games and porn, but reality is that we now use these for life-critical activities, like job interviews etc. I think that at this point, basic-speed internet access should be considered a resource that all humans need. i.e. Regulated to some minimum specs, even though you have to pay for it, and can pay for more.

  8. 4th Dimension says:

    Why is everyone going to Europe?

    Because we have all the good Internet plans?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ha!That we do.

    • I’ve got this Google Fiber thingie here in Kansas City.

      I will await the influx of people with funny accents to my area. Please bring your varied cuisines.

    • Rutskarn says:

      (Loud hype noise, sound of “ohhhh”-ing)

    • RTBones says:

      As an American in the UK, I can say – my experience has been internet is better, and mobile phones/phone plans are better, particularly when it comes to data. As to why this is…who knows.

      • Smaller coverage area, so rolling out better/new tech is far easier.

        That said, I hear LOADS of complaints about getting BT Broadband hooked up, so maybe cable companies are the same the world over when it comes to customer service.

        • Majromax says:

          > Smaller coverage area, so rolling out better/new tech is far easier.

          I disagree — we see similar benefits in other areas of Europe, and equivalently urban areas of the US where rolling out tech should be easy still have poor plans.

          I think the difference might be more a matter of business culture. Europe seems to have a greater share of prepaid plans, and these plans allow customers to switch between carriers more easily than postpaid (automatic billing) plans. Perhaps the better competition engendered better rates?

          Additionally, another idiosyncracy of the US market compared to the European market is that mobile numbers are indistinguishable from land-line numbers and placing a call to them is free. In the UK, receiving a mobile call is free and the caller pays the fee.

          • Cuthalion says:

            In the US, on the prepaid plan that I had, the person with the mobile number paid for both making and receiving calls. The other person either did not pay at all, or paid their own mobile company to call me or receive a call from me. As far as I know, everyone pays for their own usage coming and going, whether prepaid or subscription.

            I’ve heard there are area code 900 numbers where the caller pays even if they normally wouldn’t, but I’ve never really been sure those actually exist. They’re usually used in jokes.

  9. Chuck says:

    Hmm… I’ve never considered D&D and Pathfinder overly complicated, but rather as capable of being complicated depending on the character type you play. Plus Pathfinder and D&D appeal to a distinct niche of powergamers, and those are the type of people I play with for those types of games, so it’s probably just ignorance on my part.

    • Matt Downie says:

      They’re pretty complicated. It starts out simple, and then you have to work out where you wind up if an enemy trips you on an Attack of Opportunity while you’re passing through the square of an ally, or whatever. And as you level up you have to keep track of five different buff effects and two negative statuses…

      • Chuck says:

        True. I guess I just like the mechanical satisfaction of Pathfinder. I don’t play it to roleplay -that’s what Dresden Files is for- I play it to roll dice, murder things, and take their stuff to I can murder things of increasing size and number.

        Although when it comes to magic I prefer 40K psykers -in Pathfinder I usually just shoot things as a gunslinger or stab them as a paladin. Keeps things simple for me.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      They’re stupidly complex for new players. If you spent most of your teens reading rulebooks and playing for hours every weekend with your friends, then you can get used to that kind of complexity. But if you’re trying to bring a complete n00b into D&D or Pathfinder, or even someone only familiar with a less rules-heavy game, d20 can completely overwhelm them.

      Even five editions in there’s a lot of extraneous crap that’s only in the system for legacy reasons. Why are there six ability scores? Why are there three wilderness-based classes? Why doesn’t divine magic work differently than arcane magic? Why are we still stuck with the Vancian-spell memorization system? I kind of understand why Gygax used it in the original game, because the only fantasy novels around in the early 1970s that even described a magic system were Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, and Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea, and “fire-and-forget” spells were a lot easier to figure out mechanics for than gigantic lists of True Names. Plus Vance’s system meshed better with early D&D’s mechanical theme as game primarily about resource management. But why are we still stuck with Vancian magic? What’s the point of the thief/rogue if any low-level wizard with the right spell list can do their job better than them with almost no chance of failure?

      • Orillion says:

        They tried non-Vancian magic, called it 4th edition, and people hated the fuck out of it.

        • Adam says:

          There were a lot of reasons people hated 4e, but given how much of the At-Will/Encounter/Daily power structure made it into (community-driven) 5e, the changes to the magic system weren’t among them.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            They brought back the vancian magic in 5th. End of story.

            The At-Will/Daily/Encounter system sucked because it locked them into a very rigid paradigm.

            “No but you see I have an blast of element X with status effect Y from the Arcane Power source, he has a single attack with move effect that does similar damage from the Nature Power Source, she had a ranged attack that for some reason gives a morale bonus to wounds from the Divine Power Source. We have so much variety. Skills Professions and out of combat powers suck.

            Spend 10,000 gold on a one time ritual that takes an hour to cast and lasts for ten minutes if you really must have some kind of non combat related ability. Magic items are awesome. You can teleport two squares 3 times a day with this item. With this other item you can fly for 30 seconds (Anymore than that would be OP). Truly we see how careful balance leads to high fantasy.”

            It might look like variety to people who play video games. And indeed I took my own advice. If DnD was going to be this limited, i might as well play video games. So I did. If we’re going to be so carefully balanced as to not need a human to make judgement calls, I’d rather have an ever reliable and superfast computer running my game for me.

            • Not to mention the annoyance at low level of the “choice” a lot of wizards had of casting a spell at a single enemy that will provoke an attack of opportunity from another one, or casting an area-effect spell that will negate the attack of opportunity but will hit allies as well as enemies.

      • modus0 says:

        What's the point of the thief/rogue if any low-level wizard with the right spell list can do their job better than them with almost no chance of failure?

        Because it’s almost guaranteed that the low-level wizard with the right spell list will be useless in a fight due to having all their spells-per-day slots taken up by the spells used to do the rogue’s job better.

        As for why Vancian casting is still around, I ask a question: Got something easier and better?

