Friday, June 25, 2010

10 Days!

There are other things I'd rather be doing right now but it has been ten days. TEN days since I've written here last and that is long enough where I guess I should stop by and say a few dozen things. So first and foremost, I'm going to be writing on here less because I've started game mastering again, mutants and masterminds specifically. I am only one session in and it went reasonably well. The d20 system is kind of a beast to manage especially with all the special options that are allowed to everyone. I am trying to encourage them to use said special options, like encouraging team attacks and the like but it is going to be a learning curve for everyone. The nice thing about the game though is that I can throw them around pretty hard an not worry to much about killing them. You really got to work to kill people in that game, so that is pleasent.

So there is that, and that takes roughly two nights a week to write, one to plan the actual events of the game session and the other to stat everything out, draw up maps, and tweek the seesion events. I am really excited about what is coming up within the next two weeks though, I got some pretty awesome things coming. Well okay one is awesome, and I think the other one will be a lot of fun but it depends on how they handle it. Either way I am looking foward to it.

I've also been reading more, and this is something that I like doing. I plan on changing this sentence from reading more to reading alot more, and while that maybe the plan puzzle quest two just came out so, for a lil while at least, there won't be a whole hell of a lot of anything going on except me playing that.

Speaking of games I got to hang out and play Malifaux last night! I got to play two diffrent 35 point games, both of which went very well for me. Seamus is a beast, there is no doubt about it. His gun is absolutely terrifying, and at moderate damage he is able to kill most things in the game outright. Of course basing him in hand to hand combat just means that you have another whole mess of problems. He is a terrifically fun master to play. I wanted to take my Victorias out for a spin but unfortunatly since everyone else playing was using my mercinary figures I couldn't pull them out this time. That's fine though I got to see first hand how fucking awesome bishop is. Essentially, Bishop can either choose to have one trigger always go off, or he can choose from some pretty silly buffs. So the first thing he did was give himself toss aside, then he charged my seamus, and threw him around a corner where no one could support him any more. Then he charged seamus again because he can do that, and three him three inches further, then he charged him again. The potential for this sort of behaviour is increadble. If I hadn't of killed most of his crew by that point Seamus would of been dead. What is worse is that next turn he went first and gave himself +2cb bringing his attack ability to 9. Due to Seamus's low defense some of his attacks I couldn't even hope to dodge unless I burned a soul stone, which I was running low on) so I was cheating the defense flips just so that he wouldn't get plus flips to his damage. Bishop is pretty awesome. But the thing that is most important about him is that he needs to be supported by the rest of the crew. He has a really low damage output unless you grab critical strike, and even then it is only average. However, when you use him in tandem with an entire crew he becomes terrifying. Especially when he starts slinging knockout around god damnit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Okay so I said I would write more on this comic at a latter date. That date is today, I had it written down on my calandar and everything which is pretty exciting. Yay calandars! So here we are it is incorruptable time mother duckies.

Irredeemable is an interesting concept but like I said before it is something that has been done before, not once, or twice, but many many times. Though, also like I said before, it hasn't been done with quite the same bravery that Irredeemable has. The world is literally much closer to a post apocalyptic wasteland than I've ever seen it in one of these senarios. He destroyed Hungary in what has got to be one of my favortite comic book moments ever. Wow it is sad I don't own any of these books but I have been buying up Malifaux minatures which is important. Don't judge me.

Anyway so we are ready to pick up on Incorruptable. Which... you know I don't think we have a proper literary term to describe how these books relate to each other. If the books were more boing foil would work, and since I am in a pintch foil does work, but the complex interaction of the protagonist who is rather idotically called "Max Damage" far overshadow the general restrictions of the foil. That an a foil has already been established for the book but we will do that later, later as in never. One scene that really delinates the complextiy of the realtionship between Max and the Plutonian is when Max is talking about how Max never seriously considered killing him. Max isn't a mustash twirrling super scientist with dreams of world domination. He is really just a petty thief. He just so happens to be a near invulnerable petty thief with a penchant for psychic violence so he ends up with lots and lots of money, and stuff. He also has emo moments about not being able to feel anything but we won't talk about those because fuck them.

Not wanting to kill the Plutonian is one of the core diffrences between Max and someone who is compleatly evil. See Max doesn't have much of a moral compass. We don't get to see to much of his past but his partner JailBait is pretty good at filling in some of the nessisary blanks. Go go statutory. But the fact that even he recognizes that there is a limit. Granted stealing a mega virus and killing millions of people with it is will within that limit. But he realizes that no matter what fucked up thing he does, no matter what mess humanity can get itself into, the Plutonian can get them out of it. So when Plutonian becomes the mess what is someone to do.

Okay here is where the comic runs into a lot of problems. See Max's responce to the Plutonian is literally comical in nature. He throwing all of his ill gotten gains into the wind and becoming a good guy for good's sake is really kinda sorta dumb. The thing is that everyone except Max realizes it is dumb and the reader should to. I have found that in reviews and in coversation people take Max's actions far to seriously. Granted Max takes himself very seriously but the reader is pretty clearly not supposed to.

