Who Goes First? RPG Initiatives in Brief

Initiative – i.e. who goes first – in roleplaying games is a no-size-fits-all situation.

I have given it my shot to find a one-size solution. The result: Pick whatever feels convenient in the game and the context 🤷‍♂️

Through my research, I have come across many options to determine who goes first. This post is a brief reference – completely unexhaustive – for your own gaming inspiration, yet inspiration it may remain 🎲🎲 In no specific order:

  1. Roll (+Stat): Individual
  2. Roll (+Stat): Group
  3. Stat Only
  4. Lower Effects Go First
  5. Time to Do
  6. Action Points & Betting
  7. Popcorn
  8. Table Order
  9. All Declare, All Act
  10. When to Roll?
  11. When to Act?
  12. Surprise Gets a Free Turn

Roll (+Stat): Individual

The classic of D&D, each player rolls a die and (optionally) adds a stat for it. Better results go first!

Roll (+Stat): Group

Same as the individual, but it goes down to “us” (the players) vs. “them” (game moderator or non-player characters).

Stat Only

Whoever has the highest stats for initiative/speed/movement goes first.

Lower Effects Go First

We see this in games like the Dr. Who RPG – actions that do the least amount of effect go sooner in turn order. Example:

Talk > Move > Environment (e.g. flip a switch) > Help > Coerce Physically > Harm (w/ higher damage going later)

Time to Do

Particular to “move-and-do” combat-style games where moving is always a free action along with talking, the least time-required actions go sooner. Example:

Ranged Attacks (a flick of a finger)
Melee Attacks (a step, a move of an arm, a twist)
Heavy/Magic Actions (big and heaved devices, aiming, a few motions)
Other (complex actions with steps needing a few seconds)

Action Points & Betting

Characters have a limited resource – some “time” or “action” or “stamina” component to the game. These get spent on actions (bigger action effects cost more) or get auctioned, where higher bets go first, but risk being unable to act while others do.

The resource gets restocked automatically or the game may have mechanics that a special “recoup” or “rest” action brings them back.


A popular option, a simple die roll decides who goes first. Once done, that person picks the next person to go. The second person then picks and so on, until everyone has gone.

Elegant (one roll, no math), Popcorn leads to a gamble: do players only pick players, hoping to overwhelm their foes? If so and they fail, the enemy gets to go, then select themselves to go the next turn (since they would not have acted in the new turn), leading to a potential double whammy.

Table Order

The action order starts on the GM’s left (or determined by a roll) and proceeds clockwise.


All Declare, All Act

Everyone declares what their character(s) will do. Then the consequences are rolled for. Together, all at once.

Personally, a bit messy, but the speed of resolution and the unexpected carnage of melee can be really cool 😄

When to Roll?

When do these initiatives take effect?

If relying on pure positioning, static stat, or the type of action being taken, rolls never need happen for initiative.

Roll once at game start is another option. This keeps order steady and certain throughout a session of play.

Once every encounter is D&D‘s bread-and-butter. Only done when an interaction starts where order matters.

Lastly: roll repeatedly after everyone and everything has taken an action, e.g. at the start of every turn. (This is cumbersome and a drag – avoid it.)

When to Act?

You would expect only one character acts at a time. What happens when there are ties in determining order? Or that characters are in the same “phase” of action?

Ties can be resolved with a roll, but quality game design seeks to minimize repeat tosses of the dice.

Instead, everything that is tied or otherwise going at the same time goes at the same time! Actions are declared, actions are rolled for, and consequences are applied simultaneously. E.g. two folks can punch each other out in a brawl, or opponents can shout down or interrupt the speeches of their counterparts!

Surprise Gets a Free Turn

See just above. In virtually all cases, if an action is not detected or comes from no-where, it gets to go without consideration of what or when other characters act.

A universal in RPG design!

As I feel it, these are the most impactful initiative systems an RPG can have. While there are oodles of systems out there, these are used in many places (thereby tested), are relatively simple, rely on dice at most, and are ultimately RPG agnostic – the mechanics can work in any game (though may not always convey the same game “feel” – e.g. Dr. Who aims to minimize physical violence!).

What initiatives do you use? Have I left out a stellar example of speed and effect of play? Tell me more! I owe you one. Cheers!

P.S. This is my first post after doing my time audit – short, concise, stays high level. I will check back on how this and following posts have worked out, though I am =always= open to your feedback!

Putting Hit Into Hit Points

A big time commitment to any roleplaying game is almost always the combat.

Roll to hit, roll how much was hit, repeat.

While simple in process, this becomes a slog when characters in games have buckets of hit points (HP, the equivalent of life). Each mighty cleave of a sword or bullseye from a rifle does but a chip of damage from the HP block. Again. And again. And again.


Others and I agree – fewer hit points makes for better play. One might even try to put the “hit” back into “hit points” 👀

Premise of Hits

HP represents how many hacks a character can take or effectively avoid to prevent their own demise. Depending on the type of game, 0 HP either means a character cannot prevent others from working their will on them (no fight left) or could mean they are dead (this time, the sword block is too slow, the swing finding mortal purchase).

How many hits a thing can take then can vary. You might have seen the videos of people about to fight, but one clip of the chin puts a fighter down. Remember Julius Caesar? He took over 40 (!!!) stab and slash wounds before finally going down.

Caesar aside, most combatants can only get in a bout for so long, minutes at most. This has been found out by the RPG community: A good rule of thumb is that a sturdy human being without special training can withstand about 3-4 hits before a ‘this-settles-it’ hit lands home.

The Old-School (OSR) RPGs hold this as fact: Fewer HP is better play. Whether that is some max HP of 12 or 20 for a player’s character, it undermines the hundreds of HP even moderate-level play in a game like Dungeons & Dragons can introduce.

Excessive, eh? Some solutions to high HP:

Crafting Better Dungeon HP

Professor Dungeon Master over at Dungeon Craft on YouTube introduces a great rule of thumb for D&D -type monster blocks:

Every attack that lands does 1 hit’s-worth of harm. Sword or fist, all the same. Criticals, heavy weapons, and especially high rolls (e.g. naturally in the top 25%) count as an additional hit. Spells do hits equal to the level of difficulty they are +1 (levels exist from 0 to 9).

As for HP, take a monster’s health, round to the tens-digit, and divide by 10 (minimum 1 HP). Thereby, a monster with 84 average HP can take 8 hits.

Professor Dungeon Master (minorly paraphrased)

This is a great quick-and-dirty way to reach the same conclusions of regular D&D combat, but only faster.

Assuming a group of four adventurers though, 8 HP still requires at least two rounds of combat with every adventurer landing a standard hit (8 HP / 4 hits-per-round = 2 rounds).

Can this be better?


My own homebrew wraps as much as it can into the standard 1-2-3-4-6-10 scale of effectiveness.

Tier 1 characters can only take 1 and give 1 hit (and are easier to hit – that is a separate discussion). Tier 2 gives and takes 2 hits. Tier 6, 6 of each.

Player character weapons and armor also exist on this scale: Tier 1 does 1 hit’s-worth of harm (e.g. knives), tier 4 does 4 hits-of-harm (e.g. halberds, especially heavy weapons). Characters themselves have the ability to sustain ~7 hits of harm on average.