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          To expand.

          A dungeon could be filled with locks and traps (and should be if you’re a good DM running a game for a party with a thief in it ). Knock is (last I checked, I don’t know 5th ed) a 2nd level spell. Even a fifth level wizard could at most cast it 5 or 6 times before resting, which would leave him with no slots to cast invisibility to another part of the thief’s job better . . . for maybe 5 minutes per casting or anything else.

          If you have fighters along with that wizard, offer lots of small skirmishes. In a dungeon, the wizard’s fireball is of limited usefulness. He could cast one and soften up likely three creatures before his friends charge in and make that spell counterproductive. And if you don’t let them rest in the dungeon, that wizard is going to need to be conservative with their allotment of power.

          They can do a lot of amazing things but they have to choose which things they can do at the expense of others and they have to decide first thing in the morning which abilities will be most useful that day which requires thought and work to make the best of it.

      • Wooji says:

        I would place D&D/Pathfinder/D20 at average/slightly above average for complexity for tabletop rpgs with games like Hero and GURPS at the high end and Savage Worlds, FATE and Dungeon World closer to the low end, atleast when it comes to rules complexity.

    • My first rule of D&D is: Make it as complicated or simple as you want to, so long as everyone agrees on what rules you’re sticking to. Do you want to jettison physical spell components? Okay. Relaxed encumbrance? Fine. The players can try role-playing their way out of something in lieu of skill checks? If that’s the deal, great.

      And I think it was Rutskarn who said (I may be wrong, but it sounds like something he’d say) that D&D is a great ruleset for simulating the world, but only if that world is D&D. I think its complexity has to do with its age (the rules are a bit of a tar-ball, added on to year after year), and the desire to have it be able to run high, middle, and low magic settings. This is like trying to run a modern-day campaign, where the classes range from caveman warrior to Admiral of Starfleet. It’s also a rarity in that it’s a class-based system, so there are rather rigid prohibitions against certain abilities once you pick your “career.” Then, to make the classes balance, they all have to have their own special abilities, and it kind of becomes an arms race.

      This doesn’t even get into the monsters, many of which come with their own unique powers and abilities. It can get very complex in short order.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      They’re complicated NOW. In spite of Ruts’ complaint about how weird old AD&D is, it’s profoundly simple in comparison to anything that came after and even in many ways simpler than the Basic rules that came before it. Except for the unarmed/grappling rules that were house-banned by every group I’ve ever played with. The most complicated replacement basically pretended fists were a weapon that did 1-2 damage and natural 20s and natural 1s were critical successes and failures respectively that resulted in opponent or combatant being unable to continue the fight and being at the other’s mercy. (And you could only slug what you could reasonably reach. Conan’s camel K.O. fit the rules. Knocking out a dragon with one punch wasn’t possible.)

  10. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Why is ‘cities are good, not cities are bad’ a bad thing? Its true. Living in tribes is horrific. No medicine, vulnerability to predators. Anything “holistic” or “authentic” about your romanticized notion of the experience is offset by how nasty and brutish living that way is.

    This is not to judge those people. I am familiar with and accept the argument that the people who built and forwarded civilization and tech were in the right places at the right times, and were not in anyway inherently superior. But the way of living itself is inferior.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      I don’t think they ever said they dont like tribes or cities, they are calling out Fantasy setting on stereotyping tribes as all filed by deamon worshiping card carrying chaotic evil bastards.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I think its a case of cart before the horse in DnD. Its not that Orcs are stupid because they’re in tribes, its that Orcs are tribal because they’re stupid and belligerent. They cant exceed the Dunbar limit because they lack human capacity for trusting strangers and they’re more naturally aggressive. Its believed to be a thing that separates us from neanderthals (the trusting strangers part).

        I see Orcs as a stand in for neanderthals more than for human tribespeople. Whether tribes or cities are better, Orcs simply lack the capacity to sustain the latter at least amongst themselves.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Quality of life was generally worse in cities than in rural/wilderness areas until about 100-150 years ago. Cities were breeding grounds for disease, suffered greatly in times of famine or strife, prone to fires, and rampant with crime. People in the medieval and Renaissance periods were about the same height as modern-day people, while people during the Enlightenment and early Industrial Revolution period were several inches shorter, indicating poor health and a lack of nutrition. It wasn’t until modern medicine, modern transportation, modern sewage and sanitation, and more centralized urban government, that cities became (comparatively) healthy and safe places to live.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Worse than running around hunting your food with no permanent shelter?

        Or worse than just farmlands? Not to mention, lack of books, or anything really mentally stimulating apart from whatever your personal tribe thought up. I’d rather live 40 years in a city than 80 years in the woods.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          If it’s entertainment in most eras you wouldn’t have been much better off in cities compared to the villages either, especially since maybe 10% of citizens would be even able to read, and books are for “important*” stuff.

          * On the other hand you might have great fun reading what some considered scientific fact, and by the fact I mean they have two datapoints to support their hypotesis. They thought up the theory and than they thought about it again whilst putting it to paper.

        • Rutskarn says:

          Yeah, way worse. People had shelters, it just wasn’t permanent shelter.

          It’s a subtlety, but there’s essentially no anthropological basis for associating technological innovation with virtue. And it’s way less of a subtlety to point out that this virtue’s presumption has been the justification for pretty much every ugly, awful thing one large connected people did to another smaller less-connected people throughout history. It’s a nasty bit of cultural detritus that’s been stuck in our teeth since the days we openly embraced slavery and empire. To put it gently, it’s not good for us.

          • Now that you put it that way, elves having cities is (often) a proper match.

            Elves are nearly always assholes, as a group. Yes, I’m generalizing, but it seems the following apply to most elf races in fantasy:

            1. They’re nigh immortal, so the “short lived” races are a passing annoyance. Privately, they are often concerned that humans, dwarves, orcs, etc. breed like roaches and may overwhelm any elf civilization by sheer numbers alone. Either way, you’re not going to be welcome just because you show up and don’t try to kill anyone.

