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First Draft Idea - Operation Speedy and Spurious: AKA Fast and Furious in Blades in the Dark

Operation Speedy and Spurious: AKA Fast and Furious in Blades in the Dark
Still fairly new to the game so I'd love feedback, explanation of where I butchered mechanics, improvements, ect.
In a world that is often a dark underbelly of crime, death, and doom the people need to have their moments of joy. While some seek to indulge their vices with drugs driving them into a stupor, delving their way into the weird aspects of the world… in a world without much in terms of sporting events how can those who just seek excitement (with maybe a little coin on the side) live their best life?
With the audience sitting along the banks of the canals and the Bluecoats tossed a spot of silver to look away for an evening, all we need is a couple crews ready to put their souped-up boats and captains to the test.
  1. It’s a race. Get your ready, set, and get going.
  2. All race boats must be able to pass as “canal legal”. If an unbribed bluecoat is going to shake you down as you’re getting to the starting line, you’re likely putting everyone at risk.
  3. The track is pre-set. All racers know the route. Anyone caught taking shortcuts will be disqualified… so you better not get caught.
  4. Outside interference in the race from a racer’s gang or their allies is strongly frowned upon This is meant to be an event of joy, so trying to meddle in the purity of the race shouldn’t be wanted by anyone… no matter how much money is being bet on the favorites.
  5. Most critically, the Master of Ceremonies (MoC) needs to dip their beak on these events. Selling tickets, collecting their vig from the “legal” bookies, promoting local business sponsorships… All the MoC needs to do is make sure that things are exciting, by any means necessary.
  6. Winners take home a prize pool. Losers take home what’s left of their boats.
  7. If some Blue Coats aren’t sufficiently bribed or your enforcers can’t hold the line, everyone probably should have a plan to bug out and not get arrested for their roles in underground racing.
Mechanic Rules:
  1. With however many racers you have, it is important to determine their odds. This translates into the number of D6 they’re rolling for the race. If you are having a trained navy crew up against a bunch of ragamuffin orphans, It’s fair to assume that the seamen are rolling an extra die.
  2. Depending on how long you want the race to go for, break the track down into “segments”. A short track can have four rounds of rolls. A grand prix can be a bit more intense. Really depends on how much you want to delve into the story.
  3. For the first track break do a X D6 roll for your racers like any other skill check. Take the high roll (unless they’re rolling at a disadvantage). The highest number is in the lead with each other racer falling a boat length behind for each number lower they roll. For example if the Orphans roll a 6 while the Seamen roll a 5, there is a lead of one ship.
  4. Repeat the process for each segment, but now instead the leads change based on prior outcomes. If on the second turn, the Orphans roll 5 and the Seamen roll 4, the navy craft is now 2 lengths behind.
  5. If (gods forbid) interference between vessels occur, damage can accrue that slows them down. When the navy crew sees they’re falling behind, the monsters may take a shot at the Orphan’s engine, causing it to sputter. A successful attack is going to really slow those ragamuffins down.
  6. If (also gods forbid) some random acts of chaos are mixed in, like the MoC setting off some pyrotechnics to excite the crowd, crews take another skill roll to avoid damage.
  7. If a ship is rolling less than 0 die (i.e. worse than rolling at a disadvantage) their crew’s skill can’t keep things going and they’re not going to finish.
  8. The order at the final roll determines the winner. If the Orphans keep one boat length lead at the finish line, they take home the trophy.
  9. In the case of a tie, a simple single die high roll determines who edged out the photo finish.
Additional Mechanics:
Not everyone wants to race. Some people like betting. Based on the advantages assessed at the beginning of the race, payouts are set. The favorites come in at 2:1 payoffs with everyone else going higher from there. If you want to get a rough insight into the system, check out real world horse race betting.
Other Flavor:
DM’s discretion for a bit of flair on these things.
Do you want rival gangs to be competing? Skovlanders are treated poorly by a lot of the city, does that translate to the track? Would a member of the City Council be interested in this as a way to gain some public support for their own personal goals? Are the down on their luck Gray Cloaks interested in being the security? Lots of options here.
submitted by Snakebite7 to bladesinthedark [link] [comments]

Alliance Chapter 2

Hello again! I wrote this while procrastinating for my classes, and I tried to expand to a few things I hadn't written about before. Please let me know what you think of it!

