The cover of Tasha’s Cauldron of Eveything, the latest Dungeons & Dragons player’s options book.
This has been an unusual year for Dungeons & Dragons. Like so many other in-person interactions, COVID-19 affected playing these games on a large and small scale. Wizards of the Coast adapted by moving their big celebrations online. Their release schedule adjusted slightly and November finds three official products hitting the shelves as the holidays roll in. We took a look at all three products to see which should end up under your Dungeon Master’s tree.
The alternate art cover of Tasha’s Couldron of Everything available at Friendly Local Game Stores … [+] everywhere November 17th.
The Fifth Edition of Dungeons ^ Dragons has been notoriously stingy on new rules and player options. When a new book comes out, it gives something for everyone to pour over. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has new player options, DM advice and more. The bad news is that some of the content has been seen in other places, such as Eberron: Rising From The Last War, The Essentials Kit and Mystic Odysseys of Theros. The good news is that much of that content has been expanded.
Chapter 1 contains the players’ options. There’s a discussion on how to disconnect bonuses from racial traits, a selection of new feats, an expanded reprint of the Artificer class and new options for the other classes. These include new class features, an explicit option to retrain class abilities starting at fourth level and new subclasses which include several psychic flavored choices. Overall, the classic feel a little more fantastic than the ones in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, though time will tell if there’s more than a cosmetic element of power creep.
MORE FROM FORBESA Look Inside Beadle & Grimm’s Eberron Gold Boxed SetBy Rob Wieland
The second chapter focuses on group patrons. Rather than relying on the classic opening of adventurers who meet in a tavern one night and end up sticking together, the group patron gives a little more shape to a campaign by creating an NPC that brings the players together. Each patron is broken down into subtypes, the kind of perks working for that patron can offer, contacts that the patron might know to assist on adventures and even a handful of adventure hooks the Dungeon Master can flesh out. This section seems like a welcome addition to Session Zero that can be flipped through and have everyone discuss what sort of campaign they had in mind together. (Session Zero is the session where everyone gets together, makes characters and discusses campaign ideas before play actually begins)
Chapter three puts forth some new spells and magical items in the game. Many of the magic items connect back to personalities in the D&D world. Fans of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter will find some other spells that she’s created during her time at Baba Yaga’s knee.
Modern RPG techniques are discussed in the fourth chapter, which focuses on Dungeon Master ideas. They include the aforementioned session zero, the idea of a social contract, and a version of lines and veils where everyone at the table outlines the type of content they don’t want to see in their D&D game. There’s also some discussion of one on one gaming which culminates in an expansion of the sidekick rules first seen in the Essentials Kit.
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The book ends with some environmental hazards that set up places for players to explore beyond the usual dank dungeons and spooky caves. There’s also a section on puzzles complete with some drop-in examples for Dungeon Masters to use.
It’s a screen, some charts and some punch out cards to help players wander the wilderness.
D&D has released new screens for each of its adventures but this time they are taking a slightly different tactic. Instead, this kit comes with a screen with charts customized for long trips in the wilderness, a set of dry erase cards with survival rules, hex maps and supply trackers, and a small box of punch out condition and initiative cards like the ones in the Essentials Kit. The set feels like a small extension of that box and that’s where my copy of this kit will live.
A D&D themed reprint of the Great Dalmuti
This classic card game first was designed by Richard Garfield in 1995. For tables that have played drinking games like President, there’s a lot familiar in this trick taking game. The shifting ranks at the table make it important to treat lessers better because they’ll be in power at some point and remember every moment of cruelty. The D&D theming offers monstrous versions of each of the ranks and this makes an excellent game to play before everyone is ready to play some D&D.
All of these products are available on November 17th, 2020 online and at Friendly Local Gaming stores everywhere.
Author: Rob Wieland
Risks of Bitcoin Correction Grow on Positive Moderna Vaccine Trial
Bitcoin was trading higher ahead of the New York opening bell Monday but risked shedding its intraday gains on Moderna’s latest announcement.
The tech-savvy pharmaceutical firm updated earlier Monday that its experimental coronavirus vaccine is 94.5 percent effective in protecting people from catching the infection. That marked the second successful trial seven days after Pfizer and its partner BioNTech also showed 90 percent efficacy in their COVID-19 trial.