But what if players still want to roll their damage?

Layering on the HP

(The following is a thought exercise – I have yet to test in actual gameplay.)

Keeping the difficulty tiers of BITS, what if HP scaled by double or by 4s?


TierBy 4sBy Double
1 – Minion11
2 – Soldier42
3 – Specialist84
4 – Elite128
Example HP Scaling

This way the chaff of low-level minions can still be swept away, but more bossy characters can take a few blows before being made low.

When players strike, a success gives them 1 hit. When they roll damage, they get an extra hit for, say, every complete 5 or 10 points of damage rolled in the D&D fashion.

Players get to roll more of their dice, folks are rewarded for high rolls, and combat remains quick (but not so quick as to be a wash!).

Simple reduction of HP, HP by tiers, or HP by scaling? Or just keep D&D -style massive blobs of hit points, why does this article even exist? 😜

I am curious: Tell me what you use for HP in play and share what you think could go better in the fictional combat of roleplaying games.

Anyways, stay tuned for from-the-field reports as I experiment with different systems. Cheers to your characters coming out on top!

Winds, How They Change

Salud! How goes?

Writing today to talk about change and what direction the proverbial winds are headed on my end.

Doing some soul searching in late January and early February, I needed to overcome a feeling of directionlessness. (Not a word, going to use it.)

Such feels are common when on sabbaticals and especially early retirement. Taking a bit of that myself, I had =loads= of fun in 2022 and did so, so much. (Just see the months of blog posts for the trove!)

Yet… Now I feel a bit aimless. What am I doing? How does it matter? Where can I be better?


This blog is a resource for me as much as it is you. Coming back to a few posts (like when one needs to decide, how to do, and the Truth of Simplicity), I churn over all my interests, all my skills, and question what is my Needle, what actions move it.

I will be publishing a post about “focus” later, but suffice that it is what I must do. And what to focus on?

Financial Independence; Early or whenever Retirement – FIRE 🔥

The overarching goal. The goal of goals since at least 2017. And over the last year I had lost sight of my mountain peak. Now I and it are back.


As I mount back into the saddle of labor to get that cheese and earn my daily bread, something cannot be had without an equal exchange for the time and attention and materiel required.

So I move to increase my wages – it is the slower, steadier, more assured path to perpetual security. Study, practice, and audacity – these are the watch words going into 2023’s Spring and Summer.

But at what cost?

Over the last couple of months, I have been big on bringing you my learnings and creations:

Roleplaying games and modules, patterns and rules of play, business and market studies, relationship building and maintenance, blogs and writing – all to name but a few topics.

In my private life I have picked back up on meditation, writing, workouts, climbing, yoga, walks and hikes, music concerts, meetups, running games of D&D, and field trips.

My endurance and range of ability is great – immense – yet my time and devoted attention are just too finite.

Everything is up for audit, for analysis. What does it bring me? What does it cost me? How is it moving me towards my mountain?

Now About You

The dust hasn’t settled yet on the ramifications here, so for certain I cannot say much. Maybe more come the goal post at month’s end, which is a while off yet.

For you, reader, my wind change may mean something. This blog is up for review. The length, frequency, and character of writing is on the block. Despite having a publication every week for 3-odd years, we cannot fall into the “sunk cost fallacy” – we must ask, “but what has it done for me lately?”

So it goes.

I will not leave you out of the loop! I am absolutely ready to hear your suggestions and requests on what to do: What frequency works best for you, topics that hold interest, or what has stood out in blog posts past?

Mind, whatever remains in my sphere of influence will continue to be of the quality you have engaged with so far, if not more. Maybe.

Regardless of all, thank you for being along on these journeys with me. Are you doing well now that the first quarter of ’23 nears its close? I want to hear if the winds are strong or the course needs a change – cheers to your journey ~

What Does It Take To Be Untamed?

Or in other words, how to be brave?

These are the themes in Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, a 2020 memoir of life events, decision conflict, and generally getting s*** in order.

4.6 on Amazon, 4/5 on Goodreads, and 7 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Objectively rave reviews, clearly doing something right. When the title came recommended my way, imagine how happy this life-long learner felt!

Yet… upon reading, there was… Well, in the face of a few dangers, let’s talk about my feels and thoughts, a seemingly rare perspective. Stick with me here – there are a lot of subjects to iron out:

  1. Preamble: Written With You in Mind*
  2. One More Word on Structure
  3. Perhaps the Most Important Lessons: What Not to Do
  4. What to Do, Re Living Et. Al
  5. A Talk About the Feels
  6. Dynamics of Gender
  7. For the Men: Salt Grains
  8. Take a Deep Breath

Preamble: Written With You in Mind*

* If a woman.

From the onset, Untamed stations itself as a book from a woman for women. It wants to tackle societal, systemic, and psychological impasses the chosen audience is like to face in at least the Western cultural context.

As a cishet male (me), there was a lot to grok. Despite being a highly sensitive empath, at many points I just did not get it.

I let my recommending friend know I was struggling, not even halfway through the book. With the writing being all over the place, blatantly petty and premeditated bad decisions failing to build a protagonist in my mind, and straight-up wrong claims over a couple of concrete topics… Getting that far was a struggle.

Yet I persisted. I am glad I did. The book and I changed.

What I came across in the last-half/-third of the book is what I want to share with you today, specifically my non-audience perspective.

Untamed has been touched on by many readers as can be seen in public reviews and easily google-searched articles. Going over these, I was at once taken aback by the lack of male authors – but perhaps that makes my voice in this article all that more important.

Regardless of having read the book or not, your gender, or other predispositions, my aim is to communicate core relevancies I found in Glennon’s work with you – takeaways I hope you can apply in as much use as I have.

One More Word on Structure

Again, the last-half to last-third is practical advice and thought exercises. Here lies words of affirmation.

When compared to the first part, the last has few recounts of self- and societally-inflicted disaster. Instead, this half elicits calls to action that someone like I – a person biased towards explicit, rational candor – can, well, act on.

If / When you pick up the book for yourself, fast forward to what will most benefit you, be it the anecdotes from Glennon in the first or the prescriptions in the second!

Perhaps the Most Important Lessons: What Not to Do

Glennon’s life up until at least late 30s and 40s was a mess.

So many actions through the 20s and 30s were either negligently – or willfully – destructive to herself and those around her. Tldr; read how convicted I am on the topic of Suffering.

A lot of the trouble comes around Glennon’s relationships. Below are cases in point, but in general, checkout a 2021 post, an analysis of group consensus, or the recently written-about divorce lawyer’s insights on keeping *waves hands at everything* together:

  • Using children to keep a marriage together / having children to avoid addressing the hard discussion of stasis in a relationship.
  • Forgetting to grow with a partner, i.e. stay interested and stay interesting.
  • Knowing things could be better, yet choosing not to improve because the actions / patterns are so-far tolerated. (Lots of words for “taking good things for granted.”)
  • Shutting up and shutting down in the face of conflict.
  • Passive aggressiveness throughout life.
  • Failure to introspect, or if doing so, frequent failure to take responsibility to address and think out the consequences afterwards.
  • Making false claims about child psychology and moral universality.