“Well, it’s definitely not an inconsistency in the fuel,” I announced, wriggling my way backward out of the accessway, trying to blink the sweat out of my eyes. Clarke, my chief engineer, received this conclusion with a flexed jaw. Reactor 2’s slight output fluctuations had gotten more pronounced, so I’d come down to help brainstorm. Thus far, we had ruled out faulty fusion containment, coolant flow problems, and now inconsistency/contamination within the fuel itself. While it was frustrating not to be able to pin down the problem, I was grateful for this last negative—modern Navy reactors only needed to be refueled about every hundred years. The operation was correspondingly long and difficult, involving supervision by two federal regulatory agencies and the Russians.
Clarke tapped her pen irritably against the pad of engineering paper she’s taking notes on. She wasn’t happy with any anomaly in her engine room, and the pressure of our imminent departure wasn’t helping matters. It was worrying me too—not only was my ship relatively an unknown, but my engineer was too. I’d picked up the impression that she was a perfectionist, and she was certainly competent, but I didn’t know how she’d react under stress, or how good she’d be at the inevitable jury-rigging that cropped up on patrol.
My last chief engineer was Commander John Abbas—killed in action. He’d loved troubleshooting, no matter how much he complained about it, and whatever the crisis he’d never lost his composure or his nasty sense of humor; he once configured the security scanners around Engineering to administer mild electric shocks to anyone who said “Carolina,” “Tar Heels,” or “Dean Smith” within five feet of the door. He would’ve thought tunneling was a great challenge.
The speaker on the bulkhead crackled. “Captain to the bridge.”
Shit. You forgot, idiot.
We were embarking our half of the joint Human-Z’lask delegation to the Galactic Council today, they were due to arrive at 1000, and it was now—I checked my watch as I scrambled over Clarke and out of Engineering—1015. I guess I’d be fashionably late to greet our erstwhile enemies.
What if they take it as an insult?
Then hopefully they’d shoot me.
I made it from the reactor room all the way up to the currently-unoccupied chartroom off the bridge in record time, with the result that I was even sweatier and more rumpled than I was from being wedged next to an unhappy Reactor 2 for hours. On top of that, I was one of those people who always looked somehow disheveled, no matter how creased their clothes or shined their shoes. I’d never gotten used to the slightly taken-aback look people tended to get when they’re introduced to me—this is the captain? They seemed to be thinking. This idiot who looks like she just rolled out of bed?
I really wished I could look the part. It would make a lot of things a lot easier.
You’d still screw everything up.
I tried frantically to straighten myself out, and quit abruptly as Ramirez and two other marines walked in. “Alright,” I said, making sure I have their attention. “These aren’t the first Z’lask we’ve met, so no staring like you’ve never seen one before. They are the first diplomats we’ve encountered though, so they’ll probably act very differently from what we got used to. Let’s try to be calm and nice and friendly—they’re our allies now, weird as that is. Let’s just take this nice and easy, guys.”
“No sweat, Skipper,” Ramirez responded, as his two buddies nodded confidently. Despite this all three looked tense.
And you’re not?
The diplomats have been permitted onto the bridge, as a show of welcome, so I squared my shoulders like I was taught and went to greet them.
There were ten of them, five Z’lask and five humans. Most of them were staring around at the ship’s interior with varying degrees of curiosity, from the wide eyes of those who’d never been on a vessel so big before to more critical observations from people who clearly had military backgrounds—a human and a Z’lask were both eyeing the weapons status board, taking in the row of green lights indicating all railguns online.
The Z’lask don’t use projectile weapons; they considered them clumsy, even primitive, next to their more elegant energy shooters. The war had disabused them of those notions. I was willing to bet this was the first time this individual had seen our weapons from the operator’s end, and if I was him, I’d be curious.
“We got the stern chasers online this morning,” I said to the mismatched pair, breaking into their inspection. “We’ll be doing charging drills on them today, and then we’ll be all systems operational.” I tried to smile in a friendly, open fashion, and probably looked like I had tetanus.
The human smiled back. The Z’lask’s turquoise pupils brightened before he spoke.
“Do these drills include loading?” He asked, flicking his long, forked tongue to indicate slight embarrassment. “I know it must sound strange to you, but none of our weapons require that, and I would be interested to see how you manage the extra step.”
“Not while we’re in port,” I answered. “But once we’re in transit, we’ll run firing drills. You’re welcome to observe then if you’d like.”
“I would appreciate that,” the Z’lask said, his eyes dimming then brightening to reinforce his words. The human asked him a question about their weapons drills and I excused myself, moved through the rest of the group emitting greeting noises, and escaped to the front of the bridge.
I could feel myself relaxing as soon as I stepped into the familiar tableau: Davis leaning on one elbow over his charts, Xi listening to the comms chatter with one ear and our chatter with the other, Quartermaster First Class Jackie McClane sitting at the controls, a new minion whose name I couldn’t remember (gotta fix that) seated beside her. I paced to my spot. It was good to be back.
The clock on the bulkhead read 1045—time to start preparing for departure.
I always found myself thinking of old family car trips when preparing to leave port—both events were actually pretty similar. Everybody was rushing around frantically, there was a schedule but it seemed like everyone was doing their best to get massively behind it, tempers ran a little short, and then somehow miraculously we were actually ready to leave on time.
The diplomats were surprisingly little trouble—they stood out of the way where they’d been asked to and didn’t bother anyone, content instead to observe the organized chaos of getting the Yorktown back in the black.
Tradition dictated the playing of an ancient song with a title very similar to the cliché about returning to space as the moorings are retracted, and I secretly loved it. Today, it’s extra-special: for the first time since I was captured, I’ll be driving my own boat.
I’m let loose, from the noose, that’s kept me hanging around.
McClane received clearance for departure from Traffic Control, and gently pulled the Yorktown away from the dock.
She’s a big lunk of mass, so she answered her maneuvering thrusters sluggishly at first, leaning gradually away from the pier and wallowing reluctantly into the lane. As she built up some momentum, that old bitch physics started to come over to our side, and the ship moved quicker and more nimbly, a promise of agility showing through her lethargy. Yorktown passed out of New Norfolk gathering way and looking fantastic.
I was standing just between the navigator and weapons officers’ stations, a few feet ahead of the chair my first skipper—Capt. Tillery Carroll, he could read a reactor’s thoughts, had time to teach even moronic new young idiots every simple thing we should’ve known already, and set two speed records—told me that the captain never sat in unless he had to. It was a mark of how much his example impressed me that I still followed his old rule.
I shifted one leg back slightly, to brace for acceleration. We passed the FTL limit beacon, and requested permission to engage our Drazer drives. We received clearance and approached the jump point.
“Permission to go to hyperspace?” McClane intoned, trying hard to keep the excitement out of her voice. My heart was about to go faster than light all on its own. I rolled my eyes around the status boards one more time, felt the thrumming of the drives through my heels, and kept my voice steady as I gave the order.
“Jump to FTL.”
Yorktown shuddered, then leaned heavily into her acceleration—to a stationary observer, she’d appear to be elongating impossibly. She bucked once like she was meeting a wave and then was perfectly still. The view forward changed from the blackness of vacuum, studded with the infinite brilliance of stars, to a whitish-blue tunnel, the only perceptible sign that the Yorktown was now galloping through the stars faster than the speed of light.
I shot a glance at Lieutenant Nguyen, the engineering officer monitoring the reactors and their Drazer drives from the bridge. “All systems nominal, Captain,” he announced, a little nervously. He was new, and evidently a bit scared of me, god knows why.
“Thank you,” I said, turning to look at Davis.
“On course, Skipper, good jump. Estimate arrival at Rendezvous Whiskey in ten hours, fifteen minutes.” He responded quietly, not looking up from his charts. Davis was not made nervous by anything.
McClane cracked her neck and settled in for the watch, her wide-eyed minion looking decidedly less relaxed. I myself could float up off the floor—I just had a textbook first jump with my gorgeous new ship. And even nary a sign of problems from Reactor 2.
Sure, she was a little active building up the bow wave, but that was to be expected—you wanted maneuverability, you had to give up a little stability. She’d probably hop like a scalded cat on exit, but then she’d cut straight through the bow wave and come right back down again without further ado. That was an improvement over her predecessors, which usually buffeted around a few times passing through the disturbance.
Thank you God for letting me be here.
The ship was almost unnaturally still, only the faint vibration of the engines running through her frame. She cruised easily, smoothly, more quietly and much faster than her forerunner Houston was designed to do. I decided happily that she was a worthy successor, and started toying with the idea of sending for some coffee.
Two hours later, the calm of the watch shattered as Xi put her hand to her earpiece. “Distress call, Skipper,” she reported, gaining everyone’s instant attention. “Species unknown, they say they’re under attack by four Drizagen pirate ships at-” she gave the coordinates and my mind started working as my heart started racing.
The Drizagen were a commerce-focused race, and when they couldn’t make it in legitimate business they went straight for the illegitimate. This was considered a disgrace, however, so their pirates were generally small and poorly armed—when they got ahead, they bought their way back into society.
Four of them vs. the Yorktown. Those were the kind of odds she was built for.
Of course, the line between stupidity and aggressiveness was a thin one, and I’d stomped all over it in my career. I knew too many people who thought they were in for something simple, lost their focus, and got killed when they’d survived much worse. I was not going to be one of those people.
“Davis, ETA to their position?” I barked, thinking rapidly.
“Fifteen minutes at maximum speed, Skipper,” he answered at once, tapping away on his navicomputer.
“Increase to flank. Change of course to-” as I rattled off the coordinates I caught sight of one of the Z’lask diplomats out of the tail of my eye, trying to get my attention. I ignored him as McClane repeated the order and the Yorktown leaned over abruptly as she changed course, spinning on her heel as though in disdain for the pirates she was going to meet.
What does he want?
I had more important things to think about.
“Let’s go to general quarters, bring shield generators online in preparation for drop to realspace, charge railguns and arm torpedoes.”
Lieutenants Malinowski and Peretti acknowledged and began barking instructions to their respective broadsides, the steady green squares on their status boards flashing to a malevolent red as each was armed.
I spun around to glower at the Z’lask diplomat, who had brought himself to speak. “Yes?” I said, just managing to restrain myself from a growl. He stood up a little straighter—all eight-plus feet of him.
“That ship is not human or Z’lask. Its fate is not any of our affair.” His eyes were a steady brightness, no glinting malice or dimmed unconcern.
“What?” I snapped, confused. Space is hazardous to us all, even scrapping human factions acknowledged that. Some of them some of the time, at least.
“It is not our affair,” the Z’lask repeated, apparently firm in his belief. “We do them dishonor to interfere in their private matters.”
Oh for….
Every time I thought I was getting to understand these aliens, they went and did something like this, leaving me more mystified than ever before.
“I’m the captain of this ship,” I said. “And I, in accordance with international law, am rendering assistance to a vessel in distress. We are not dishonoring them by interfering in their private business, we are upholding the honor of a very old code of humanity: they call, we respond.”
The Z’lask’s vivid eyes flickered in confusion, but he shut up, as I knew the reference to rank would make him. I turned back to the task at hand. Four to one wasn’t nice odds, and the UN, in its paranoia that one of us will start another war, had forbidden all forces to open fire unless fired upon themselves—even if they were coming to the aid of another vessel. Because our lives weren’t hard enough as it was. We’d need to be responding the instant we came through the bow wave.
“Realspace drop in three, two, one…” Davis counted down, and the Yorktown lurched again as she decelerated, leaping as she hit her bow wave before driving her nose back down as she knifed though it.
“Shields up,” I barked as we came through the disturbance. I took in the scene in front of me and actually blinked in surprise. Four Drizagen pirate ships—about the size of USN frigates—were swarming around the oddest vessel I’d ever seen in my life.
It looked like a titanic, many-petaled flower in full bloom, sparkling as though coated in raindrops from all the point thrusters needed to move the colossal absurdity. It’s got to be the least efficient thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’m in the Navy.
Its strange design was working for it now, though, as the pirates couldn’t seem to figure out how to board it, and were scared to fire on something so fragile-looking, for fear of damaging the goods. It’d kept them alive long enough to summon help.
“Sensors?” I asked.
“Low-power energy weapons, Captain. Shouldn’t be able to get though our shields.” Came Lieutenant Levy’s emotionless reply.
The pirates had caught sight of us, and two of the four broke off and headed right for us. Our shields were at full capacity, and atmospheric integrity had been maintained since general quarters.
We were built to take some punishment.
“Full right thrust, let’s show them our broadside. Xi, any response from ‘em?”
Xi was working diligently at her station. “No response, Captain,” she replied.
Figures for pirates.
Yorktown rolled into the turn, wheeling to bring her broadside to bear on the two approaching, much smaller ships. It should be an intimidating sight. If we could get them to see that, it would save them what we were going to give them.
They didn’t scare. They drove straight at us, their first shots splashing against our shields, shaking the whole ship but not penetrating, as predicted. Malinowski announced torpedo locks on both of them.
Y’all had your chance.
I eyed up the distances, the closing rate, the trajectories of the flying ships. “Fire tube two at the lefthand hostile, fire five at the right.” It was still a surprise to hear my voice, cold and flat, when my heart was leaping as though trying to escape my chest.
“Fire two, fire five,” Malinowski repeated, and the Yorktown shuddered slightly as the torpedoes launched, becoming two fast-fading pinpoints of light as their motors ignited and they arrowed away toward their targets.
Both ships broke hard as their scanners picked up the incoming shots, but neither were maneuverable enough to shake the nimble, remorseless torpedoes. The faint dots arced into blurred tails as the weapons tracked, then disappeared as they superimposed their targets.
The leftmost pirate tried to run straight away, looping nearly vertically around in their haste to escape. This wild maneuver was spectacularly unhelpful, as it quickly put them on a course directly away from us, easy for the first torpedo to follow. It flew right up their exhaust port, and the vessel vanished in an expanding sphere of blindingly brilliant white light.
The rightmost one was a little smarter, it tried abruptly reversing course in a series of zigzags, like a deer chased by dogs. But even though they took advantage of the second’s delay between firings to try to flee their sister’s fate, it was too late. The torpedo still tracked, and caught them in the aft third of the ship—it broke up and incinerated as their atmosphere caught fire in the detonation.
Fission fishin’, ladies and gentlemen.
The remaining two, having hung back to continue harassing the flower-ship, started frantically flashing their running lights, and Xi winced and turned the volume down on her headset. Evidently they had decided to respond to our hails, and begun emphatically expressing their desire to surrender.
“Tell them to take their weapons offline, drop their shields, and come to a halt,” I said. I didn’t particularly like dealing with pirates. And they were delaying us—we’d lose at least another hour babysitting them until reinforcements could arrive to take them to be impounded. Xi repeated the instructions, and both the pirates complied, drifting to a halt surprisingly quickly as Levy reported their weapons powering down and their shields lowering.
“Skipper,” Xi began, still with her eyes screwed up against the noise the pirates were making. “These guys are pretty freaked out. They’re swearing up and down they didn’t know we were human when they attacked us or they never would have, they’re panicking we’re going to kill them anyway.”
“Tell them as long as they don’t try anything they won’t get hurt,” I snapped. “We’re not animals.”
Another damn species that thinks we’re savages.
You’d think it would be nice to have a reputation that clears the way. But instead it felt like the ringing of a leper’s bell.
Xi managed to calm the pirates down enough to hear herself think, and to open another channel to the flower-ship.
“Unidentified vessel, this is the human warship USS Yorktown, do you require assistance?”
Aside from the one we just rendered.
That wasn’t nice, brain….
“Put them on speaker,” I said. I’d like to hear for myself what these idiots thought they were doing out here.
Xi complied, and a voice crackled back. Even with the distortion of the comm it was high, thrumming, and somehow eerie. The hairs on the back of my neck rose as it spoke.
“Yes, please,” it gasped. “The pirates fired on us when they first appeared, two of our people were wounded and we don’t have enough supplies to treat them, can you help?”
The voice rose to express appeal, and as it did it somehow struck another sound from within itself, a musical note sounding behind and around and out through the spoken words. I’d never heard speech so utterly alien—my mind recalled legends of sirens. If sirens talked this is how they would sound.
I pulled myself back together. Xi actually shook her head like she had water in her ears. “We can send over a shuttle, to ferry your people back to our sickbay. Will that be satisfactory?”
The relief flooding through the being’s voice as it accepted was so powerful it cast a vibration of its own, making the speaker sound doubled. I was now thinking—to my consternation—seriously about sirens. No voice could be this compelling and be innocent.
Or could it? The galaxy was wide, and I was sure there were stranger things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in my narrow philosophy. It was also not a very impressive measure of human progress that sailor’s stories about evil monsters were as present as they ever were.
Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what species are you?” I asked, fighting my trepidation.
“We are Iialia,” the voice answered, another musical note emanating from the last word, sounding at once like the pluck of a harp and the strike of a chime—high, crystalline, like the chatter of falling water. “We have heard of you—we knew the humans always went armed, and today we are grateful for that.”
Aaaand another species that thinks we’re foaming at the mouth!
I’d never met an Iialia before, though I knew of them. Their entire species was dedicated to the creation of art—they believed science and the discovery of natural truth to possess artistic beauty, and so the species had reached the stars. And, apparently, sailed them in ships whose design was dictated by artistry, rather than practicality. They were utterly pacifistic—violence was ugly, and their species shunned ugliness.
So at least they’re not sirens?
Damn, we had a low bar.
A medical team—accompanied by marines—was dispatched to their ship, which identified itself as the Cosmic Blossom, because what else would it be called. I glared at the pirates, who have been sitting quietly without making a peep, to keep myself from pestering the team. They would give me information when they had it.
“Bridge, Sickbay, we’ve got the two patients through diagnostics, both are only minorly injured, we’re stabilizing them now. We should be able to patch them up by the time the escorts arrive.”
Oh thank God.
“Good to hear, thank you.”
“Three others accompanied them, they, ah, say they’d like to thank you.”
The fuck?
I sighed inwardly. Now my sunny self—plus the diplomats, I’m sharing my misery—would have to go down to sickbay and meet them, ensure that their first impression of humanity included more than just us beating up pirates for them.
I reviewed what I knew about the Iialia on the way down: they were asexual (I had no idea how they reproduced, except that division was somehow involved), and used the pronoun xa, which apparently translated as “creator.” I’d never even seen a picture of one before.
The Z’lask were annoying and weird as shit, but they at least were within our frame of reference. The Iialia were standing just outside of it, etching drawings on its edges.
I hate diplomacy.
We barged into sickbay. The two patients were behind curtains, being attended to by Dr. Ford, the ship’s surgeon. Looking on were three uninjured Iialia.
They were about human height, which was nice, and covered in fine, sheeny short fur, like cornsilk, ranging in color from pure white to iron gray. Their large eyes, liquid and nearly all black pupil, were set wide apart over small muzzles. They had two legs and two arms, like most species, with the head on top and a sweeping tail like a horse’s at the other end.
They wore short-sleeved garments, their fur evidently much better at keeping them warm than bare human skin, or Z’lask scales. The colors and styles of their fashion slid past my vocabulary—to try to describe them with human words would dirty them. I’d never be able to convey how it was that one seemed to be wearing light, another darkness, the third fire. All the humans stared to see them—their presence was as enthralling as their voices, though they were not what a human would consider attractive.
They’re sirens.
The Z’lask, however, didn’t seem to think so. They greeted the three Iialia formally and courteously, then stared off into space looking bored. One of them, the one who’d disagreed with me earlier, noticed the disparity in reactions about the same time I did, and began staring at us, leaf-green eyes shining with sharp points of concern.
Oh fantastic. Now they think we’re insane.
Who didn’t, at this point.
“Captain,” said the one wearing fire, xa’s fur flowing and smoky gray. “We wanted to thank you for fighting off the pirates—I don’t know what I would do if I lost the Blossom.” The gratitude glittering through the being’s voice sounded golden, like an exultant cello.
“Ah—we truly appreciate that,” I said awkwardly. “Humanity considers it an obligation to respond to distress calls, and we’re always very happy to be able to help.” I tried to smile and look humanitarian. I could feel the green-eyed Z’lask staring at me now.
“Well, permit me to say that we at least are very glad you feel this obligation,” xa said. “Even though we had to be saved by violence, which is such an ugliness.” Xa shook xa’s head mournfully. The musical note produced when xa said “violence” was startling—brassy, impure, and too loud. It was the first sound made by an Iialia that had been anything other than enchanting. The back of my neck prickled and I knew the green-eyed Z’lask had noticed our reaction.
I tried to cover by mumbling something about how we always hated to resort to force, but that unfortunately it was sometimes necessary. The human diplomats slid into the conversation, steered it toward safer topics, and had everyone nattering away.
The voices of the Iialia embroidered musically through the conversation, overlaying the clacking language of the Z’lask and the more guttural or sibilant sounds of English. It was a bit ironic—our speech sounded more “reptilian” than the giant lizards from outer space’s did.
“Excuse me,” the pure-white Iialia began timidly, breaking into my thoughts. “But if I might ask…what is your favorite color?”
“Huh?” I said stupidly. “Uh, blue, I guess. Blue.” I smiled to cover the fact that I’m an idiot.
“What shades?” Xa pressed, staring unblinkingly at me.
God these guys are weird.
“Well, all shades, I guess, except nothing too light. Not like, powder blue or anything.” I matched the Iilia’s stare. I had no idea what kind of evaluation this was.
“Thank you,” xa said quietly, with a sound like the wind rushing from beneath a bird’s wing. Xa sidled over to stand next to the smoky-gray one, who was gesturing widely as xa talked to an equally animated human diplomat while an impassive Z’lask looked on.
The Iialia murmured musically, and to be perfectly honest the lovely sounds were starting to get on my nerves. I realized suddenly that their initial, captivating effect seemed to be waning. The longer I looked at them, the more flaws I saw: their garments were too stiff, their fur antiseptically styled, even their bewitching voices were losing their charm.
What the fuck is going on?
I was chewing on this when the intercom informed us that the reinforcements had arrived to escort the pirates into custody. Dr. Ford pronounced his patients fit to leave, and the Iialia gathered themselves up, thanked us one more time, and departed.
I busied myself with packing off the pirates and getting back underway so I didn’t have to talk to the green-eyed Z’lask, but he caught me after the watch changed, as I was leaving the bridge.
“I noticed something today,” he began. “I wanted to talk to you about it.”
“If this is about answering distress calls…” I warned.
“No, another matter,” he said impatiently. “I wanted to speak to you about your reaction to the Iialia. I noticed you were quite taken with them at first, but by the time they left you appeared rather less enamored of them. Am I correct in these statements?”
“Yes…” I said, eyeing him like he was crazy—even for a Z’lask, he’s being very blunt. I’m not sure whether that was a good or bad sign; I only really had experience in talking like this with one Z’lask, and he was one of a kind. It had always been a good sign when he was blunt though: the time he chucked me in solitary he did it with such flowery phrasing I’d barked at him to come to the point already and gotten myself two extra days.
The self-satisfied lizard.
The green-eyed Z’lask looked…reassured? “They lost their charm to you for the same reason they never appealed to us—there can be no beauty without ugliness.”
“Huh?” I said, with my characteristic rapidity of thought.
Z’lask don’t really have lips, so I considered it a personal triumph of denseness that I provoked pursed lips from this one.
“If you had heard their music, I imagine you would initially have been stunned by the perfection of the sound, but as you listened its perfection would become cloying, then grating, then galling. Of the human songs which I have heard, the ones which I found most moving, which I wanted to hear again to learn and carry with me, incorporated imperfections. Anger, sadness, even just repetitive notes—all things the Iialia would think ugly.”
His viridescent eyes glowed.
“The Z’lask, to borrow the Iialia’s metric, find honor beautiful. The Iialia create art because they believe ugliness to be evil. They have no patience with any imperfection—they could never understand our proverb, ‘there is virtue in the struggle.’ They do not see honor, and so it is not present in their art. Therefore, while we appreciate their works as representations of admirable effort, we find them merely frivolous. You humans, though, your art can be a vehicle. And it is what your art conveys, not the beauty of its form, that captures us so. It seems to speak to us in the same language in which it does to you—it is a convincing demonstration of our compatibility.”
“That’s…good. Isn’t it?” I really was getting pretty tired of the endless whiplash of dealing with the Z’lask.
“I suppose so,” he said. “Though it must be balanced against your insistence on sticking your nose where it does not belong.”
“Not this again!” I snarled, exasperated. “Someone needed help. We could provide it. So we did. End of story. This is not complicated—space is dangerous enough as it is, when things go wrong for you and you have to call for help, you’d want someone, anyone, to come, right?” I barged ahead before he could respond with some nonsense about death before dishonor.
“You would, whether or not you admit it. And you had damn well better do what you expect of everyone else. I happen to believe quite strongly in the responsibility to respect privacy, Ambassador, but it comes second to preserving life. To apply your species’ metric, it is honorable to assist others in distress, because it is what we would want if our positions were reversed.”
“Mm.” The Z’lask clicked shortly. “I suppose it would make sense—your species’ development was so isolated, it is unsurprising you came to view the call for help as a higher one. And there is something appealing about your ideal that you must do for others what you wish them to do for you…it is honorable.” His eyes dimmed with thought, then flashed into brightness again as he realized something.
“It is the same as your Geneva Conventions!” He put his head to one side, an odd look on his face: half-admiring, half-pitying. “You humans insist on plunging into danger, hate the consequences, and then decide you will…legislate the problem away. You did not choose to only sail in groups, so that help would always be at hand, but rather decreed that everyone must answer distress calls—and made it a matter of honor. You did not turn inward to improve your natures, as Z’lask do to conform to the Code, but wrote treaties to do the work for you. Then you made the difficulty you of course still encountered in upholding the law a matter of honor.” He rolled his luminous eyes.
“I suppose this tiring obligation is one to which we could accustom ourselves.” Flipping his tail in the Z’lask grin, he stalked off.
I am going to kick each and every last one of these crazy bastards out an airlock.
Or maybe I’ll just go see what’s for dinner—we had a long trip ahead of us.