Bitcoin initially reacted negatively to the Pfizer vaccine news on Monday last week as its price fell by more than $1,000 within a few hours into the announcement. Nevertheless, on the same day, billionaire investor Stan Druckenmiller claimed that he owns Bitcoin. His statements counterbalanced the said downside risks.
Bitcoin recovered later into the day.
A vaccine that effectively cures coronavirus expects to remove the necessity of social distancing.
Therefore, it allows the sectors that rely on close physical interactions — airlines, travel, manufacturing, entertainment, etc. — to return to normal. The global economy has a better probability of rebounding faster as long as there is a shot available to curb COVID-19.
A working vaccine also allows investors to reduce their appetite for riskier assets. It is the same reason why Gold, a safe-haven rival to Bitcoin, recorded its worst single-day decline on the day Pfizer claimed a successful trial. There was not a Stan Druckenmiller to save the precious metal.
Bitcoin is attempting to hold a price floor above $16,000. Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
Meanwhile, questions remain about the vaccine’s efficacy, cost, and distribution. The slower it reaches the people, the higher is the probability of investors to keep their one leg in safe-havens like gold and Bitcoin. The prospect of more stimulus from governments also makes them want to hold speculative assets over non-yielding cash or cash-based alternatives.
The Bitcoin market could expect to correct lower in the short-term as traders prepare their interim bearish positions against the vaccine outlook. Nevertheless, those with a long-term risk appetite could find the next dips as their opportunity to expand their cryptocurrency stocks.
The BTC/USD exchange rate is inside an overbought territory on its daily chart, thus bringing up another reason why the pair should correct lower — or at least, consolidate sideways above $16,000. Meanwhile, on a four-hour chart, BTC/USD is showing a bearish divergence.
Bitcoin shows bearish divergence on short-term charts. Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
That further amounts to a downside correction in addition to the said fundamentals and technicals above. But, according to Konstantin Anissimov, Executive Director at CEX.IO, the next big bearish move may take another two-three weeks to arrive. Excerpts from his statement to NewsBTC:
“It seems like BTC is poised for higher highs from a technical perspective. The Tom Demark (TD) Sequential indicator suggests that the cryptocurrency may continue to rise for another two to three weeks before a sell signal emerges. If this is the case, Bitcoin could rise to $19,000.”
Bitcoin was trading at $16,320 at press time, up more than 2 percent into the Monday session.
Crypto Market Sentiment Improves, Bitcoin & Ethereum In Optimistic Zone
The mixed shifting 7-day common crypto market sentiment rating for the highest 10 cash by market capitalization stays within the impartial zone, although it has grown to five.62 from final week’s 5.28, exhibits the crypto market sentiment evaluation service Omenics.
As bitcoin (BTC) is holding above USD 16,300, it continues to guide the crypto market by way of sentiment, and its shifting 7-day common continues to realize within the “very constructive” zone at 7.6 out of 10. The identical goes for ethereum (ETH), whose latest worth motion led its constructive sentiment progress from 6.3 last week to six.5 in the present day. BTC and ETH are the one high 10 cash with constructive market sentiment.
As for different contenders, XRP, EOS, chainlink (LINK), binance coin (BNB) and cardano (ADA) had a positive week as their sentiment grew by double digits – from 11% to 19%. Because of this, all of them apart from BNB are approaching the constructive sentiment zone in the event that they handle to take care of the momentum this week. The identical applies to litecoin (LTC), whose sentiment didn’t have an important week however nonetheless grew by 0.5% and is now within the impartial zone with 5.8.
The one coin with a detrimental sentiment progress was tether (USDT), because it misplaced 2.8% of its final week’s rating and stays within the impartial zone with 5.2. Similar to final week, BNB and EOS nonetheless share the bottom market sentiment amongst the highest 10 cash by market capitalization and stay not removed from the detrimental sentiment zone with the identical rating of 4.4, however no less than EOS managed to get again to impartial sentiment.
