20 November 2009

Here's an idea, do your gorram job!

Every week, the Senate routinely passes legislation that is never voted on, never debated, and rarely, if ever, read by the full Senate. Now surely, you say, this process is reserved for non-controversial bills like renaming post offices or honoring the Super Bowl champions, right?

Wrong. The “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” regularly passes major legislation that creates new programs and authorizes billions in new spending without you knowing until after the fact.

The game works this way: the leaders of both parties send an email and recorded phone message to each Senate office notifying them they would like to pass certain bills sometime that day by unanimous consent. If no senator calls his or her party leader to object, it usually passes at the close of business that day without a recorded vote. Sometimes, I am given just a few minutes to read lengthy bills, and unless I pick up the phone to object (“hold”), it is considered passed by the US Senate.

I would be willing to bet that few senators even take the time to read the request, let alone the bill. Worse, the decision is usually left to an unelected staff member.

And they expect you to find out by noting the bill’s passage in the congressional record on the day after passage.

They call this process “unanimous consent” when in reality it is consent by default.
The US Senate, too lazy to debate. Fuck!

19 November 2009

Inre: 'I’m not sure why there’s a resistance to proclaiming oneself libertarian'

In the comments of this story about Republican primary challenges by Texas TEA Party protesters,

Bill589 said...

I run into many ‘conservatives, but . . . ’, who are actually better described as ‘right libertarians’. I’m not sure why there’s a resistance to proclaiming oneself libertarian; my guess is it’s mostly from skewed press over the years.

To which I reply:

Because Left-Libertarians, Minarchists, Anarchists, and Libertines give the whole Libertarian stream of thought a black name amongst Nationalists or Culturalists of any stripe.

Libertarian's hostility to the concept of the State, of standing armies and military spending, the seeming inability of Libertarianism to find any grounds from which to condemn infanticide, hostility to America's Christian identity, the studied refusal to recognize vital national interests, the rejection of preemptive national defense, Libertarian paeans to unrestricted immigration and hostility to border security and labor market restrictions, Libertarian praise for Jefferson Davis and condemnation of Lincoln...

These are why Conservatives are uncomfortable with Libertarianism. Liberty implies Duty; but Libertarianism tends to call Duty Slavery.

Yes, Libertarianism is a wide stream, as this blog indicates, but after having canceled my 'Liberty' subscription and stopped reading 'Reason' [out of disgust] I have come to point of saying, 'if this is Libertarianism, then I am a Statist and be damned'.

21 October 2009

Venturer: Thoughts

Science Fantasy, Post Cataclysmic, Pulp Planetary Romance, in the Far Future!!

What the hell does that mean? Let me tell you dear reader (yes you, I see you over there).

Science Fantasy: This one's easy, two great tastes, together at last. The fallen Imperium of Man once ruled 30+ stars alone and serene in the vastness of space (science). As the Empire slowly ossified and sunk into degenerate hedonism, cults began to spring up that worshiped the ancient things beyond space and time (fantasy). Taking advantage, the wild men at the fringes of the Imperium; barbarians, pirates, raiders, fanatics, and outlaws began to run wild in an orgy of rape, pilliage, and destruction (science). One cult rises up to convert the wild men and lead them across the breadth of the Imperium smashing and burning worlds to feed their dark gods, culminating in the Sack of Terra (fantasy). With the Western Imperator dead (strangled in bed), Terra fallen, and the wild men settling down to enjoy the fruits of their conquests, Terra Nova in the East is the last bastion of Imperial technical civilization (science). Just when the traumatized human sphere thinks the worst is over, the stars come right again and the ancient things from beyond space and time, the vile Xothians rise up out of the depths of the wells of chaos and emerge from the ebony spherical event horizons that have opened up all across the worlds of men (fantasy).

Post Cataclysm: Well I think this speaks for itself, post apocalyptic just doesn't mean what people think it means, and has the wrong connotation to boot. Despite the fact that 'apocalypse' just means 'change' to most readers the connotation is one of finality. A cataclysm on the other hand, is in fact a major catastrophe, but it is not the end. One story ends and another begins. Most of the invading wild men were just looking for habitable worlds to settle on, and they intermarry with the surviving Imperials to found a new culture. One that looks back to the very Imperium that the invaders help to bring down as a lost golden age. In fact the new Western kingdoms that spring up adopt the Church of the Spirit of Man of the Earth, like their ex-imperial neighbors and in contrast to the popularity of the Spirit of Man of the Stars in the areas dominated by Terra Nova to the East.

Pulp Planetary Romance: Well, each habitable planet will have a unifying theme that will guide me in creating the textures of background and setting. For example, Venturer Mars will be based on Dark Ages Britain, while North America takes on traits of Gaul, Italy, and Spain, with Eurasia representing North Africa and Germania. The Asteroid belt and the moons of Saturn will be home to space vikings and so on. The characters will be larger than life, heroic or vile. This is not a setting for second guessing or navel gazing, but direct action!

07 October 2009

Venturer: Careers, one more time

Ok got it. If we rearrange the Freeman career slightly;

Freeman: Not many of the few skilled free-guild members will leave the relative safety of their walled towns, underground vaults, and guarded cantonments, but some skills are rare and in high demand in the scattered small villages and settlements on the edges of the Yankish Kingdoms.
  • Tech Rigger: This skilled technician can create and repair electronic and robotic devices, even remotely control drones and automatons.
  • Mechanic: Generators, engines, windmills, tools to make tools... someone has to keep civilization going...
  • Merchant: Merchants can make real money bringing resources to the cities and finished goods to the fringes.
Then we add two more career trees: the Entertainer and the Adept.

Entertainer: Man does not live on bread alone, he needs stories to feed his soul and frame his life. The road is dangerous, but you never know what you will find. Will ye Venture out with me?
  • Bard: Musician, poet, minstrel, troubadour, six-string samurai; your songs can move the masses
  • Harlequin: Jester, juggler, tumbler, mime, actor, masked man; your antics can bring laughs and tears, also few can control their bodies like you can
  • Gladiator: Man must learn face his end, and you show how by facing death to give example. Few can best you one on one.
Adept: There a few educated men left, and fewer still go out into the world a Venturing. Those few have valued places in any party.
  • Field Researcher: Archeologist, biologist, planetologist, a thousand others; you have a theory and need data to back it up.
  • Churigeon: Medics and healers are all well and good, but sometimes you need a real student of the human body. Sure would be nice if he would stop studying you long enough to actually fix you though.
  • Mad Spark: They said it couldn't be done, that it shouldn't be done. You'll show 'em, you'll show 'em all!!

Venturer: Careers II

more paths to 'Venture:

Psion: These mentalists use their talents to peer into other's thoughts, or to form darts of their will
  • Wyld Psyker: Cast out into the wilderness for his wytchery, the Wyld Psyker has little training but raw power and a connection to the natural world
  • Mentalist: Trained by an order or guild of mind-masters, the Mentalist has a breadth of skill and fine control of his abilities.
  • Psyber Knight: A psionic warrior-mystic, the Psyber Knights are respected and feared.

