Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome to the moon

Ugh this was going to be about the whole drug war that is going on and the stuff going on with mexico but I decided that I wanted to do some more reading on it. I think it is one of those things that will call in our ability to be a diplomatic force in the world into question. The strange thing about the drug violence that goes in both South America and Mexico is largely Ameroca's fault. We as a county are far and away the largest consumer of drugs and the other countries are, not nessisarily cluing into this, but starting to call america on it. So when the death toll caused by the cartels reaches into the 40k regions Mexico is getting to the point where they can say, "You know if you would stop people from snorting so much fucking coke this wouldn't be near the problem that it is now". The cartels are responciple for almost 50% of the pot that comes into america, 50% of the coke, and while they don't produce heroin themselves they do a bang up job getting it into the country. Everyone is starting to realize that fighting the cartels directly is a loose loose situation and that if we were to come at them from both angles, hit the organization AND the cripple the market then things would be going oh so much smoother. Part of the problem is the decrimilalization of pot. I am generally against getting it decriminalized. There is no reason for it other than people who can't be bothered to find some other way to entertain themselves. Still at this fucking point I can still maintain that view with it decriminalized.

In all honesty I still think our government has something better to do, despite the fact that the laws against weed are irrational and absolutely stupid. I just would be more comfortable with it all if the arguments for leagalization didn't sound like pathetic complaining of people who just want to get high. I'm really mean to pot smokers. I've noticed that it is a rather constant reoccuring theme in my writting. The thing is though is that I can't bring myself to feel bad for the pot smoker's plight. I mean seriously there all the injustice, pain, and horror in the world we are going devote tons of efforts to the decriminalization of pot? Really? Good heavens get a real cause.

Hrm I think I want to switch gears away from the pot smoker's plight and how I don't really give a fuck. I guess I should write about something worth caring about. In a funny way the plight of the video gamer and the pot smoker are very similar. I think this could be a way to make me actually care about decriminalization. See I get to focused on the action in of itself rather than the problematic ramifications that comes from pot being a criminal offense. See the fight against video game censorship is the fight against censorship period. The freedom of speech is one of those hated chunks of the bill of rights. I'm not sure what the logic is behind this. I think it is just that people are so VERY focused on the immediate that they can't wrap their heads around anything more far reaching. No that isn't even true. The people most excited about censoring speech beleive they are in the moral right therefore their speech will never be limited because why would it be? They are right. These are the people who want books banned, art torn down, and music to be as bland as possible. These are people who generally suck.

The thing is that it is a slippery slope, it is increadbly dangerous to start restricting forms of speech or to favor one form over another. Especially with the way american law works. Once we have a prescident everything is permissible.

Now lets go again...later I feel like doing something else.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Super Villianry GO!

I am supposed to be working on mutants and mastermind's game sessions. But I'm not. Instead I am sitting here writting a blog post because I now feel like writing a blog post. So there. Also I haven't really had the chance to do that this month. I've been sick which is LAME, and now that my brain has clicked back on I should make some decent use of it. So lets see where should we start.

Ebert. Ebert is an interesting charecter, a film critic by trade he made a living off of harassing movies on tv for years and years. Then he got jaw cancer. Long, fairly horrible story short he uses twitter now, ALOT. He does some amazing writting though and he has quickly become one of my favorite people. People misstep though, all the time. Ebert misstepped when he shit all over video games accusing them of being not art. I'm not really going to address the argument proper because it isn't paticularly worthwhile. The thing about the argument is that Ebert made it after having read a bunch about video games. Now, see if he was an avid video game player I would give his argument a little bit more credit. But he isn't.

He once accused blogs of being a massive uneditied morass of opinion that is largely uneditited. He joined our ranks for that post, hope he enjoys his time with the sweaty masses.

What I do want to directly adress is our obsession with games as art because it is something that needs to be looked at a lil bit. Okay here is the issue art means respectability. It means that when something is called art, or respected as art then it falls under the first amendment. With the help of the first amendment all of those stupid laws that try to censor video games, or ban them out right won't happen. There will still be congressmen who will try to get these laws passed, but they will mostly posturing or trying to gobble up publicity. They won't be serious. As of now though, with the idea that video games are art up in the air then should they specifically be ruled as not art then we are in trouble because the laws could descend upon us in a great wave and all the sudden everything becomes very very sad :(.