Sentiment change among the many high 10 cash*:
Decoding the sentscore’s scale:
– Zero to 2.5: very detrimental
– 2 to three.9: considerably detrimental zone
– Four to five.9: impartial zone
– 6 to 7.49: considerably constructive zone
– 7.5 to 10: very constructive
Trying on the previous 24 hours, the image is considerably gloomier. The entire high 10 cash have misplaced a portion of their weekly sentscore and are within the purple. The only real exceptions to this are XRP and BNB cash, whose sentiment has grown by 0.4% and a pair of.2% respectively. As such, the typical shifting 24-hour sentscore for the preferred cash is impartial and sits at 5.3, down from 5.47 final Monday. Once more, bitcoin and ethereum are the one cryptoassets within the constructive zone, scoring 7.Four and 6.4, and there are not any cash within the considerably detrimental degree, exhibits the 24-hour report.
Each day Bitcoin sentscore change previously month:
Exterior of the highest 10 checklist amongst the cash measured by Omenics, NEM is the one cryptoasset with a considerably constructive 7-day shifting common market sentiment of 6.1. By far the largest progress by way of sentscore final week was skilled by tezos (XTZ), which improved its sentscore by 30% and returned to the impartial zone. As such, komodo (KMD) stays the one altcoin within the considerably detrimental sentiment zone with a rating of three.9 – the bottom amongst all cash measured by Omenics.
* – Methodology:
Omenics measures the market sentiment by calculating the sentscore, which aggregates the sentiment from information, social media, technical evaluation, viral traits, and coin fundamentals-based upon their proprietary algorithms.
As their web site explains, “Omenics aggregates trending information articles and viral social media posts into an all-in-one information platform, the place you may also analyze content material sentiment,” later including, “Omenics combines the two sentiment indicators from information and social media with Three extra verticals for technical evaluation, coin fundamentals, and buzz, ensuing within the sentscore which experiences a normal outlook for every coin.” For now, they’re score 39 cryptocurrencies.
Expertise to Catch HOV Lane Cheaters Coming to DC Space – NBC4 Washington
If you happen to ever use the high-occupancy automobiles lanes whenever you’re not presupposed to, look out.
New know-how that may detect how many individuals are in a automobile is coming to HOV specific lanes within the D.C. space.
Cameras on the I-495, I-95 and I-395 specific lanes will be capable of see inside your automobile, News4 is first to report.
“The only approach to consider it’s in the event you think about a photograph of an empty automobile seat in comparison with a photograph with a person in it. The system can truly inform the distinction between these two photographs to search for passengers within the car,” Mike McGurk of Transurban defined.
The cameras will assist all drivers who use the lanes, Transurban Vice President Emeka Moneme mentioned.
“Toll costs and site visitors on the Categorical Lanes are correlated, so HOV violations are essentially unfair to prospects who’re paying their toll,” Moneme mentioned in a press release. “We’re leveraging know-how to teach prospects who make errors whereas guaranteeing all drivers observe the foundations of the street.”
The cameras are already working alongside I-95 and are nonetheless being adjusted elsewhere.
Within the specific lanes, you’ve got the choice to place your E-ZPass in carpool HOV mode.
Proper now, HOV cheaters are caught when Virginia State Police visually examine automobiles and ensure the required variety of individuals are using. You want three individuals or extra for HOV within the specific lanes.
However in the event you thought the troopers would go away because the cameras are added, guess once more; each will probably be in place.
Most drivers who spoke with News4 mentioned they have been OK with the brand new system and had heard of individuals making an attempt to cheat, together with by utilizing dummies of their automobiles.
Beverly Cooper mentioned surveillance wasn’t a lot of a priority.
“Massive Brother is in all places. I suppose I’m simply used to it now,” she mentioned.
The specific lane leaders mentioned they understand some individuals have the mistaken settings on their E-ZPass, so warnings will probably be despatched initially. After that, although, cheaters must pay the toll.
The cameras are already working alongside I-95, and the I-395 cameras are nonetheless being adjusted.