Damn, fight scenes are hard to write! I could definitely use some constructive criticism about how to improve them, if anyone happens to think of any! I’d also love to know what y’all think of the Iialia, they were fun to come up with….
submitted by PuzzleheadedCharge4 to HFY [link] [comments]

Gambling Games In India

Gambling games and India:

Games of chance have always attracted passionate players and the appeal of Lady Luck never seemed to dwindle. They have thrived for thousands of years, even before written history and up to modern times when we can indulge in gambling on our electronic devices without even having to walk to the nearest casino establishment. Games have changed and flourished, but the passion for playing remained the same. India is a country that boasts a rich history when it comes to gambling and still nurtures a strong passion for it in various forms and guises. That said, it’s well worth taking a glance at the origins of casino games and how and where it all began.
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Gambling stories of ancient India
The Ramayana (one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India) cites certain forms of games of chance believed to date back as far as 7300 BC. It describes gambling boards, believed by some to be the game of chess, as well as gambling with dice. The popular saying ‘to lose one’s shirt’, meaning to lose money, originated in ancient India. The old Sanskrit texts compare trees that have been stripped of their fruit to defeated gamblers who lost their clothes and ornaments in a wager.
While the Ramayana casually mentions gambling and does not condone it in any sense of the word, the second epic (the Mahabharata) tells a different story. The main antagonist, Shakuni, arranges a dice game against king Yudhishthira whom he cheated out of all his wealth and kingdom. When another antagonist, Duryodhana, insisted that there was no place for two crown princes in the kingdom, another dice game was arranged which ended in the exile of the royal family.
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First Gambling Devices
Buddhist texts mention Indians gambling with nuts as dice as early as 300 BC. Apart from being fond of dice, Indians developed a taste for gambling on animals. At first, ram and cockfights were all the rage which was followed by the more sophisticated horse racing later. What is interesting is that while Europeans are generally given credit for developing certain games of chance, most of the earlier versions of gambling devices had Indian symbols on them.
Further Progress
The 15th century witnessed the rise of legal gambling houses all across India. They were heavily regulated to make sure the games were fair and square so that the players would willingly submit their dues to the king. This was the beginning of the first gambling tax.
When the British introduced cricket to India in the 18th century, Indians fell completely in love with the game. Cricket paved the way for sports betting which flourished in the country until the British took over and passed the Gambling Act in 1867 which outlawed all games of chance. Although they couldn’t abolish the games which still went on in secret, India never looked favorably on gambling again.
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Present-day Gambling
The perspective of the Indian government on gambling is that it is the temptation that lures players to bet beyond their means, ruining their lives and their families. India’s 29 states and seven Union territories have the authority to decide whether to legalize gambling or not. Each state has a different legislative council and even though most of them do not support it, they do allow some forms of it, such as betting on horse races and the lottery. Since gambling restrictions are still in effect to a large extent, many have turned to online options and can choose from some of the best online casinos for India to scratch that itch. Almost 40% of internet users in the country have admitted to spending some of their time playing online casino games with no particular intention of earning large sums of money, but just to have fun and pass the time.
The history of India, which is almost 4000 years long, is brimming with amusing anecdotes of gamblers winning and losing in their favorite games. However, the future might not have as much room for such stories, since the gambling ban is still in effect. The Indian government still doesn’t trust its people to use their own judgment and roll the dice deciding their own fate. If the rules should ever change, the casino industry will be able to boost the Indian economy to a great extent. The people will enjoy their games while the country reaps the benefits. Some would say, a win-win situation.