The thing is though is that we shouldn't have to worry about this. We shouldn't have to be running around in this mad scramble for respectability so that we don't have to live in fear of over zelous law makers. Tv, Movies, photgraphy, paintings, none of these mediums have to deal with this shit. Neither should video games. This shouldn't even be an issue. There is no reason we should be legitimatly afraid that some day America is going to go all Australia. Oh well it is a sad sad topic. It shouldn't even be a topic. Oh well the nice thing about video gamers is that they are usually well wired and they aren't afraid to to make themselves heard. In two days Ebert got over 1500 replies and he was generally pleased at the level of literacy in the responces. He's still wrong and he isn't going to change his mind, and why should he? He doesn't have to because he has absolutely nothing at stake unlike the rest of us.

Moving on. Kick Ass.

So I read the comic awhile ago. Then I watched the trailer for the movie and I knew immeadiatly that the movie would far exceed its source material. The similarities between the movie and the book are pretty impressive but they are some important key diffrences. Them being Hit Girl. Ebert said something about this too but lets give him a rest, I said it first. Hit girl in the comic really left me cold. I was not cool with what happened to her charecter. In the comic her dad is an accountant, he kid naps her, and brainwashes her into believing that the mob killed her mom because they needed a villain. See that right there is just all sorts of fucking wrong. Comics in of themselves are littered with child charecters being thrown into dangerous situations against people who want to kill them, Robin, Bucky, teen titans, a bunch of the x-men, spiderman started as a teenager, the runaways, secret warriors, and that's just off the top of my head without an encyclopediatic knowlage of comic books. In the case of both Bucky and Robin they have been killed by villians. Robin in paticular was beaten to death by the Joker in warehouse. It was kinda fucked. Comic book violence against children is just one of those things that happens. So having a trash talking, little girl killer is a satire of all these child heroes who ended up incredibly adult situations. The problem with the comic version in the hit girl is that her agency was taken away. See in all the comic examples I listed the children all made a conscious choice to go put their lives in danger. Hit girl was brainwashed. See the idea that children don't possess any

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Brain works again

Okay then so I've been sick, and being sick was LAME. I wasn't deathly ill or anything like that. I just had a vicious head cold, runny nose, and the sore throat that comes along with the runny nose. It wasn't enough to stop me from working but it was JUST enough to incatacipate me. When I got off work I was done, I wasn't good for shit afterwards which is pretty lame all in all. I still feel pretty under the weather but I think it has leveled off more to just general allergies rather than me being actually sick. Still, at any rate my brain has clicked back on. So now it is time to get through the back log of what is going on in my brain.

So lets get some bullet points down:

-I came to this realization the other day. See I have a large number of ideas regarding sex. Most of them all boil down to the fact that sex is a force of change. Things are simply diffrent afterwards for many people. Now we have all sorts of people who will run around and say various things about how sex will or won't do this or that but I don't care. Sex changes things and everyone else is the exception rather than the rule. ANYWAY, much like the actual physical act changes things, the desire for the physical act changes things. There are these series of moments where the oposite sex transistions from a companion, friend, or something to be ignored, into someone that is desired. It is this transsional phase that I believe is a critical developmental step that is largely ignored. Now the way that people handle this is diffrent across the gender lines and I think it might be largely cultural but I am not sure what else to do with it.

-I need to get rolling on the whole Nun porn montage thing. Its rough though see I thought I preserved most of it but apparently I messed something up somewhere so I got to start the thing all over again so I am much more behind than I thought I was. Nuts. I'll get it done but I need to start doing it tonight because I am running low low on time. Oh well now that I know what I am doing it is going to go much faster this time around. Most of the first time was spent on the learning curve. I just hate doing the same thing twice, drives me nuts. Still labor of love and all that and I should be able to make it be an hour and a half without to much trouble. I'll get it done though.

-Ebert just made the claim that video games aren't art. Article here! At one or two points I wanted to write a rousing defense of video games but then I realized that I don't have to. The thing about video games is that he doesn't know very much about them. He carefully selected his examples to support his argument, but he didn't even select the best examples. There was a comumbine game after all. There is also a really cool sniper simulation that lets your reenact the Kennedy assasination from various angles and such. He also didn't pick out video game's best examples and attempt to adress them. You would think that as a film reviewer the idea of the Warriors and how the game development team wrote more for the world of the Warriors than the actual movie. There is of course things like Shadow of Colossus, Okami, Planescape Torment, Shadow Hearts 1&2, Persona 3, as well as many others which are all works of art in their own ways. He fails to adress these things.

-I also wanted to do a comparison of the attempt of pornography to become legimazied in the 70's by making it m0re "artistic" and the attempts of legimization of video games as a medium that really needs to be left the fuck alone. I might still write this one because I think it is fun.

