Weekend Reading 31

Peter

During my work on the setting I’ve been designing, I ran across a free third-party supplement for D&D 5e that I really liked. It’s called Sprouting Chaos, and it has a bunch of plant-themed character races, class archetypes, monsters, and spells. Everything looks nicely-balanced to use with official material. It’s also a very professional-looking piece of work and it’s available from this Reddit thread.

In the worlds of D&D, plant-themed creatures and classes are hard to come by. This supplement aims to change that, providing  new plant-themed options for player characters, as well as new plant creatures for those players to face. If your Dungeon Master allows, these options may be used in any of your campaigns.

I learned this week that China, of all places, is well on the way to having the world’s largest Christian population, and delegates from the WCC are going to be meeting with church leaders in China.

The delegation will visit Shanghai and meet with the China Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, as well as with the leadership and students at the East China Theological Seminary after the Chinese groups invited the WCC to visit.

They will also travel to Xi’an and visit Shaanxi Bible School and Jing Xin Church said the WCC which represents Christians mainly from the Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant traditions.

Finally, there’s a neat article in Popular Science about why it’s so much colder in the Northern Hemisphere in the winter even though Earth is physically closer to the Sun during that time.

There’s something about the geometry of space that’s never quite made sense to me. I know that the axial tilt of the Earth is the reason we have seasons, but if a slight angle away from the sun can make me see my breath in winter, why does being three million miles closer not make me melt in a pool of my own sweat? Is it really not any hotter when we’re at our shortest distance from our star? And if it is, then why should the 23.5° tilt to our axis matter at all?

Jenny

I found a really well thought out blog post that seems to be part of a series about how to make deeper, more interesting characters to play in RPGs.

This sort of “man with no name” who comes from nowhere setup is really common when it comes to our characters. We know who they are, what they can do, and we know their names… but we just sort of plunk them down in the world as if they sprang fully-formed from the ether. More often than not we talk about how far from home they are, or we make it a point that their family is dead, and they have no friends. They’re a lone adventurer, out on their own.

This is an archetype… but it often makes your character feel like they aren’t really a part of the world. It can make it harder to roleplay, and worse, it makes it harder for you to tell your story because you’re starting from scratch. If you want to make your life a little easier, all you have to do is give your character connections in the game setting.

I think it quite unfortunate that you can no longer go to the Floating Church of the Redeemer. It was exactly what it sounds like.

They brought the heavens to the seas.

In 1840s Philadelphia, the Churchman’s Missionary Association for Seamen wanted the Gospel to reach the dockworkers and sailors who worked on the city’s sin-soaked piers.

I found out about a really sweet walking-simulator story game recently called Storyseeker. It looks really sweet, and it’s free! (Funnily enough, I found out about the game because of some very cute gingerbread.)

Storyseeker is a minimalist narrative experiment driven by your curiosity. Follow the trails of weasels, talk to ghosts, cross the ocean. Find out what happened to a strange, quiet world.

Grant

First up: Two articles (conveniently linked by one article in Relevant Magazine) about Chen Si, who spends his weekend preventing suicides:

“Often it really is a life and death struggle. They’ve already climbed over the railings, and I’m left hanging onto them by an arm. I have to drag them back over,” Chen told NPR in 2006. “Sometimes after I’ve saved someone, when I’m not paying attention, they jump. And there are those I don’t reach in time.”

The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is one of the most frequented suicide sites in the world. Chinese authorities don’t report the total number of deaths, but estimates say there is at least one successful suicide attempt at the bridge each week. Chen travels over 15 miles from his home to patrol the bridge and speak to those he sees who might need help.

I’ll probably forget, and post about this again closer to Halloween, but 2018 is the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s genre-defining novel Frankenstein. A group of folks are trying to push to get everyone to read (or re-read) Frankenstein on Halloween 2018, across the world, and that’s pretty cool. You can find out more at frankenreads.org.

Something I just found today: Wizards of the Coast published a free D&D adventure for their “Ixalan” Magic: The Gathering setting called X Marks the Spot. If you’re looking for some free D&D material, whether a full-blown adventure or a few monsters and ideas, this may be helpful.

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