No Trust For Blockchain-Based Voting From MIT Cybersecurity Experts
It seems this festive season involves questioning all sorts of election processes. While the US elections are hotly contested by those that lost it, researchers at MIT are making a new argument. These researchers are advocating against the use of blockchain or Internet-based voting systems in the future.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory give out a report on the 16th of November, 2020. In this report, it’s claimed that blockchain voting technology doesn’t stand as a reliable method of promoting higher levels of turnout, running further risk of hackers trying to affect the elections, as well
Micheal Spector, Sunoo Park, Ronald L. Rivest, and Neha Narula stand as the cybersecurity team that made this conclusion. They described the use of blockchain in voting as wholly unsuitable for political elections for the “foreseeable future.”
This stands in comparison to software-independent methods, such as male-in ballots and voting in person. One of the key concerns about the matter was regarding the lack of secrecy of the ballots themselves, as they can be traced to the blockchain itself.
Alongside this, another key argument against this is the lack of auditing should there be a contested race, such as what’s happening now in the US.
Rivest stands as a professor at MIT and the report’s senior author, highlighting how the current election system isn’t anywhere near perfect. Even so, he argued that the risk of nation-scale undetectable election failures would only increase dramatically should blockchain be used. According to Rivest, any increase in turnout would be lost due to a lack of assurances that the votes were counted as they were cast.
From there, Rivest said something downright humorous, if not offensive to most of the blockchain users out there: He claimed that blockchain systems were so unreliable, in his eyes, that he wouldn’t even trust it with a jelly bean count at a county fair, let alone a presidential election.
One of the key arguments that the team makes regarding the use of blockchain technology for democratic voting was the difference between financial transactions and voting. Should a hack occur to a financial institution, they have ways to compensate victims for their losses. This even applies to select crypto exchanges, who are capable of freezing tokens they associate with a hack.
The report claims that there can’t be any form of recourse or insurance should the democratic election fail, so there would be no way of compensating the voters should it be compromised.
Author: FOLLOW ON
SEC Boss Jay Clayton to Step Down in December 2020
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been a thorn in the crypto industry’s side, to say the least. Initially supposed to ensure financial development, the agency has been notorious for hamstringing cryptocurrencies and dragging its heels on regulatory clarity. However, things could change soon.
According to an official release, Jay Clayton, the SEC’s Chairman since 2017, will step down from his role at the end of the year. Clayton has been one of the agency’s longest-serving bosses, and he will be leaving a clear-cut reputation as he steps down from the role in the next few weeks.
“The U.S. capital markets ecosystem is the strongest and most nimble in the world, and thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protections, promoted capital formation for small and larger businesses, and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently,” Clayton said in his speech.
While he would love to tout his achievements, the crypto industry won’t remember the Clayton-led SEC quite so fondly.
Under Clayton’s leadership, the SEC grew to become the Boogeyman for the crypto industry. Companies were scared to list tokens or conduct Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) for fear that the agency would clamp down on them. And clamp, it did.
During Clayton’s tenure, the SEC took over $14 billion in monetary remedies. A record $4.68 billion of that came in 2020 alone. Of that haul, $1.26 billion came from supposedly unregistered ICOs.
There is also the problem of crypto-based financial products, which the SEC failed to acknowledge. Since 2018, no less than five firms filed for Bitcoin-denominated exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The SEC denied them all, noting in most cases that they failed to guarantee an acceptable level of investor protection.
Despite multiple tweaks and acquiesces, the agency remained dogged in its belief that the firms’ Bitcoin-based products weren’t safe enough. Eventually, most of the companies either stopped re-applying or withdrew their applications in disgust and frustration.
It’s also worth noting that the SEC did little to promote crypto regulation in the United States. Clayton became SEC Chairman at the time Bitcoin grew to become mainstream. Despite hopes and pleadings from top industry players to develop a reliable regulatory regime, the agency continued to drag its heels.
Save for the occasional ICO crackdown, the SEC was mum on the prospect of crypto regulation. One year passed, then another, and the agency didn’t budge.
Many have called out the SEC for its “regulation through enforcement” stance. Speaking last month, Chris Larsen, a co-founder at blockchain firm Ripple Labs, hammered the agency’s mode of operation, explaining that it would hurt technological and financial innovation in the long run. Ripple Labs itself is now reportedly considering exiting the U.S. on the same grounds of an unfavorable regulatory environment.
For many, Clayton’s exit will be good news. It’s unclear who his successor will be, but this could mark a time for change – and, hopefully, a positive one.
Author: FOLLOW ON