Otterday! And Open Thread

Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by this otter doing its Smaug impression, as captioned on The Daily Otter. Photo by Rob Oo.

an otter crouching on top of a large rock, head low. Its left paw rests on a rocky outcropping possessively.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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34 replies

  1. Bringing across the “not all female characters in DA:I are sexbots” sub-thread from the last Otterday thread, I had an idea for an interesting variation on that general theme – how about an RPG where your character’s musculature and build alters to suit the job they’re doing?
    Everyone starts off from a pretty “general” body shape at level 1, but then things start to move in different directions. Warriors and Knight-type fighters bulk up (both male and female), because they need the muscle to carry around all that plate armour, however they sacrifice flexibility. Mages and priests don’t – in fact, depending on their initial starting “type” and the mechanics of the magic being used, they may even run to fat later in the game (or they might alternate between being plump and being emaciated if you use a magical model which says their “MP” is an actual physical energy reserve they’re using). Archers develop powerful arms, particularly if they’re using a longbow, but otherwise don’t develop as much muscle as a plate-wearing tank would. Thieves and rogues have to stay lithe, lean and flexible, so they develop the least visible muscle overall, but are very flexible.
    Crafting jobs could also influence things – if you have a thief who specializes in smithing, they’re going to carry a bit more muscle than a thief whose profession is tailoring, for example. But what you’d wind up with over time is a much more diverse and more interesting visual “landscape” than you’d otherwise get. Plus it would certainly leave me less likely to be cursing and swearing about the way that male human mages in these things tend to have the upper body proportions of flippin’ weight lifters!
    Of course, the gamerbois would probably whine about the lack of sexbots in the female line-up, or about the fact some of the mages and rogues would probably look pretty bishie, but honestly… they’re never going to be satisfied anyway – may as well give them something easy to bitch about.

  2. I’m not much of a gamer other than MarioKart just because it’s hilarious, but that’s the sort of character-building that would interest me enough to actually invest in a RPG.
    That otter – I saw a comedian do a wonderful Gollum/Abbott impression this week, the resemblance is uncanny.

  3. As a general moan, I am so sick of people thinking that social justice advocates writing sociopolitical criticism related to a recent pop culture phenomenon is somehow singling out that particular pop culture phenomenon as uniquely and especially egregious, rather than just noting it as the latest/yet another example of an ongoing cultural trend. (see comments on any recent post pointing out that marketing the 50 Shades film as a Valentine date movie is 50,000 shades of fucked up)

  4. Well, at least if your current fling decides to take you to see “Fifty Shades” on Valentines day (for any reason other than playing a relentless game of “spot the bad/misused/misunderstood/completely neglected BDSM trope” or “skewer the acting/scriptwriting/dialogue/whatever”) you know it’s not worth your while continuing the relationship. So I suppose it can serve a purpose as a sort of screening mechanism, if nothing else.

  5. Our Valentine’s plans have been scuppered by a small boy with a urinary tract infection…

  6. Oooh (*pulls face*), not good. Hope he’s better soon, and things can be rescheduled.

  7. I hope small person feels better soon and when you do get time that everything is cheaper/less busy.

  8. Megpie, love that idea.
    A woman on the Bioware Dragon Age website pointed out a piece of sexist imagery that slipped through into the game, and received 14 pages of indignant feminist-hating in response.
    A part of me is honestly surprised. 14 pages.
    The rest of me is just depressed.

  9. eilish – I’m somewhere between cynically surprised (I’m surprised it wasn’t worse, given the #gamergate mess has pretty much given the misogynists license to be boorishly and viciously nasty in public without too much fear of censure) and annoyed.
    As to the notion I put up earlier – to be honest I’m surprised it hasn’t occurred to some developer somewhere already. Maybe it has, and the thing which is holding them back is a combination of figuring out the programming algorithms and selling it to manglement.

  10. I had an idea for an interesting variation on that general theme – how about an RPG where your character’s musculature and build alters to suit the job they’re doing?
    Interesting. It would have to be a game where the day job is also factored into play somehow. Well, it wouldn’t *have* to be, I suppose, but I think it would be better.