There are a number of different online casino sites open for Indians to play on in 2020. With enticing welcome bonuses, a huge library of games including live casino games, more players are signing up now than ever!
However, many online casinos go beyond just a website and offer dedicated mobile apps that allow you to enjoy all features of the online casinos on the go! Check out the best online casino websites for India in 2020!
#1 – LeoVegas’ App
LeoVegas is one of the biggest online casinos in the world and contains a huge number of casino games. You can play Blackjack, Roulette, Slots, live casino games, and more on the online casino.
The LeoVegas app allows you to access more than 1,000 casino games offered by the online casino. Both Android and iOS users are covered as there are dedicated apps for both the operating systems. The user interface is designed to provide a simple and enjoyable experience for all players.
#2 – Betway’s App
Betway is one of the biggest names in the world of online casinos and betting. The site not only offers a huge collection of games in its full-fledged online casino but also offers really great odds on sporting events around the world with a great welcome bonus for new players.
The Betway app allows you to stay in touch with your adventurous self on the go and gives you access to all the games provided on the online casino. Some of the features that make the app great are its small size and classification system that lets you seamlessly switch from its three modes – Betway Casino, Beway Vegas, and Betway Live Casino.
#3 – Casumo’s App
Casumo is a modern online casino with a focus on providing a clean and enjoyable user interface to its players. In terms of game selection, Casumo does pretty well too, and provides tons of different online casino games for you to enjoy.
In keeping up with the philosophy of offering its players one of the best online casino experiences, Casumo also has a dedicated app that can be used to play all the different games offered on the site. Some of the key features of the app include a personal dashboard, automatic notifications, and easy depositing and withdrawal functions right from the app itself!
#4 – Dafabet’s App
Dafabet is one of Asia’s largest online casino and sportsbook. With sponsorships with reputed teams like Celtic FC and Fulham FC, Dafabet is a legit operator that provides an excellent casino and betting experience to players all over Asia including India.
Along with offering an awesome website that is completely responsive, Dafabet also has dedicated apps for both Android and iOS users that allow you to stay in the middle of the action always. The apps have an extremely user-friendly interface and are updated regularly to ensure the app is always fresh and secure!
Online casino apps are changing the game!
Online casinos are rising in popularity in India and since they are regulated by worldwide licenses like MGA, they’re transparent, fair, and legal! A common misconception for online casinos and their bonuses is that they need to be claimed on the website. In almost all cases, it’s possible to download the app from App Store or Google Play, sign up, and grab the welcome bonus straight from the app.
Get in touch with the speculative side of your personality with these amazing online casino apps today!
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Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

This is not mine, the creator of this is u/enderpiet

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.
Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.
Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.
Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.
Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.
Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.
6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.
5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.
4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.
3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules:
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.
Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.
2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.
But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1
Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.
The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.
But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here:
1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.
2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.
And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
submitted by sircore to gtaonline [link] [comments]

How to Bet and Win the Preakness - Anatomy of the Perfect Bet

Look first of all I'd like to be honest with you, I'm not going to claim I "stumbled" upon some "crazy secret system" that nobody knows. In fact, probably more than a few people know what I'm talking about in this article. The truth is that I've been playing the Preakness among many other horse races, for at least 15 years.
The Preakness is the first throroughbred race I ever attended, back in the 1990's. I had played at harness tracks, having been introduced to that at a young age, but had never been to a throroughbred track until 1996.
That year, my good friend and fellow horseplayer convinced me we should go to Pimlico for a big infield party and some big horse races would break out at some point. I didn't know or care much about anything except the infield party and thought it would be fun. We brought a 12 pack and settled in.
Early in the afternoon on the way up, we tuned in to the Baltimore rock station and were hearing all kinds of live music from some of our favorite bands such as Pearl Jam. We were just about pissed off at the fact that we missed some of these bands live, only to show up and find it was just a DJ playing live cuts, and the few local bands on deck hadn't even started playing yet.
I was young and after the party was over and horse races had broke out, I was wondering why Louis Quatorze had won the Preakness and we hadn't bet on him. After that I began some more analysis and started using some figures from Brisnet to help me analyze the races.
A couple years later I liked Charismatic in the Kentucky Derby, among like 10 other horses, but failed to have the right trifecta boxes since I had little clue what I was doing. I liked him in the Preakness as well, still at good odds since people thought his Derby victory was a fluke, but again failed to have the right trifecta when Badge showed up. But at that point I realized that a pattern was emerging.
Eventually I figured this stuff out, although hard-headed about it and unwilling to part from numerical analysis from numbers that I didn't even know how were calculated. I found out it didn't really take a any magic numbers or even much analysis for a basic wagering strategy.
With few exceptions, the Preakness is one of the easiest races to bet. Take the top (4-5) horses from the Kentucky Derby that run at Pimlico two weeks later, and undoubtedly 2 of them will finish in the top 4, in fact, usually the top two horses from the Derby will finish 1-2 in the Preakness. It's really that simple.
After that you do have to put in some analysis to figure out which "outsiders" will infiltrate the trifecta, or possibly even win the Preakness, along with the Kentucky Derby contingent. There are various tools to use to accomplish this but I normally use one I invented.
Unsatisfied with numbers from various other people and organizations with their secret calculations that I did not understand, I decided to make algorithms to create my own numbers and put them into what I call the Grid.
Last year, the Grid gave me Preakness winner Shackleford at 13-1 as the top Speed and Power horse. It was an obvious key horse for me and automatic win bet at those kind of odds. Plus, he was a top four Derby finisher. Apparently people forgot he finished 4th not 14th in the Derby, which was very respectable for a frontrunner.
Combine him with Derby winner and obvious favorite Animal Kingdom at 2nd, and take Astrology as an improving horse with 4th best Early Pace according to the Grid in 3rd place, and you have a very easy trifecta payout. Add Dialed In, the best Late Pace horse coming off a disappointing but respectable 8th place Derby finish, and you have a very easy superfecta.
This is what I call the anatomy of a perfect Preakness exotic bet. You take any of the top 4 Derby finishers that are running at Pimlico, and key them and 1 and 2, get the "outsider" that didn't run in the Derby at good odds, and add another strong contender, usually from the Derby, such as a good late runner for 4th.
You would be surprised how many times the Preakness plays out this way. Often the same horse will win the Preakness that won the Derby, which has happened less in the last few years but they still often finish in the money. And in fact the top two in the Derby often run 1-2 at the Preakness.
So using the top Derby horses is obvious but where will you find the "outsiders" that will undoubtedly take up a spot or two in the superfecta? Well that is tough to come up with by yourself. Normally you will need more of an advanced handicapping tool for that, which is why I use the Grid. I can tell you that the outsider is almost always at odds from 12-1 to 15-1 so that narrows it down.
The year before last the Grid of course gave me the Preakness winner, but only at 2-1 and not much value there, obviously. But also it gave me 11 of 13 winners that day including some nice long shots that provided good exotic payouts.
Of course, since I wrote this, it could just happen that the top Derby horses will finish 1-4 in the Preakness, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if that happens. Especially since of my top 6 Derby winning contenders, out of 20, 4 of them finished 1-4 in the Derby.
So now you know the basic strategy now for betting the Preakness. You just need to find the right long shot or two to add to your obvious Derby contenders for some nice exotic payouts. If I were you, I'd use the Grid to get them, but that's just because it always comes through for me in these situations.
submitted by MediumEmployer to preaknessinfo [link] [comments]