No one should be recommending a life that shares any of the above without consistent addressing and improvement. These things are what to avoid at all costs. Yet without these experiences, Glennon admits she would not have come to advise what follows:

What to Do, Re Living Et. Al

See those previous relationship posts on this blog for a few of these tidbits. I restate them here as Glennon wrote about because they are so, so important to keep in mind:

  • Be truer to your emotions. Gut feelings matter – try not to overthink impressions.
  • Beware the “shoulds” and avoid directions from those who have never been on the journey to where you are going.
  • Express what you want and (with a grain of grace) what you feel early and often, often and early with those you interact with, especially those you care for.
  • Disappoint as many people as necessary to not disappoint yourself, i.e. your authentic soul.

Here be Glennon’s take on suffering, having suffered and continuing to in her own unique way we humans all share:

  • By trials you are revealed. Then are you able to be known to yourself.
  • As you have gone through and done hard things, so too allow others to witness their own strengths and endurance under duress. Yet, serve as sentinel and guide and safety net as needed for them.
  • Those that have suffered tend to be better people (or at least, more visible monsters). (An image comes to mind that shining light in dark places is virtually always a good thing: it may reveal treasure and ways forward, or reveals the hidden traps and dangers.)

Untamed finishes commentary about the human condition in the way of grace: Ultimately, we are divine and whole unto ourselves. So long as we are alive, we have the chance to make things better through sacrifice or presence. (This is a message of possibility we ought readily get behind!)

Closing note here: I would add that the discovery of our innate godhead is a never-ending journey of revelation. Just as in the Jesus story of a man going to Hell only to return divine with more work to do, so too after trial might we keep striving, and never stop believing in our own immensities.

A Talk About the Feels

Thought we were done talking about relationships? Surprise!

The book aims to both heat up the emotions of the audience while at the same time honing that boost of energy stemming from indignance.

As it applies to emotions, it is the reader’s responsibility to tackle the sharpness of personal feels. Success (or at minimum progress) here enables one to be emotionally vulnerable and available to others. In short, there is no ‘healthy’ relationship until you first have one with yourself!

After working on that part of yourself, show up. Passivity, comfort, coasting-through-the-motions is death in so many ways to so many things.

In the ways of passion, get to heartbreak faster. As a shrooming friend of Glennon’s put it, work towards the step after the ‘high’ of the honeymoon phase; make sure that the essence of a joining of things is just as good if not better after coming off the buzz.

Dynamics of Gender

This section is a combination of Untamed, a resource I came across somewhere, and my own pattern-recognition. Take all of this – none purely from any single author – with a few salt grains.

Equality is not the term to strive for when equity gets to the heart of the matter. This applies to the genders of society – the qualities of context make comparisons of A and B as useful as apples and oranges. To continue this produce metaphor, we have to abstract to the fruit of the matter; in this case, masculine and feminine core competencies. (For ease of writing, I will use the terms “man” and “woman,” as limited as the language is.)

Every person can be gauged on four axes of competencies. Your boss, your partner, yourself. (Use whatever numerical degree you like – 1-to-10-sans-7 is a fine heuristic.)

Between men and women, three axes are for the most part shared:

  • Are they a quality Mother / Father figure? Is this person the person to raise children? Do they have kindness and compassion for all children and those in need of guidance and protection? I.e. not only those of their blood and immediate guardianship?
  • Are they a quality Lover? As it comes to excitement, invocator of lust or envy, and a challenge to stay sharp? Do they remain interesting and drive you to improve so much as to remain interesting?
  • Are they a quality Partner? An equal, stable, there to support your endeavors, a unique asset such that one-plus-one is greater than two and more?

The set-apart axis comes in large part from the fundamental differences of men and women:

  • To qualify men: Can they provide? Are they a provider of resources, societal rapport, and economic opportunity? Have they shown they can secure a future?
  • To qualify women: This is the grace of being a woman and gets a full pass. This takes on the form of the pain of being: Discrimination, the dangers of childbirth, etc. These difficulties give women full marks on this axis, 100%.

Aim to keep those that specialize in certain areas around in your life. Glennon did just this with her ex husband Craig for being a superb Father and Provider, yet who went elsewhere for a Lover and was an incompatible Partner to Glennon (e.g. more a friend and sincere caregiver during marriage than fully-meshed counterpart).

As for those that score highly across the board, more than others, and give that positive ‘gut’ reaction, GO GET THEM RIGHT NOW. Do not wait on sharing your affections and appreciations and getting involved in their life!

Falling back on a previous point, if you need to start disappointing others, do it – for Glennon, Abby Wambach did for her just this, leading to a divorce from husband to fulfill a truer calling. (Read Untamed for the deets.)

For the Men: Salt Grains

(Really on this “grain” kick today…)

Glennon advises her audience to get angry, be furious, untame timidness and unshackle reservations and be audacious in getting space and needs and wants met.

Pause now.

Remember the audience: this is a book from a woman for women about the experiences of women. There are but a few paragraphs in regards to men in Untamed, these though only calling out how sons and brothers are left behind by the book, Glennon’s real-life care, and society’s expectations.

Listen up, men: you do not get to do all this unhinged.

Men are more likely to be aggressive and angry. For biological (see more on testosterone) and societal reasons, this is true.

In my own observation, no woman has high regards for the company of an angry man. No matter the trigger or target of the fury, its mere presence is intolerable. A compassionate man then will aim to be aware of these disturbances, thereby not induce suffering into the world because of their baser nature and uncontrolled impulses.

So what? Does this mean “conceal, don’t feel?” What happened to all the talk about emotional expression? Is the advice here to be a limp biscuit, a pushover, self-emasculate?


Nor an answer to these refutations. Yet.

Perhaps in time, another post to answer what is means to be Western men or pointed guidance to those better versed in the mortal issue of men being left behind/unaddressed in Western society’s cultural growth.

While that pends, listen to age-old advice:

[B]eware. Anger, fear, aggression. The Dark Side are they.

Yoda, Star Wars

And do improve as a modern man ought. A lack of improvement is no-one’s excuse.

A few starting points: listen, express feelings, become attractive to yourself, find out what is and always work towards being attractive to others, climb the degrees of the axes above, and ultimately check yourself before you wreck yourself.

The information is out there, the means ready. It is up to you to put yourself into and/or pull yourself out of the trials. You got this.

Take a Deep Breath

That is it. This is the end of the article. Through the advice and the take-aways and the analysis of what is and what is not, thank you for reading this far ❤

Glennon Doyle’s Untamed is a heck-of-a-read. I haven’t come across anything like it, though I hope to find similar in the future. (Recommendations are open!)

Though sometimes clogged with didn’t-sit-well-with-me stories, the work pleasantly reveals itself to be chock full of actionable insights. Over the last 1900 words, I trust you have been reminded of what it takes to be untamed and how to be brave in the face of the world and trials before you.