  11. Well, we had a weekend full of hollering and teary refusals to both drink and pee, but he seems to be on the mend. Fortunately, he has gotten to the point where he is now mostly willing to take medicines like antibiotics, or it could have been a lot worse. And the Valentine’s plans were not that ambitious, so they can hopefully be rescheduled.

  12. Aww, poor lamb.
    Here’s to rescheduling.

  13. Aaaaaaand I posted a 3 line retort in the 14 page anti-feminist thread I have spoken of on the Bioware Social Network, which was obviously supportive of feminism.
    Responses so far:
    – I need psychiatric help
    – I am anti-men
    – I am maligning all the men in the world and the BSN
    – There’s a bisexual woman who supports anti-feminism so therefore I am wrong
    – the image of Christ on the cross is just as sexually objectifying as that of a naked woman
    – lots of gifs of Cersei from Game of Thrones
    – a video recording of 10 sad violins
    – hur hur hur burp
    I saw all of this stuff 30 years ago. My grand-nieces are going to be dealing with exactly the same shit.
    Are they ever going to get better lines?

  14. Queensland now has a female Premier, Deputy Premier and six more women in Cabinet, one of whom is explicitly Minister for Women. That is a female majority of eight to six. Thank you Annastacia Palaszczuk and congratulations to Jackie Trad, Kate Jones, Yvette D’Ath, Jo-Ann Miller, Leanne Enoch (first Aboriginal woman in Queensland Parliament), Shannon Fentimann and Coralee O’Rourke.

  15. @eilish: no, they are not, because anyone imaginative enough to come up with better lines is also sufficiently imaginative to not be in a position where they think using them is appropriate!
    @Merryn: INORITE, isn’t it great??? 😀

  16. Sunless Nick: I was thinking what would be used would be some algorithms which would alter the character model in certain directions depending on how far you advanced down certain paths (which would make for some interesting cross-class characters, I think, if you were going to allow D&D style multi-classing). Or you could have something like the Tamriel-style levelling (as in the Elder Scrolls series), where all characters can learn all skills, but various overt classes and jobs would boost potentials in some areas and reduce them in others. Your class would probably have the greatest effect on your physique, with your profession (day job) being secondary, so a warrior or paladin would always be fairly hefty and solidly muscled, because they have to lug around all that armour – but one who specialised in smithing or heavy armour work would be even more muscular than one who specialised in gathering and potions (but the gatherer/potion maker might be a bit more dexterous within the range of dexterity available to their class after armour and weapon effects – so possibly more critical hits or something like that).
    The way I see the balance between class and profession is like this: if you chose the class of warrior, you’re going to increase your muscle bulk by 10% every 10 levels of your class; if you choose the profession of blacksmith, you’re going to increase your muscle bulk by 5% every 10 levels of your profession. If you choose the class of rogue, you’re going to get a +2 bonus to dexterity for every 10 levels of the class; if you choose the profession of tailor, you’d get a +1 bonus to dexterity for every 10 levels in the profession. Certain classes and professions would complement each other (much the same as they already do in most games which have the class/profession duality running through them), others would work against each other and make the game a bit more challenging.
    It might also be interesting to see whether there was any way to balance those sorts of algorithms against the sorts of anatomical and physiological limits various bodies come with. There’s an upper limit, after all, to the amount of muscle a human body can develop. There’s a lower limit to the amount of weight which can be lost before permanent damage occurs. So it might be fun to play around with those sorts of factors. This would mean if you rolled yourself up a big burly character and dropped them into a tanking role, you’d possibly not see the sorts of obvious differences that a more medium-sized character might exhibit in the short term (maybe have an upper “weight” threshold, and you gain 10% of that threshold per 10 levels in your class – so all the characters end up at the same end point, but they appear to get there at different speeds).

