Here is how credit cards work:

Imagine stumbling into a fairy ring that belongs to the fairy mafia. An enchanting being appears, smile wide enough to reveal rows of sharp and glistening teeth, and it remarks, "Why, traveler, you look positively destitute! I have just the thing!"
It turns its palms up, revealing fistfuls of gold coins. Gold coins falling to the moss below. Gold coins all around you.

"Borrow whatever you'd like! Just bring it back by the next full moon, alright, my sweet?"

That's when you notice its necklace of withered human fingers.
You take a handful of gold coins, because you really do need the money. As long as you pay this strange creature back before the next full moon, nothing bad will come of it.

Now, obviously the fairy is trying to trick you. You know that! But you're confident you can outwit it.
You borrow what you need, and you return it to that magical forest place before the moon fills. All is well. Better than well! The fairy grows fond of you, leaving you larger and larger piles of gold to borrow.

Other fairies begin to make offerings to you as you walk the woods.
One month, life is particularly cruel to you. You can't pay back the gold you borrowed.

On the night of the full moon, the being appears. "Don't worry, my sweet. I am merciful. Just give me what you have today, and pay the rest by next moon." It strokes its gruesome necklace.
"I'm sorry," you say. "I'll earn the money. I'll pay back the debt!"

"Don't worry at all, precious darling! All in due time. Things have a way of working themselves out." And then, before disappearing in a puff of smoke, whispered under its breath: "that's the first finger."
The fairy keeps leaving you bigger piles of gold. The temptation grows stronger. Eventually, you come to think of it as *your* gold.

You borrow too much sometimes, and can't pay it back. "Two fingers," it whispers without sound. Then three. It keeps letting you take more money.
One day, you realize that regardless of whether you make good on your debts, you can't stop borrowing more gold. Not only because you've built your life around it, but also because if you ever stopped borrowing it would make the fairies very angry. Not just this one. All of them.
You look around you at the world. Your fellow villagers have all fallen under the sway of the fairies. Borrowed fairy gold runs your whole town. People only do business with others if they are known to be in the favour of the fairies. Every day, more hands with missing fingers.
The savvy villager knows just what to do: borrow small amounts of gold regularly, to attract the attention and good graces of the fairies, and always repay it in full before the next moon, knowing it is not their gold. Get charmed and keep their fingers.

Few villagers are savvy.
Anyways, "sinister temptations from the fairy mafia, who will love you dearly if you play their game right" is the framework that helps me make my best credit decisions. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there too.

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4 Sep 20
A growing frustration that I've been contending with over the past year is how much trans advocacy is grounded in an individualist and liberal understanding of gender, rather than, say, a socialist feminist, radical feminist, decolonial, or other structural analysis.
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Would fellow tabletop roleplaying game designers find it helpful if I wrote a thread about the basics of managing your finances as a sole proprietor?

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Cool, it seems like there's some interest.

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Another thread in my series of game design threads:

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