I say it again: You got this 🔥❤🔥

If you also have suggestions for further reading, comment below or hit me up directly! I am off to rally myself to bravery and audacity (within reason) – cheers to all you get after, being as brave and untamed as you are ~

February March Goal Review

In a test of going without, a solid todo list deserted February. While tasks were not written, I continued to accomplish 💯 A review of those goals:

February Goal Review

Theme for February was “Spring Cleaning” – even without goals listed, I found much work for me to undertake. For example:

  1. Cleaned up Facebook saves.
  2. Cleaned up Reddit saves.
  3. Put up adventure pictures to Instagram (reminds others and myself that I do things).
  4. Read four big books on the backlog. (Checkout my post about James J. Sexton’s work – subscribe to catch the post on Glennon Doyle’s Untamed next week!)
  5. Attended concerts – much dancing and enjoyment had.
  6. Hiked a bunch – safe to say I am =fit=.
  7. BIG celebrations for my birthday.
  8. Coded every day for a week.
  9. Restarted some avenues of professional development my way.
  10. Submitted a book proposal to the Black Library!
  11. Brewed some hot sauces! 🔥

Also tried a few days of no todo lists, but missed opportunities to write more blog posts, go a few days without a phone, and playing video games to completion.

March Goal Proposal

  1. Travel!
    • Getting out again to Washington DC and New York this time. These are big ventures deserving of a time slot in March.
  2. Code
    • Back at it. Code for an hour for a week’s worth of days.
    • Bonus: Another week’s worth of coding!
    • Bonus: Take a certification assessment.
  3. 10 Hours Java
    • As it says. Spend 10 hours in March learning Java. YouTube and Leetcode easy-mode questions are going to be my friends here. (‘Bout time I picked up this language that has been so like my bread-and-butter C#!)
    • Bonus: 10 more hours, including at least 1 medium-difficulty Leetcode problem.
  4. 10 Blogs
    • That time again. I will figure out what these blogs are going to be later, but they will be written!
  5. Private (Professional)
    • A goal I’m setting for myself professionally. I feel it best to hold my cards close on this one, including the bonus that is in reserve here.
  6. Private (Personal)
    • Getting after it in other ways too. Will report back if I have made it 🤞

A mixed bag for February gave me the room to reassess and reapply my efforts to where and what I found important. I.e. Which needle has the most leverage? What moves that needle every day?

Great information. Remembering for later: two weeks of space is enough time to find myself 😁

How do you find and define what is important? I would enjoy hearing more, but if you need a push, checkout a small toolset for making decisions I wrote for you.

See you in March! Cheers ~

A Lawyer’s Guide to Keep Relationships Alive

No secret that I have written about what seems to be true about relationships and crowdsourced success stories. While these perspectives are valid in their own way, why not listen to someone on the front line of relationships?

Why not listen to a divorce lawyer?

On my third read-through in as many weeks, James J. Sexton’s book If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late is a gold mine of insight on the land mines to look out for in relationships.

James proclaims there are a bajillion ways to have a happy relationship while the same couple of catastrophes pop up again and again. I want to share with you some of the new, the novel, and the never-grows-old advice I picked up (if you want the James’s nuance and details on relationship infidelity/sex, go the book!).

A short list:

  1. TLDR; Do These Things
  2. Epic Fail: It Takes Two
  3. Give a S***
  4. “Hit Send Now”
  5. Die on Fewer Hills
  6. Change or Die
  7. Forgive but Never Excuse Yourself

TLDR; Do These Things

There will be more, yet failing on any of these is dangerous:

  • Enforce radical communication and open honesty “early and often, often and early.” E.g.
    • Needs, wants, core values, overarching goals
    • History, current feelings, future hopes
    • Exit plans (what would an end / break look like?)
    • The physical relationship
  • Know your own needs and share them explicitly.
  • Give a s*** about your partner, bettering the relationship, and being a better person.
  • Act now on your affections, appreciations, apprehensions, and apologies.
  • Making it work > being right (don’t let the cost of ‘winning’ make losers of you both).
  • Forgive yourself for who you are, but never use who you are as an excuse to be less than excellent to yourself, your partner, society, and the world.

Lots of these have come up in my own experience as they have been shared with you, but let’s explore how any partnership takes two:

Epic Fail: It Takes Two

Relationships dissolve almost always in James’s observation because of two reasons:

  1. Not knowing what you want.
  2. Not appropriately expressing what you want.

Yet, if you feel to know what you want and are being heard, it still falls on you to go find out what the other person wants. Really, you need to:

Give a S***

Simple. Be curious, be observant, be attentive. Do both the big and small things. Do things with and without your partner, solo and social.

Make yourself better and more interesting. Support your partner in how they go about improving. Abhor stagnation (more on that below) and foster growth.

James puts forward many, many ways to do this, yet here is one to remember right now:

Get space from your partner to do your own awesome things. Come back to your partner to share your experiences. Encourage others to get away (“insist” might be a bit too strong), have their own thing, share the uniqueness of their renewed perspective.

“Hit Send Now”

James goes over how the cancer of resentment kills, how simmering on apprehension is a miasma. His suggestion to overcome this failure?

Hit ‘send’ now.

On the email, on the text, on the call – express the thing that is bothering you (i.e. your problem) right away in “I” and “feel” terms. Get the dirt out in the open between you and another pronto so it can be addressed instead of mold in the dark where your problem becomes a problem for everyone.

Act now on these other alliterations:

  • Affection – do not wait to give and get affection, especially in cases of dedicated partnerships. James points out that when a person’s needs for affection are left to fallow, that person will look to other pastures.
  • Appreciation – do not wait to appreciate the choices another makes. They have chosen to be involved in your life, to have you in theirs, and hopefully are taking the action to make it all better. “Don’t take for granted” and all that!
  • Apologies – do not wait to apologize. Back to “it takes two,” there will always be something you could have done better, even if the ’cause’ of whatever the issue is might objectively be with the other. So apologize for your part, appreciate the other’s understanding and raising of their apprehensions, and remind them of your mutual affections.

Die on Fewer Hills

Jumping off the “apologies” above, being “right” or always getting a win is a lose-lose game. If you are wrong, you are a loser for being stubborn; if you are right, you are now in a relationship with a loser. How is this OK?

James suggests a novel approach: Compromise. Chill. Give fewer s***s about fewer things. Put more work into making the relationship work than flexing your own ego.

Focusing on the few allows you to put your energy into where it really matters: Your partner, your needs, and your fundamental values (pizza-vs-cheeseburger does not count).

So understand which hills are worth fighting for and which few you are ready to die on, and in the process, kill the relationship.

Change or Die

Figuratively, of course. (Really on the morbid topics today 💀 James the divorce lawyer suggests we blame the feels on him.)

If you are holding out on fewer hills, you can remain flexible. Relationships require some flexibility as no relationship remains the same (I have a few posts on how stagnation is death).

As such, “treading water” is a lot of words for “drowning.” James suggests exercising your own tolerance for change, being open to changes offered by and in your partner, and bringing new and novel ideas to the table on your own.

Forgive but Never Excuse Yourself

After hundreds of pages, James reminds us: You are only human. Fallible. Inconsistent. Sometimes tired. Capable of great compassion and great pettiness.

Forgive yourself. If you are putting in the personal- and relationship-labor to keep the partnership alive, cutting yourself slack for a slip or mistake can be tough (though will be made easier by making immediate amends).