            2. Their cities are either architectural impossibilities, organic and merged with nature (giant trees), or both. It’s often the case that they’ve been at this magic business for far longer than anyone else and/or are just more magically adept, allowing for huge buildings in hard-to-reach places, defended by killer wards, and made to last for eons.

            3. Even though they have cities, they don’t have the down sides of other fantasy cities. There’s never an elf slum (unless they’re Drow, in which case the slums are where the slaves and “lesser” races are tolerated) in the elf citadel. There’s never an elf sewage cesspool in the middle of an otherwise pristine magical forest. In many cases, even their food has magical properties, so cultivation might not even be an issue. Besides, when was the last time you saw a farmer elf? Heck, they probably have magic food replicators. Elves may not even expel waste the way everyone else does, the undigested matter being expressed as longer and more luxurious hair. If they do have toilet facilities, they’re kept well-hidden and any that are used by non-elves are likely burned afterwards.

            4. If elves do have a self-destructive flaw, it’s usually “we probably shouldn’t have summoned Cthulhu like that.” At least when an elven kingdom goes ears-down, it leaves behind lots of magical loot and nifty ruins to go raiding in.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              I like to take a nod from Tolkien on this (sort of).

              Elves live so long that they can perfect crafts and techniques that would never even occur to us in our brief mortal spans. This is the source of the tree cities. They probably went through phases like us where they chopped and built, but for how long lived they were it was worth the time to integrate more with nature and build in a way that goes with natures flow. Living tree cities would last much longer than our wooden houses after all.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            Maybe we could have got here a better way. And certainly a lot of wrong was committed along the way and our destination doesn’t justify it but what we have now and what we will have will mean so much to far more people than were ever brutalized. I’d never deny them by turning back.

            You live on the internet and build your life around games (I know its not all encompassing but you make games, you lets play them, you podcast about them, and blog about them). I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Technological innovation needs large scale trade and infrastructure and that needs settlements. Maybe not cities as they were, and certainly not empires or slavery but it couldn’t have emerged from a tribal mode. I’ll take villages over cities (I’m like my mid sized community away from the insanity of places like New York and L.A.) but this romanticism of tribes is what bothers me.

            Technological innovation may not be virtue but its not vice. We can be as nasty and brutish in tribes as in cities, lack of tech just limits the form that brutishness can take and gives the most power to essentially jocks. Do you want to go back? I really am not sure what you mean here.

            • Nalyd says:

              I don’t know that you have that solid of an idea of what a tribal mode of society entails. There’s a lot of variation within that, for one. For example, plenty of tribal societies were agricultural – Germanic and Celtic tribes certainly were, as were many Native American ones. Others were hunter-gatherers, or relied on fishing, or on raising livestock – most of these means of survival are perfectly compatible with either a sedentary or a migratory existence. For that matter, the degree to which a tribe might be migratory is very different – a tribe might move once a generation, or always be on the move, or move with the seasons – and being migratory didn’t preclude agriculture by any means. The degree to which shelter is permanent or not can vary, everything from tents to longhouses. The degree to which they cooperated with(and so gained many of the benefits of) nearby sedentary peoples could vary. Tribal peoples tended to have medicine of their own, too! It was usually not as good, but still definitely medicine. Vulnerability to predators is not even that big of a deal. A tribe might be more vulnerable, depending on what shelter they use and how their settlement is configured, but you might as well point out that they’d be be more vulnerable to lightning strikes. Animals really do try to avoid large populations of humans. Size is another thing that can vary a lot! European tribes could easily reach tens of thousands. Precolonial Native American tribes did as well, though they never got a chance to recover after the European disease shock. Eurasian steppe tribes could get very large, too.

              Also, I hate to burst your bubble, but living even as the most stereotypical tribe – the nomadic hunter-gatherer – comes more highly reviewed than even frontier settled life(let alone metropolises) up to at least the late 1800s. This from people who had the opportunity and the experience of living in both situations.

              Many Native American tribes would routinely abduct white settlers, especially children, and adopt them into their way of life. Standard pracctice in tribal warfare – adopting captives into your tribe, no strings attached. These people would then grow up, and sometimes be “rescued” by other whites and brought back to civilization. And almost categorically, they ran back to their adoptive tribes as soon as they could, because they simply preferred that way of life. Same goes for Native Americans abducted and educated by whites – if they ever got a whiff of what tribal life was like, they left to join a tribe. This is a theme noted for as long as Native American tribes survived as independent entities. Apparently, it is simply more fulfilling on an individual human level.

              This shouldn’t really be surprising. We evolved to be tribal creatures. That our brains can deal with tribal life better than settled life is to be expected. It’s not a matter of holisticity or authenticity or whatever hippie nonsense.

              Points being, “running around hunting your food with no permanent shelter” is at best a worthless oversimplification, “horrific” is not a good way to describe even that most stereotypical way of life, and “inferior” is totally subjective(and it seems like most people who tried it disagreed with your assessment). Now, we all live after the fact – settled societies have been consistently outcompeting (that is, outcompeting in the sense that one virus outcompetes another – not much of a virtue for human beings) tribal ones since way before any of us were born. We’re all looking at settled societies as parts of a settled society, and tribal societies as total aliens to the entire idea, and we’re doing it long after the victors have written the histories. Of course we immediately have a very obvious preference for which one we’d like to live in. That sooo doesn’t mean that history couldn’t have gone another way, or that settled societies have always had a greater quality of life than nomadic ones, or that any given individual wouldn’t be happier living as a tribal nomadic hunter-gatherer than as a farmer regardless of objective quality of life. The whole of civilization may well be the product of a race to the bottom

              Bonus fun fact – If anything, people from nonliterate nomadic societies have better mental faculties than people from literate ones! It’s long been attested(like, Roman long-attested) that nomadic people displayed far better memory, perceptiveness, and concentration than literate, settled people. Being literate and being settled allows a person to offload a lot of their mental work onto their technology(writing things down obviously makes memory less important, but a hunting, nomadic lifestyle also involves a lot more problem solving than settled life, and greatly rewards perceptiveness and concentration in a way most settled work doesn’t(settled work rewards the ability to endure drudgery(“hard work”) instead)), and the brain simply doesn’t get as much exercise that way. Orcs should have intelligence bonuses.