[The Nothing Mage] - Chapter 86

New? Start here!
In the grand city of Reondar, tucked away in the alleyway between Lucky Carl’s Pawn Shop and the Gilded Hyacinth, a girl shivered. The city’s winters had never been kind to those without shelter. She clung to the worn assortment of blankets and rags she’d managed to scavenge over the years, but the cold was persistent, and it always managed to outwit her thin defense.
Ever since her mother, Serena Lark, had died three years ago, Angela called this alley home. By day she begged for whatever alms she could, her fingers sneaking their way into unsuspecting pockets should honest methods fail to procure enough for a meal.
By night she lay upon the hard stone as moans of pleasure and pain from the Gilded Hyacinth sang her to sleep. Oh how they sang. It was an enticing melody they spun, one of warm beds and hot meals and perhaps not plenty, but enough.
Every day she battled first with the city for survival, and again with herself to hold fast against the brothel’s temptation. The streets were a lonely place, but from the looks she saw in the eyes of the girls—and boys—who worked there, the Gilded Hyacinth was too.
Angela set her eyes higher.
By their very nature, the Pinnacles ruled over the city’s sky, their dominion ever-reaching, even into the depths of Angela’s gutter. She welcomed their sway.
Though what they sold was no less a fantasy than that of the Gilded Hyacinth, their grandeur no less a facade, the girl couldn’t help but buy in. She’d witnessed the great parades, heard the heroic tales, and seen the wonder of spellcraft.
Dreams of magic were just as commonplace as they were impossible. Perhaps that was their allure. Given her station, four of the five Towers were closed to her, while the waitlist at Tower Stretika stretched so long it may as well have been. Still she dreamed.
It wasn’t until the first of the conscripts began to flow in and the line to enter Stretika wrapped its way around the entire plaza that Angela heard the news of war. Whispered as it was in the mouth of refugee who told her, the word cried opportunity to the lonely urchin. It cried hope.
Within the hour she stood at the back of the tired line to the military Tower. It was a simple choice, one she’d made long ago under the influence of the Hyacinth’s promise. If she was to sell her body, at least she’d come out stronger on the other side. Better. Armed with magic.
Her time in the queue simultaneously lasted eons and ended in a moment. Such was the nature of waiting. Angela was quite good at it, forged as she was in the gutter’s crucible. She stood patiently in the winter chill, unwavering and uncomplaining in the biting wind. Her excitement brought warmth enough.
The clerk at the front desk seemed patronizingly impressed she knew her letters well enough to sign the enlistment forms. Angela supposed given her appearance, she could hardly blame the man. By the time she reached the collection of mages just outside the Tower itself, she’d all but forgotten the slight. Tension took over.
Angela couldn’t guess what the wand-like devices they held were for, but she knew well enough what it meant to be awakened.
It meant magic.
Looking back on this moment, Angela wouldn’t remember the mage’s bored voice, nor his tired demeanor, nor even the strange sensation of foreign mana entering her system, but the look on her tester’s face when he read her results would stick with her forever.
Nobody told her what it was that he saw, nor why he should react with such shock and pity. The military mages simply directed she wait off to the side while they whispered amongst themselves and moved on to other applicants.
Panic mounted. Had she done something wrong? Did they somehow know she’d stolen to get by? Perhaps she’d proven too magically inept for even Stretika, and was bound for a life of manual labor. After years of surviving exposed to the claws of winter, it was here, under the shelter of the Pinnacles, that Angela shivered the deepest.
When the hierarchy mage arrived bedecked in magus green, Angela looked on with curious eyes. The powerful woman pushed through the line to exchange quiet words with the desk clerk before the man turned and pointed a worn finger directly at Angela.
She gulped.
As Angela followed the magus back across the plaza, the Golden Hyacinth popped into her mind. It hardened her resolve to remember the decision she’d made. No matter what she’d face in the days to come, one outcome must trump all others.
So it was that when Angela Lark first stepped through the doorway to Tower Yrond, she did so with the full knowledge that no matter what, she’d come out stronger.
Two weeks into her stay at Tower Yrond, Angela’s goal had hit a few hiccups. The first was that however essential the skill may have been to keeping the Pinnacles running, learning to operate the transporters didn’t exactly qualify as amassing strength.
The second was that she could hardly come out stronger if she never left. Truth be told she didn’t want to. The meals were hot, her bed soft, and the winter winds couldn’t hope to reach her through the Tower walls.
Sure her stomach churned when her instructors told her time and again how evil her magic was and what terrible things it would do to her and others should she ever use it, but it was a price she was happy to pay. Better to be locked away in relative luxury working the portals than off fighting in Poulsia or for sale in the Gilded Hyacinth.
High up in the Tower, there were no stars to gaze at and dream, no military parades or royal processions to look upon in envy. She was content.
In the months that followed, Angela spent her days quietly studying, learning to shift her mana down before she could even learn to cast. Her instructors took her hunting twice a week, but she didn’t fire a single spell. They simply presented her with the corpses of the beasts they’d slain so she might further grow her reserves.
What choice did she have? Black mage was expressly forbidden, and spacial magic, as far as the hierarchy was concerned, only had one use: the transporters. At times Angela complained to her mentors, questioning why she couldn’t learn to shift her mana up as well as down. Surely steel couldn’t be too harmful.
Of course, they dismissed her requests. However much she might’ve yearned to be a real mage, she was more useful to the hierarchy working the transporters. She accepted the truth for what it was.
She studied, she practiced, she hunted. She took joy in the simple luxuries that had been denied her for so many years. It wasn’t the life she’d expected, but it was the life she had.
She was happy.
And then the stories reached her.
The Nothing Mage had won them the war. This man, whose magic carried unprecedented destructive potential, who wasn’t afraid of what he could do, was the hero of Teralia. His was the first seed of doubt in Angela’s mind.
They said death magic kills everything it touches, that it would kill her, yet here was mage using such lethal power for good. To carve out his place in the world and helped those he loved.
Angela dismissed the thoughts when they came. He’s different, she told herself, unique. Things were good at Tower Yrond, and though Declan replaced the towering Pinnacles and the military parades with a different dream, it was nothing more. Her dream was to stay a dream.
Until, that is, he provided the final piece to her puzzle: a way out.
Whatever was going on between him and the king—the bloody king—was enough for him to get her dispensation. If Declan was to make his escape, so would she.
She rushed to her room, ripping the a page from her notes with the transporter activation formula, a gift for the mage who has everything. Scribbling a message on the back, she raced to the nearest portal. A few lies left behind to cover her tracks, and Angela Lark stepped back into the open world.
She was free.
On her way out of the city, Angela passed by her former home to find it now occupied by some new desperate urchin. She gave the lad a nod before turning her attention to the Gilded Hyacinth. Business was booming. War time meant plenty of desperate people willing to sell themselves to survive, and plenty of customers hoping to forget their troubles in the arms of a stranger.
Not her. For all she’d let the Hyacinth’s promise sway her heart, Angela had defeated it. She’d forged her own path, and come out stronger on the other side.
Her eyes lingered on the brothel for some time as she made her final goodbye to the city of Reondar, until with a wicked smile, she held out both hands in an obscene gesture, and walked away.
She had already left by the time the bell began its toll.
Divines that felt good.
Without even thinking, Angela turned to launch another beam of jet mana into the next tree. Her back arched as energy flooded through her, filling her body, her very soul, with life. She needed more.
As she moved on to the next tree, Angela resolved yet again to thank the strange creature that had taught her the spell. It was wonderful. The Gindor Woods were truly the best place to practice as well. Plants and beasts were plentiful, and humans sparse enough that nobody would care about a few dead trees.
Or so she’d thought.
She was on her sixth day wandering the dense woods when she saw the first arrow. It was a simple thing, whittled wood with a carved stone tip, but the way it flew sent waves of terror through the budding necromancer.
A second twang rang out, and a second arrow darted past Angela’s head to embed itself in the tree she’d been draining. She gulped. Angela’s heart raced as panic took over.
She ran.
Twice more projectiles zipped by, their lethal tips drawing ever nearer to her exposed neck. Unconsciously, she readied the only combat spell she knew.
Emerald light filled the air, coalescing around a root ahead of her. By the time she noticed the spell it was too late. Angela tripped.
She landed hard, the dirt of the forest floor doing little to cushion her fall. She scrambled to turn herself around, to at least look her attacker in the eye before the final arrow came.
The satyr cut an intimidating figure. “It’s always a human,” he said, leveling his bow, “that’s willing to destroy the world for their own gain.” He pulled back the drawstring.
Angela fired.
It was a hasty spell from an unpracticed hand, but the burst of ebon mana did its job well enough. The satyr collapsed.
Just as had the trees and beasts before him, his body shriveled. His soul collapsed in on itself just as Angela’s swelled with stolen power. Until the spell failed.
For all her obsessive practice, in her panic, flaws wriggled their way into the form. They were nothing critical enough to disrupt the casting, but when it completed its task of wrenching the satyr’s life force away from him, it left a little behind.
Not enough to live, but enough to rage.
The satyr, now more a desiccated corpse than a living thing, pushed itself to its feet. It screeched, a terrible, haunting cry of pain. Of hatred.
Angela swallowed down bile as the newly born wight stumbled away, leaving its belongings behind. As adrenaline faded, a new emotion took over. She’d survived. Euphoria still echoed through her as she assimilated the last of the stolen energy. She could practically feel her reserves growing.
For the first time in her eighteen years, Angela’s life had been truly in danger, and she’d come out stronger on the other side.
“Angela,” Freddy’s voice broke the stunned silence, “what happened? I thought you were happy at Tower Yrond.”
“I was, until Declan showed me the truth. Why waste my potential because of few cowards in the hierarchy?”
Declan gestured to the dead town around them, “Is this your potential? You killed people.”
“So have you. More than me, I’d bet. We’re the same. Different frequencies, sure, but the same power. They were right; I just had to learn to control it like you do.”
“They? Who’s ‘they’?”
“My teachers,” she said. “They said I could be just like you if I stopped being afraid of myself. Divines they were right.” The shiver than ran down her spine didn’t escape Declan.
He gulped. “Is that why you killed these people? To be like me?”
“They attacked me!”
“And that makes it ok? Angela look at what you’ve done to these people! You massacred a town for what? Some mana? Whatever these teachers of yours told you, this isn’t control.”
Her hands curled into fists. Her jaw clenched. Even from atop his horse, Declan could see the traces of madness flitting about her eyes.
She was scared.
“Who are you to judge me? I did what I had to do to survive, just like all of you. These people tried to kill me, and now they’ll protect me for as long as I live.” She glared up at the mages, “I won’t hesitate to—”
Declan didn’t even notice the spell being cast. He jerked back in surprise, just as shocked as Angela when the iron spike reached her throat.
The necromancer gasped, fighting for air that wouldn’t come. She raised a hand what little she could, but the effort of it overcame her, and her retaliation failed before it even began.
Angela Lark died on her feet, her body propped up where Robin’s spike embedded itself in the wall behind her. As one the undead townsfolk collapsed to the ground, the source of their unholy existence now absent from this world.
Declan exhaled.
Freddy opened his mouth to speak, perhaps to question the haste of Robin’s action, but under her glare he closed it again. However well they’d known Angela at Tower Yrond, this couldn’t have ended any other way.
Declan interred the bodies in silence. Already his guilt lay buried beneath the orchid’s roots, where he preferred to leave it. However he might’ve inspired Angela’s actions, they were not his fault.
Declan tried to remind himself that the blame lay with the mysterious ‘teachers’ who’d taught her the spell. He already had an idea who they might be.
Haunted with memories as the town may have been, the party ultimately decided the walls of Deiland’s Grove too convenient a defense to ignore. They’d camp here tonight. As Declan went about setting up enchantments around the town and his own shelter, Freddy and Sarah disappeared into one of the houses for some much-needed privacy.
Robin simply sat upon the dead green, gazing forward at nothing.
When his work was complete, Declan moved to join her.
“Are you ok?” He sat at the girl’s side.
“I don’t know, Declan. I just—I don’t know.”
“You did the right thing. Angela was a threat to us all, and I don’t think there was any talking her out of it.”
“But she wasn’t a monster.”
Declan sighed. “No. She wasn’t.”
“And neither am I. And neither are you.”
Declan nodded.
“Then what’s the difference? Why did she deserve to die and not us?”
“Because we’re in control. Or at least we try to be.”
“She thought she was in control too. And if I’m entirely honest,” she paused, her hands shaking as she took a breath, “we aren’t.”
“Robin, I—”
“Declan, you sleep in a box because you’re too dangerous to allow near us. Meanwhile I…”
“You what?”
She ran a hand across her race, rubbing her eyes. It came away wet. “Never mind.”
Declan shifted closer in a bid to comfort the girl, but she pulled away.
“When Thestria first taught me death magic, she said the same thing Angela did. That I could be more like you if I wasn’t afraid to use all the tools at my disposal. And I fell for it. If your magic isn’t evil, obviously mine isn’t either. But now…”
“Now you don’t know.”
She nodded. Gentle tears dripped down her face as she spoke, “I don’t—I can’t keep justifying it. I just…” she sighed. “I’ve gone so far down the hole of justifying traveling with you that I picked up fucking death magic. I can’t do this anymore, Declan. I just… I can’t.”
Declan sat in silence as the words sank in. Seconds passed between the two mages as they both stared out into the distance. Finally, he spoke, “Where will you go?”
“North, I suppose. Maybe Captain Astellia can give me a ride to Nelst and I can join the monster hunters there.” Again she shifted away, building yet more distance between Declan and herself.
He didn’t follow. “Ok. I—um—I’m sorry. I hope things work out for you.”
“I’m sorry, too. I would’ve liked to see this through to the end. I just..” She swallowed.
“I understand. Is it ok if I sit with you for a bit?”
At her nod Declan settled in, leaning back to gaze up at the stars. He knew as well as she these were likely to be their last moments together, and intense as the day had been, Declan enjoyed the quiet peace of the starry night.
He’d miss her, that much was certain, but he understood her need to leave. She’d been scared of him since Vestriam, and brave as she might’ve grown, he’d only done more to warrant such fear.
In time Robin drifted off to sleep, and Declan forced himself to return to his enchanted shelter. A horrific burn would make for a terrible parting gift.
By some mercy of fortune, no attacks came that night, but by the time a weary Declan finally emerged from his box, Robin was gone.
Amidst the death she’d left behind, Her own, in price, she’d pay. For all his might, the nothing mage, Two friends, he lost that day.
—The Saga of the Nothing Mage
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submitted by nixiawrites to redditserials [link] [comments]

Lizardfolk are the cold-blooded hunters of the swamp, hunting humans for their delicious flesh - Lore & History

These scaly, emotionless lizards think about food and not much else beyond that. They’ve been around since the beginning of the game, starting as one of the stronger humanoid foes your fighter or magic-user would run into and promptly be eaten by. As the editions progressed the Lizardfolk became a player race.
In our mythos, Lizardfolk of one sort or another has existed since ancient times. The mythical first king of Athens, Cecrops I, was described as half-man, half-snake, Wahuang, also known as Nuwa, is the mother of Chinese mythology and is described as half-human and half-serpent, and the ancient Egyptians had the patron goddess Wadjet, depicted as a snake-headed woman, a snake, a woman with two snakeheads, or even a snake with a woman's head. In the present day, Lizardfolk abound in TV, cinema, and literature. Dracs, one of the main characters in the book Enemy Mine (1979), is a fighter pilot from the alien race of lizard people at war with Earth, it was later made into a movie starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr back in 1985… it bombed except in the Soviet Union. There’s the Cardassians from Star Trek, Dracoians from Doctor Who, The Lizard - also known as Dr. Curt Connors - an enemy of Spiderman, Cobra Commander from GI Joe…the list goes on and on. There’s even the conspiracy theory believed by millions, that Lizardfolk secretly runs the United States government.
It’s no wonder that Lizardfolk have such a prevalent existence in Dungeons & Dragons when the cultures of ancient and current civilizations are so full of them and their representations. Let’s jump in and see how these creatures have evolved through the generations and maybe you’ll find a soft spot for these man-eating Lizardfolk… or you’ll find out your pet leopard gecko is secretly running the US Commerce Department.