But never, ever let “you are only human” be your excuse. You are better than your weaknesses, your base nature.

Get competent and confident. Then get more competent and more humble. Later lend a hand to your partner and others so they may be better sooner too.

As James puts forward, do these things, and you may just keep you relationships alive.

Happy Valentine’s Week!

If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late is going on my bookshelf along with the likes of State of Affairs and the classic Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. (Maybe someday a blogpost of what is on my shelves…)

I hope James J. Sexton’s advice and my own commentary has been a help to you today. As said, I’m on my third but very much not final read of this work and this blog posts covers but a smidgen of the lessons profound.

Always open for more, I very much would like to hear your own suggestions for books, podcasts, and experiences that have taught you a thing or two.

Send an email or comment below – regardless, cheers to all your relationships, big and small!

When Things Blow Up – Magic Edition

  1. The Rules
  2. When Things Blow Up:

Magic in fiction is mysterious, fantastic, and often fickle. When I make games, magic is both incredibly powerful and incredibly dangerous.

To aid me at the gaming table when things inevitably blow up, I have created these foibles to emphasize the “glass” of magic-slinging, ability-wielding “glass cannons:”

The Rules

When rolling to see if an ability or spell goes off as expected, a natural 1 (on a D20, doubles under target with 2D6) is a critical failure. The character’s ability to use these powers ceases until they take a short rest and fulfill the requirements of whatever foible they roll a D20 for.

A guideline for D20 D&D-like spell levels/slots to see if they fire:

Roll AboveSpell / Ability Level
10Cantrips, 0
151, 2, 3
204, 5, 6
257, 8
D20 Guidelines to Magic

Roll at or less than the target? No magic – it sputters out.

Want to negate the critical failure so as not to lose powers and gain other ills? Immediately sacrifice a worn or wielded magic item – this foci destroys itself to protect you.

Think these difficulties are too, well, difficult? Get magic items that improve stats or automatically cast the power (scrolls, some wands), commit to rituals (i.e. take a lot of time) to gain advantage on the ability’s use, and get magic-minded friends to help (gaining +1 up to the spell’s level).*

* The idea of blood magic is a fine one to introduce to your tables: when below die target and the roll isn’t a critical failure, spent 1 hit point to improve the roll’s value by 1!

When Things Blow Up:

Putting it all here, but feel free to print the two-pager from Google Drive where any updates go first: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13hq0SjMo_zpYLEpxmFGXVG_bWrKd8arqEzo2t9sBUOQ/edit?usp=sharing


01. The powers turn upon their master. You are the target of the power, it doing only harm.

02. The works you wrought run wild. You and all within 15 ft of you (the room) are targets for harm.

03. This… is too much. Gain +1 exhaustion.

04. Agony wracks through your mind and body as something inside breaks. -1 to a random ability bonus.

05. Something has gone terribly wrong. Develop +1 corruption.

06. This burden has taken its toll. Disadvantage on all actions for D6 game minutes.

07. Your actions weigh heavily. Have no rest for D6 days.

08. It could be worse. Take the short rest before using your talents again.

09. Somehow you are unharmed? Against all odds, your mistakes have not cost you.

10. You blank. Immediately fall unconscious, needing another to wake you.

Wild (random / created / pure chaos)

11. You are known. Your foes will know where you are, always, along with your weaknesses for D6 days.

12. You are gone. You disappear for 24 hours.

13. You teleport. You switch physical space with your nearest foe.

14. You are another. You switch souls with your nearest foe, using their abilities and such while they use yours.

15. You fall. You immediately drop to 0 HP and must start saving throws next turn.

16. You are hobbled from being your best. You do not have surprise or advantage until after a long rest.

17. You are slowed. 10 ft moving speed, cannot fly, and last in initiative order until after a long rest.

18. You are luckless. Find that up to D6 * 100 gold or its equivalent in treasure is missing.

19. You are struck ill. Gain a curse that does not allow for you to add bonuses to your HP, such as level.

20. Chaos births onto your plane of existence. 30 ft away, a monster of impossibility blooms (D66 HP, 2D6 harm, Tier 6 25+ DOOM, 2D6 meters tall, exists D6 turns).

Sponsored (Uses Charisma) Warlocks, Clerics, Paladins

11. Silence is your only answer. (Secret:) Any intervention by the Giver is declined without notice for D6 days.

12. Meet your maker. Invoke a dialogue to know how you must improve your standing.

13. Confess and all is forgiven. Tell a different secret to each friend so that all may hear.

14. Your gratitude for these gifts is found wanting. Make a gold offering of 100 multiplied by your level and the spell level.

15. Your hubris is offending the Sponsor. Make a blood sacrifice, yours or anothers in the name of your Lord.

16. You must prove yourself. Deal D4 critical successes to those unoathed to your Bestower.

17. “I? I am a jealous one.” Only the blessings and methods of your Giver can benefit you for D6 days.

18. This is a blessing and a curse. Your nearest foe becomes endowed with the powers of your Host, increasing a tier of difficulty, restoring full health, and gaining advantage through their conflict now or upcoming.

19. Take penance for your sins. Magic and alchemical methods cannot benefit you for D6 days.

20. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?” An avatar of your Bestower, and agent of vengeance, steps through a portal 30 ft away (Tier 6 25+ DESTROYER).

Learned (Uses Intelligence) Wizards, Artificers, scrolls

11. That’s not right… Roll more than 10 + your level after a day of dedicated study to be able to use your talents again.

12. Is that what you remember? All carried food and drink, alchemical, natural, and otherwise, spoils to mold and sludge.

13. Your work has been for not. Any magic you have bestowed, enchanted, attuned to, or otherwise evoked ends.

14. A backlash of the power freezes your very nerves. Take your level in damage.

15. Well, this is embarrassing. All mundane equipment carried teleports to where you last took a short rest.

16. The lesson sears into your mind. Take 1 psychic hit automatically for D6 turns, starting now.

17. What is known becomes unknown. You are cursed to not be able to use this spell again.

18. This failure has your whole attention. Efforts to harm you count as having surprise until after a short rest.

19. Failure compounds on failure. Roll twice more on these tables.

20. The uncontrollable aspect of magic makes itself known. Roll D10 on the Wild table. 

Inherited (Uses Wisdom) Druids, Monks, Sorcerers

11. Perhaps it is for the best. You must take a long rest to regain your abilities.

12. Pushed to the edge, your wares push back. You are unattuned with all your magic items.

13. The strain has been too much. Lose a random sense until after a short rest.

14. You are nothing but a monster, it seems. All who see you break morale and gain Fear of you, friend and foe alike.

15. The thought of your unnatural destruction is the only joy. All foes in the area will not break morale and yearn to take your life immediately.

16. It is the thought that counts. For D6 days, nothing willingly accepts your influence, making all tests of your powers a difficulty higher than they would be.

17. Self-doubt consumes you. Disadvantage to use your extraordinary abilities until after a long rest.

18. Your powers are deeply disturbing to those in your presence. Disadvantage on all social tests for D6 days.

19. Your presence has not gone unnoticed. Something, somewhere, comes for you.

20. Oh… oh no. You injure yourself fundamentally, preventing use of this ability again.

You made it! Will your magic users when you bring these foibles to the table for their fumbles?

