Blog: March 2015

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Building worlds for fiction vs. role-playing games: what's different?

Somebody asked, on a worldbuilding community: what's different, for the worldbuilder, in building a world for a story versus building one for a role-playing game? I answered:

The differences are fairly subtle. In both cases you need a world that's well-enough developed to be plausible and interesting to the people consuming it (readers or players). But there's an important difference: RPGs have players.

Well duh, you're probably saying. Let me unpack that. Read moreā€¦

talmudic commentary on Purim

In honor of Purim (today), here is something from Tractate Megillah:

At the beginning of the book of Esther we're told of the rather-excessive party that King Achashverosh threw for his court. We're told that the wine was abundant and drunk from gold vessels. What does abundant mean? That each man was given wine older than himself. The drinking was according to the law -- what does that mean? According to torah -- there was more food than drink. None did compel -- what does that mean? That each man was given wine from his own country. It's good to be the king (or at least a rich king), and perhaps even better to be one of his friends. Cheers!

On the seventh day when the king's heart grew merry with wine -- wait, what? Was he not merry with wine before then? He's been drinking for seven days, after all! The seventh day was Shabbat; on Shabbat Israel begins with discourse about torah and proceeds to give thanks, but the idolatrous nations of the world begin with frivolity and proceed with lewdness. This is how it came to be that they were discussing which nation's women are the most beautiful -- one would say the Medians, and another would say the Persians, and another the Chaldeans, and it was getting right rowdy. The king said that Vashti was the hottest babe and said "would you like to see her?" and they said "yes, but she has to be naked!", and so he summoned her but she refused. And because of that we get the rest of the book of Esther. (Megillah 12a-b)

I took some liberties in the retelling -- it's Purim, after all. Happy Purim! Be sure to check out this small collection of Purim-related Q&A, serious and silly.