- The war on the cartels have managed to reach 40k deaths the other week. That's interesting. All the leagalize pot assholes have come out of the woodwork to celebrate. I really want to write something both about how I am both fundamentally for and fundamentally against the leagalization of pot. Mostly though I want to write about how fucking tired I am of people waving pot around every single time drugs come up.

On a side note what the fuck is it with pot anyway? I mean really REALLY? Is living inside your head that miserable? Because I am betting it isn't.

- I want the totalitarian book alot. DESIRE!

Alright lunch is fucking over!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wold Building for Mutants and Masterminds!

I meant to put this into the licking the subconsiouse blog but then I realized to late that it is going in my main blog. Since cutting and pasting requires extra effort on my part it is staying here. Alright so without further ado, what is the world like that you are going to be playing around in?

'merica!- The default setting will be in a nice large city that is thematically like New York but not actually New York. For a comic book reference think Metropolis. Not the movie the superman city. It is a nice glittering city full of sky scrapers and high powered buisness types. It has some bad sides of town as well and some dark undercurrents but for the most part it is a good place to be. This is in no small part due to the efforts of the super hero community. America has the second largest population of super beings and they are scattered all over the country doing various things like helping with disaters, keeping crime down, and inventing junk that they keep lying around. There are roughly 150 supers operating in America and they come from a wide variety of backgrounds. There are only about 5 AAA super heroes operating in the world at any given time the rest are in alternate dimensions, deep meditation, or off world paroling the solar system. For the most part the people operating on earth are "street level" heroes or heroes that can travel the nation fairly easily. There are a few groups that have full time heroes that never leave their costumes and live in public bases and there are plenty of masked vigilantes who prefer to keep their identity on the down low. For the most part people with powers have a good relationship with civilians, the government, and each other. Also for the most part, that guy with the gun who runs around capping random crooks is considered a villain in his own right and brought down.

The World at Large!

Europe! Europe just sort of hangs out and not a whole lot happens there. There are a few super scientists who call England, France, and Spain home but for the most part Europe is pretty quiet in terms of super hero activity. Much like World War 1&2 they bore the brunt of the alien invasion that happened ten years ago and so they are in a quiet state of rebuilding.

Middle East: The Middle East is still as tense as ever and with pleantly of super scientists coming up with the latest wizbang death ray there is no shortage of buyers thanks to America's need for oil. For the most part major incidences have been headed off by various super groups but really it is only a matter of time before something major goes down. There are also no small number of groups who use the lack of security in the area to do some pretty unspeakable experiments in an attempt to create a super soldier but we won't talk about that because they are unspeakable.

Japan: While Japan doesn't have the largest super population the floating island over Japan does. In the late 50's a group of super scientists from around the world broke off from their respective countries and resettled in a remote island in Japan. For years people didn't hear much of them until one day the island lifted up into the sky and declared itself an independent nation. Since then the island has become home to many shady corporations who do a wide variety of things that would be considered crimes anywhere else in the world. The island itself is protected by an incredibly powerful force field that not even the Aliens were able to breach. No one gets onto the island without permission. It helps to keep the random dogooders away. The island itself is patrolled by a legion of genetically modified clones who have a wide variety of super powers. In many ways it is the safest place in the world, however it is the most dangerous. The leader of the island is considered by many to be dangerously unstable and he has sent forces out more than once to cause havok over real or imagined threats made against him. While there are many who want the island taken down permanently, 90% of all pharmaceutical and technological advances come from them and taking them out would put do far more harm than good.

Africa: Most of Africa is a mess. This is made worse by the fact that the Southern half of Africa has been taken over by the aliens and there isn't a whole hell of a lot that can be done about it. See while earth's armies and super heros were able to drive off the majority of the invading forces thousands of aliens were left stranded on the planet due to mostly us shooting at the retreating invasion fleet. Many were hunted down and killed but many more managed to escape into the jungle. Soon they began building small settlements and terriforming the area around them. With the actual invasion over, and these aliens so far from home they eventually started asking for land, peace, and a chance to live out their natural lives in defeat. Many of course were skeptical and more than 6 nukes were launched at their settlements when the Island stepped in and decided to ensure their safety. To what ends? Nobody knows, but for the most part the aliens have kept to themselves, they don't really communicate with the outside world, and they have made no attempt to grab more territory for themselves. That and they are in Africa and I mean every decade there is at least one drought there, genocide, and human atrocities that would litterally boggle your fucking mind. The world is pretty good at ignoring what's going on in Africa and a bunch of Aliens hanging out in the southern tip is just another thing.