              Also, uh, what I actually came into the comments section to say: Josh and Rutskarn, I don’t know if you’ve read or heard of The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker(part of the Prince of Nothing trilogy(part of the Second Apocalypse trilogy of trilogies)), but it’s a really good fantasy book that(judging from this podcast and everything else I’ve ever heard you guys say about fantasy) I think you both might really like.

              • Wide And Nerdy says:

                Solving the same set of boring challenges over and over and over again. I’ll take my chances with mentally offloaded civilization.

                If you’re telling me tribes could give us computers and robots, I’ll reconsider.

                • Nalyd says:

                  Boring challenges? What kind of interesting challenges are you expecting? The same boring challenges over and over is a good way to describe a lot of modern jobs :p. I guarantee that hunting is going to be more engaging than farming, and it won’t take nearly as much time, either. Hunter-gatherers had, like, a 15-20 hour work week, and the rest of their time can go straight to leisure. Medieval peasants had something more like a 40 hour work week, though that gets more complicated fairly quickly.

                  I have no idea what technology tribal societies would have eventually been able to produce. The less nomadic varieties, left alone, probably could have done most anything anyone else did. But they’re all dead, so nobody knows. I’m not prepared to make a definitive statement one way or the other.

                  Also, robots and computers have mattered to the average person for what, the last sixty, seventy years? They’re certainly not relevant to D&D societal comparisons. If you’re a peasant sitting around in Regensburg in 1162, dying of cholera, the idea that one day a vaguely related future society sort of partially descended from yours will produce robots and computers is not going to help you any. If that’s your only metric, there’s no reason to have a horse in the race at all for most of human history(or media based vaguely on human history). Even books, not much of a thing for the average person until fairly centuries.

                  I’m not saying that you need to prefer either one, though. I’d rather live in a settled society too! I know how to do that, and change is scary. That preference doesn’t answer any questions about quality of life, nature of populations, what either of us would choose if we were raised differently, relative virtue, or possible technological status in alternate histories, though.

                  • Wide And Nerdy says:

                    I’ve been mulling it over and I think what gets me is, given my work history, being kind of sort of ok at jobs till I finally got into computers where I’m routinely recognized for good work and talent (i.e. finally appreciated). My mind wanders but it comes back with useful ideas, I’m slow (physically not mentally[at least I like to think]), not terribly physically coordinated and certainly not among the strongest guys*, but a computer compensates for all that. I can’t draw great with my hands (and not for lack of trying, I took classes to get passable at it) but I can punch text into a computer and produce good looking stuff that way thats also functional.

                    So I get the feeling that I’d never really have a place in one of these older societies. Its likely that I’d simply be deemed below average by a tribe’s or village’s standards because they wouldn’t have use for what I’m naturally good at. I wouldn’t have access to the tools that would allow me to show off my strengths. And I have to think a lot of people would be that way. I work with a paraplegic who is of tremendous use now but would probably have been somewhat useless in one of these old societies.

                    So I resent when people play down modern life when its allowed me to prove my worth. For me its beautiful.

                    Also, I live in Florida. Nature sucks here. Its muggy, hot, and has tons of bugs. Whereas there’s such a concentration of, for lack of a better word, hippie-types in California because the outdoors there is so nice, dry, comfortable, relatively few bugs (my roommate said he used to leave the door open when he lived there.) Of course they’d love nature. Nature is awesome there.

                  • Wide And Nerdy says:

                    In defense of my assertion about robots and computers. We look to be about to either give birth to a new race or begin a transition away from being human. On the softer side, we’re looking at a potential post scarcity situation (not true post scarcity but “good enough”, we need a proper term for that).

                    So yes I do consider this of monumental importance and will weigh it heavily against everything that came before.

                    • Peter H. Coffin says:

                      Well, we’ll be ready to do real post-scarcity once we’re willing to let go of the need to impose artificial scarcity on those that we perceive not to be “pulling their weight”, but that’s a rant for another time…

            • MichaelGC says:

              I think he’s saying that technological or organisational superiority is often taken to, but shouldn’t, imply other sorts of superiority – such as moral or intellectual. So he’s just criticising the mental leap of “tech makes right,” wherever that leap is being made, rather than suggesting we all burn our routers and return to hunter-gathering.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        This being formally in my bailiwick:

        For the first 4900 years of recorded history, cities were deathtraps. Disease, crime, violence (distinct from crime, stuff like riots and unrest), and fire killed more people than were born every year. This was true of New York City, for example, until 1920, or so. Yet the cities grew anyway because more people moved in than died.

        Because while cities were deathtraps, they were also rich. So you could take your chances with cholera, fire, and criminal/political violence -or you could starve, freeze, or otherwise be inconvenienced to death on the farm.

        However, once people become rich, they move back out of the cities. The Arcadian movement in 17th century England, basically the history of American urbanization since 1600. It used to be plausible this was a uniquely Anglo-American preference, because all the places that did it were Anglophone. Turns out this was actually just the result of English-speaking nations getting rich enough first. We’re seeing the same behaviors in Singapore, China, and Latin America. The interesting thing in the US is that immigrants moving to the US automatically become rich, and so move to the suburbs instead of -as they used to -moving to the cities first.

        So, yes, wealth and culture do not require cities, but they do require wealth. And cities are a prerequisite for wealth even if, ultimately, most people don’t live in them.

  11. Henson says:

    Well, I guess we now need the Rutskarn Call-In Diecast Telethon Special. The Diecast is a conference call.

    (I haven’t listened to the diecast yet, so nobody better have made that joke already. I’m warning you.)

