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Reblogged:Also, Don't Be a Dragon!

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Jerry Liu offers the following advice, which fellow role-playing gamers will find easy to translate into real-life terms and quite memorable: Use your potions and scrolls.

He opens with a familiar scenario:
I find that when I play RPG games, I often hoard single-use items like potions and scrolls, saving them for some future critical moment. I finish games like Skyrim with a backpack full of unspent resources, reserved for a crisis that never actually arrives. What's the point, then, of all these items?
The answer to his last question arrives from an experiment that it's probably fair to say went better than he expected:
Recently I played Baldur's Gate 3 and I decided to try something new: I would actually gasp use my items as needed, as they were intended, without undue reservation. Not only was it actually fun to use my fireball scrolls and blow stuff up, but I also discovered new layers and hidden quests. For instance, using a 'Speak with the Dead' scroll on a certain suspicious corpse unveiled a questline I would have otherwise missed.
Liu elaborates on his lesson, in the rest of his short, thought-provoking post. One insight worth remembering is that many things are actually not single-use -- although they can expire!

Liu's backpack full of unused potions and scrolls reminds me of a related insight I had over years: Having a lot of something can, under certain conditions, be the functional equivalent of not having it at all.

The germ of this one arose back in my card-playing undergraduate days, when I noticed that, depending on how one played long in a suit, one could opt to stay in a lead or basically sit out the rest of a hand. My huge supply of, say, diamonds, might mean noone could lead me into diamonds (or take them) because they were all in my hand.

That ring is in there somewhere, but good luck finding it! (Image by Arthur Rackham, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
This isn't always helpful: Decades later, after a series of interstate moves that included young children in tow and no purging for several years, I remember looking for something in a garage full of disorganized stuff and unopened boxes.

I can't recall what I was looking for at the time, but even though I knew we had multiple instances of it, I had to buy another because everything was lost in the disorganized dragon's hoard that our garage housed instead of our cars.

Leading up to our last move, I attacked that hoard over a period of three months. We donated dozens of boxes of things to Goodwill, and lots of that stuff was brand new, or as good as new.

Until I did that, it was as if we didn't have a garage -- or most of the things that were being stored in it!

The clearing-out caused moving preparations to take longer than I would have liked, but I did not want to have the same situation on the other end. I wanted to enjoy this house!

That was time well-spent, but looking back to Liu's advice again, it is clear that, had I not had to deal with this mess, I could have used a big chunk of time for much more interesting things.

-- CAV

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