  17. eillish – I’m a bit worried about the “Christ on the cross is as sexually objectifying as a naked woman” one… most people aren’t precisely turned on by images of death by torture. Bit odd.
    But yeah, it would be lovely if they got some new lines, if only for the sake of variety.
    There’s actually an interesting little conversation happening over at John Scalzi’s blog (currently closed for the night) – You Can’t Take Back What You Already Have – where there’s a discussion of the sorts of analogues to this kind of behaviour which exist within science fiction fandom. One point which I found interesting is a lot of this “oh gods we must fight back the invader at the gates!” thinking appears to be something which is coming out as a result of a previously marginal hobby becoming incredibly mainstream and attracting a wider audience. All of a sudden, the kinds of people who were using the rarity and exclusiveness of their hobby as a reason why people wouldn’t talk to them are having that excuse taken away.
    No, people aren’t shunning (generic) you because you’re a gamer; they’re shunning you because you’re an arsehole. No, women aren’t ignoring you because you’re a gamer; they’re ignoring you because you don’t have anything to recommend you to them. No, we’re not saying you’re boring because you’re a geek – we’re saying you’re boring because you’ve been droning on about the same thing now for the past twenty minutes, and we’re bored.

  18. Megpie, I like the idea as well! Even if they just started by letting you choose from different body shapes in games… My housemate Em started playing skyrim the other day and the highest the slider for body weight went was to about a size 12… max.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for what to put on a sign for a counter-rally for a pro-life event in Brisbane on Saturday? I was planning on saying something like ‘I will always support a woman to make the right decision for herself and her body,’ but have just found out that apparently trans-inclusivity means not using the word ‘woman’ or ‘mother’ when referring to pregnant people. (I admit I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.) Replacing ‘a woman’ with ‘a person’ does make that seem very unspecific though. Thoughts?

  19. Jo, how about, “If I can’t be trusted to CHOOSE FOR MYSELF, then WHO should CHOOSE FOR ME?” That’s still a bit long, but I was thinking if you recast the sentence with personal, non-gender-specific pronouns, you get around that issue.

  20. If it helps with the trans-inclusivity bit there are apparently something like 50 men getting pregnant every year in Australia, so it’s not a once in a blue moon occurrence (I have been going through this issue recently with one of my staff, who insists on using ‘male’ and ‘pregnant’ as an example of possible inconsistencies in data every single frigging time he needs to give an example).

  21. “Pregnant people can be trusted to make their own choices”? or just “Pregnant people can be trusted”?

  22. A part of me is honestly surprised. 14 pages.
    The rest of me is just depressed.

    I once worked at a place where fellow employees used to print out email rants/threats they received on a noticeboard for all to see. It commonly amazed me at how long the emails were were and how much time people spent on them. On software or help that they never had to pay for. Always wondered where people found the time to write them.

  23. Arcadia, I like yours! Thanks! The rally has been moved now anyway due to terrible cyclone weather, so I’ve got some time yet.
    Angharad, that’s really interesting! I wouldn’t have expected the numbers to be so high, thanks for sharing.

  24. The thread is now 20 pages long and they’re making rape jokes.
    Getting really cross now.

  25. Reported it. *sigh*
    The bloke who inspired Scalzi’s piece is a piece of work. There are hard sciences that one can respect, and then there’s women’s studies which are something something and SJWs who are oh look a picture of a cat.

  26. I don’t think I can be on the internet anymore this morning. Nerd sadness is destroying me. I think someone on @scalzi’s teitter feed said it best – it feels like every geek has lost their favourite grandad today…

  27. Here’s a pretty good article on how to write sexist characters/plot incidents without coming off like a sexist yourself: <a href=”http://” rel=”nofollow”>linky

  28. Can’t get your link to work angharad 😦

  29. Ah, I see the mistake. Let’s try that again

  30. RIP Leonard Nimoy.
    “Live long and prosper” : best blessing ever.

  31. Link working thanks angharad. Very interesting reading, with the added bonus of some great author recommendations in the comments.

  32. awesome essay, thanks angharad!

  33. The SBS satire page is really doing some good work.

    “It’s like he’s one of us – you know, imperfect, occasionally making a stupid decision or two but good natured and trying to do his best. I can’t wait to see how this comes back to bite us square on the arse.”

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