Rogue: Members of Societies seedy underbelly, the Rogue has many abilities that may be useful to a Venturing party.
  • Thief: Any thug can kill people and take their stuff, it takes skill to just take without the killing.
  • Assassin: Stand up fights are so declasse; the only fair fight is the one you loose.
  • Intruder: Information is the real prize; knowledge is power and you can't stop the signal. No information system is safe from electronic intrusion.

Scout: Scouts specialize in seeing and not being seen, they are the eyes and ears of any group travelling the wastes and ruins.
  • Ranger: Mountain man, monster hunter, bandit slayer, forester, wilderness guide.
  • Outrider: Mounted scout whether the mount is living or machine.
  • Scavenger: The 'Scav' specializes in recovering artifacts of the ancients from the ruins and selling them. Some ability to jury rig and repair, all serious Venture groups should have one.

Sky People: The lords of blue and black, orbital angels, the Sky People are the lifeline of a fallen world to the wider system. Smugglers, raiders, smugglers and even honest merchants. The Vikings of space, they are loved and loathed.
  • Pilot: The dashing flyboy, aerial acrobat, the Pilot's Guild is ancient and venerable.
  • Able Hand: The Able Hand forms the body of any Sky Ship crew.
  • Specialist: No proper ship could get by without its Mission Specialists; from Sawbones to Scotsmen to Stewards, these are the department heads that Captains rely on.

Ok, that's what I've mapped out so far. What am I missing? Agents? Not a whole lot of ideas there. I know I want a drone specialist sub career, but I don't know where to put it. Maybe an Adepts branch with more educated classes? I need somewhere for fixers/bag men...

06 October 2009

Venturer: Careers

Ok let's talk careers. The initial setting will be somewhat zoomed in on the Central States of Coventry (CSC) and the Yankish people, but most of its assumptions will be true for not just the ruins of Mundopolis Terra, but the solar system as well.

Instead of enlisting in imperial services or entering galactic careers, characters in Venturer will be testing to apprentice themselves into various guilds. If accepted they will gain some initial training and an opportunity to continue. Each 4 year indenture will give a character a chance to gain skills and to advance within the profession, or to crash and burn out miserably. The Nomad career will always be open, and some service will take levees, but you may only be levied once. Upon leving the service of their master, succesful characters will have the opertunity to gain starting funds (his master investing in his student) or trappings of his profession (starting gear).

I'm still mapping out some of the sub-careers (professions) but here's what I have so far:

Armsmen: Armsmen make their living with the strength of their arms, they are natural Venturers.
  • Land Warrior: The most fundamental Armsman, the Land Warrior is skilled in hand weapons and military armor
  • Dragoon: The Dragoon is a vehicle based soldier he is a driver, loader, gunner, commander, mechanic, or other crewman. Also capable of fighting on foot in a pinch.
  • Immunes: The Immunes are skilled warriors who support their comrades in the fight and off the battlefield. Medics, technicians, artilleritsts, they are immune from most camp chores because of their rare skills.
Augmentees: These armored and enhanced warriors seek the toughest challenges, with great risks come great rewards.
  • Power Troopers: Those who seek to master the almost lost art of battledress and power-suited combat. These powerful and valuable suits attract hostile attention on and off the battlefield.
  • Excelsiors: These few crazed individuals seek to eek out impossible performance from their bodies with combat drugs, aftermarket parts, and metabolic tuning.
  • Cyborgs: Where does the man end and the machine begin?
Divines: These holy men and women seek to bring the light and law of the spirit and gods of true men to the downtrodden masses in these dark times. Sometimes evil must be confronted directly
  • Cleric: These ordained priests are forbidden from rending flesh or spilling blood. The good book is a mite fuzzier on the subject of neural maces or knee caps. Also respected healers of flesh and spirit.
  • Monastic: Battle Monks and Warrior Nuns, these lay ascetics have left the walls of the monestary or convent to bring the word to those who will hear and sword to those who will not.
  • Paladin: Former Armsmen and Noble warriors who have heard the call and enlisted as a Knight Brother in an order-militant.
Freemen: Not many of the lucky few skilled freemen will leave their walled enclaves, vaults, and cantonments for Ventures in the Wyld.
  • Bards: Singers, story tellers, poets, troubadours, these wandering performers are one of the few sources of entertainment on the road, or off it.
  • Tinker: Skilled crafters; a brave maker of fine things can make good money on the road
  • Technician: Those skilled in the decaying technology of the ancients, the ruins still hold untold riches for recovery, if one is bold enough.

Mystics: Mystics use the power of their wills and their knowledge of hyperdimensional metaphysics to shape reality more to their suiting. Most honest people avoid mystics like the plague they are.
  • Wizard: The Wizard, or Arcane Caster focuses on the formulaic side of magyckal theory; by holding strange alien and barbarous formulae of power in their minds they can rewrite the code of reality.
  • Sorcerer: These magyckal casters focus on the wyld act of will to tap into sources of power beyond mortal ken.
  • TechnoMage: These scientist-wizards seek to unify human reason with alien blasphemies. The search to unify law and chaos continues.
Noble: These grandees have great resources and credit available to them, but also attract attention to themselves without trying.
  • Knight: A noble warrior, noble in station if not motive
  • Lord: A holder of a title of some import or wealth
  • Dilettante: An idly rich noble with many interests.
Nomad: Societies outcasts, this option always remains open to those who would walk alone.
  • Barbarian: A rough hewn wanderer of mighty thews.
  • Road Warrior: A wheeled drifter on the crumbling byways
  • Vagabond: A little of this and a little of that in the big rock candy mountains.

Next time: Psions, Rogues, Scouts, and Sky Raiders

Venturer: Post Cataclysm Science Fantasy Traveller

As much as I love Basic Roleplaying (both for Elfquest, my intro to the hobby, and Call of Cthulhu, the BRP masterwork), I have been continually sidelining my BRP projects in favor Mongoose Publishing's new Traveller ruleset since I first aquired it, doubly so since I started running a Traveller campaign.

The new MGT rules approach the conceptual simplicity of the little black books, but with a unified system that doesn't require a separate sub system for every skill. It also blows away most versions after the LBBs due to comparatively tight editing and the aforementioned simplicity. Contrary to the closely held shibboleths of greybeard Traveller Grognards(tm), the great weight of Third Imperium Cannon was strangling Traveller, not defining it.

The MGT rules return us to a sense of wonder and wide open setting material with only a few essential assumptions penciled in, rather like early D&D and the neo-classical retro-clone movement. Even better, the new ruleset was released under an Open Gaming License, indeed, The OGL. which means that all those that want to develope for traveller, or even games inspired by Traveller are free to do so. Awesome! I truly believe that MGT has within it the potential to become the D20/D&D of SF roleplay, the baseline that it was always meant to be.