  12. 4th Dimension says:

    The reason for “low” sound quality in cell phones is that generally people don’t want to pay more for better quality, because this quality based ptobably around 5kHz badnwith is pretty much a sweetspot of bandwidth conservation to quality of call.

    On the other hand why hasn’t the quality improved, it’s because the majority of cell phone networks use the standard bandwiths centered around the old call bandwith, and to upgrade you would probably need to invent new standards and probably to reserve another part of frequency spectrum which is congested even as it is.

    That is why most current projections and new tech is expected to use VoIP technology and piggyback on data bandwith.
    But untill more of the general population starts demanding better call quality the cell phone manufacturers are unlikely to build cell phones with better microphones.

    @Ruts: Even if you have a flipphone it probably still has the capability of recieving cellphone data, and your cell plan should be unconnected to what phone you are using. Right? Or do they force you to change the phone with plan change?
    Now I doubit it would be viable for gaming, but some plan with like 5GB of data per month would probably work for general internet usage.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont think data transfer is the issue,but rather that its really difficult to have a decent microphone/speaker in such a flat container.There is a reason quality mics are big and quality speakers are big and wooden.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        We are not talking about standing mic quality but headset mic quality which should be attenable but while telcom tech isn’t an issue not enough people mind current quality that they would swich to new system in high enough numbers to justify the investment.

      • You can get pretty great audio quality in a smartphone (check out the BlackBerry Passport’s “Natural Sound” feature: http://blogs.blackberry.com/2014/07/passport-battery-audio/). If you have two people with Passports talking to each other over BBM Voice it sounds like they are standing right there in the same room as you.

        That kind of thing is mostly limited to VOIP stuff though, since the cell network is designed to be basically as cheap as possible for voice.

      • AileTheAlien says:

        Even the tiny mics we’ve got right now are still better than the quality being transmitted over the cell network. When my brother uses Skype to call me* instead of the cell network, it sounds noticeably better than regular cell-call quality. You wouldn’t want to record a TV show or movie with that quality of mic, but it’s still an improvement over what’s actually going through the cell network.

        * He’s got a newish iPhone, I’ve got a Nexus 4.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        It absolutely comes down to bandwidth. Radio stations, for remote location broadcasts, have ISDN lines installed and use ISDN handsets for their voice work, and they’re only marginally better hardware than other desk or one-piece hand-sets. But they DO have 64kbs instead of 5 for voice encoding, and the sound quality is only barely distinguishable from the in-studio Shure or Electro-Voice. And that’s been the case for 30 years.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Maybe it’s the fault of legacy systems? There are still low-bandwidth, traditional landlines out there. If cellphones have to be able to interact with them, it’s probably easier for cellphones to come down to that level than to upgrade all the old phone networks.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        If you are calling somebody within the same provider’s network than your call is bounced from your cell to the destination cell I think using microweave links using the simple tried and true radio relay technology. If you are calling someone who is under another provider they probably have a roaming deal how to let you communicate, and I doubit it involves using regular telephone links. If I had to guess they are probably using Internet network to communicate, or maybe if they are close enough or operate in the same region they could use radio releys for that too.

        * goes of to read something *

        DAMN I lost my train of thought.
        Err, . . .

        It’s all customers and carrier fault!
        *run away*

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          Nope. Cell-to-cell calling is handled through land data lines (usually fiber) using whatever land-based telco can be talked into providing service to the tower. Consequently the reason a place may not have cell coverage is usually because there’s insufficient potential traffic there to justify running a data line to the tower, rather than an unwillingness to just put a tower there by the cell companies. You can get enough power to run a tower off of three or four big solar panels and a rack of storage batteries, so that’s not even the challenge. Microwave might solve it, but that needs line of sight, and it’s solely point to point (that is, you need to AIM those antennae well) so unless you want an antenna array for every tower out there? Not really an option. Usable for (for example) bridging a canyon or something, though.

          The real trick is all about the codec though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_coding has links to a lot of the gorey details.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      This probaby invalidates some of my points but from the perspective of technology this article covers why the quality is bad.

      The only problem with the article is that it’s written by my fellow EE techies and so they do not consider comercial and customer want/need problems.

  13. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Speaking of Trigun and rpgs: for super fun times roleplay as Vash the stampede in New Vegas.

  14. IanJ says:

    I realize this will probably come off as confrontational, but there is an enormous amount of non-Eurocentric and non R.E. Howard/Fritz Lieber/Jack Vance/J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. It’s not infiltrating the culture as much because people don’t buy it on anything like the same scale as the familiar retreads of the same old stuff.

    Since no one buys the primary media, the secondary media rarely reflects it. Just look at how many articles there are about how G.R.R. Martin made “fantasy grow up” in world that already had Glen Cook’s Black Company, Stephan Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant, and the necromancers of Clark Ashton Smith. Which is significant, because Martin’s world has plenty of the same old nonsense, he’s just papered it over with banquet menus and porn.

    Then there is the elephant in the room, that stock fantasy has a lot more to do with middle class 19th-century mass market Victorian romance and turn of the century working class pulp than it does with the history and culture of north-western Medieval Europe. I ran a few games with legit feudal politics in my AD&D2e GMing career, and it inevitably wound up making the game more alien than the all-goblin, all-draconian, or all-cleric campaigns.

    Now I’m not exactly sure what point I was trying to make. Oh well.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I’m currently trying to run a game with vaguely authentic feudal politics in a fantasy 9th century England (based on research that mostly consists of playing Crusader Kings 2). Any tips?

      • IanJ says:

        For the feel of Anglo-Saxon England, Bernard Cornwall’s Uhtred books cover it pretty well, and could be mined for plenty of plot hooks.

        Browsing through some laws can really help figure out what the locals think is important, and what they might send bands of armed men to go stab:


        Figure out how significant the church(es) are and where the limits of their authority lie. Many of the most important conflicts in the period emerged from the tension between church and state. Since you mentioned CKII, this is doubly true if Lodbrockssons and the Great Pagan Army recently showed up on the scene.

