This is Audio EXP for the 9th of November 2019, and the title of this episode is ‘The vampire apocalypse and $2 million worth of dice’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #17]
Would you date an alien?
Can you even imagine yourself in a romantic relationship with an alien? Well, that’s a question that was asked on Geek Native earlier this year, and I got around to processing the stats this week.
At the end of this highlights podcast, we’ll return to that question and share the results.
Let’s first talk about vampires!
There’s a maths challenge with vampires. Let’s say, for example, 100% of people bitten by a vampire are turned into a vampire. Let’s also say that those new vampires are mindless predators, hungry and savage but stupid. Let’s say we start off at 10 vampire hunters who have dedicated their lives to tracking down the undead, but they only recruit slowly, adding to their number once a year.
Given the rising human population and, say, the need for a vampire to feed once a week, is it the apocalypse? Will the vampire population overpower the hunters and then the rest of humanity?
Thankfully, science can now answer that question for us. At the Institue of Nuclear Physics in Krakow, Doctor Dominik Czernia has built a formula to model this. They’ve actually developed several formulae, ranging from the Stoker-King model to the Rice model.
What’s more, there’s an online calculator that makes it easy for you to plug in your numbers and behaviours of hunters and run the results yourself. The first time I did it, sorry to say, but I had annihilated humanity in less than 30 months.
If I put my GM hat on and enter world-building mode, I had got my vampires wrong.
(Creative Commons credit: A pompous little vampire by duskdog1.)
So, if you’re writing a book or putting together a campaign setting, then I recommend Czernia’s vampire calculator. You’ll find the link to it in the show notes or by searching for Geek Native Audio EXP vampire calculator.
Being bitten by a vampire is a life-changing experience. For the next story, I’d like to talk about a different type of life-changing experience.
Every week I see handmade dice Kickstarter projects go live. Some flop. Some succeed. Then, this week, Dispel Dice happened.
Dispel Dice are handmade, they’re poured resin, painted numbers and they look stunning. They’re not just shiny, there’s a lustre to them that feels pretty rare.
However, this Kickstarter smashed through one million Dollars in pledging on day one of the campaign.
One million dollars!
Hundreds of people have pledged more than $800 to get the maximum number of sets.
We’re rapidly approaching two million Dollars.
This will surely be a life-changing experience for Karen Wang. I hope it goes well for her.
She seems to be taking it in her stride, at least her updates so far have been calmly understated – she notes she’s somewhat past funding goal. Yeah, no kidding!
The important thing to note is that the published delivery dates are sold out. Remember, these dice are handmade, and there now is a queue for tens of thousands of them.
If you’re joining the Kickstarter campaign, and I’m not trying to put you off, you’ll have to wait until late 2021 for fulfilment. That’s the only rational response, so please be patient.
I had thought Karen will have to madly hire and train. I thought this might add all sorts of unwelcome risk, but, amazingly, she already has two teams in place of people she’s already trained. That’s impressive.
Just when Matt Colville’s Kingdoms and Warefare was looking like the biggest RPG Kickstarter of the year, too. That project has, at the time of recording, 12 days left to run and it’s raised over $1 million.
Okay, let’s move on from talking about millions of American Dollars and talk about a British Treasury.
This is a different sort of British Treasury.
Two years ago the people who own Judge Dredd, 2000 AD and a computer game company bought the IPC Archive from a company now called TI Media.
In that archive was 130 years of British comic book history.
Rebellion, that’s the company who owns Judge Dredd and 2000 AD, set up the Treasury of British Comics as a way to restore, revive and start selling these classic comics.
This week, the Treasury of British comics announced which of their characters would be the first to go back on sale. That character is Janus Stark.
Janus Stark is a Victorian escape-artist. If he were a superhero you’d say he had bones like rubber, but it’s more understated than Plastic Man, and it might be better off thinking of him as a quirky detective instead.
And that’s what Janus does when he’s not performing his show, he’s a crime-fighting detective by night. Since he’s a Victorian, he tends to do all this wearing a posh three-piece suit.