What does this mean for me? Well the 'Nemesis Gates' material I was working on for Chaosum's new BRP release will find a new home under Mongoose's Traveller, and I may just be able to sell it. Now that's something I wasn't expecting. This all became clear to me when I realized that in the MGT campaign I was running (it is on hiatus now) WAS the background story for the Nemesis Gate campaign. With the redirection of focus I need a new working title/codename, so now I am working on Venturer: Post Cataclysmic Releplaying, in a Science Fantasy vein.

So things in MGT that are awesome and must be included:

-careers and lifepath chargen.
-dynamic initiative
-stats as hitpoints
-quality of success adding to damage!!
-skill system encourages teamwork to solve problems
-connections between characters and party campaign skill packages
-social and education stats

Stuff that isn't in MGT that must be added:

-critical damage a-la WHFRP (love those bloody charts) 'head flies off 2d6' in a random direction'
-character advancement beyond trading down-time for skills
-coolness under fire or 'bottle'
-situational awareness
-suppressive fire as area of effect attack not get driven back involuntarily
-mutations, corruption, and Lovecraftian stuff
-'gold' as experience (which ties into #2 above)

Watch this space, this is going to get interesting.

22 September 2009

Sunday AAR

This past Sunday only two other (aside from yours truly) made the game. Present at the table were myself, Ulot, and Mr. Puente. Not having a quorum to continue the Traveller Campaign, we decided to play boardgames.

Lesson Learned. Always have a backup game; usually a boardgame-like game that can be played with small numbers and not much lead time. Of course, my roommate and I have boardgames so...

Ulot had just recently acquired the Battlestar Galactica board game so we broke out the box and started setting up. We only had three players so the game wasn't as good as we all quickely realized it could be, but it was pretty damn good nontheless. After the second game (which I won as the cylon president; starve you puny humans, starve! muahahaha!!) we tried a third game in which we each controlled two characters, alternating playing one and then the other, which worked surprisingly well. In the end though, having to divide our suspcicions between multiple characters made detecting cylons very difficult. All in all great game.

After we pigged out on the rich gamyness of the BGBG, we followed up with desert; a generous helping of light, whipped Zombies! I've heard there are some that don't like this game, no accounting for taste. Abyway, despite not getting in any Traveller, sunday went rather well.

18 September 2009

Rule, Columbia!

Once Britain ruled the seas. Now Britain is sinking beneath waves of alien colonists and self imposed impotency. Today we rule the seas...

When America first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Columbia! rule the waves:
"Americans never will be slaves."

Avast ye landlubbers!!

Be it known me hearties, tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, yar!!

Be makin' it piratical weekend ye ken?

17 September 2009

Happy Constitution Day!

"On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history."

16 September 2009

Traveller: After Action Report II

After assembly at the usual time and place, it was discovered that we were down to three players to 50% strength. Aborting the campaign session in favor of board games was discussed but on the unanimous acclimation of Ulot, Puente, and Brandon, we proceeded as planned.

Play began at the sub-sector capitol's high-port in orbit, where we left off from last session. The crew then decided to entertain a lengthy debate on how and with what venture the party would embark to pay the mortgage on their ship. Captain Wong (Puente) strongly advocated a strategy of preying on outlaw spacers (drug dealers, pirates, and slavers) to finance the ship. Neither Cap'n Ronin (Brandon) nor Gideon (Ulot) had fundamental objections to that plan, although Gideon argued that it was best to start with Drug Dealers on the grounds that Slavers had manpower and weapons and Pirates had those and armed ships.

I let the discusion take its course and used the time to listen to the players plans (and formulate my own) as well as to catch up on some prep. The party then decided to to make for another planet (Freya or Frigga) to purchase supplies with the IC (imperial credits) 100,000 burning holes in their hold. There went all my prep for the High Port, arrrrgh!!

Aside, given that FTL comms are extremely rare, expensive, and low bandwidth; physical hard currency is big in my traveller universe. Treasure!!

Once dirtside, the party went shopping. I decided to throw a wrench in their plans at this point and threw a shady dealer at Cap'n Ronin (yar, pirates!). He made his streetwise check and I told him he got a bad feeling from this guy, but Ronin bought his shiny las pistol any way. Which ended up dragging him into a whole planetside police investigation into arms smugglers. To the rest of the parties horror, Ronin found himself wearing a wire to catch a big time arms dealer selling illegal arms.

What followed where some great roleplaying scenes as Ronin tried to work his way through the underworld without getting made. Just when I thought I was going to snap up the whole party in an escalating power struggle dirt side, the other two players manage to short circuit my plots in a daring extraction using the ship's launch (the same one that crashed into a mountain side during a previous extraction last game). They managed to nab both Cap'n Ronin and Markoth the Pink, Kra'ken arms dealer, target of Detective Swanson's operation. Then with some quick over the radio fast talking they managed to get to their ship and into orbit.

Not going to be outsmarted by the players, I figure that they can't hide from radar, and Detective Swanson manages to find them in time to have planetary defense ping them with targeting systems. In response to the sudden outbreak of radio problems on the Raptor as the party's ride is now known, the good detective sends them an g-mail (grav-wave network) 'put down or we'll put you down'. To which Captain Wong makes a counter offer; how much would it be worth to you if Markoth come down with a case of kinetic energy poisoning rather than live to get off the charges in trial.

But... Damnit. There goes that story. Of course the good detective leaps at a chance to cauterze this boil on society, she knows that alive he has money and political support, but dead he's just trash. Wong then maneuvers his way into getting 4 hours alone with the crime scene, it's not like the good detective wants these weapons on her planet stiring up trouble... Shit. Then the party manages to convince Markoth to pay them off for his life, which he does. They kill him anyway, of course. Bloody players got paid twice...

So the party manages to ship about 7 tons of gauss weapons and ammo into the Raptor's hold before the black and whites show back up from their call. And several smart missiles, some combat armor, a PGMP, and a pocket nuke. The party ends up selling the bulk of the weapons to a faction of pirates out of Hel headed by Captain Roberts, a four armed and three eyed combat enhanced human and very much a traditionalist (yar!!). This of course will end up changing the balance of power on the Council of Hel (evil grin). The party gets payed something ridiculous in bearer bonds redeemable on the Citadel and in Galactic Credits (gold pressed transuranics and highly traceable). The party uses this sum to pay a few months of the ships mortgage, their monthly expenses, and start a cache against a rainy day.

On their way back to Freya to begin their 'knock over the drug dealers' plan (aka kill the orcs and take their stuff) I roll up a random encounter. 'unusually bold pirate'. Hmmmm...

So the Raptor is wrenched out of warp space by a gravity well interdictor cruiser and 3 100 ton assault boats begin burning for them at thrust 6. This begins the slowest portion of the game, since space combat is both new to me and the party. It is discovered that my copy of the main book is MISSING the range modifiers to hit table, arrrgh!!! The party manages to burn the attackers with a combination of particle beam gunnery and missile strikes. Although if the Pirates hadn't been trying so hard not to kill anyone or if their gunner had hit more than once with the EMP beam...

Aside; I need to come up with some rules for the EMP beam, right now it is an act of plot...

