stand up for the little guy

You may have heard about the fcc’s latest threat to net neutrality.

It’s worth it for us, as blog readers and writers, to make our voice heard over this particular issue. We benefit from living in this special time in history when people can easily communicate with each other without having their conversation moderated by third parties. We don’t need to hope that our little communiques get into the Forum in Dragon Magazine, or wait for APA newsletters to be mailed by overworked enthusiasts. Our exposure to new D&D ideas is not limited to those endorsed by Gary Gygax or Mike Mearls in TSR- or Wizards- published books.

Here is the email I sent to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler ( I sent similar emails to,,, and Mike.O’

please stand up for net neutrality

Hi Tom,

I note with sadness that the FCC is proposing to give “special access” to internet content providers who pay more. In effect, this penalizes the small websites, web resources, startups, and e-businesses that make the internet special.

I strongly urge you to reconsider this position. Do you want to be the FCC who supports everyone’s equal access to the internet, or the FCC who allows big corporations to squeeze out the little guys?

Hoping for the best,
Paul Hughes

Joesky tax: although net neutrality seems important to me and my hobby now, it might not be the issue that defines the age. In the D&D world, for every ancient threat that is once more rearing its head, there must be a bunch more that never really went anywhere.

In case your players’ History checks are getting dusty, here’s a dungeon for you. Upon its gate is written, in antique Common, “HE WHO BLEATS THE BLEAT OF COWARDS SHALL BE THE MEAT OF STRONGER MEN.”

A hard History check reveals that, four hundred years ago, the PCs’ country made peace with a neighboring country. The peace was not universally accepted, and a popular ballad called the peace proclamation “the Bleat of Cowards.” Few now remember the war or the ballad.

The dungeon was once a compound of rebels who wanted to extend the war. It contains a mix of rotten war equipment, singleminded undead locked in history, and traps.

Protecting the keep’s treasure is a Magic Mouth which asks a series of seemingly nonsensical questions: “Are ye with Bruno or the King?” “Did Harold die in vain?” “Shall the Cuperdines enter the confines of the city?” Correctly answering the questions requires a) a hard History check to determine the historical context of the question and b) the knowledge that the dungeon’s inhabitants were pro-war. If the players don’t know the answers, they may guess or head back to the city to hit the library.

If a PC answers a question incorrectly, he or she is turned into a sheep. The Magic Mouth will then recite some gloating speech about “Thus shall your insides match your out, and King Cuperdine shall have mutton for dinner” that really only made sense at the time.

The sheep curse requires a Dispel Magic or a very hard Arcana check to lift; possibly the sheep PC will have to be taken to the city for expert treatment. If it’s market day, the sheep PC might get mixed up in someone else’s herd! But don’t extend this too far: the sheep player will want his or her body back at some point.

4 Responses to “stand up for the little guy”

  1. Rhenium says:

    Regarding the ancient threat that never went anywhere, I suppose you could go with several angles.

    1) The one that I think of first is Bargle’s mass polymorphed army, sitting right outside Threshold waiting, waiting for the signal that never came. I think it was mentioned in the D&D Expert rules? What ever happened to Bargle? Was he slain? Went onto better things? Forgot? How did he go from having one goblin minion to an entire army polymorphed? Who knows…

    2) Historians are generally not young, some are as sprightly as 50! (We’re talking, medieval historians and sages here, think 80 of our years). They’re likely to have spent too much time in musty rooms, staring at faded texts for many years until they’ve min-maxed their strength, dexterity (and likely charisma) for intelligence. Note I did not include wisdom, if you know any academics (disclaimer: I am one) this is not likely to be very high. Now consider that you have to escort this delicate repository of knowledge deep into a trap filled, undead inhabited dungeon. “Now this ancient tapestry depicts the Heterodyne’s obscure cousin Melodious and as you can see… argh Crab spider!”

  2. kaloo says:

    Surely he’ll be satisfied if I give him back his levels but leave him as a sheep. I mean I think the wizard sheep is a solid PC.

  3. redbead says:

    I sent an email to each of the FCC board members. Thanks – for that and the dungeon idea.

  4. Anubis says:

    Well how do you feel about it now that Net Netrality was pushed without being reveled to be written by George “the nation destroyer” Soros? It was passed without being read like O-hole care. Gov regluations will let the big companies invest like Warren Buffet each lobbying dollar giving over $700 payback. 96% of internet users have a choice of providers which had to compete against each other instead of tossing a regulator a car.

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