Can the stress of wish prevent using wishes from other sources?

The stress of casting wish for creative effects has a 1/3 chance of preventing the caster from ever casting wish again. (There are plenty of cites all over RPG Exchange.) Does this preclude using wishes from sources that do not involve the PC casting wish?


Related: Does a character suffer negative effects from using a Wish spell cast from a magic item? — This question addresses an item that enables the PC “to cast the wish spell from it”.

Do the negative effects of wish apply to free wishes? — This question’s second bullet point is similar to my question, but is phrased as being able to use items’ properties that enable a PC to cast wish.

Does the wish-granting Efreeti from an Efreeti Bottle suffer wish stress? — This discusses whether an efreeti granting a wish suffers wish stress. This approaches my question: Can a PC that cannot cast wish due to the stress have their wish fulfilled by an efreeti or similar?

(This question arose from a dream I had last night: Dream-me took a ring that I had collected during my adventuring days. This was not a Ring of Three Wishes, rather a ring like the lamp in “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp” from Arabian Nights: The host vessel for a djinni that could grant wishes without numerical limit. I was negotiating with the djinni on the phrasing of a wish that would cancel the contagious aspect of SARS-CoV-2; the djinni told me that if I wished for that, I would never be able to use a wish ever again. I was willing to pay that price; wouldn’t you?)

When indulging a vice, can I spend coin to increase the stress relieved?

The general rules for downtime activities allow spending coin to improve the roll:

For any downtime activity, take +1d to the roll if a friend or contact helps you. After the roll, you may spend coin after the roll to improve the result level. Increase the result level by one for each coin spent. So, a 1-3 result becomes a 4 or a 5, a 4/5 result becomes a 6, and a 6 becomes a critical.

For the Acquire an Asset, Reduce Heat, Recover, or Long-Term Project activities, this makes sense: they have various outcomes keyed to each of those results (1-3, 4-5, 6, critical).

But how does this work for the Indulge Vice action, where the outcome (stress removed) is simply equal to the highest die roll? Suppose I roll a 1, and want to spend coin to improve it. I could see this working three different ways:

  • The next result level above 1-3 is 4-5, so I can spend a coin to increase it to a 4 or 5. Lucky me.

  • Indulging a vice doesn’t use the same result levels as everything else; it has 6 discrete levels, so spending a coin increases a 1 to a 2.

  • Indulging a vice doesn’t use this mechanic at all. I get my 1 stress relief. If I want more than that, I have to take the Indulge Vice action again.

How can I stress my players’ resources while making the stressors feel natural without simply adding more combat encounters?

In a weekly campaign I’ve been running my players have recently reached levels where they are obtaining some of their core abilities. One of my players is a druid, who has chosen the wild shape-focused Circle of the Moon. Now that he can transform into a brown bear as a bonus action his character has made me notice a flaw in my session design: my characters seem to never be at a loss for abilities, spells, and the like. Encounters – combat encounters especially – are always too easy for them.

I should point out that this is my fault, not theirs – if anything they are taking fewer rests than what would probably be considered normal. I find fitting in the recommended number of combat encounters to be immersion breaking. Tossing so many random combat encounters at a group who is making a day trip to kill an ogre harassing a nearby farming village feels very manufactured. The timescale also feels a bit prohibitive – running into so many hostile groups in a single adventuring day seems odd.

The focus of my campaign is the story, not combat. Combat-heavy segments are definitely within scope, likely solving the problems I’ve mentioned, but they will not always be appropriate. I am specifically interested in solutions for when combat-heavy play is not a good option.

How can I stress my players’ resources while making the stressors feel natural without simply adding more combat encounters?

Does the wish-granting Efreeti from an Efreeti Bottle suffer wish stress?

There is a small chance that an efreeti released by this item has the following effect:

The efreeti can cast the wish spell three times for you. It disappears when it grants the final wish or after 1 hour, and the bottle loses its magic. (— DMG 167)

Would this creature be subject to wish-related stress?

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you. After enduring that stress, each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage per level of that spell. This damage can’t be reduced or prevented in any way. In addition, your Strength drops to 3, if it isn’t 3 or lower already, for 2d4 days. For each of those days that you spend resting and doing nothing more than light activity, your remaining recovery time decreases by 2 days. Finally, there is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again if you suffer this stress. (— PHB 289)

If so, there would be more than a 70% (19/27) chance that the Efreeti becomes incapable of casting wish if given three wishes that trigger this stress to grant.