Eventually the assault boats open up with their spinal mount meson guns, giving the party a big scare and irradiating one of the missing players. After dealing with the assault boats the party goes after the interdictor which they figure must be running on a skeleton crew and most of its volume taken up with the gravity well device. They target the things drives and score some awesome gunnery and damage rolls, crippling the pirate and leaving him dead in the water (note check for official called shots rules for space combat). The boarding action gets exciting with vislight chameleoned battle suited pirates giving the party a bit of a start. Luckily the party's paranoia in rigging their main lock with claymores pays off and the chameleon clouds are stripped away with plastique propelled ball bearings. Before the nano-clouds can reassemble, Gideon opens up with his PGMP...

So, scratch two battle suited pirates, expected. Before I can play up the suspense for the Pirate Big-Bad, Gideon tosses the pocket nuke onto the pirate ship. Unexpected. Scratch one mecha think-tank...

no game for you.

Sigh. So the party captures the interdictor, and sells it to Captain Roberts. Well, ok, I can work with that...

14 September 2009

Questions for the GM, answered. Pt. II

Ok I would know how to refill from a gas giant safely. Of course if you want to say its so routine we don't need to know how great.
-Gas giant mag-scoop refueling is a routine operation. What amounts to your pilot making a routine pilot check (+2) to grab the H. Refining the fuel results in large amounts of 2^H (deuterium) which enriches the fuel mix, and removing impurities.

The only danger is running into a storm during your scoop-dive. Well that and Hydrogen is highly energetic and reacts with just about everything.

I would like to know about the drug dealers in the subsector.

-Groucho the Gimp; a Capo for the La Ventura family, Groucho is at the center of a network of soldiers, toughs, drug dens, pushers, dealers, smugglers, laboratories, nurseries, fields and refineries. Groucho's products include Cocaine, Crack, Crank, Crystal, Psych-Out, Heroin, Jet, Mentat, and others.

-Don Juan Y Cordoba (aka el minotauro); another La Ventura capo, slightly higher status than Groucho, Don Juan's products are marketed to a higher end clientele. His operation is focused around the resort planet of Paradiso and the Sub Sector capitol of Thorn.

-Malkott the Slimy; Malkott is a yl'yalyat or 'leader of eight eights', usually (incorrectly) translated as octurion. This Kra'Ken's branch of the Rending Maw deals in combat drugs, illegal augmentations, truth serums, mind programmers, and the creation of augmented sophonts; everything from juice enhanced enforcers to compliant bed-mates.

-Grinderman; Kra'vak Klashton AKA 'Grinderman' is a 1%er outlaw spacer and the Drakkon Prez of the 'Hell Hounds' chapter of the White Hands. His chapter of 'swoop' single-ship 'enthusiasts' have a side line in moving various party 'enhancers'. Their main money maker is piracy and extortion, but even still, the Hell Hounds move 60% of the x, hash, acid, and mind-blast in the Sub-sector. Members of the gang do not usually distribute however, that is a job for 'earthworms', 'dirtsiders, and 'groundhogs'.

Im looking for the top four and rate them based on the following critiera
I would use my contacts in the ISS and any computer searches I can do to gather the following information.
Est. number of ships?

-Groucho: A veritable fleet of smugglers and mules work for Groucho, 100+

-El Minotauro: Don Juan maintains a small network of front businesses that move his product; 30-50 all registered merchant vessels working for shell corps.

-Grinderman: 100+ Hell Hounds with non-warp capable single-ships and 3-4 warp capable mother ships.

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.

Est. ammount of product moved?

-Groucho: Hundreds of thousands of tons per week, Groucho's operation supplies the street vendors for the better part of two-thirds of this Sector.

-El Minotauro: Unkown, but probably thousands of pounds, irregularly. It would appear that El Minotauro and Groucho have a business relationship. Groucho handles getting the product to Minotauro's group, who then gets it to Don Juan's high end clients. While Don Juan provides Groucho with political cover inside the family and out.

-Grinderman: Tens of thousans of pounds. If there's a party happening the Hell Hounds are probably helping, usually in exchange for pussy and beer.

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.

Est. number of soilders/ employees?

-Groucho: A veritable army of soldatos, associates, and made men work for Groucho, 1000+, with access to that many more street toughs through his dependent dealers network.

-El Minotauro: Don Juan maintains a wealthy estate complete with a reinforced company of mercenaries (200+) as well as a network of made men operatives who run his distribution rings through disposable cut-outs (100+)

-Grinderman: 100+ Hell Hounds with non-warp capable single-ships and 3-4 warp capable mother ships. May call on the White Hands for reinforcements (1000+ outlaw spacers and pirates with armed single-ships, fighters, motherships, and corsair frigates)

-Malkott: Unknown, ISS has yet to get reliable intell on Malkott's organization. Est. 40-60 but that is a rough guesstimate. Several ISS agents have disappeared trying to infiltrate the Rending Maw.

Major drugs moved?

-Groucho: Cocaine, Crack, Crank, Crystal, Psych-Out, Heroin, Jet, Mentat, and others.

-El Minotauro: Cocaine, Morphene, Heroin, Hash, Black Lotus, Xyrx

-Grinderman: x, hash, acid, and mind-blast

-Malkott: reflex, hyper, high-speed, besyrk, rage, others

What those drugs do.

Jet: 'poor man's combat drug' -increased reaction time, sensory amplification
Psych-out: A retrovirus and speicialised lipids and acids that give psychic experiences
Mentat: Increases neural activity
Black Loutus: Hallucinogen and euphoric, some users claim psych-out like experiences.
Reflex: Increases reaction speed
Hyper: Metabolism booster
High-Speed: Adrennal booster
Besyrk: Similar to Rage
Rage: Similar to Besyrk
Xyrx: Extreme Euphoric

Growers or resellers?

All the major 'drug lords' under consideration have both production and wholesales operations to a greater or lesser extent.

Based on single planet or mobile?

Groucho: operates from a private space yacht

La Minotauro: operates from his estate on Paradiso's moon, Ulthar.

Malkott: Unknown

Grinderman: operates from his club-house/asteroid base in the asteroids of the Wolf system.

Space based drug labs/ manufacturing?


11 September 2009

RE: Betraying our Dead?

W was allowed to define the problem as Bin Lauden's gang instead of the Saudi structures it was created from. W then ignored Bin Lauden after the fall of Kabul and let Dick and Don have their glorious Iraqi adventure. Our chattering class decided that defending 1990's level civil liberties and human rights norms was more important than our nominal war. Come back and wake me when a city gets nuked. The bad guys won. As with Nam we won in the field and were stabbed in the back.


Betraying our Dead?


Last Updated: 10:39 AM, September 11, 2009

Posted: 1:13 AM, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them.

Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans, we reject profiling to avoid offending terrorists. So we confiscate granny's shampoo at the airport because the half-empty container could hold 3.5 ounces of liquid.

Instead of insisting that Islamist hatred and religious apartheid have no place in our country, we permit the Saudis to continue funding mosques and madrassahs where hating Jews and Christians is preached as essential to Islam.