        There aren’t any serfs yet (technically) (in England), but there are slaves. The slave trade might have been more important to the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon economy than the wool trade. Freemen are the bulk of the population, but there is an enormous range of freedom in there. Family/clan and reputation have an enormous amount to do with how much a non-noble can get away with, which is usually significant for an RPG.

        For a PC party, you don’t need to build the whole world though, just the bit they are going to be breaking. So who are they working for, what is the source of their employer’s authority, and where does that authority end?

        • Matt Downie says:

          “If any one carry off a nun from a minster, without the king’s or the bishop’s leave, let him pay a hundred and twenty shillings, half to the king, half to the bishop and to the church-hlaford who owns the nun.”

          Yup, that is definitely weirder than I have been running it. I suppose it’s a society that doesn’t really have a prison system, so most punishments are either fines or death – and fines are more profitable for the government.

          They are currently in the employ of the mayor of the port town of London – investigating crimes, witchcraft, disappearances at sea, and so forth. The mayor hopes to raise his own status by writing letters to the petty king of Wessex about their/his achievements.

          The goal of the campaign is to rise up in the ranks as far as society will allow, and perhaps help the king (or one of his heirs – I’m hearing great things about his son Alfred, shame about his older brothers) take over Mercia and create a united England. One of the party is the youngest son of an earl who was driven off his land by invading viking orcs. The rest are lowborn – I’m thinking they might be able to hope for knighthoods somewhere down the line.

          • ? says:

            Decent rule of thumb(keeping in mind differences between various regions and time periods) is cities&towns=corporeal punishment; farmland=fines. For densely populated urban areas public torture acts as a good warning to would be criminals(or at least people think that it is), but in rural communities you need able bodied people to work in the field, so you try not to damage them. Prison for war captives that can pay ransom that will cover cost of imprisonment and then some.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Let’s be fair to GRRM: when he’s trying, he is a really good writer by the standards of the genre. He didn’t invent the shifting POV characters, but few in the fantasy genre did it as effectively before him (probably due to his experience writing for television). He credits Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn as a big inspiration on ASOIAF, and I read the first book (The Dragonbone Chair). You can see how it’s definitely a bridge between Lord of the Rings and ASOIAF, but Williams’ pacing is glacial. GRRM has been spinning his wheels with the last two books, but at least he banged out three solidly-paced tomes before he got to that point.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        What do you mean with “shifting POV”? Because a lot of writers use POVs. Hell even Jordan with his glacial WoT wrote the entire WoT from the view of dozens of POV characters, who each got at least one chapter from their POV.

      • John says:

        Did he now? Because Memory, Sorrow & Thorn is a mashup of Tolkien and Arthurian romance, and while it can get very, very serious it is rarely if ever gritty. I don’t know much about Martin’s work, but from what I’ve heard it is gritty, gritty, gritty all the way down.

        Oh, and if you think that the first book of Memory, Sorrow & Thorn is a drag, stay far, far way from the third. It’s a door-stopper of such epic proportions that they publisher had to split the paperback edition into two volumes–both of which are still utterly immense (for paperbacks).

        • Mistwraithe says:

          I loved The Dragonbone chair, it seemed to be setting up a world and local environment where all sorts of fascinating things were going to happen. I enjoyed Stone of Farewell even though it still seemed to be mainly low level development without anything big really happening.

          Then I read To Green Angel Tower and was totally disappointed. At least Tad Williams managed to finish his trilogy instead of writing endless books ala Wurts, Jordan, etc, but it was so anticlimatic and so much less happened than I expected.

        • Felblood says:

          Song of Ice and Fire has a veneer of grit, but underneath it’s a lurid, pulpy deconstruction of romantic, high-fantasy tropes.

          It isn’t really concerned with telling the story of hard, dirty people making their hard, dirty way in a hard dirty world. That’s just seasoning to make the bitter heart of it more palatable (though it is expertly done). So much of GRRM’s success is rooted in a talent for getting people to ingest ideas that they would otherwise sneer at, and actually enjoy it.

          ASOIAF is really about playing with the reader’s expectations. It sets up characters who in a typical fantasy setting, high or low, would behave in a certain way, achieve certain outcomes, or be portrayed in a particular light. Then he pointedly and abruptly does the opposite of that.

          Ned’s bad ending is just one of the biggest gut punches in the first book, so the grim and gritty end of his story casts a large shadow over the rest of the story. On the face of it, the moral of his story is, “Heroes don’t always live happily ever after.” They might live for decades, regretting hat they had to sacrifice for their victory, but in the end, every man dies. If you look closely between the lines, you can practically see GRRM shouting, “There’s no reason that those tropes always had to go together before! The audience’s expectations are the only thing that keeps fantasy writers chained to the same old saws!”

          Basically, ASOIAF is Homestuck for people who don’t speak 14 distinct dialects of l33tsp34k, or Madoca Magica for people who prefer depressing books to depressing anime.

    • Rutskarn says:

      Whether or not it’s “confrontational,” it’s a fair point.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Josh,your Rutskarn voice is terrible.I just dont know why Chris allowed you to talk to yourself for the whole episode.

  16. Paul Spooner says:

    Hey Rutskarn, have you tried AirBNB? Most people will give long-term discounts, especially if you ask. Most of them have good internet. Plus you could then let out your current apartment on AirBNB to finish out the contract.

  17. wswordsmen says:

    Can you do that 4 hours anthropology talk? Please. It was really interesting.

  18. Mersadeon says:

    Actually, people in the past *were* a lot dumber on average than us. Not because they were born that way, but instead because of insufficient nutrition and other development-stunting health problems (lead piping comes to mind). It lead to people just on average not being quite as functional.