Had a lot of fun putting this list together of when things blow up with magic. Will consider a list of martial and tool use fumble tables in the future.

What would you add to these magic lists? To a martial fumble list? What has not worked in your experience and should be avoided?

In advance, thank you for the help – I appreciate your insights! Cheers to avoiding those low rolls 🎲🎲

The Final Day Art Release

The Final Day‘s grimdark end of the world has a makeover!

Page 1 of “Ink Killer”
(For the sake of your printer, please refrain from printing 😅)

This roleplaying game generator has 36 unique cataclysms to ring-in your fantasy game’s apocalypse. While made under license for Mörk Borg, the descriptions are general enough to apply to any game needing a conclusion 🔥

The Final Day comes in ‘friendly’ and ‘ink bane’ versions. The addon is available now on sale over here.

Cheers to your (fictional) ruin! 💀

January February Goal Review

January saw a lot happen, yet did it get done-done?

January Goal Review

  1. Outline LitRTS Short Story
    • Won! Coming in by the skin of my teeth. An outline exists for book one and a three-book arc (holding out for an arc over a trilogy of trilogies). Most of my writing time was dedicated to:
  2. 4 Black Library Plots
    • Won! And more! The Black Library submission window has been opened. I spent the month writing, analyzing, rewriting, editing, and narrowing down the plots I have to four solid stories, though now need to choose which to pursue for the February 11th due date!
  3. Mörk Borg Art Online
  4. Gunslinger in The West Layout
    • Failed. Meant to replace this with the AI goal below, I figured I ought not take away, but add to the goal list. Anyway:
  5. Voice Sample
    • Failed. I set up a voice recording station, wrote demo scripts (with some AI help), took multiple takes, did some lite editing, yet discovered an unpleasant background noise being picked up. I did not get around to solving that problem, so nothing more to say about this goal.
  6. Code
    • Won! Coded every day for a week and more.
    • Bonus: Read A Tour of C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup to brush up for some career talks.
  7. Addendum: 10 Hours AI
    • Won! I worked with ChatGPT out of fun, curiosity, piqued interest, and serious working application. You can read a transcript of the first hour or two of exploration here – can only recommend that you give the bot a shot!

February Goal Proposal

Spring Cleaning!

OK, Spring is a ways yet, but I had a dickens of a time coming up with challenging goals for February – just a bunch of finishing up and leisurely events 🤷‍♂️

So, in coordination with the advice of some pretty cool people (e.g. “enjoy your life”) and listening to the likes of Cal Newport and Glennon Doyle, I am going to be ~chill~ about this coming month.

But who am I if not a planner? A list maker?

Here be some of the things on-deck for my consideration that I know I will pursue, but in what order and to what degree… Not going to worry about that:

  1. Clean up social media saves (in batches of 40 saves).
  2. Post pics of adventures to social media again.
  3. Enjoy a backlog of audiobooks and manuals (looking at you, Cy_Borg and Warhammer 40K) purchased.
  4. Listen again to the books I keep around, recommend to others, and have been recommended to read.
  5. Write some blog posts (10?).
  6. Attend 3-4 concerts.
  7. Celebrate my birthday week with hangouts, hikes, and more 🎉
  8. Code for a week again to stay sharp.
  9. Submit to Black Library by February 11th! 😱
  10. Get a draft 0 of the LitRTS WIP in.
  11. More hiking!
  12. Try a phoneless day once a week, or more screen-less time during daylight hours.
  13. Like 12, but try a week (or a day a week) without making a todo list.
  14. Play more games (and finish ’em!). DM a new roleplaying group perhaps? 🤔
  15. Start brewing my own hot sauces from a holiday gift 🔥

86% with that bonus for January, 71% without. That was a good month to push through needle-moving tasks!

It has been a lot of work though. In truth, I am getting that mental weariness from a job well done, but only seeing more work to do – thus is the curse of hard work 😜

Just kidding (kinda) – I like having things to do. With February, March, AND April, I have a lot to look forward to, some good folks to spend that time with, and a bounty of opportunity at my feet.

Before you go, some recommended reading for your Friday heading into February:

  1. Truths About Relationships
  2. It Has Worked for Others: Relationship Success
  3. Need to Decide? Read This
  4. The Final Day – RPG Tool for the End Times

Cheers to your month ahead ~

Chat With an AI: ChatGPT

An edit to my January goals has been to spend time with ChatGPT to see what this learning model can do.

Below are 3300+ words of transcript from my first explorations – a table of contents can help be your guide, including to my takeaways at the end!

// Anywhere with “//” are my notes or abbreviations; everything else is verbatim.

  1. What makes long-term relationships work?
  2. Elaborate on that more.
  3. Any more suggestions?
  4. Which are the universal truths?
  5. Tell me more universal truths.
  6. Tell me 10 more universal truths.
  7. What are the most important goals for a person to have?
  8. Given that, what goals should a [// I describe myself] have?
  9. How should a person decide between goals and priorities?
  10. What other strategies can I use to make decisions?
  11. Can you expand on point 4? Decision-making tools?
  12. // Questions About Tim Ferriss
  13. // Asking ChatGPT to Make Decisions For Me
  14. How do we determine if something is sentient?
  15. Simplify that please.
  16. Is it better to assume sentience? Or better to assume a thing is not sentient?
  17. What are other sentience tests like the Turing Test?
  18. Tell me about other tests in bullet-point format.
  19. What other tests are there for sentience?
  20. // Takeaways

What makes long-term relationships work?

// In reference to the recent post.

There are many factors that can contribute to the success of a long-term relationship. Here are a few key things that can help:

  1. Communication: It’s important to be able to openly and honestly communicate with your partner about your feelings, needs, and concerns.
  2. Trust: Trust is a crucial element of any healthy relationship. It’s important to be faithful to your partner and to be honest with them.
  3. Respect: Showing respect for your partner and their feelings, needs, and boundaries is important for the health of any relationship.
  4. Compromise: No two people are exactly alike, and it’s normal to have different needs and desires. It’s important to be willing to compromise and find a way to meet each other’s needs.
  5. Love and commitment: Ultimately, love and commitment are what keep a relationship strong over the long term. It’s important to keep the love and affection alive, and to be committed to working through challenges and supporting each other.

Elaborate on that more.

Sure! Here are a few more specific things that can help make a long-term relationship work:

  1. Establish a strong foundation: Building a strong foundation in the early stages of a relationship can set the stage for success over the long term. This can include things like developing a shared sense of purpose, establishing trust, and creating healthy communication patterns.
  2. Make time for each other: It’s important to make time for each other and to prioritize the relationship, even when life gets busy.
  3. Practice forgiveness: It’s normal for conflicts to arise in any relationship, and it’s important to be able to forgive each other when mistakes are made.
  4. Seek support when needed: If you’re facing challenges in your relationship, it can be helpful to seek support from a therapist or other trusted resource.
  5. Keep the romance alive: It’s important to keep the love and affection alive in a long-term relationship. This can include things like regular date nights, surprise gestures, and finding new and exciting ways to connect.

Any more suggestions?