Instead of confronting Saudi hate-mongers, our president bows down to the Saudi king.

Instead of recognizing the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi cult as the core of the problem, our president blames Israel.

Instead of asking why Middle Eastern civilization has failed so abjectly, our president suggests that we're the failures.

Instead of taking every effective measure to cull information from terrorists, the current administration threatens CIA agents with prosecution for keeping us safe.

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)

Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.

Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.

Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.

Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.

We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.

We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.

We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.

We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.

We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.

Are we willing to let the terrorists win?

Never Forget, Never Forgive

Now, more than ever, I think we should kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. That or nuke 'em from orbit. I could either way on this one, really.

Fuck You Haji.

09 September 2009

08 September 2009

What does My Traveller Universe look like?

Kinda like this. Only with more tentacles. I have fever...

Questions for the GM, answered.

Can a ship be towed at warp?

Qualified yes; given a tow line made out of unobtainium or a tractor beam array with lots of extra power (like say cap ship reactors) and skillful operation.

What are the major criminal elements in this sub sector?

Like the rest of the Orion AP sector (4x4 sub-sectors, you are in 4-3) major criminal enterprises are divided between human, mixed, and alien groups. Since it is a frontier sector on the edge of the Solomani Imperium, and a sector of 'rift' space (less dense with star systems) crime is indeed endemic. The big three are;

La Ventura: A Solomani family-run operation, since 2135; drugs, gambling, prostitution.
The White Hands: Johnny come-lately, this group is composed of outlaw spacers (1%ers) of any species; smuggling, weapons, extortion, piracy.
The Rending Maw: This Kra'ken run group has the least territory but a nasty reputation; slaves, assassination, terrorism, death sports, violence.

What are the conditions for indentred servents or slaves?

Slavery is technically illegal in the Solomani Imperium. Since the Imperium can't be every at once and in fact Imperial Sovereignty rests lightly on many areas (many systems, subsectors, and larger polities have internal autonomy) slavery happens and indentured servitude is a fact of life every where. Especially on the Rim (of the Human Sphere, the frontier in other words) where labor is scarce. The conditions for slaves and indents can vary greatly; from spice mine dregs to the body servants of the rich and famous.

How common is piracy?

Frightfully common, there's only so much Navy and a whole lot of black. Given that ships must come out of warp 100 diameters from stellar objects (due to gravity well affects, warp only works in 'flat space'), the existence of charted space lanes, and the proliferation of gravity well generating interdictor ships, there are many opportunities for pirates to prey on commercial shipping.

Is there some kind is cloaking or stealth system?

Stealth yes; there are various techniques to reduce a ship's signature. All known human techniques are imperfect, they rely on masking a ship from active or passive sensors, but the nature of space ships and space means that they are difficult to conceal. The only reason they are effective is the shear size of space. Certain aliens are rumored to have 'cloaking fields' that hide a ship AND it's emissions from detection, and some are even rumored to to be able to slip into a pocket of sub-space to escape detection. Penetrating these secrets constitutes one of the Imperial Naval Intelligence service's 'holy grails'.

Are thier life insurace companies?

Yes. Premium life insurance is known as 'clone insurance'.

Are their unexplored, but charted areas of this sub sector?

Both the Hel and Mordor systems remain largely unexplored. As does the empty space between the major systems of the Sub-sector.

What is the scanning range of the average ship?

Simple detection at 50,000 km+. Limited details at 25,000 km, full scan at 10 km. Modified, of course, by the size and bearing of the target.

if a ship had no power but life support how close would the average ship need to be to dected it?

1250 km unless you figure out something to do with the heat you're giving off. More if they have a reason to be looking for you. Out to 50,000 km if they're really looking.

What about the scanning range of a ship with no main systems on?

By mk 1 eyeball alone? 1250 klicks give or take. Detecting someone with no major systems on is the same answer as the previous.

First Traveller Game; Report

The group met Sunday and we started by generating characters. I left my notes at home but in general we ended up with a merchant cum investigator cum scout, an ex cop, an ex pirate, a grizzled veteran mercenary (military adviser), a prior service navy ship's engineer's mate, and a former marine. The crew formed connections (and used the bonus skills to fill in gaps, not to raise skill levels), chose a package (starship operations I think), and voted on a captain (the multi-talented merchant marine).

Play began with the crew and their ship (at this point a plot device, I'm still fleshing out their ride) under arrest and impounded. Unbeknownst to them their used ship has a record of drug smuggling. A search turned up nothing and they were about to be released when the local Imperial Consul intervened. She had a problem and needed it dealt with, quietly and outside channels.

Her daughter had been recruited by a local cult which was under Imperial Interdiction (prohibited from prostelising beyond the local sector) which is plenty embarrassing for a diplomat. Also Dame Kusaragi is genuinely concerned for her daughter, and has suspicions about the cult (part of the reason she approaches outsiders is that she strongly suspects local authorities have been at least bribed to look the other way, if not worse).

The party begins an investigation that leads to an attempt to infiltrate the cult. Things go predictably awry when the (compromised) local police become aware of the Party's investigation. The captain and the ex-cop (pretend married couple converts) are kidnapped. the party manage to track them down by triangulating the signals from their ear-bud comms (quick thinking and good skill rolls, we got to try out the combined task and taking longer rules).

The Party then mounts a rescue attempt during which Murphy rears his head and things go predictably south. After some keystonish moments the party pulls it together and manages to rescue their comrads, extract the Dame's daughter, and collect valuable intelligence for the Imperium.

Good fun, big guns, explosions, and a crashed ship's launch.

04 September 2009

Traveller Campain Notes: subpart one

gameinthebrain has a great breakdown on the duties and functions of a hard(ish) SF starship bridge crew. Every Traveller worth his space-salt should read this. Go, and sin no more.

Traveller Campain Notes: part the third

Minor Races, Council Associates:

-Xyk'ti: The Mantis Men of Xyk are six limbed bipeds, giving them four arms for using tools. The lower pair is heavier and stronger, although much less dexterous. The Hive Worlds of the Xyk Cluster are metal poor, and heavily armed mercenaries represent the Hive Queens only export of note.

-Gnoph-keh: These hairy lizard-like creatures are also hexapods, but use four limbs for locomotion, which is the reason for their Solomani nickname of 'centaurs'. The Gnoph-keh head also sports a single curved horn like that of a rhinocerous, which is used in Gnoph-keh mating rituals. Their shaggy fur and thick armored hide with blubberous insulation are all evidence of the icyness of the plains of Gnoph and the coolnes of the star Ithaqa.

-Sleip'nir: The Sleipnir are one of the stranger races of the Councilor Species. A strange mix of wolf, panther, and spider, these eight legged pack hunters of the forrest world of Nir show a reversal of the common sexual dimorphology. The females of this species are larger and more agressive, while the males are smaller and also are equipeed with the pouches and milch glands for nuturing their marsupial young. The front pair of Sleipnir limbs are shorter, and the paws thereof are equiped with opposable thumbs for tool-use. Female Sleip warriors are often equipped with backpack like gyro-mounts for support weapons, the mount's servos being slaved to targeting reticles built into the Sleip's helmets.