The Group: No one knows who is in the group, or where its main base of operations is. Not much is actually know about them, including their real name. All that is known is that when a new drug hits the streets that temporarily gives you powers, or some sort of ray gun gets into the hands of a few gang members, or when some piece of valuable equipment gets stolen people get caught. Fingers will be pointed, and some will say they got it from that guy, who got it from some other guy, who got it from a supplier out west. Eventually after a long chain occasionally someone will blame a large shadowy organization that no one really knows very much about. Then that person will quickly disappear. Everyone knows that some large criminal organization is out there, the problem is pinning them down and getting any sort of solid information about them. Every once in a long while operatives will do a display of force but none have ever been captured and successfully questioned.

In this world people more than often get their superpowers from scientific accidents, alien/corporate experimentation, or they built themselves a pair of rocket skates and decided to go at it. It is a time of invention much like the renaissance and a time of adventure.

In mystic circles there is talk of a great evil once scourged from the land coming back, dark portents are flooding out from the middle east. Strange lights have been reported on the moon two expedition teams were sent up there one never returned and the other reported nothing. There have been strange stirrings under the ocean and bizzare pieces of scrap metal have been washing up on the shore oh and some guy with a ray gun and a robot suit is robbing a back because that is the most useful thing he could think to do.

ALRIGHT! When I do this next time there will be more information on the Aliens, what they do, and what they are like, and maybe more information on what is going on in Japan. After that I will fill in more details based on questions you ask.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Man I have been blessed with a great bounty

Sometimes it is good to be a geek. This is one of those times. So I totally volunteered to run Mutants and Masterminds, which is, if you haven't managed to guess a super hero roleplaying game. Actually that really isn't very obvious unless you know what "run" means. I vaugly apologise. Anyway, so I got my copy of the book and I've read a good 75% of it. Now its time to start going through charecter generation. The nice thing about this phase of learning a new game is that nothing I make goes to waste unless I loose it. Everyone I roll up becomes a potential villian or NPC or just something I could throw around. The trick is getting everything I need onto a large index card. It shouldn't be to bad unless I go crazy with powers. I also need to do a little bit of world building so that I can create villian groups and what not. A nice rich world goes a long way after all. I'm thinking that the game itself will be centered in America. I want there to of been an alien invasion that happened 10 years ago, and while the invasion proper was repulsed half of Africa is still under Alien control. I want a floating island somewhere over Japan ruled by an insane dicator. Like the guy from the Authority, actually specifically like him. The place will be called Shangri La and there will be lots of advanced technology and doodads. I also want an ancient civilization to just show back up again and start causing problems. The Egyptians would work out really well but I am thinking the Aztecs have some really cool possibilities mostly because the Aztecs are really cool and I am a Grant Morrison super slut. Oh and there will be Nazi gorillas on the moon, because clearly that is where Nazi Gorillas belong. There will be an epic Zeppelin fight and it is going to be amazing!

I am really excited about getting to run this game. The thing I am most excited about is that fact that it is the version of the d20 system I would of made if I felt like making a version of the D20 system that I would be willing to gm. To me the big problem with the D20 system is that it came with a set of statistical assumptions that just didn''t really match certain charecter concepts. Like strong= good at fighting, which is alright until you wanted to play a nimble little finess fighter. In order to do that you would have to earn dozens of levels and take several feats. The other thing that bugged me about it were the feats in general. See in combat a play had many many choices like tripping, over run, bull rushing, grappling, charging, and a few others. But if you did any of them you would take a -4 modifyer and provoke an attack of oppertunity. So in order to be able to do all the neat little combat options you have to take a feat so that you earn basic competence. When feats were first announced people got really excited because it would be a way to add unique flairs to their charecters, kinda like the Perks from Fallout 1&2. Instead it they bcame something that you should of been aloud to do right out of char gen. I also hated prestige classes, and the fact that they got rid of kits and all sorts of other things. However, M&M manages to fix, or at least midigate my complaints. Now all those cool combat options are open to everyone and feats make you awesome at them. For example the improved grapple feat lets you grapple somone with one are and preform actions with the other, like shooting. I might throw a modifyer around but that is to cool for school. Also the way it handles the situationally sliding effectivness of heroes. All in all it is pretty awesome and I think it is worth the amount of time I am about to spend on it. Once I am done with this I plan on going through charecter generation, which will be painful at first but once I do it three or four times I should be able to do it much faster and I'll be able to drag my players through it with ease.