OD&D - Lizardmen

No. Appearing: 10-40
Armor Class: 5
Move: 6”/12”
Hit Dice: 2 + 1
% in Lair: 40%
No. of Attacks: 2 claws / 1 bite
Damage/Attack: 1-3/claw, 1-8/bite
Treasure: D
The Lizardfolk make their debut in the Greyhawk Supplement (1974) under the moniker of Lizardmen. While the term Lizardmen is used up until the 3rd edition, we will be referring to them as Lizardfolk from here on out. One of the most important facts about the Lizardfolk we should bring up from this edition is the fact that their artwork actually looks like time was spent drawing it out, and is pretty scary. If we were walking through a swamp and stumbled on one, we’d scream and run away. That’s high praise seeing as how the beholder art just makes you pass out from laughter.
As with all creatures in the early editions of the game, the description is brief and all the information we are provided is composed in 3 sentences. What information is provided is pretty sparse and doesn’t provide much of a basis to work off of. The few things we learn is that Lizardfolk are considered to be intelligent, but its referred to as a ‘rude intelligence’ in that they only use that intelligence to make weapons.
After that, we then learn that the favorite dish of the Lizardfolk is human flesh. We aren't sure what it is with all these monsters and their desire for human flesh, but apparently we are incredibly delicious. Not only do Lizardfolk love eating humans, they will capture a group of them from a village and bring them back to their lairs where they will hold large feasts and gorge on our flesh which… feels like a compliment.
The next tidbit of information provided shows that maybe these are really, really special lizards… or maybe the designers of the game just did not know that much about lizards. In this edition, 65% of all Lizardfolk live completely underwater, which is crazy to think about as no other lizard can spend more than 15 minutes under water at a time. It’s also horrifying to think that all those captured humanoids will probably drown before the great feasts of the Lizardfolk, which is a shame because the Lizardfolk have been cooking all day!
Looking at the mechanics of the Lizardfolk, they are humanoid creatures that are much stronger than many of the other creatures in that catergory. Their AC of 5 puts them in the same league as ogres and giants, but their Hit Dice are on the low side making them pretty susceptible to being wiped out in low numbers. Where they thrive is the number of attacks and the amount of damage they can do in a single round. Three attacks is a whole lot of ass kicking in this edition and with the potential to do a maximum of 14 points of damage in a round, the Lizardfolk would make quite a fearsome opponent. These two factors, along with the fact that you will be running into 10-40 of them at a time, make these creatures the party would not want to encounter at lower levels… especially if they were invited over for dinner.

Basic D&D - Lizardfolk

Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2 + 1
Move: 60' (120' swim)
Attacks: 1 weapon
Damage: By weapon + 1
No. Appearing: 2-8
Save As: Fighter: 2
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: D
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 25
The Lizardfolk is introduced in the Basic Set (1977) and later makes appearances in the updated Basic Sets that are released in 1981 and 1983. If the Lizardfolks could be stripped down and made even more boring, we aren’t sure how you could do it. The descriptive paragraph is filled with simple sentences that provide less flavor than the original edition and simply describes the Lizardfolk as man-shaped but with a lizard head and a lizard tail. Furthermore, they are considered semi-intelligent and enjoy eating humans in great feasts.
Now, it isn’t all bad for the Lizardfolk in this edition as they are finally shown a little love as they gain a +1 bonus to their damage. Though they no longer have their multiple attacks and instead only have a single weapon attack, so we guess it makes some sense to give them a boost to their damage even if it isn’t as awesome as having three attacks and tearing apart that troublesome magic-user.
This is the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons that players can play as a Lizardfolk thanks to Dragon Magazine #185 (September 1992). In the magazine we are introduced to the Squamous Ones; lizard men, gator men, and the cay-men, all of whom can be used as player characters. These playable reptile creatures all played a role in episode 32 of the Voyage of the Princess Ark, an old series in Dragon Magazine.
Without going down the rabbit hole of experimental player characters and rules, just remember that some races were treated more like classes than as just races. If you choose to play as a Lizardfolk, you would be leveling up in a Lizardfolk class though you could multiclass into actual classes like magic-user or fighter… it was just really difficult and there were a lot of limitations.
With that being said, out of all three of the lizardkin, the gator men are the by far the strongest and intimidating. Their physical attributes were high, they had more hit points, but their mental stats were the lowest out of any of them. After the gator men, in terms of strength, came the lizard men followed by the cay-men. The cay-men were known for being smart, and by that we mean they don’t have a negative bonus to their intelligence, while the lizard men were middle of the road at best between the two others.
In Dragon Magazine #186 (October 1992), we are introduced to another race of playable lizardfolk in the next chapter of the Voyage of the Princess Ark. The chameleon men, also known as the wallara, are pretty weak like the lizard men, but they have a special talent that makes them pretty awesome. The chameleon man can use a Vanish ability, allowing them to disappear from sight, or they could teleport as per the dimension door spell… so long as they passed an Intelligence check which seems a bit mean. Regardless of the intelligence check, that’s a pretty awesome racial ability!

AD&D - Lizardmen

Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 10-40
Armor Class: 5 (4)
Move: 6” // 12”
Hit Dice: 2+1
% in Lair: 30%
Treasure Tpe: D
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-2/1-2/1-8
Special Attacks: See Below
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low (average)
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M (about 7 feet tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
The Lizardfolk first appears in the Monster Manual (1977) and things are looking up for this edition. Unlike in Basic D&D, which AD&D ran alongside, we are given a full paragraph about the Lizardfolk, about their lairs, and well… It doesn’t paint the Lizardfolk in a great light… At least they get artwork in this edition and again, it looks pretty good! We suppose you have a choice in these early editions, good art or good lore - not both.
The lizardfolk don’t get a lot of new lore, even though there is more information provided. The books now clarify that they are semi-aquatic and that, while they prefer to live underwater, they live in underwater caves that are not submerged. They love to kill and capture humans, bringing back bodies and slaves to their underwater realms and then holding rude feasts. We aren’t sure what they mean by rude, but we suppose the Lizardfolk can be considered rude if they don’t ask permission to eat you first.
If you ever encounter Lizardfolk above the water, they live in small huts and these are the ‘evolved’ Lizardfolk who are more intelligent. These Lizardfolk wield crude weapons like shields, barbed darts, and javelins that they use to attack from range, and then run into the melee with their clubs. There is no mention of a changed diet, so we must assume that they still enjoy the taste of humans and have no problems with attacking villages and eating all the inhabitants.
The first variant for the Lizardfolk, the Lizard King, is introduced in 1981 and is found in the Fiend Folio. The Lizard King is a ruler of a large tribe of Lizardfolk and are taller, stronger, more intelligent, and described as more human-like. They could be found near their watery lairs and one of the few ways of actually seeing one was being offered as part of their weekly sacrifice where the Lizard King will then devour you. Every week, the Lizard King would demand two humans to munch on, if those humans weren’t available the Lizard King would then choose four Lizardfolk and eat them… which we feel like creates a bit of an unhealthy working environment.
The next bit of information about the Lizard King is, not only do they have a large tribe of Lizardfolk who bring them humans to eat every week but also they wield a powerful trident that can skewer enemies and deals some real nasty damage. The description goes on to state that there is some sort of magical connection between a Lizard King and their trident, as no one else can use the trident as effectively as the Lizard King and that no one else gains the benefits of using the trident unless you are a Lizard King. This seems like a missed opportunity for some cool lore, but the description comes to an abrupt end, which is a real shame but we aren’t too surprised as the Lizardfolk just doesn’t get any love in these editions.

2e - Lizardfolk

Climate/Terrain: Tropical, sub-tropical and temperate swamp
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Tribal
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Special
Intelligence: Low (5-7)
Treasure: D
Alignment: Neutral
No. Appearing: 8-15 (1d8+7)
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 6, Sw 12
Hit Dice: 2+1
THAC0: 19
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-2/1-2/1-6
Special Attacks: Nil
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M (7’ tall)
Morale: 14
XP Value: 65, Patrol Leader 65, Subleader 120, War leader 270, Shaman (3rd) 175, Shaman (5th) 650, Shaman (7th) 975.
The Lizardfolk made their second edition debut in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) and then reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). In typical 2e fashion, we are given a lot more lore about the Lizardfolk though a lot of the information is just rehashed from the previous edition but with more colorful language. Also, their artwork in the Monstrous Compendium looks… fine? They look a bit like they ran into the wall and broke their snout, but it's passable which only further proves our point. Good lore or good art, can't have both.
Much like before, the Lizardfolk are tall, strong, and have below-average intelligence. They don’t really use weapons unless they are ‘advanced’ Lizardfolk and like to live next to the water or under the water in their caves. A key difference is that now they are omnivores and that they are only ‘likely to prefer human flesh to other foods.’ This is of great relief to anyone who isn’t a human as now, maybe, just maybe, you can interact with them without them carrying you off to their cave for more rude feasts.
What other information is pretty interesting and helps to flesh out this monster. When fighting, they aren’t great at tactics and typically just rush in hoping to overpower their opponents. To make matters worse, if they are hungry, there is a chance they will stop for a quick snack of dead human on the battlefield, allowing their quarry to retreat, regroup and reinforce. They are distracted by shiny things too, and we have decided to skip past the easy blonde joke here.
Despite their lack of coordination or tactics, they do have several tiers within their society like shamans, priests, patrol leaders, and chieftains. The shamans and priests have additional hit points and have access to priest abilities like spellcasting. Patrol leaders are even beefier and are used as the bodyguards of the Lizard King who is at the top of the food chain and will lead tribes up to 150 Lizardfolk strong. Of course, if the Lizard King doesn’t get their weekly sacrifice of two people, they eat four Lizardfolk which it specifies is their bodyguard… which seems like a bad idea, why not eat the peasant Lizardfolks? You have way more commoners than bodyguards.
We also start to get a little better idea of the physiology of these creatures as they can vary in color from green to brown to gray. Tails can be up to 4 feet long and, while they cannot be used to grab any sort of object, it does seem like its a missed opportunity for a tail attack. Like all lizards, Lizardfolk are hatched from eggs but we strongly encourage you to not eat the eggs as they are described as bitter. The last thing we learn is the question burning on everyone’s mind how do you figure out if the Lizardfolk you’ve been hitting on all night is male or female? The answer is: You don’t know unless you ask. We recommend asking from a safe distance with lots of blonde, dead human bodies in the way.
If you wanted to play as a Lizardfolk, you are in luck as the Spelljammer campaign setting provides character information in The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (1992). What is interesting is that if you wish to play as a Lizardfolk, you lose some of the natural abilities and flaws that the normal Lizardfolk has, though you do get a few bonuses. You don’t gain a bonus to your Strength, on the other hand, you don’t get a penalty to your Intelligence, which is nice. You have natural armor, you can wield a shield and you can only wear armor that would reduce your AC below 5, like plate mail. Of course, getting custom armor will cost you twice as much then for a human as we can only assume blacksmiths find it hard to add in a tailpiece for you… or they don’t like your kind because you ate their brother. One of those.
Speaking of eating people, you no longer have a bite attack. Instead, you are given a tail attack which is… well, we support having a tail attack but we guess biting people is considered uncivilized. The last bit of awesomeness for your Lizardfolk character is you now have infravision which helps you see in the dark, which is the first time this controversy will come up. Apparently, in the Forgotten Realms specific lore, Lizardfolk has darkvision but they lose it the moment any information is talked about in a setting neutral book.
The Lizardfolk and their information are further refined as a playable character race in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993). It is here that you get the first real information on how a Lizardfolk should be played when you decide that being an elf just won’t do, why be the eaten when you could be the eater? Lizardfolk have a totally different mindset than other humanoid types, looking at things in a very black and white, food or not food type of way. Civilization as a concept is beyond them, so traveling to and spending time in a city will be a foreign and overwhelming experience for them. Fiercely independent, they might not fit into the party setting very well but can be forgiven when they wipe out a horde of kobolds by themselves. They are still extremely brutal and cruel on the battlefield, so sometimes it may just be best to get out of the way and watch the bodies fly. Another reason to back away is that when shiny stuff or dead bodies appear in battle, Lizardfolk must make a successful Wisdom save or get distracted, and even stop for a little snack of halfling. Considering most combat results in someone or something dying, be ready with those Wisdom checks.
Furthermore, we learn that for a Lizardfolk, skincare is an essential part of your adventuring day and you must moisturize every day or you start getting sick and dehydrated. If you spend too long without submerging your body in water, you dry out and die. On the flip side, you start with two weapon proficiencies, which means you are the advanced Lizardfolk and not just the hilly-billy Lizardfolk who don’t use weapons and have no intelligence.
More lizard-kin are introduced in this edition, though many of them claim to have no relationship to the Lizardfolk. We are introduced to agrutha, crocodillians, varanids, geckonids, tokay and the iguanid in the Dragon Magazine #268 (2000) though none bear many resemblances to the Lizardfolk but rather are considered subspecies or apart from them. One of the few kin to actually be related to the Lizardfolk are the Gator Men from the Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix (1994) and a horrifying secret is exposed. The Gator Men were once Lizardfolk that were magically experimented on by a wizard who was trying to give them alligator properties. Some of the wizard’s Gator Man prototypes escaped into a nearby swamp and quickly reproduced, wiping out all other predators in their area. Gator Men hate Lizardfolk and will do everything in their power to destroy and kill every last one of them if they learn of a Lizardfolk tribe.