-Yuglug: These five limbed bipeds are often thought to be the products of ancient genetic manipulations, but evidence is scant. Yuglug are possessed of three arms, one much larger than the other two. Their thick necks project foward from the main body instead of up, and their heads have jaws that open side to side like great bear-traps. Powerful reverse jointed and hooved legs give these scavenging opportunists great speed and the thick powerful tail gives them the balance to manuever quite freely.

-Drakkon: These hulking brutes quite resemble giant walking iguannas or komodo dragons. The Drakkon homeworld is considered a hell-world of the first order. Heavy gravity, crushing atmospheric preasure, massive radiation, large amounts of free heavy metals in the soil, and an ecosystem that resembles side of beef being fed to piranhas, everything eats everything else. Once freed from the prison of their hellish habitat by the Khai (always looking for new martial races to place under their Dominion) the Drakkon population exploded to incredible levels. Eventually leading to a period of chaos known as the Drakkon Emergency. The Khai eventually released a retrovirus that modified the Drakka's great fecundity and they are now a dying race.

Kra'ken: These malevolent murder machines resemble a nightmarish combination of octopod and squid made man-sized. One of the most independant of the Councilor Races, they are not so much clients of one of the Council Races, and more like eternal pains in the rear-end. Numerous and advanced enough to have been made a member of the council long ago the subject has never risen somehow. The Ken don't seem to mind, using their position inside the Councilor Association to almost monopolise galactic organized crime. It is said that one of a Kra'ken's ten tentacles is in any shady deal in the 'verse.

01 September 2009

Traveller Campain Notes: part the second

Major Races in my Taveller game. These species all are represented on the Galactic Council, the ruling body of known space.

Khai: A predatory species evolved from high gravity methane breathing arboreal crustaceans, the Khai are great hunters, warrior poets, and far-ranging starfarers. Often called Space-Vikings, humans also think they look like 'predators' or 'klingons' whatever those are.

Elder 'Hivers': These starfish like creatures of radial symetry are on of the oldest known species of the Councilor Worlds. So old in fact, that no one, not even the Hivers themselves, remember their home world. The main body is generally one or two meters tall, general about that in thickness, and slightly tapered towards the top and bottom. The bottom five tentacles or pseudopods are thicker and longer, mainly used for locomotion and feeding. The top five seem to be a strange combination of manipulative appendages and sensory organs. A great lamprey like mouth occupies the center of the bottom side of the barrel like body.

Yithians: The race of Yith are possessed of bodies like upside down cones or funnels at the bottom of which is a slug-like body-foot of mucus covered muscle. The cone is segmented, and it appears one can judge the age of the Yithian by the number of segments in his cone. Surmounting this cone are five appendages. The bottom two are arms that end in three armored crab like grasping 'fingers' capable of gently manipulating and savagely ripping with equal measure. The top three are trunk like necks, each holding a 'head' that has sensory, communication, and feeding functions. The 'brain' of the creature is protected within the armored cone of the body and a Yithian can both view 360 degrees at once and loose two of three heads without being impared over much.

Ae-Shi: One of the most humanoid of the major species, the Ae-Shi resemble ancient Terran legends about Fae, Elves, and Fair Folk, many believe the Ae-Shi visited old Earth in the past. Perhaps, but the Ae-Shi today are not talking about it. In form they resemble tall and lithely shaped human beings, with very large pointed ears and very tall skulls with high foreheads with over-large eyes, the back sides have bony growths. Their skin ranges from golden to silver to blues and greens, eye and hair colring similar. Most Ae-Shi are psions of some sort and their abilities are very advanced. Their society is divided into three castes; Worker, Warrior, and Priest, and also clans and bloodlines.

Reticuli: Another some what human like alien, the Reticuli in fact resemble stories of 'grey aliens' who supposedly abducted people in the late 1990's AD. Although the details differ greatly; for instance the Reticuli have reverse jointed legs, hooved feet, horn like protuberances on their heads, feeding probisci, stubby tails and hairy bodies. In fact some have taken to calling them 'fauns' after a creature of old Earth folklore. Like the Ae-Shi the Reticulans are also strongly Psionic, although Reticuli seem to use more psiotic amps and other augmentation.

Kthani: These methane breathers stay mostly inside their encounter suits to maintain ritual purity, but it is known that they are human-like in shape and that their mouth is surrounded by many prehensile tentacles while their compound eyes resemble those of some Earth insects.

Solomani: Much to the surprise of those from Terra, they weren't the first humans into space. Although only the Solomani (Men of Sol) have a seat on the council. The rest are clients or even slaves of other species.

31 August 2009

Traveller Campain Notes: part the first

Well, my gaming group (Puente's Paladins) is on board to start up a game of Traveller (Mongoose style), while our regular GM recharges his batteries of creative juice as a player. Yours truly will take the reigns of GM-hood and hopefully I won't screw up too badly. There were voices in the group that wanted to play Ulot's fantasy trip(tm) (using Anima) instead, but since a good part of our group was recruited as Serenity players, they were hoping to continue in the SF vein.

So here's a quick introduction to the Galaxy of Fire and the Third Imperium of Man (pro-Imperial historians writing during the golden days of the Pax Humana count the Roman Empire as the first Imperium and the Holy Roman Empire as the second).

Alright you Space Dogs, listen up! Here's how it was...


Considered the 100 year's madness. A time of general chaos and disorder, the movements of peoples and the burning of cities. Out of the chaos, and the ashes of the old order, arises the Alliance. The Alliance brings law, order, and prosperity with only one demand; all fission and fusion weapons belong to the Alliance. Scientists discover what they think is a crashed space-craft at the bottom of the Pacific ocean. The news media runs with the story but it is eventually forgotten.


The Alliance become a true one world government and is now called the Earth Alliance. Fusion power, anti-gravity, nano-scale machines, and other advanced technologies become practical for the first time. The Earth Alliance begins exploring, exploiting, and settling the Solar System on a mass scale (the money is considered stimulative spending to energize destroyed economies and and the effort a collective project to unite mankind). Obviously extra-terrestrial ruins are found on Mars, Ganymede. Arkham Institute scientists rework Heim Theory to include poly-dimensional non-euclidean mathematics and test a working faster than light propulsion system.


An artifact is found on Pluto that baffles scientists for decades. Eventually an archaeologist and expert on extinct languages determines the writing on the artifact to be related to certain languages of the Ponape peoples of Polynesia. Eventually scientists manage to activate the jump gate opening up the wider galaxy. Combined with Heimdall Space-Time Warp drive the Jump Gates leads to a rush to explore the 'Final Frontier'.


First Contact War: Initial encounters with the Khai Dominion turn violent, leading to a multi-decade vicious war for survival. Just when it became obvious the alien foe had learned of Terra's location and were advancing towards it, shocking news ends the war. The Khai are members of a Galactic Council which stops the war (mostly out of factional politics, lest the Khai faction wax too powerful). Negotiations are long and tortuous but the errors of both sides are revealed and public amends are made. The Earth Alliance joins the Galactic Council as an associate species under the patronage of the Elder-Yith faction. Mankind spreads throughout the Orion Spur of the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Friends are made, like the Ae-Shi and the Gnophkek, and enemies like the Ayayig, Migoul Pirates, and the aquatic Dagon. Human Psions appear for the first time.