  19. RedSun says:

    I really, really like the way they justify Ork and Troll intelligence in Shadowrun. Orks in Shadowrun can’t raise their Logic and Charisma stats as high as humans(their maximum is 5, everyone else’s is 6). In the early editions, this is justified as the process of turning into an Ork or Troll(called goblinization) as literally causing brain damage, but recent editions have come up with a much better justification: age.
    Ork’s, on average, can live to around 55 at most. Trolls, maybe 60. Their lifespans are shorter, but they still have a proportional growth rate; because of that, they enter puberty around age 8-9 and exit around age 12. Their brain stops growing around 13.The world’s education system literally cannot provide properly for them, either intellectually or emotionally. This disenfranchises them, makes it impossible for them to build their own infrastructure. And they’re ugly and big and scary(especially trolls, who literally can’t fit into an office environment), so there’s a ton of fearful racism that makes it easy for people to dehumanize them. There’s nothing mentally wrong with them; society just isn’t built in a way that works for them, and this traps most of the species in this cycle of poverty and oppression.

    • Inconvenient says:

      That sounds like a much worse explanation in my eyes. Human maturation is painfully slow, so speeding that up by 30% would be very advantageous. Further, education has very little to do with development of logic or charisma (unless Shadowrun is defining these much more broadly than normal).

      • It may be a misapplication (or maybe not, I’m not sure) of the fact that it’s easier to, for example, learn more languages when you’re young, before it becomes more difficult to set up new neural pathways in the brain.

        It’s got some basis in reality, but we’re also talking about a magical cyberpunk setting where the rules are trying to achieve some kind of game balance, so… your mileage may vary.

        • Inconvenient says:

          Yes. Judging from the way this is phrased above, it sounds like a hamfisted way to try to wedge in some kind of social commentary parallel (Ork & Troll oppression, etc). I would rather just have an arbitrary rule than a flimsy explanation that harms the world’s internal consistency on deeper analysis.

    • Whether or not one agrees with the explanation, it highlights why orcs and other races are given intelligence penalties: It’s the old point-buy system with a coat of racial paint.

      You want to be strong? Be an orc. Here’s your strength bonus. To be fair to other characters, we’ll have to ding you in the smarts department. Sorry about that.

      As a racial trait, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. A human could (in theory) do the same for various reasons (if you take strength, it’s assumed you were a soldier or a laborer so you didn’t get as much formal education or something), but that breaks the whole “we’re a fantasy world of hats” concept.

  20. Steve C says:

    Rutskarn you may want to consider a ‘wireless internet solution.’ And by ‘solution’ I mean ‘better than nothing.’

    There are two that will probably work. First is a 4G wifi connection. It is barely serviceable yet it is serviceable. Problem is that it is relatively expensive both to activate and per month. It is what I use because I’m in a rural area. Nobody within 2 miles of me has a phoneline that can support DSL and there is no cable provider in my area. I routinely video chat even though the only wire from the road is the one that provides electricity.

    Another option is a usb data stick. It’s basically a cellphone data plan without the cell and without the phone. I used that for a year. It had tiny monthly caps to the point where it was almost not serviceable. It was cheaper as long as I stayed under the cap. This maybe a good interim solution until you can get cable.

    There’s also a couple of other possibilities like satellite service. They are very likely going to be worse yet still a possibility. My point is that you can get internet without needing any wires in your building.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      At my old job there were guys who used USB sticks like that. They don’t anymore, since they all got their new cellphones covered by the company, but it worked while they had the sticks. Hopefully it’s an option for Rutz. :)

  21. J. Random Lurker says:

    So, why does Josh insists on not showing his face to the public? Is this common knowledge?

  22. Rutskarn’s cable problem reminds me of my first apartment. It was an old, old building converted to apartments (I had a marble bathroom and hardwood floors), and I was on the 3rd floor. The apartment had never seen a cable connection before.

    Time-Warner sent out some guy who hung off the side of the building and used a very impressively-sized drill to punch through 100+ year old brick, wood, lath, and plaster. I’m amazed, given what they charge, that Rutz can’t get a similarly-armed individual.

  23. Ranneko says:

    What application is Rutskarn using for streaming? I know that both OBS and XSplit let you record a local copy of the stream as you do it, he shouldn’t need to run a separate application to make the local copy.

  24. James says:

    Two things

    A) Internets, do Americans have access to “dongles” is basically a micro modem that works on 3/4g and you pay the cell company x per month for whatever allowance, its fairly good for people who are often on the move or live in the darkest depths of a shithole ruts lives in right now.

    B) DnD/PnP its fairly easy to do over the internet, just get into a skype call and use online dice roll system like Roll20, itmejp does it for his 3-4 Campaigns a week shows and it seams to work really well. and Josh can just not have a camera on and then upload later to youtube, most people would “watch it” as a podcast anyway

  25. John says:

    In my former career as a legislative analyst, I had to follow federal internet gambling laws. My knowledge is about fifteen years out of date now, but here goes:

    The U.S. Department of Justice has always maintained that internet gambling is illegal–possibly because it violates anti-racketeering laws, though they’ve always been rather vague on that point. They have also been reluctant to prosecute gambling sites, probably because they weren’t sure they would win. In the early 2000s, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee kept churning out anti-internet gambling bills, but none of them were ever passed. It turns out that when you try to to pass a bill with a blanket ban on gambling via electronic communications, you simultaneously and inadvertently ban things like off-track betting, slot machines with pooled jackpots, and certain forms of betting on–of all things–jai alai (which is apparently a big deal in Florida, or perhaps just influential parts thereof). The last time I saw the bill, it was so full of exceptions that it really didn’t ban much at all.

    I’m not sure how things stand now. I might have to take a look later.

  26. Neko says:

    Ah, yes, I feel your pain. When I was trying to get ADSL set up at my new place, the online form got me to plug a handset in and dial a special number to find out what, if any, telephone number was associated with the line in the past. Okay, got it, back to the library to send the form off.