3e/3.5e - Lizardfolk

Medium Humanoid (Reptilian)
Initiative +0 / HP 2d8+2 (11 hp)
Armor Class 15 (+5 Natural) or 17 (+5 natural, +2 heavy shield), touch 10, flat-footed 15
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attacks: Claw +2 melee (1d4+1) or club +2 melee (1d6+1) or javelin +1 ranged (1d6+1)
Full Attack: 2 claws +2 melee (1d4+1) and bite +0 melee (1d4); or club +2 melee (1d6+1) and bite +0 melee (1d4); or javelin +1 ranged (1d6+1)
Space/Reach: 5ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Hold breath
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +43 Will +0
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Balance +4, Jump +5, Swim +2
Feats: Multiattack
Climate/Terrain: Temperate Marshes
Organization: Gangs (2-3), Band (6-10 plus 50% noncombatants plus 1 leader of 3rd-6th level), or tribe (30-60 plus 2 lieutenants of 3rd-6th level and 1 leader of 4th-10th level)
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: 50% coins; 50 % goods: 50% items
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +1
The Lizardfolk makes its third edition debut in the Monster Manual (2000/2003) and is the first edition where the term Lizardfolk is used, replacing the term Lizardmen permanently. To quickly cover the normal parts of our scaly friends; they are organized into tribes, they are a cruel and vicious opponent on the battlefield, and they still live in swamps and marshes. You may notice the fact that their favorite meal of 'you' is not on that list, that's because the Lizardfolk will eat anything and it's only a malicious rumor that they prize human flesh above all else, they just happen to kill a lot of humans and eat them. They’d eat anyone, they aren’t picky. Another change is that they no longer speak Lizardfolk but rather draconic as they now can be found in the employ of dragons.
Societal structure is detailed just a little bit more, giving a tiny more depth to the creature. A tribe exists to eat and perpetuate, and they will do whatever is necessary to make sure these needs are met. Sure, Lizardfolk can hunt and fish like other humanoid races, but when there is a village of humans nearby, you can bet they will be sending out raiding parties and having grilled human for dinner whenever possible. This primitive need for survival has tribes uniting to fight a common foe, even if that foe is another, larger Lizardfolk tribe. It will occasionally drive them to serve more powerful creatures such as dragons, cause in the mind of the Lizardfolk, it is better to serve than to die.
The tribe is set up in a very simple manner - the strong rule the weak, and it’s a man’s world in the Lizardfolk kingdom. This stays with the concept of the powerful rule and the weak serve. The shaman is still alive and well in the Lizardfolk society, acting as a councilor for those in charge, providing insight and knowledge, we expect most of the insight revolves around food. The shaman, along with the rest of the Lizardfolk, now has a deity to pray to, as we are introduced to the patron deity of Lizardfolk, Semuanya. Not surprisingly, Semunya’s primary focus is on the survival and propagation of its charges, once again sticking with the common theme of the Lizardfolk; eat, propagate, and eat some more.
The Lizardfolk appears as a player character race for the Forgotten Realms setting in the Races of Faerûn (2003) and again, they gain darkvision while existing in the Forgotten Realms. Beyond gaining the ability to make three attacks with their claws and bite, there is nothing new when it comes to being a Lizardfolk as a player character.
The next month in April we are introduced to the Monster Manual 3 (2003) and with it, two new types of Lizardfolk come to ruin everyone’s day. The Blackscale Lizardfolk is a massive brute of a Lizardfolk who specializes in pummeling you into the ground and then eating the tenderized meat. Blackscales are large and their presence makes even the tallest Lizardfolk look small as they are typically around 9 feet tall as opposed to the 7 foot Lizardfolk. After the Blackscales are the Poison Dusk Lizardfolk who go in the opposite direction from their Lizardfolk ancestors and are tiny, reaching a max of 5 feet tall and 50 pounds. They specialize in being sneaky, attacking from range, and using poison to bring down larger opponents for the purpose of dinner.
As we are always excited to check out new old rulebooks we’ve never used before, it was exciting to find out that Lizardfolk have their own chapter in the Serpent Kingdoms (2004), though it is centric to the Forgotten Realms setting. There we find out more about asabis, firenewts, khaastas, troglodytes, and trens, but it is the Lizard King and Queen that we were excited about. These creatures are now half-Lizardfolk, half-fiend. A Lizard King resembles a common Lizardfolk, but gets to be even scarier by having demonic features, such as glowing red eyes, extra-long arms, long fangs, or additional scaly frills. They are despised in Faerun since, not surprisingly, they view humans, elves, dwarves, and almost all other humanoid races as food, not as allies or neighbors. Remember how we’ve always said that the Lizardfolk can be cruel and mean? Well, the Lizard King combines the worst traits of Lizardfolk and demons, making them brutal overlords of a tribe, but their tribe means everything to them and they take great care of its members. They use their vision, intelligence and sheer force of will that comes with being half-fiend, to transform a simple savage tribe into a stable civilization that can endure for many generations. We are also provided information about some of the poisons Lizardfolk use like the blue frog paste, which sounds like a powerful form of LSD, but in fact, it is a toxic oil that can be applied to weapons and causes paralysis. The second is the rather boringly named sleep poison, which renders the victim unconscious for a few hours.
Dragon Magazine #335 (September 2005) brings us the ecology of the Lizardfolk, unfortunately, the article is a combination of all the previous editions information, presented in a colorful description, and provides only a few new pieces of information. Religion plays a much more important part in the lore and creation of the Lizardfolk, as the article opens with a section on their goddess, Semunya and the origins of the Lizardfolk. Semuanya was a primitive lesser god who thought only about food and survival while her mate, Kecuala, was an intelligent creature that spent its time doing little physically, as it was trapped in its own philosophical thoughts about the world. One day, Kecuala split itself into two creatures, one male and one female, allowing it to put into action the deep thinking that it had been doing all these years. These two Kecualas were the first Lizardfolk and Semunya took the initiative with them and set them up in an environment where they could hunt and multiply, holding out hope that Kecuala would finally stop thinking so much, merge back into one being, and rejoin Semunya.
Building on the tribal/communal system of the Lizardfolk, we do find out that each tribe has a community-style hatchery where all the eggs are kept until little lizard children erupt from their shells. Lizardfolk reach maturity by 2 years of age, skipping those awkward teenage years and for the brief two years of being young, they are raised by the tribe as a whole and not by individual parents.
The last of the Lizardfolks are introduced in the Monster Manual IV (2006) where we are introduced to the Dark Talon tribe of Lizardfolk and provided an example lair for them. They are similar to the Lizardfolk but have been toughened by alchemical infusions of black dragon blood and seek to take over and control the lands of everyone else. They are brutal, mean and vicious but they don’t provide much information on the whole of the Lizardfolk race but rather how their specific tribe operates but, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything in there to learn. We learned a very important lesson, if you find a massive wasp the size of a horse, you can totally ride on it with a massive lance. Yup, the Dark Talon tribe has a small troop of Wasp Riders who wield lances and charge into battle on their battle wasps. We aren’t sure that the riders are really needed as seeing wasps large enough to be ridden by Lizardfolks already scares us more than a Lizardfolk.

4e - Lizardfolk

Greenscale Hunter - Level 4 Skirmisher
Medium natural humanoid (reptile) / XP 175
Initiative +6 / Senses Perception +8
HP 54; Bloodied 27
AC 17; Fortitude 15, Reflex 14, Will 13
Speed 6 (swamp walk)
Spear (standard; at-will) ✦ Weapon +9 vs. AC; 1d8+3 damage
Sidestep Attack (standard; at will) ✦ Weapon The lizardfolk shifts and make a melee basic attack.
Alignment Unaligned / Languages Draconic
Skills Athletics +10, Nature +8
Str 17(+5) | Dex 15 (+4) | Wis 12 (+3) | Con 14 (+4) | Int 8 (+1) | Cha 8 (+1)
Equipment light shield, spear
The Lizardfolk is introduced in the Monster Manual (2008) and we are provided with stat blocks for different roles that a Lizardfolk could be in a tribe like a shaman or a hunter, as well as information about the Blackscales, the massive brutes of Lizardfolk. While the lore doesn’t go very deep, we at least have some pretty great art, especially when compared to the previous Monster Manuals, so 4e has that going for it at least.
The first type of Lizardfolk presented are the smaller and more common Greenscales who are, while not of the highest intelligence, are still considered the intelligent and advanced Lizardfolks who become shamans and leaders of their tribe. The next type are the Blackscales who go around smashing and pulverizing creatures and are often intermingled into the Greenscale tribe. Occasionally the Blackscales will be part of an opposing tribe, but the text reveals that Blackscales just aren’t smart enough to be the leader and, while Lizardfolk believe the strongest should lead, that doesn’t mean that the Lizardfolk are willing to trust a dumb brute with the welfare of their tribe.
There are also a few tidbits of lore that you can pick up on in their description like halflings are too small to bother eating, since they are the preferred humanoid trading partner for the Lizardfolk. Also, that Lizardfolk would occasionally serve dragons, though more often than not they would have servitors of their own like behemoths, crocodiles, and drakes. And finally, that Lizardfolk do not worship any gods but rather they elevate their tribal leader into a living deity. This Lizardfolk becomes the King Lizard and is rumored to have been tainted by primordial or demonic forces to make them so unnaturally strong and powerful.
The next group of Lizardfolk is brought out of the swamps in the Monster Manual 2 (2009) and they are known as the Poisonscales and, as their name might suggest, they really like poisoning creatures. The Poisonscales are a type of Lizardfolk that is less strong and healthy, though far more intelligent and are quite affluent with traps, ambushes, and using their naturally produced poisons to kill creatures and then eat them. These Lizardfolk come in a variety of roles from the magus that can hurl poison magic at their enemies, to the Poisonscale Collector that has the all-important task of gathering food and the plants the Lizardfolk eat to exude their poison, to the poisonless Poisonscales Myrmidons who cannot produce poison but makes up for it with being stronger and having thicker hides.
The Poisonscales are a slightly weaker group of Lizardfolks, which is hard to believe as the Greenscales are so low powered to begin with. The only true threat coming from the Lizardfolks in this edition is that a tribe consists of over a hundred of them, and when its just you and your 3 best friends wandering the swamps and being filled with tasty human meat, well… maybe you can kill enough of the Lizardfolk so they don’t have to share their meal with others in the tribe.