Mankind is a rising power in the Galaxy, provoking awe and jealousy in equal measure. It becomes obvious to all that Humans are on a fast track to full Council Membership, with a seat and a vote, in a matter of a few brief centuries, unheard of. Events in the mid-Century cast doubts on this inevitability however. One man is at the center of everything; Captain Phillip Magnus Sherridan-Windsor, Commander of Byzantium Nine, a critical Star-Fort at the edge of Human Space and a trade hub in orbit around Epsilon Erridani. Phillip and his allies would both expose and thwart the design of a rogue Khai Inquisitor (agents of the Council, autonomous and deniable) to awaken slumbering terror. At the same time as Sherridan is saving the Galaxy and becoming the first Human Inquisitor, the Earth Alliance is falling under a shadow. A power mad vice president arranges for his superior to be assassinated and assumes dictatorial powers; beginning a reign of bloody terror. President-for-life Clark is only brought down when Admiral Sherridan overthrows him in a lighting fast civil war and counter-coup. The Alliance Navy hails Sherridan as Imperator and he crowns himself, thus inaugurating the Imperium.


The Human Imperium waxes strong and virile under the guidance of the Sherridan-Windsor dynasty. Now with a full council seat Mankind is truly a power astride the stars. New worlds are settled, grow, and found colonies of their own. The center of Imperial power shifts to Terra Nova, whith Old Terra remaining as a cultural and economic powerhouse. This veritable golden age of growth, discovery, advancement and achievement is soon referred to as the Pax Humana. Humanity begin to upset the old balances of power and ancient assumptions. Although still not as technological advanced as the Elders, Man is advancing at a rapid pace and beginning to question assumption older than the species itself. Many of the younger races flock to Humanity's banner, basking in the reflected glory that a youngling race can do so much.



Shadows grow long and wheels turn within wheels, the golden age turns ashen as suspicions grow amongst the stars. Something is amiss in the black; ships disappear and colonies go silent. Trade is disrupted and voices and hands are raised against each other;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Gomorrah to be born?

24 August 2009

22 August 2009

Holy shit! Awesome.

Holy crap, this looks awesome. I've never really gotten into an MMORPG before, but his just might be the one.

17 August 2009

Well, duh!

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

14 August 2009

Hooah Code Talkers!

Happy Navajo Code Talkers Day everyone! Drink one for the Dineh Badasses.

11 August 2009

Geeze, ya think?

My Political Views
I am a right moderate social authoritarian
Right: 3.74, Authoritarian: 2.98

Political Spectrum Quiz

Funny how gay marriage-no, legal pot-yes, capital punishment-yes, obscenely sacrilegious art-no puts me that far into the 'authoritarian' camp. My stance on most of these is really more nuanced than the answers to the questions allowed. But if all I have is for or against...

It all becomes clear...

...why Games Workshop does what it does the way it does. Maybe not the way the 30 yr. old gorgnards want it to, but GW already has their money.

"My name is Dave and I have been a buyer and user of your products for many years. During this time I have made many comments to friends and other gamers about the terrible business practices of your company and how there are many improvements that can be made. However recent events have caused me to change my opinion."

full text behind title link...

06 August 2009

Dragonfly: Episode I

The continuing adventures of the MRV (merchant registry vehicle) Din Sua Bah (Dinosaur Bob) as recollected and adapted from the tabletop adventures of a crew playing Serenity the roleplaying game.

Dramatis Personae:
Yuri Leonid Spassky: Captain of the Din Sua Bah, ex Russian Mafia trouble-shooter.
Justinian Edumton Bartholomew Stuart III, esquire: Ace pilot, gambler, gun-fighter, duelist, womanizer, and morphine addict.
Senior Chief 'Stunty' Ryan: Diminutive ship's Engineer and intuitive mechanic, served with JEB in the war.
Dr. Hex: Ship's Medical Officer, former Independent Army Special Forces combat medic.
Kat: Public Relations, former IASF scout-sniper, served with Dr. Hex in the war.

The Din Sua Bah, an ancient and weathered Dragonfly class mid-bulk transport is floating through the inky black of space, on course for the terraformed moon known as Whitefall. Inside, the crew is cleaning up, the entire ship looks like it was shaken upside down by a giant, and everything loose went flying. In the cockpit JEB glaces behind him as the Captain enters the cramped space, looked out of sorts.

"Did you see that? Ah shaved three hours of flight time with that slingshot about Persephone"

"And next time, you give crew more notice when you pull hot pilot shit!" Yuri says icily before he slaps his over-dressed upper class twit pilot on the lop side of his thick head.

"Ah thought the gravy would hold up better, how old is this ship anyway?'

"One hour, you give crew one hour notice next time!"

"One hour, aye sah!"

"Good, we can still charge customer for full flight time and pocket difference, just don't break ship!"

Yuri glares at his pilot until JEB mumbles his apologies and busies himself with checking his sensors and flight plan.

"Now I go and check tractors, farm-boys on Whitefall all very eager for tractors, pay much money!"

The tractors in question were rusty second or third hand models from used lots on Beleraphon, along with boxes of spare parts, and drums of fuel and hydraulic fluid. Cleverly hidden inside the shipment were several thousand pounds of small arms, ammunition, and explosives. Someone was buying enough for a small army, and the simmering cold war between Whitefall's major ranchers was about to get hot. He dragooned his dwarf and the shooty lady into doing the heavy shifting, making sure things were ready for the inevitable customs inspection. He wasn't sure about this crew, his old crew had... left suddenly and this one had fallen together a little too easily. Maybe someone was pulling strings, and would want a favor in return. The thought made Yuri nervous and a nervous Yuri was a paranoid Yuri.

The ships intercom crackled and JEBs much chastised voice drawled out, "Captain, we're being hailed by an Alliance Patrol Cruiser, they want us to heave to and prepare for inspection."

"OK, make it last another few minutes!"

"How?" JEB thought to himself, then grinned. He summoned up his best, thickest drawl, "Ahh Terrible, this is MRV Din Sua Bah, Ahm having some trouble with the hydraulics in the port engine pod, going to have to compensate and killing my delta vee is going to take a bit longer than anticipated" JEB grinned, between the accent and the non-standard banter just figuring out the transmission would delay the purple bellies in the other ship.

Half an hour later three Alliance Federal Officers were standing in the Bob's cargo hold going over the tractors and crates. They looked a little green, since JEB had managed to convince the Terrible that they had to shuttle over, the main docking collar was 'busted'. Two were obviously going through the motions, but the third was poking his nose around like he smelled something. Yuri watched that one through slitted eyes.

"Captain Spassky, what is this?" The man, Jefferson was what his name-plate said, beckoned over the captain.