I’ve no idea how well Janus Stark will sell, but I’m pleased to see there’s a future for these comic books from history.
If you’re in the mood for writing your own comic now then perhaps the new Infernal Script from Wizards of the Coast might tempt you.
This is a downloadable font that lets you write in evil-looking fancy text. You know, the sort of illustrated letters that wicked monks might draw in blood into books bound with human skin.
Oh, and it’ll cost you $10.
Yeah, that’s a lot for a font! There are two reasons why you might be tempted, though. The first is that the font was designed by the Lord of the Rings calligrapher Daniel Reeve.
The second is that all the proceeds go to charity. This is about helping out sick kids and the Extra Life effort.
If you really can’t afford $10 for charity but now really fancy having an infernal font for your D&D game – especially with Descent into Avernus in mind – then Geek Native’s reader Ash has a helpful link. A month ago someone created their own infernal font, with the same concept in mind, and is giving it away.
Once again, you’ll find that link in the show notes or in the accompanying blog post to Audio EXP.
Wizards have been busy as usual. Unearthed Arcana brings us yet another playtest for D&D. This time there are 13 pages of new class variants.
That’s a lot of new D&D.
So, what’s the plan here? D&D 5e is six years old. That makes it one of the longest-lasting editions of Dungeons & Dragons ever. Just a year into the life of D&D 4e, Wizards of the Coast released a second Player’s Handbook. It was called, funnily enough, Player’s Handbook 2.
It’s just speculation, but it feels like Wizards of the Coast are gearing up for another hardback and this one, perhaps, will focus more on character rules and less on campaign settings.
I don’t think we’ll see D&D 6e any time soon. Why kill the golden goose and hope the next one is as popular?
No, I think this rush of playtests – one a month at the current rate – is for new D&D 5e.
Wizards of the Coast aren’t the only big RPG company launching playtests this week.
There’s one for Pathfinder 2e too. You can download rules for four classes and send in your feedback.
Those new classes are the investigator, oracle, swashbuckler and witch.
Do you think those classes are what Pathfinder 2 needs? Let me know over at Geek Native.
This week a bit of tabletop gaming news made international entertainment headlines. What was it? Amazon struck a deal with the hugely popular Critical Role for two seasons of The Legend of Vox Machina animation.
If you don’t have Amazon’s Prime Video, this might not be welcome news.
It’s worth remembering that the Critical Role team’s Kickstarter made more than $11 million. Amazon isn’t making the show. Critical Role has funded it themselves, and Amazon is paying them to show it.
As I pointed out at the time, none of the Vox Machina tiers actually let you see the show unless you pledged big bucks and went to see the premiere.
I hope that the exclusive deal hasn’t cut off too many fans. I’ve got Prime Video, do like animation and so will try and carve out some time to watch.
Just before we get back to dating an alien, let me remind you that the RPG Publisher Spotlight poll for December is open. If you’re a Geek Native patron, then you can vote on a shortlist of studios where the winner gets a whole feature to themselves in December and multiple mentions.
I haven’t yet announced the winner for November. I try and get in contact with the studio first, ideally so we can work together on the piece, but if I’ve not heard back by next week then we’ll make the announcement and push on regardless.
Misfit Studios is the outgoing publisher, having won the October slot.
Now, back to aliens.
Statistically, most people can’t imagine themselves in a romantic relationship with an alien.
Now, Thor is an alien in the Marvel universe, so is Loki. Heck, the Doctor in Doctor Who is an alien, so are many Star Trek and Star Wars heartthrobs and sweat hearts.
Perhaps because this survey was done in conjunction with a Men in Black competition, people’s minds imagined very different, less human-seeming aliens.
Of the male participants in the quiz, only 47% of them could imagine themselves in a romance with an alien.
And women? The figure was even smaller, only 27% of women could.
However, and perhaps this is no surprise when it comes to open-mindedness, those people who identified as neither male or as female, are much more able to imagine themselves in a romance with aliens. 75% of non-binary respondents said they could imagine themselves dating an alien.
Well, that’s a wrap for now. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch up next week.
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