I like generating charecters and I don't mind point buy systems but holy fuck the wealth of options before me are immense you don't even know. Still once I go through it I'll get it down I just need to do it. I might also pressure my players in ponying up a clump of points for a secret base. That would be pretty bad ass and they are fairly cheap point wise. I dunno.

Alright so that's not all the good things that have happened. I've also picked up a game called Malifaux. It is a minature game that combines aspects of the wild west, steam punk, and victorian aesthetic. Aesthetics aside the game itself is pretty god damn cool. It uses cards instead of dice which is something I am always a fan of. The nice thing about the game is that you get both a hand and a random draw. So when you attack you draw a card and add its value to your stat, like a normal dice rolling system. The thing is that if you don't like the card you just flipped over you can play one from your hand to offset things. You get a limited number of cards a turn and at the end of your turn you draw your hand up to full. It sounds really neat and I like the idea of good cards being a valuable resource. Getting a ten in your hand is really importantas you can use it to severely damage a model, cast certain spells without outside resources, and other handy 'tastic things. The buy in for the game is remarkably cheap, to get a 35 point force, which is the standard game size, it would cost me around 60 bucks and I would have extra figgures left over for sunmoning purposes.

The summoning thing is important for my army. Another thing I like about the game is that while there are only5 factions the variety of lists you can take are pretty impressive, especially when you aren't really taking more than a dozen figgures at any one time. There are lots of people bitching about game balance but the sky is blue and that's just one of those things that people do.

The charecter I plan on using is Seamus the Mad Hatter. I'm really not an Alice in Wonderland fan. In fact I think that story has been so rediculously played out that I can't even be bothered to become interested in it anymore. However, Seamus has more in common with Jack the Ripper or the Marquis de Sade than the fictional wonderland resident. His army consists of the reanimated corpses of a brothel that he recently visited which is AWESOME. Being able to kill my oponent with zombie hookers is one of the most worthwhile things known to man.

Unfortunatly the hookers themselves don't do a whole hell of a lot of damage. They do have two abilities though that make them highly useful to have around. One is Undress which gives target model -2 to defense until the end of the turn. This is CRITICAL because when I attack the damage I do is based partly on how badly I beat the opponent's defense score and how high the card I flipped over is. So a Defense of 5 is pretty average and all the sudden having a defense of three is pretty awesome. That will free up some of my higher cards for damage rather than just trying to hit the son of a bitch. The other handy thing they do is lure. Lure forces a model to move its base speed. This means I can move things both into and out of combat, into the line of sight of my units, or my units out of line of site for shooty units. Being able to move units around is potentially huge, best of all they can cast lure on a 4+. Now granted if you want to move around an enemy a higher card would be better because they get to resist you but if you just want to move one of your friendly modles out of a shooty charecter's line of sight except no substitutions. The benifits of my hookers don't end there though. See the game has a weird system for doing things. First you choose a model to go, then the opponent chooses a model and the two of you go back and forth until you are both out of modles. Then the turn ends. Hookers have an ability where they can activate RIGHT after either Seamus or Sybelle the madame turned zombie. So Seamus can run out of cover smack people with the most powerful ranged weapon in the game and then have a zombie hooker lure him back to safety. Sure sure it takes some setting up, but its called a stragedy game for a reason. If I wanted to just mindlessly push figgures across a table I'd play warhammer 40k. The hookers can also lure ranged fighters into hand to hand combat which can proove invaluable if you want your figgures to not be shot at. For my extra figgures I am going to grab Mortimer the grave digger, mostly because he is a sold, versatile unit who doesn't really excel in anything and yet he has no obvious weaknesses. Lastly I'll grab some Zombie punks for damage output and manuverablity. I was considering getting some necro punks for the whole ability to base whatever it is they want to 7" away but they are really fragile and ultimatly I just don't really think they are worth it. The same goes for zombie dogs. Zombie dogs are neat and all but they are really more for a summoners list than for Seamus. I might give them a try though. Much later.

Oh and for the first time in years there is a whole new dwarf fortress release. They vastly expand the medical side of dwarf fortress and there are now 4 new medical jobs for dwarves to undertake. I'm excited as fuck. Unfortunatly the graphics are bugged as of current so I gotta wait a bit before I'll be able to play it. I am pretty good but ASCII graphics on that scale just doens't work with my brain. I can play nethack alright but there is just to much going on in DF.

Alright I am going to go home and play with my new toys instead of just writting about them.