A/B testing – how to deal with minority that chose B?

Publishers can test different site layouts and various versions of their content (for example, testing more than one headline on an article)

This can be done with A/B testing. For example, you might find that 60 percent of users prefer layout A, and 40 percent prefer layout B. You go with A because that majority of users preferred it.

But what about all those people who preferred layout B?

How to deal with a Homophobic PC

I’m about to start a sci-fi campaign using Ultramodern5 (a modification of D&D 5e for non-fantasy settings). I’ve been working with players to help build their characters, and one player character has me a bit worried. The player wants his character to be homophobic, as the character is Russian and Russia doesn’t allow gay marriage or something like that.

Now I’ve known this player for a long time and I know he isn’t the type to throw out offensive slurs, but even then, as a bisexual this makes me uncomfortable. I know this would also probably make others at the table uncomfortable. Now I do admit I may have set the precedent for this as I have used NPCs with racist beliefs to flesh out the world before, but I’ve always made sure to never push it super hard, and I’ve definitely never had something like this come from a PC.

What do I do?

How do I deal with too many NPCs in my campaign?

I’m a first-time GM using the Fate Core system. I got into RPGs to help me work on my storytelling while having fun with my friends, so I’ve been GMing a homebrew campaign for about a year now. Unfortunately, my players also happen to be my friends who I usually talk to about my storytelling, so I’ve had little to no feedback on my campaign outside of a few other friends who I’m not as close with. Despite this, I think it’s going pretty well so far.

However, I’ve recently run into a bit of a roadblock. There are too many NPCs in my campaign. My campaign is intended to be short (the only reason it’s been going for so long is because we don’t have much opportunity to meet up for game sessions), and is also very focused. There are about four plot arcs and a finale with intermissions (we’re currently on arc three). My story is also set in a pretty unusual world (it’s basically the afterlife with a few twists and turns), and without going into much detail, basically there’s an overarching plot with characters that connect each arc and will be prominent in the finale.

My issue is that I’ve introduced too many NPCs that connect the arcs. It makes them difficult to get rid of easily. The nature of my world also makes it virtually impossible to kill them (again, afterlife), and it would feel too unnatural to put them on a train, especially because the BBEG is a major threat and kind of a nutcase, so anyone with the ability to stop him would naturally want to. This is combined with the fact that most of my NPCs are very strong-willed, capable people (as I have an ongoing theme in the story about resisting oppressive power systems).

I don’t want the campaign to feel cluttered with too many NPCs. As a storyteller, the idea of having characters who have no reason to be there irks me, but I can’t exactly edit them out of the story since they’ve already been introduced.

As I see it have a couple options:

  1. Find a way to take them out of the story. This will be difficult considering the setting.
  2. Give them a purpose so they don’t feel like they’re there for no reason, without making the story too cluttered with unnecessary plot points. The story is already pretty expansive, especially for a first-time GM, so I’m hesitant about this.
  3. Let them naturally fade into the background by not mentioning them/giving them anything to do. Basically they still exist in the narrative and are technically opposing the BBEG but really they’re just wallpaper. Would probably be unnatural as they have pretty strong/prominent personalities.

Which of these options would be the most natural/least jarring for my players? And how would I do it? Or am I missing another option entirely?

How to deal with a gm who makes major changes to a pc without the players permission

So last night I was absent from our game and my dm not only took over my character with neither my knowledge nor consent. He also changed my characters relationship with another an npc, I’m really not sure how to handle this but as far as I’m concerned it’s a blatant abuse of power. Rather than outright quitting I’d like to handle this like an adult and talk it over but I need help making a sound argument. Sadly I cannot say exactly what happened because it would be nsfw but just knowing that should give you an idea of what he did while I was gone.

How to deal with unknown values when filtering items

Let’s say I have a hotel booking website. Once the user chooses a date and a location the website will list all available hotel rooms in a given area. Each hotel room comes with many attributes, for instance, whether has a pool, offers free wifi, includes a breakfast, whether it requires a deposit and is refundable, etc.

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The problem in the real world is that the information about all those different hotels comes from multiple aggregators and “distribution systems” and these often do not provide the same attributes. So it can happen that a hotel has a beautiful pool but it is “distributed” through a system that does not even have a data field for pools. This poses a great problem to the ability to filter results. Of course, the easiest thing to do is to filter only by the information that is available: if we don’t know whether a hotel has a pool, don’t show it when filtering by pools. But this only works when unknown attributes are rather rare, not when a substantial part of the attributes can be unknow.

Is there a way to show the “unknown/maybe” result? Or is the filtering parading not suitable at all when the uncertainty of available attributes is too high?

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Does the effect of the spell Entangling Staff deal varying constriction damage dice based on weapon size?

The spell Entangling Staff (Spell Compendium p.83) causes the caster’s quarterstaff to grow vines and constrict opponents. The relevant section reads:

If your grapple check succeeds, your quarterstaff’s vines that can constrict one’s foe, dealing 2d6 points of damage

Normally, constriction damage changes with size just like other natural weapons. I am unsure how it would play out in this case, though. For example, if a large hill giant druid uses this against a player via his large quarterstaff, would the constriction damage be 3d6, or would it stay at 2d6 no matter the size of the caster/quarterstaff being used?

How to deal with differing interests as a DM?

A few years ago, I ran a short-lived 4e campaign with a bunch of players who all had a different idea of what aspect of the game was the most fun to them.

2 players, close friends, wanted to treat this like a typical video game RPG, where more of the intrinsic interactions, like information gathering, talking to NPCs, or even just being in town was dull. They wanted to just fight the bad guys, get loot, get experience, and level up.

Another was the complete opposite, he loved the non-combat situations, he’d love to talk his way out of a fight with bandits, or would love to stay in town and find out all the stories of what was going on. When it came to combat, you could tell, especially with the direct approach the others took, that he was dejected.

Then the last was completely about the immersion, he wanted to make sure we were counting arrows, tracking rations, maintaining weight, and more than anything making sure that people stayed in character.

As best I could, I tried to include everyone’s varying interests in the game, by including a mix of good social interaction, combat scenarios, and tried to keep everyone as immersed as possible by making them keep track of their inventories and tried to keep metagaming to a minimum. However, everyone’s dislikes seem to have won over and the group eventually lost interest and we stopped playing.

I say all this because recently, interest has been brought back up with the group about getting another game going (this time in 5e), and I worry this same concerns will end this game again. So my question is this, how do I, as a DM, try to make sure every type of player (described above) is enjoying the game, and not try to bog them down too much with what they don’t like?

How do agile teams deal with non-agile organizational structures?

I’ve worked at the same employer my entire career (going on 13 years now). We’re big and deal with sensitive data. Technology is not our product, but it helps support our main product.

I want to know how other large organizations are structured. Here we have silos of functional areas within IT. We have separate units responsible for Cloud Engineering, Identity Management, Application Lifecycle Management (maintain build servers and build definitions), Database Administrators, and Information Security. These separate areas all have their own separate priorities and marching orders.

I sit on a development scrum team. We represent the horizontal bar at the bottom. We execute project work that spans all the above functional areas. What this means for us is that when we want to execute a project we put in service request tickets to all these areas. Typically a new project will start with us requesting services through ~50 tickets. This is driving us developers nuts.

Is this how big companies do things? Is this probably more probable in companies where tech isn’t their main business line? What alternative structures have you seen in your roles?

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