Origin and Actual Meaning of ‘Stress and Consequences are Not HP’

Over the course of my interactions with the fate community, I’ve repeatedly encountered the mantra that Stress and Consequences are not HP and should not be treated as such. The comparison can be split into two easily analysable bits:

  • Stress is not HP, in that, unlike HP, Stress is a fuzzy abstracted thing not necessarily mapped 1:1 to the concrete state of a character’s health.
  • Consequences are not HP, in that, unlike HP, they can affect the narrative, ability to act etc.

For a long time, I thought they’re contrasts against D&D, which supposedly treat HP as a measure of concrete medical facts about the character’s state. Because describing the system in contrast to D&D seems to be a big trend in the communities. But recently I’ve encountered a definition of HP in D&D, and found that it isn’t all that concrete, and largely shares many degrees of abstraction and fuzziness with Stress:

D&D 5e:

Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. Creatures with more hit points are more difficult to kill. Those with fewer hit points are more fragile.

D&D 4e (predating release of the current edition of fate):

Over the course of a battle, you take damage from attacks. Hit points (hp) measure your ability to stand up to punishment, turn deadly strikes into glancing blows, and stay on your feet throughout a battle. Hit points represent more than physical endurance. They represent your character’s skill, luck, and resolve—all the factors that combine to help you stay alive in a combat situation.

And even the way things were written initially:

Anyway, keep in mind that the OA/D&D systems were never meant to be combat simulators, and all wise DMs ignored the few portions that lead in that direction. Damage and hit points in any game are most probably based on game considerations that have nothing to do with actual human or animal frailties, if you will. […] In a game, details of such things are pretty well minor considerations, never to be dealt with in any sort of mechanic that is based on actuality, or else the whole reason for the game form, adventure on an onging basis with a heroic game persona, is lost.

(Emphases mine.)

Even our own tag wiki for hit-points states outright that they’re an abstraction.

So these descriptions of what HPs are seem to be invalidate my assumption that the former statement is based on overgeneralising HP from D&D to the understanding of RPGs in general or on assuming that the meaning of HP implies D&D HP.

But that, in turn, complicates my understanding of where the second statement originates from. If one isn’t to read ‘HP’ as ‘D&D HP’, then one can quickly discover that, for example, HP in GURPS or Health Boxes in Storyteller (WoD) do provide effects that affect the narrative, such as making it harder to perform certain actions, just as much if not more than Consequences can.


So it seems to me that neither the contrast to D&D, nor to the broader umbrella of the concept of HP in RPGs in general in its many implementations, can account for the origin of the mantra.

Thus I’d like to know: How did it originate? Was it a result of a misreading of the D&D definition at the time of publishing of fate-core, or is it based on comparison to HPs in a game where they simultaneously are concrete and yet don’t provide the effects that concrete state of being wounded would entail? Or is there perhaps another explanation for what the statement is meant to compare them to? Or is it a case of trying to oppose to a DeadUnicornTrope of HP?

Because to understand what ‘X is not Y’ actually means, one needs to understand what is meant by Y.

How to mitigate backend stress generated from malicious traffic

I want to reduce, or mitigate the effects of, malicious layer 7 traffic (targeted attacks, generic evil automated crawling) which reaches my backend making it very slow and even unavailable. This regards load-based attacks as described in the excellent answer https://serverfault.com/a/531942/1816

Assume that:

  1. I use a not very fast backend/CMS (e.g ~1500ms TTFB for every dynamically generated page). Optimizing this is not possible, or simply very expensive in terms of effort.
  2. I’ve fully scaled up, i.e I’m on the fastest H/W possible.
  3. I cannot scale out, i.e the CMS does not support master-to-master replication, so it’s only served by a single node.
  4. I use a CDN in front of the backend, powerful enough to handle any traffic, which caches responses for a long time (e.g 10 days). Cached responses (hits) are fast and do not touch my backend again. Misses will obviously reach my backend.
  5. The IP of my backend is unknown to attackers/bots.
  6. Some use cases, e.g POST requests or logged in users (small fraction of total site usage), are set to bypass the CDN’s cache so they always end up hitting the backend.
  7. Changing anything on the URL in a way that makes it new/unique to the CDN (e.g addition of a &_foo=1247895239) will always end up hitting the backend.
  8. An attacker who has studied the system first will very easily find very slow use cases (e.g paginated pages to the 10.000th result) which they’ll be able to abuse together with random parameters of #7 to bring the backend to its knees.
  9. I cannot predict all known and valid URLs and legit parameters of my backend at a given time in order to somehow whitelist requests or sanitize the URL on the CDN in order to reduce unnecessary requests from reaching the backend. e.g /search?q=whatever and /search?foo=bar&q=whatever will 100% produce the same result because foo=bar is not something that my backend uses, but I cannot sanitize that on the CDN level.
  10. Some attacks are from a single IP, others are from many IPs (e.g 2000 or more) which cannot be guessed or easily filtered out via IP ranges.
  11. The CDN provider and the backend host provider both offer some sort of DDoS attack feature but the attacks which can bring my backend down are very small (e.g only 10 requests per second) and are never considered as DDoS attacks from these providers.
  12. I do have monitoring in place and instantly get notified when the backend is stressed, but I don’t want to be manually banning IPs because this is not viable (I may be sleeping, working on something else, on vacation or the attack may be from many different IPs).
  13. I am hesitant to introduce a per-IP limit of connections per second on the backend since I will, at some point, end up denying access to legit users. e.g imagine a presentation/workshop about my service taking place in a university or large company where from tens or hundreds of browsers will almost simultaneously be using the service from a single IP address. If these are logged in, then they’ll always reach my backend and not be served by the CDN. Another case is public sector users all accessing the service from very limited amount of IP addresses (provided by the government).
  14. I do not want to permanently blacklist certain large IP ranges of countries which sometimes are the origins of attacks (e.g China, eastern Europe) because this is unfair, wrong, will deny access to legit users from those areas and attacks from other places will not be affected.

So, what can I do to handle this situation? Is there a solution that I’ve not taken into consideration in my assumptions that could help?

Airy stress, Beltrami stress and gauge fields

The following problem comes from the theory of elasticity, but reduces to a pure geometric problem. Consider a $ d$ -dimensional Riemannian manifold $ (M,g)$ with boundary representing the intrinsic geometry of an elastic body. A configuration of that body is an immersion $ f:M\to R^d$ . For simplicity assume that $ M$ is compact, orientable and simply-connected.

Equilibrium configurations are critical points of an energy functional; the Euler-Lagrange equation is of the form $ $ \delta^\nabla \tau = 0, $ $
where $ \tau\in\Omega^1(M;f^*TR^d)$ is the tension field and $ \delta^\nabla$ is the covariant codifferential associated with the induced connection on $ f^*TR^d$ . The tension field $ \tau$ is determined by the precise form of the energy functional. A typical choice of the energy functional yields $ $ \tau = df((df)^Tdf – Id_{TM}). $ $

Regardless of the form of the energy functional a tension field $ \tau$ satisfying the Euler-Lagrange equation can be represented as $ $ \tau = df\circ \delta^\nabla(\delta^\nabla\Psi)^T\circ(df^Tdf)^{-1} \, \det df, $ $ where $ \Psi\in\Omega^2(M;\wedge^2 TM)$ and the connection here is the pullback of the Euclidean connection on $ TM$ . The “stress function” $ \Psi$ is of the type of a curvature operator, i.e., has $ d^2(d^2-1)/12$ degrees of freedom. In turn, $ \tau$ determines $ df^Tdf$ which determines the pullback metric on $ TM$ ; since the latter must be flat, one obtains a system of $ d^2(d^2-1)/12$ compatibility equations for the vanishing of the Riemann curvature tensor of the pullback metric. These equations are highly nonlinear, but this doesn’t matter for the sake of the ensuing discussion.

For $ d=2$ , $ \Psi$ can be represented by a scalar field (known as the Airy stress function) and one obtains a single scalar compatibility condition for the vanishing of the Gaussian curvature of the pullback metric. For $ d\ge 3$ , one has a gauge freedom, as the operator $ \Psi \mapsto \delta^\nabla(\delta^\nabla \Psi)^T$ has a non-trivial kernel. For $ d=3$ , this has been known for over a century, yielding the so-called Maxwell and Morera representations of the stress function.

I am trying to figure out the reduced representation in general dimension. The first two questions that come in mind are:

  1. What is the symmetry at the heart of this gauge freedom?
  2. Is there a natural coordinate-free way to obtain a reduced set of compatibility equations for a reduced representation of $ \Psi$ .

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