5e - Lizardfolk

Medium humanoid (lizardfolk), neutral
Armor Class 15 (natural armor, shield)
Hit Points 22 (4d8 + 4)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR 15 (+2) | DEX 10 (+0) | CON 13 (+1 ) | INT 7 (-2) | WIS 12 (+1) | CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4, Survival +5
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Draconic
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Hold Breath. The lizardfolk can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
Multiattack. The lizardfolk makes two melee attacks, each one with a different weapon.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Heavy Club. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Spiked Shield. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage
Lizardfolk can be found in the Monster Manual (2014) and with it comes a nice, chunky bit of lore on these Lizardfolk, though it mostly repeats the previous edition. One thing that has been missing the last few editions is finally back, and that’s that they have a hankering for human flesh, even if they are omnivores. It’s no longer considered a mean and unfounded rumor that they like the taste of you, though the lore doesn’t stop at them eating you. These Lizardfolk are willing to forge alliances with others like humans, halflings, dwarves, and more, once they have these alliances made they are fiercely loyal to the other ‘tribe’ and we hope that means they won’t eat you at that point.
Though one shouldn’t expect to have too many interactions with Lizardfolk as these creatures are fiercely xenophobic, hunting and killing anyone who trespasses on their territory. They rarely leave their territory, as they might become the hunted as opposed to the hunter, and that is something they actively dislike. Though, that isn’t to say they never leave their territory, if a dragon, most likely a black dragon, shows up in their swamp, the Lizardfolk will begin offering it gifts and immediately begin serving the dragon. The dragon may be a nice ruler, watching over its Lizardfolk with an eye to protection… or they may be horrible and send out raids of Lizardfolk to help it build up its treasure hoard.
Now, let’s say you get eaten by the Lizardfolk because you were thinking you could walk on their territory and set up a trade agreement and they thought you’d taste better than the terms you were offering. You might, in this situation, be worried that your bones and other inedible bits won’t be treated with the proper respect you think they should be treated, but don’t worry as the Lizardfolk now love to craft crude jewelry and tools from bones of their meal! Lizardfolk will often craft clubs, shields, darts, and other weapons from the bones of creatures they have killed, seeing no point in good materials going to waste just because the previous inhabitant of those body parts are no longer using them. Really, they are just being responsible hunters and using every part of the kill!
In Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016), the Lizardfolk is presented as a playable race, along with other favorites such as the goblin and kobold. One of the best parts about the Lizardfolk being made a playable race is that we are given an in-depth look into the essence of being a Lizardfolk and how such strange creatures act and think. A Lizardfolk’s mindset is described as alien, but not in the sense that they are from some distance world from the Spelljammer setting, instead, they are described as cold and calculating with few emotions as we would know them. This doesn’t mean that you should roleplay your new Lizardfolk fighter as some hissing jerk, but as a character that genuinely doesn’t understand why other creatures are horrified when they want to fire up the campfire and celebrate the life of a fallen comrade by roasting and eating their corpse.
The existence of a Lizardfolk is centered on doing things that make them feel good and avoiding things that would cause them pain or discomfort. A Lizardfolk doesn’t have emotions that control its fight or flight reflex but instead reacts accordingly to the situation. If it is going against a powerful opponent, it doesn’t run away in fear but rather realizes that the opponent is best to leave alone due to how fearsome it is. If the Lizardfolk finds a magic item that provides a great benefit, it doesn’t gain pleasure from that item but realizes it makes life easier and must protect this magic item so others don’t take it away. The mindset of a Lizardfolk is assigning traits to creatures and objects and reacting accordingly to that trait as they don’t hold grudges or allow rage to overcome them.
The last book we will look at for 5th edition is the Ghosts of Saltmarsh (2019), though it originally came out in 1982 for AD&D, and in it is an adventure focused around these creatures. In the adventure, a party of adventurers is tasked with going to a Lizardfolk lair and investigating the Lizardfolk and seeing if they are responsible for the recent attacks on the city. This is a roleplaying heavy adventure and allows a group of adventurers to explore the lair of Lizardfolks without using violence to get a peek into every room. This adventure provides helpful tips about the mindset of a Lizardfolk and helps to explain that the way they communicate can be quite unsettling or unnerving to those not used to such an alien mind.
Even though they have been around since the beginning of Dungeons & Dragons, and that they have such an overwhelming presence in our legends, the Lizardfolk still have a lot of untapped potential. While they appear in a wide variety of adventures and core rulebooks, they rarely change and when they do so it is incremental. Other humanoids that have been around since the beginning have seen endless amounts of time and effort put into their backgrounds, while the Lizardfolk haven’t been so lucky. They are still the same highly mistrusted brutes that they were before, and maybe that’s all they will ever be as everyone needs a monster to fight. Maybe one day we will see new sub-races or more development on their story as well as their culture. We certainly hope so, as the Lizardfolk deserves more recognition than the few adventures and lore that they currently have.
Have a monster you'd like to see explored throughout the editions? Let us know in the comments!

Past deep dives can be found in the comments.

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Horse Racing Tips - How To Lay Favourites And Make A Profit Every Single Day

For all of you that are reading this that do not know what "Laying" is, it is simply YOU predicting 1 horse in any race that will NOT win that race. In effect YOU become a bookmaker and take bets from people who think that the horse WILL win.
I do not know if you have your own system or you use horse racing tips from a tipster, but this a very simple horse racing system anybody can use.
It is not complicated at all and it is simply pressing 1 button on Betfair exactly the same as you would if placing a win single bet {Pink lay button instead of the blue win button}
Some people will tell you that laying horses is a sure fire way to end up in the "poor house" and they would be dead right if you don't do it properly and this goes for ANY bet you have, not just laying.
Say for example we have a 12 runner horse race and you wanted to bet 1 of these to win that race, you will then have ALL the other 11 horses running AGAINST you and are trying to stop your 1 selection from winning.
Now on the other hand we have a 12 runner horse race and we pick 1 horse to LOSE {lay} we now have ALL the other 11 horses running FOR US and if any of those 11 horses win that race WE WIN!!
Some tipster give these kind of horse racing tips and I can assure that if done properly it can make you quite a lot of money!
So the odds are WITH you and not AGAINST you when laying.
The only problem with laying horses to lose is with YOU and the way you select them. You would imagine that "Laying" the outsider in all races would certainly stand you in good stead as the majority of them lose and you would win the majority of the time BUT unfortunately if you take that course you WILL come unstuck at some point and you WOULD wipe out any previous profits plus more from your original betting banks, as they do win now and again.
Lets just imagine that the outsider in every race was 33/1 and you wanted just £10 profit per race, to win that £10 you would have a liability of £330, meaning that if that horse were to win YOU would LOSE £330, just not worth the risk!! You would only need 1 per week to wipe you out.
==The "Favourite"==
Some of you probably think that I am a bit mad at this point, why would I lay the best horse in every race... what kind of horse racing tips is this??
Well, simply put the BEST horse in any race may NOT really be the best horse! The favourite in ANY race is only the favourite because WE make it the favourite by placing lots of money on it, it's as simple as that.
So if 1,000 people who DON'T know what they are doing place £1000 each on the same horse then it could become the favourite even though its last run was down on Blackpool pleasure beach!
What we are going to do is to find "false" favourites, favourites that because of one reason or another shouldn't really be favourite.
Statistics show that favourite win their races just 30% of the time, some races are GOOD for favourite and some races are BAD for favourites.
Would you bet a 6/4 favourite in an 18 runner handicap race? I certainly would not BUT I would lay it, with the other 17 runners ALL running for me.... these is common sense horse racing tips!
Your liabilities are also good with you only risking £15 if the odds were 6/4 {2.5 on Betfair} to win £10, I'm sure you would agree that this is a lot better than the example above where you risk a LOT more for the same reward.
You may now see why "Laying" can be quite safe and very profitable.
==The Selections==
This part really is very simple and it will not take you long to find quite a few "False Favourites" Just follow the rules over the page.
1: Armed with either your daily newspaper or at the racing post website {Or Both} simply select the races with the most number of runners in them.
2: Ideally, you should look for handicap races which have 16 runners or more.
3: If you can find any, Apprentice races and women jockey races are very good for laying the favourite.
4: Once you have these marked off , simply go through them and pick all the "Handicap" races. These are the races that are best to concentrate on.
5: Pick out any handicap races that have odds for the favourite quoted as no more than 7/4.
6: The above horses would be DEFINATE bets, don't worry if there aren't any on certain days, simply go to any race that has 16 runners or more.
7: Some days you may find that there are no 16 runner or above races, if this happens simply look for 14 runners etc.
8: If the odds are 2.8 and lower, then these are DEFINATE bets.
9: Do NOT lay selections that are below 1.9 on betfair, although a fair few of these lose, a fair few of them win as well and that we DON'T want.
When sticking to the above you will have great success when laying horses, when also using a sensible staking plan BUT if you add the following few rules to the above then you will achieve even more success.
So here is my personal horse racing tips:
1: After making your selections, either at the racing post website or any daily newspaper, just check to see if your horse is a "Course & Distance" winner {Shown as CD NEXT TO THE HORSE}. If it is then DON'T lay it.
2: Is your selection carrying any more or less weight than it did in its last race? If it is carrying more weight then LAY it, if it is carrying less weight then do NOT lay it.
4: Is your selection stepping up or stepping down in trip? if so then you SHOULD consider laying it.
5: Has your selection either a lady or apprentice jockey riding it? If so then LAY it because they DO make errors of judgement.
Apart from the above to make this work you will also need a sensible staking plan, one that will keep your money relatively safe and make your whole betting experience an enjoyable one.
I use something quite simple and recommend you do it this way as well but you are obviously at liberty to do whatever you like.
I will take a £1,000 betting bank as an example:
Divide your betting bank by 200, so in this example it is £5. So a profit target on day 1 of £5 per race. I know exactly what you are thinking at this point..."Not quite as much as I was hoping for!!!"
Well, admittedly its not a lot but if you are aiming for say 8 such races per day, then £40 is not to be sniffed at, and remember this is only day 1, from day 2 your profit target may well be £6 per race. Trust me on this one, it doesn't take too long to get your betting banks built up enough so that you are aiming for £25, £50 or even £100 per race.
To put it all into perspective let us say that you achieve an easy 5 winning bets per day, that's an overall percentage profit of 2.5% DAILY or nearly 18% total weekly profit added to your betting banks or to give it a monetary value NEARLY £1000 profit in the first 4 weeks.
Take it to week 8 and your betting bank has now grown to £3800 and from there on in you will be aiming for a race profit of £20, or £100 per day @ 5 winning races per day.
As long as you look at any of your gambling activities as a long term BUSINESS venture, then you will achieve much more than if you look at it as a quick source of income to help out with any financial difficulties that you may have.
==Golden Rules ( The Real Horse Racing Tips! )==
1: After making your selections, either at the racing post website or any daily newspaper, just check to see if your horse is a "Course & Distance" winner {Shown as CD NEXT TO THE HORSE}. If it is then DON'T lay it.
2: Is your selection carrying any more or less weight than it did in its last race? If it is carrying more weight then LAY it, if it is carrying less weight then do NOT lay it.
4: Is your selection stepping up or stepping down in trip? if so then you SHOULD consider laying it.
5: Has your selection either a lady or apprentice jockey riding it? If so then LAY it because they DO make errors of judgement.
Apart from the above to make this work you will also need a sensible staking plan, one that will keep your money relatively safe and make your whole betting experience an enjoyable one.
I use something quite simple and recommend you do it this way as well but you are obviously at liberty to do whatever you like.
submitted by MediumEmployer to Paulickinfo [link] [comments]

Who chooses the value of a horse racing point system This simple horse racing system emphasizes you to decide what the value of points should be in cash terms. You will have a budget either based on the amount you deposit when opening a new betting account, or your bank balance left from the last round of wagers you placed. Horse races are one of the most difficult sports in the world, predicting a race is almost impossible. But there is a system capable of providing predictions, results, and tips for horse racing betting fans. Betting on horse racing, now more convenient than ever due to the advent of, is often viewed as complicated and too complex for a relative newcomer to understand. In reality, while there are number of ways in which to play an individual race, the basic wagers that have been the sport’s backbone for decades are fairly simple and an easy introduction to the “Sport of Kings.” Fixed Odds Betting: In the virtual world, the majority of horse racing betting sites use the fixed odds system. With a fixed odds bet, the payout for a winning wager is agreed at the time a bet is Horse Racing Betting Systems The sport of kings is synonymous with betting and since the dawn of the sport people have attempted to find systems to beat the bookies with. Horse racing betting systems are attractive because they take the emotion and subjectivity out of selecting horses – there are rules to be followed, a clear process that is

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