    Got a call on my mobile later saying that we’re all good to connect you, sir, and if you’ll just mumblemumbleconsent to the extra mumblecharges … wait, what extra charges? Oh, well you see, Telstra’s Database says there’s no line installed at your new place. So we’ll need to charge you a $300 line installation fee. Except I’m looking at the damn socket that I used to dial the automated line ID thing the other day. But NOPE, Telstra’s Database has authority on these issues.

    Ended up forking out a little extra for a different company (that has now been consumed by the previous company) who actually knew their shit and when someone came round to have a look, he quickly found that my line had been mislabelled at one of the big-bundle-of-wires locations.

    • Nimas says:

      Ah Telstra. *So* glad my new place has NBN, even though it took about 2 months (or maybe 3, all I remember was pain) to set up (and cost alot of money for me in wireless broadband in the mean time ><).

      I think the NBN people could even give some American cable companies some competition, though they do do little things like calling before they come over.

  27. krellen says:

    Rutskarn: there has to be an amount of money that will solve your internet problem, either through getting out of the lease, or securing some form of non-wired internet, or paying yourself for any wiring work that needs to be done. What is that amount?

    • You might know more about this than I: How hard is it to build a “can-tenna,” what’s its range, and what’s the likelihood Rutz can find an open network at which to aim it? :)

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Huh – that might actually be interesting to find out, but might be a bit on the side of getting into wifi leeching problems if they can track it down.

        Might work if you find a private one and make an arrangement with whomever to be able to use that – though both of these solutions add latency problems.

      • krellen says:

        As a general rule, I would not suggest wireless networking for the uses Rutskarn wants. Not only is wireless technology slower than wired, but even the best systems have connectivity issues as there are too many variables to set up a perfect system (barring some control such as might exist on a military base). If you want something fast and reliable, you need a wire. Wireless’s only advantage is ease-of-use – which happens to be an advantage most people value quite highly.

        When it’s your only option, though – you can do a wireless connection like that, though I don’t know what costs would come or how to jury-rig one. They university I used to work at had explored the possibility of a microwave connection between campuses, but eventually opted for renting wires to avoid weather-based outages.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      It’s entirely possible there are regulations that are making it a problem – possibly that the government has to allow for construction work to get the wiring in the building, the landlords have to allow access, and getting the local companies to consider even bothering putting in the effort to hook up the DSL connection in (And they’re already notoriously bad at that even when all they need to do is hook up the apartment connection with a pre-built box for facilitating that connection.) for what amounts to, if I understand Rustskarn correctly, literally *one* person who’s going to be totally up for that ISP’s payment plan.

  28. Retsam says:

    Trigun getting mentioned on the diecast? The rest of the crew should leave more often…

    (I might have a *small* obsession with Trigun, in case my gravatar wasn’t a clue)

  29. Irridium says:

    As someone who lived for three months with no internet, then 2 years with dial-up, and then two more with a ~60kb/s connection (on good days), I feel for you Rutskarn. I live in rural(ish) Vermont, and at least here it kind of makes sense why it took so long for fast internet to get here (everyone/thing is so spread out). Can’t really think of a reason for why you’re getting the shaft. Well, a good sensible reason at least.

    Hope it all gets sorted out for you.

  30. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    It’s worth mentioning for completeness, but scientific racism was a thing for like a century in the 19th and early 20th century. Scientific consensus before that was philosophic, but basically took the position that the races were real, but not in significant enough ways to matter relative to cultural institutions. Scientific consensus afterwards is that races are a social construct. Scientific consensus today doesn’t exist, as everyone simultaneously denies the existence of race (blank-slatism) while also finding it explains an awful lot of the stuff we’re interested in explaining, from resistance to disease to economic output (biologic determinism). A lot of people say “it’s the interaction of the two.” A lot of other people think that answer is a copout.

    Anyway, it is incorrect to say “science explained” anything about racism last century. Science was on both sides of the dispute at one time or another.

  31. Rutscarn –

    Game I’ve been playing with at the moment is Fragged Empire. Recently had a successful kickstarter – and is a fair bit of fun, but very different from DND. For instance, combat is a hellava lot closer to X-Com. It’s post-post-apocalypse in space.

    It’s worked well for the one-off sessions I’ve had so far…

    Also – good luck for internet. New house sans internet was for me, last night, terrifying.


  32. AncientSpark says:

    If you want to run a D&D-like game with one-shots, run Dungeon World or 13th Age. They also happen to have the benefits of not being grid dependent, so they work well over Podcast. I’m personally partial to 13th Age, but both of the formats are quick to make characters, their monster sheets are complete, and you don’t have to be terribly precise with your environments to simulate what you need.

  33. HeroOfHyla says:

    I remember back when I was working for Comcast, I got a call from a guy who was having a hell of a time trying to get an internet connection set up in the nursing home he managed. In our computer system, it was registered as a residential address, so the residential team set up his account and sent out a tech. When the tech arrived, he said something like “I can’t service this, it’s a business” and left. Finally he got connected to my department for some reason, and I called the business department to see if they could reclassify the account. For some reason, they weren’t able to, and so they weren’t able to set him up with business class internet.

    The biggest problem resulting from this was that because of failed previous appointment, the tech that came from the VOIP company to set up his phone service wasn’t able to do the phone install, due to the lack of internet.

  34. shiroax says:

    Guys please stop complaining about going on about random shit. People love hearing you going on about random shit. If you did make a tabletop where you went on about anthropology for 4 hours, I would watch the whole thing.

  35. Axion741 says:

    King Arthur Pendragon! (Ok, I’ll stop, I just really like the system).

    Also if an RPG podcasty thing is on the cards and some idea of episode structure is wanted, there’s a ton of good ones out there.

    The best I know of is probably Critical Hit over on the Major Spoilers website. Damn if that isn’t some good DnD.

  36. James Porter says:

    Wait, I didn’t realize this when I was listening earlier.
    Ruts, you like Bloodborne?
    I have to admit, I took your StrongBad impression of the game as just a simple jab before.
    I would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on it. But first we have to make sure your thoughts can be consistently heard.
    Good to hear you were able to figure something out for the time!

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