Here are a few more suggestions for what can help make a long-term relationship work:

  1. Practice gratitude: Taking the time to express gratitude and appreciation for your partner can help strengthen the bond between you.
  2. Maintain independence: It’s important to maintain your own interests and independence within the context of a committed relationship.
  3. Set goals together: Setting goals and working towards them together can help give you a sense of purpose and direction as a couple.
  4. Practice good self-care: Taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally can help you be a better partner and support the overall health of the relationship.
  5. Stay connected: Staying connected with your partner, both emotionally and physically, can help keep the relationship strong over the long term. This can include things like regular communication, physical touch, and shared activities.

Which are the universal truths?

// I have taken a gander at this myself.

// Response here after trying to find out what Truth is and what the truest things in the universe are.

There are many things that are considered to be universal truths, which are generally defined as truths that are true for all people at all times and in all places. Some examples of universal truths might include:

  1. The existence of gravity and the fact that objects will fall towards the Earth if they are not supported.
  2. The laws of thermodynamics, which describe how energy is transformed and exchanged in the universe.
  3. The fundamental principles of mathematics, such as the commutative and associative properties of addition and multiplication.
  4. The fundamental principles of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, which states that a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time.

It is important to note, however, that even these universal truths are subject to revision and reinterpretation as new evidence becomes available and our understanding of the world evolves.

Tell me more universal truths.

Some other examples of things that are often considered to be universal truths include:

  1. The existence of cause and effect, which is the idea that events and actions have consequences that can be traced back to their origins.
  2. The fundamental principle of equality, which holds that all people are deserving of equal rights and opportunities.
  3. The fact that change is an inherent part of the universe, and that all things are constantly evolving and in a state of flux.
  4. The idea that honesty and integrity are important values that should be upheld by all people.

Again, it is important to note that these are just a few examples of universal truths, and that there may be many other things that are considered to be true for all people at all times and in all places. The concept of universal truth is a complex and multifaceted one, and different people may have different understandings of what constitutes a universal truth.

Tell me 10 more universal truths.

Here are 10 more examples of things that are often considered to be universal truths:

  1. The fundamental principle of cause and effect, which states that every action or event has a cause that can be traced back to its origin.
  2. The fact that the universe is governed by natural laws, such as the laws of physics, which describe how matter and energy interact.
  3. The idea that honesty and integrity are important virtues that should be upheld by all people.
  4. The fundamental principle of equality, which holds that all people are deserving of equal rights and opportunities.
  5. The fact that change is an inherent part of the universe, and that all things are constantly evolving and in a state of flux.
  6. The idea that honesty and trust are important foundations for healthy relationships.
  7. The idea that respect and tolerance for others are important values that should be upheld by all people.
  8. The concept of personal responsibility, which holds that individuals are responsible for their own actions and decisions.
  9. The idea that hard work and dedication are necessary for achieving goals and success.
  10. The concept of fairness, which holds that people should be treated equally and with justice.

What are the most important goals for a person to have?

There are many different goals that are important to different people, and the most important goals will depend on an individual’s values, priorities, and circumstances. However, here are a few goals that are generally considered important for personal growth and well-being:

  1. Achieving financial stability and security: Having a stable financial foundation can provide a sense of security and freedom to pursue other goals and interests.
  2. Maintaining physical and mental health: Good physical and mental health are crucial for overall well-being and the ability to lead a fulfilling life.
  3. Building and maintaining strong relationships: Strong relationships with family, friends, and loved ones can provide a sense of connection, support, and purpose.
  4. Pursuing personal interests and passions: Engaging in activities that are personally meaningful and enjoyable can bring a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
  5. Contributing to the well-being of others: Helping others and making a positive impact on the world can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
  6. Achieving personal growth and self-improvement: Setting goals and working towards personal growth can lead to a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

It’s important to remember that these are just a few examples, and the most important goals will vary from person to person.

Given that, what goals should a [// I describe myself] have?

It’s difficult for me to say exactly what goals a person in this situation should have, as everyone’s goals and priorities are unique to them. However, here are a few goals that this person might consider setting for themselves:

  1. Finding meaningful work or a career that aligns with their values and interests: Being financially secure is important, but finding work that is personally fulfilling and engaging can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
  2. Maintaining and improving physical and mental health: This can involve setting goals related to exercise, nutrition, stress management, and other factors that contribute to overall well-being.
  3. Building and maintaining strong relationships: This can involve spending time with friends and family, cultivating new relationships, and finding ways to strengthen existing ones.
  4. Pursuing personal interests and passions: This might involve taking up new hobbies, learning new skills, or finding ways to engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.
  5. Making a positive impact on the world: This could involve volunteering, charitable work, or finding ways to contribute to causes that are important to the person.

Again, these are just a few examples, and the most important goals will depend on the individual’s values, priorities, and circumstances.

How should a person decide between goals and priorities?

Deciding on goals and priorities can be a challenging but important process, as it allows a person to focus their time and energy on the things that matter most to them. Here are a few steps that can help a person decide on their goals and priorities:

  1. Reflect on your values: Take some time to think about the things that are most important to you. These might include things like family, relationships, personal growth, financial security, health, career, and more.
  2. Identify your long-term and short-term goals: Think about the things you want to accomplish in the short term (e.g., within the next year) and in the long term (e.g., within the next five years or longer).
  3. Prioritize your goals: Consider which goals are most important to you and which ones you would like to focus on first. This can help you prioritize your time and energy and make progress towards the things that matter most to you.
  4. Review and adjust your goals as needed: As you make progress on your goals and priorities, you may find that some of them are no longer as important to you or that you need to adjust your approach. It’s important to be flexible and open to adjusting your goals as needed.

Remember that it’s okay to have multiple goals and priorities, and it’s normal for these to change over time. The most important thing is to focus on what matters most to you and to take steps to make progress towards your goals.

What other strategies can I use to make decisions?

// If this is not enough, check out my decision guide.

Here are a few strategies that can help you make decisions:

  1. Consider the pros and cons: Making a list of the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option can help you weigh the potential outcomes and make a more informed decision.
  2. Seek advice from trusted friends, family, or professionals: Sometimes it can be helpful to get input from others who have different perspectives or expertise.
  3. Reflect on your values and priorities: Consider how each decision aligns with your values and what is most important to you.
  4. Use decision-making tools: There are many tools and techniques that can help you make decisions, such as decision trees, cost-benefit analyses, and the “six thinking hats” method.
  5. Take your time: Don’t feel rushed to make a decision. It’s okay to take the time you need to gather information and think things through.
  6. Trust your instincts: Sometimes, despite all the analysis and deliberation, you may need to rely on your gut feelings to make a decision.

Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the situation and your personal decision-making style. It’s okay to try out different strategies and find what works best for you.

Can you expand on point 4? Decision-making tools?

