Monday, February 20, 2017

Spoons or Spell Slots? How Much Energy Do You Have?

Many of us are fortunate that we do not have to plan every aspect of our day around an illness. We can get up, take a shower, go to work, and generally function without too much thought put into the actions. However, those who do have an illness, or a disability, do not have that option. They have to plan their day, and their lives, entirely around their conditions. This is bad enough when someone has an obvious physical condition, such as an amputee, but it can be even worse when someone is coping with an invisible illness. People who suffer from fibromyalgia, for example, or those who deal with lupus, chronic migraines, or other conditions that affect the sufferer, but which other people cannot see. And because they do not see it, they don't understand what your problem is.

Anxiety? What do you need to be anxious about? Look at how friggin' RIPPED you are!
Attempting to explain to normal people that just because you look fine that you can still be suffering is exasperating for those who live with a sickness. One method created to explain the energy it takes to live under an illness's constraints is called Spoon Theory (you can check it out at You Don't Look Sick). The basic idea behind it is that most people can perform certain actions thoughtlessly, because they aren't carrying a weight with them. People who suffer from a condition, though, begin their day with a certain number of spoons. Every action they take, from getting out of bed, to taking a shower, to getting dressed, to eating, takes a certain number of spoons. So they have to budget their actions in order to get as much stuff done as they can with the resources they have for that day.

And Then We Made It Geeky

This isn't a hard metaphor to understand, but someone's DM just wasn't getting it. Which is where the post by lesbianspaceprincess on Tumblr comes in. You see, explaining a spoon-based economy didn't catch... but when the DM realized that energy economy sounded a lot like spell slots, a new way of explaining how much energy one to work with has was born.

New... an extraordinarily geeky.
Anyone who's ever played a spellcaster knows you have to budget out your magic. Because sure, you could cast knock to open every door in the dungeon, but how many times can you cast that before you're out of magic? Better to let the rogue handle it. A well-placed fireball or lightning bolt can wipe the field clean... but do you need to use it now? Is that really the best use of your resources?

That is the way people suffering from an invisible sickness have to look at their lives. Small tasks use relatively small spell slots. Getting dressed, for example, might be a first-level spell. Driving in the city, well, that might be a second-level spell. Having a meeting with your boss, or making that difficult call to your doctor? Well, that might be a fifth-level spell slot. The great thing about your slots, though, is you can use higher-level slots to cast lower-level spells. So if it turns out you didn't have to deal with a particular crisis that day, or a big problem solved itself, you can use that fifth-level slot to deal with a few first and second-level problems.

Hopefully there are some folks who found this week's Moon Pope Monday post interesting, or helpful if you've had to explain this very kind of situation to the people in your life. If you'd like me to keep bringing you content like this, consider heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron. All it takes is $1 a month to help me keep the content coming, and to get yourself some sweet swag! Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter yet, now would be a great time to do so.

No comments:

Post a Comment