"What is what?" Yuri gave it his best impenetrable east-blok trade patois. He spoke very good, unaccented standard Anglic, but rarely. As he leaned over to look inside the engine compartment of one of the tractors, at what was obviously the receiver of a auto-rifle attached to the frame of the machine and covered, sloppily, in engine grease he put his arm around the agent. "I don't see anything!" Yuri grabbed the Fed and slammed his head into the side of the tractor, and then injected a syringe of fast acting sleep agent. Standing up he made beckoning motions at the other feds, "Help, this one fall down!"

"What happened?"

"I don't know, he fall over, hit his head on tractor, not wake up!"

"What the...?"

"No worries, I have doctor!" Turning to the intercom, Yuri pockets the syringe and mashes the all call button. "Doctor!, hurry, bring something for Fed!"

A few minutes later Dr. Hex, a nondescript figure with plain face and wearing unremarkable field utilities carrying a big bag with a red cross on it comes pounding down the stairs. "Were is he?"

"Over here!"

Hex runs over to the stricken Fed, glancing at his captain as he does so. Yuri shakes his slightly, and then points to the fallen man. "Hit head, fall down, won't wake, something must be wrong!"

Hex runs through some simple diagnostics, shining lights, taking pulse and pressure, doing witch-doctory things. Then he gives the man a shot saying, "Looks like he passed out and hit his head, can't say why, but he needs to get to proper facilities fast."

"Alright, we're out of here, Captain here's your stamp for inspection, now get of my sky."

"Ok, have good day!"

Later, as the ship was preparing for landing, Yuri asked his doctor "What did you give him?"

"A dose of insulin, he'll come up as diabetic on the scan, that'll explain the fainting, probably end his career though."

"Good, one less purple belly to worry about. Let's get this deal done, I got a funny feeling about this run."

...to be continued.

04 August 2009

You Scored as Tactician

You're probably a military buff who wants to have the chance to think through complex problems. You want the rules, and your GM's interpretation of them, to match up what happens in the real world or at least be consistant. You want challenging yet logical obstacles to overcome.


Method Actor




Power Gamer

Casual Gamer


01 August 2009


I've been playing Mount & Blade for a week now and I'm still as excited as when I won my first battle. Its an addictive experience (like any good game) that will leave you saying, 'just a little longer' at 4:00 in the morning. What we have here is a loose simulation of medieval warfare from the ground up. You start as a free-lance knight bachelor in the fictional dark age country of Calradia, which is divided into petty princedoms and constantly at war. This is sandbox open-play at some of its finest; who needs a meta-plot when the world is your oyster? The game is an engaging mix of stat driven and twitch driven first or third person combat (I prefer third, sword fighting seems easier when I can judge distances better) using WASD keys and the mouse (which can control your direction of power of swing).

The combat swings between wild, frentic mass melees, wild horse chases, grinding siege battles, and more personal and nuanced tournament and arena battles, and even assinations. Play takes place in a living world constantly in flux as lords war with each other, smashing armies, taking castles, and intrigue. Become a vassal, go rogue, fight for coin, fight for honor, I'm only scratching the surface here. Your character improves both stats and skills though an experience point and level system, and he can find and recruit 'companions' that are basicaly NPC minions that also gain levels, filling holes in your skill development, and providing banter for those slow moments.

Rating: 4 out of 5 trilling noises. Doc_Savage approved.

Download the demo, do it now!!



29 July 2009

Its coming

Think of it as Traveller with guns that fire explosive rounds the size of soda cans, powered exoskeleton armour, and armoured mile-long spaceships blasting broadsides into each other. Yeah, I know, you can't make Traveller more awesome, but they did.

28 July 2009

Visual Poetry

If this doesn't move you, your soul just might be dead.

22 July 2009

First Iraq War

What, you mean H.Sap. and Neanderthal didn't have a dope smoking circle jerk like a bunch of dirty hippies? Imagine my surprise.

Maybe you can put out a bowl of milk.

'Police have warned the public not to approach big cats after a suspected puma attack on a horse in Ayrshire.'

Let's just give up firearms, anything pointy and sharp, or any weapon-like object, what could go wrong? It's not like there's any apex predators left in Britain, right?


'Big Nanny Democrats want to ration health care for everyone in America — except those who break our immigration laws. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from using the so-called "public health insurance option." Every Democrat on the panel voted against the measure.'

Read the rest, get a bucket for the bile though.

17 July 2009


Man Says He Used Chainsaw to Fight Starving Mountain Lion

Friday, July 17, 2009

CODY, Wyoming — A Colorado man used a chain saw to fight off an apparently starving mountain lion that attacked him during a camping trip in northwestern Wyoming with his wife and two toddlers.

Dustin Britton, a 32-year-old mechanic and ex-Marine from Windsor, Colo., said he was alone cutting firewood about 100 feet from his campsite in the Shoshone National Forest when he saw the 100-pound lion staring at him from some bushes.

The 6-foot-tall, 170-pound Britton said he raised his 18-inch chain saw and met the lion head-on as it pounced — a collision he described as feeling like a grown man running directly into him.

"It batted me three or four times with its front paws and as quick as I hit it with that saw it just turned away," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Wildlife officials said Sunday evening's attack about 27 miles west of Cody was highly unusual because mountain lions are reclusive by nature. Only eight cases of mountain lions acting aggressively toward humans have been documented in Wyoming over the last decade.

"It's very, very rare" for lions to attack, said Wyoming Game and Fish spokesman Warren Mischke. "We're still trying to investigate why this lion would behave this way."

The wounded animal retreated after Britton inflicted a six- to eight-inch gash on the lion's shoulder, leaving him with only a small puncture wound on his forearm.

"You would think if you hit an animal with a chain saw it would dig right in," he said. "I might as well have hit it with a hockey stick."

The mountain lion was shot and killed Monday after it attacked a dog brought in to track the animal, which was 4 to 5 years old. Authorities say it was in poor physical condition and appeared to be starving.

After Britton's confrontation, he and his wife, Kirsta, decided to spend the night in their pop-up camper with their two children rather than risk packing up with the lion still on the loose.

Wildlife agents were called the next morning after Britton told a passing U.S. Forest Service employee about the incident.

Tests for rabies and other diseases came up negative, but officials said they were continuing to analyze the animal for other potential diseases.

14 July 2009


Mon 13 Jul 10:46 AM
Was naked man at a casino a Terminator? Enlarge Photo

A man found naked at a casino claimed he was a Terminator sent from the future.

19-year-old Sean Stanley Smith was arrested on the Nevada border after he was spotted by a motorist wandering around the highway nude. He was ordered by police to stop but proceeded into a nearby casino - where he was then tasered in front of a group of children.

Smith claims he was a Terminator sent back in time from the future - a reference to the film character made popular by Arnold Schwarznegger in the sci-fi franchise. The films usually start with a naked man being transported to the past.

However, it turned out that Smith was not a time-travelling Terminator but was in fact suffering from the effects of LSD and marijuana. He was charged with indecent exposure and resisting a police officer.