Certainly! Here are a few examples of decision-making tools that can help you structure your decision-making process:

  1. Decision trees: A decision tree is a graphical representation of possible decision paths and the outcomes associated with each path. It can be helpful for understanding the potential consequences of different choices.
  2. Cost-benefit analysis: A cost-benefit analysis involves comparing the costs and benefits of each option to determine which one is the most favorable.
  3. Six thinking hats: The six thinking hats method is a decision-making tool that involves considering a problem from six different perspectives: white (objective facts), red (emotions), black (cautious evaluation), yellow (optimistic evaluation), green (creative evaluation), and blue (planning and organization).
  4. SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis involves examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each option in order to make a decision.
  5. Multi-criteria decision analysis: This is a structured approach to decision-making that involves evaluating multiple options based on a set of criteria.

Again, these are just a few examples, and there are many other tools and techniques that can help with decision-making. It’s important to find the approach that works best for you and the specific situation you are facing.

// Questions About Tim Ferriss

What are 10 ways Tim Ferriss makes decisions?
How would Tim Ferriss make decisions?
What has Tim Ferriss written about dealing with decision making?

// along the lines of:

I’m sorry, but I do not have access to information about what specific individuals have written or spoken about. However, I can provide general information about decision-making and strategies that may be helpful to you. If you have any specific questions about decision-making, I would be happy to try and assist.

// Asking ChatGPT to Make Decisions For Me

Should I have peanut butter crackers or spinach ravioli?
Can you simplify that response?

Certainly! When deciding between peanut butter crackers and spinach ravioli, consider the nutritional content of each option, how easy they are to prepare and eat, and your personal preferences. If you are trying to make a healthy choice, make sure to consider your overall dietary needs and aim for a balanced diet. Choose the option that sounds the most appealing and meets your nutritional needs.

How do we determine if something is sentient?

There is no strict definition of sentience that is universally accepted, so it can be difficult to determine if something is sentient. Some people consider sentience to be the ability to experience consciousness, while others define it as the ability to experience subjective states, such as emotions or pain. There are also some who believe that sentience is closely linked to the ability to think, reason, and make decisions.

There are several approaches that scientists and philosophers have proposed for determining if something is sentient. One approach is to look for signs of self-awareness, such as the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or to understand that one’s thoughts and actions have consequences. Another approach is to look for evidence of subjective experience, such as the ability to feel pleasure or pain. However, it can be difficult to determine if something is truly experiencing these states, as it is not always possible to know what another being is thinking or feeling.

In general, it is important to approach the question of sentience with caution and to be open to the possibility that our understanding of sentience may change as we learn more about the nature of consciousness and the universe.

Simplify that please.

Sure, here is a simpler explanation:

Sentience is the ability to experience consciousness and subjective states such as emotions and pain. It is not always easy to determine if something is sentient because there is no strict definition that is universally accepted. Scientists and philosophers have suggested looking for signs of self-awareness or evidence of subjective experience as ways to determine if something is sentient. However, it can be difficult to know for certain if another being is truly experiencing these states. It is important to approach the question of sentience with caution and to be open to the possibility that our understanding of sentience may change as we learn more about consciousness and the universe.

Is it better to assume sentience? Or better to assume a thing is not sentient?

It is generally better to assume that other beings are sentient until there is evidence to the contrary. This is because it is often difficult to know for certain if something is sentient, and it is important to err on the side of caution when it comes to the treatment of other beings.

Assuming that other beings are sentient means treating them with respect and consideration, and not causing them unnecessary harm or suffering. This approach is based on the principle of “moral considerability,” which holds that certain beings deserve moral consideration and respect simply because they are capable of experiencing consciousness and subjective states.

On the other hand, assuming that something is not sentient means that it may not be accorded the same moral consideration and protection as sentient beings. This could potentially lead to the mistreatment or exploitation of beings that may be sentient but are not recognized as such.

In general, it is important to approach the question of sentience with an open mind and to be willing to revise our assumptions if new evidence arises.

What are other sentience tests like the Turing Test?

// after a definition of the Turing Test:

There are several other tests that have been developed to determine if something is sentient, including:

  1. The “Mirror Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is self-aware. In the test, a mark is placed on an animal’s body, and the animal is then presented with a mirror. If the animal recognizes the mark as being on its own body and not on the reflection in the mirror, it is considered to be self-aware.
  2. The “Pains Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing pain. In the test, an animal is subjected to a painful stimulus, such as a pinprick, and its behavior is observed to see if it reacts to the stimulus in a way that is consistent with pain.
  3. The “Sentience Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing subjective states such as pleasure or pain. In the test, an animal is presented with a choice between two options, one of which is associated with a positive experience (such as food) and the other with a negative experience (such as a mild electric shock). If the animal consistently chooses the option associated with the positive experience, it is considered to be capable of experiencing subjective states.

// more caution on approaching sentience

Tell me about other tests in bullet-point format.

// not what was intended, but still cool:

  • The “Mirror Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is self-aware
    • A mark is placed on the animal’s body and it is presented with a mirror
    • If the animal recognizes the mark as being on its own body and not on the reflection in the mirror, it is considered to be self-aware
  • The “Pains Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing pain
    • The animal is subjected to a painful stimulus and its behavior is observed
    • If the animal reacts to the stimulus in a way that is consistent with pain, it is considered to be capable of experiencing pain
  • The “Sentience Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing subjective states such as pleasure or pain
    • The animal is presented with a choice between two options, one of which is associated with a positive experience and the other with a negative experience
    • If the animal consistently chooses the option associated with the positive experience, it is considered to be capable of experiencing subjective states.

What other tests are there for sentience?

There are many other tests that have been proposed for determining if something is sentient. Some of these tests include:

  1. The “Consciousness Test”: This test is based on the idea that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the universe and that all beings that are capable of experiencing consciousness are sentient. In this test, scientists look for signs of consciousness, such as the ability to process information, make decisions, and exhibit flexible behavior.
  2. The “Experience Test”: This test is based on the idea that sentience is closely tied to the ability to experience subjective states such as pleasure and pain. In this test, scientists look for evidence of subjective experience, such as the ability to feel pleasure or pain, or the ability to express emotions.
  3. The “Intelligence Test”: This test is based on the idea that sentience is closely tied to the ability to think, reason, and solve problems. In this test, scientists look for evidence of intelligence, such as the ability to learn, adapt, and understand complex concepts.

// warnings

// Takeaways

Wow. That is… a lot.

ChatGPT is undeniably an =intense= tool. Not listed in the transcript above: Code writing, code correction, log-line making, voice acting demo script writing, personal advice, and rewrites of poetry. It can break down complex ideas, expound on digests, summon levels of creativity, provide examples, and so (too?) much more.

Yet in my experience, it is just that: a tool. At this point, it does not replace a human eye to construct appropriate questions, verify the output, explore results, and finally apply everything provided.

Will this tool get better? Of course. Will machine models like this remove redundancy in the so-far-exclusive job market? Also yes – I cannot foresee a future where services like ChatGPT are left by the wayside.

The full ramifications of ChatGPT are yet to be seen, though companies such as Microsoft are already investing billions into the platform while Google has refactored its org to improve natural-language interpretation (what ChatGPT does).

My speculation is moot – I have not the technical knowledge, proximity to the work, nor the philosophical credentials to comment. All I will say is that ChatGPT is useful, will be used by folks such as I, and the tool and its ilk will only be used more and more.

I encourage you to check out unaffiliated ChatGPT – let me know what you have found or have had it do! Until then, cheers to your chatting ~