To give a little insight into Max's actions I have come to realize that Max is more of a rebel than a villian. He isn't rebel without a cause, or even a rebel without a clue, he is instead more of a man who just plain old doesn't give a flying fuck about what anyone tells him he is supposed to do. He stole all that money, the cars, and the stuff mostly because there were enough people out there who didn't want him to steal it to make it interesting. He killed people mostly because he wasn't supposed to, and his sidekick jail bait...well you get the idea. God I love her. Best side kick concept ever hands down.

Now Max is living in a world where none of that matters. All the money he stole? Meaningless there isn't enough money on the face of the planet to stop the Plutonian. The cars, the stuff, and the discreat joy of killing a dozen innocent people while fleeing from a crime scene? Yeah all that disapeared along with Hungry, most of the earth's heros, and the Plutonia's sanity. He could continue his crime spree but what would be the point? Max realizes there isn't any and since times have changed he needs to change too. So he does so in the most dramatic and cartoonish way possible. However, to him it is right. To him he is rebelling against everything he was, and the new world order. Burn several million dollars? Sure why not, in a world where money is worthless there is no need to bother with it.

Max spends a lot of time talking about how he won't use anything tainted by the blood of innocents or some cheesy thing like that. This is something that I regularly found hilarious throughout the book, especially when he breaks into a cop's house so that he can give Jail Bait a place to rest. That is the biggest deal. The rest of the world is locked into a full on survival mode, to the point where it is driving people insane. Like the guy who started threatening to kill his family unless the police protected them from the Plutonian. I love this moment, when Max walks in he turns the gun on him and starts screaming "Don't hurt my family" which frusterates Max to no end. This scene right here is the core of it. Max has gone just as crazy as the Plutonian and the poor crazed soul who wanted to wack his family so that they could be protected. Max wants to do the right thing and he needs it to be hard. It is about living to a higher standard than everyone around him just like before he needed to live to a lower standard. I like that a lot. I hope that the books last for quite a bit longer so that the world can be explored both through the eyes of max and the terrified eyes of the plutonians former comrades.

Okay hungry!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Okay so I started to write this earlier today at lunch but I started to babble and not really make any sense so now I am going to back this trolly up and try it again. I don't do this very often, but seeing as how I might be reffrencing this post later I might as well clean it up.

Okay so first impressions? Wow, just wow. This game is incredibly deep, in fact I don't think I've seen a miniature game with this much strategy before in my life. Wow I totally can't spell strategy it took me over 5 tries before the spell checker picked up on what I was trying to say. Anywho, oh my yes there is all sorts of insane tricks to learn, things to pick up on, and options to choose from. It is the sort of thing that I could happily play for years and not ever come close to mastering. The amazing thing is that the basic rules are so simple, and even the secondary layer of optional combat actions (defensive stance, charge, and focus) are all relatively simple. Where the game only really starts to get deep depending on what master you are playing and the crew you take along with them.

I mean almost anyone can win with Ortega who is a ranged fighter who doesn't need line of sight to use her ranged combat abilities. She is a cunt. However, that is part of what makes the game really nice. It has a wonderful mix of Masters that are dead easy to play, some that require finesse, and some that you won't be able to use effectively until you have mastered all basic aspects of the game.

When I played my first couple of games I did it with James and Tyson. I feel kinda bad about it though because I didn't really know ANYTHING about the masters they bought. See I was expecting to maybe have one of them buy a boxed set and the other one to use the extra set I already had. Nope they both bought one. I guess there really is a lot to say about having things right there in front of you in the store. Like I said I had a pretty firm grasp on the rules themselves but I didn't really know how either master worked. Like not at all. Whereas I spent many hours combing the interwebs looking up stuff about my master because I am a looser. Don't judge me. So when ended up happening is that I made good old Seamus into a great big scary force of terror while James was struggling to cast spells that he should of been able to cast had he only used the correct 0 action, and Tyson struggling to use his crew...which really might be kinda worthless I am not sure.

Now man oh man Seamus? That guy is fucking terrifying. I'll be honest though I think once one or both of them learn to play the game good old Seamus won't nearly look as scary as he used to. The cool thing about Seamus' force is that it is nearly impossible to kill quickly. The Rotten Belles have 8 wounds, 8 WOUNDS! Jesus that is more than some masters. Not only do they have 8 wounds but they have hard to kill, which over the course of the game negated at least 6 wounds on its own. Also with Lure being retarded easy to cast, and Distract being fairly easy to cast, two well placed Belles can really fuck up an opponents day. So far may favorite thing to do with them is to have Seamus wander out into the open and pick off a model with his retardedly powerful ranged attack then use the Belles to get him back into to cover. The whole thing worked really well actually. I managed to terrify both James and Tyson when I had Seamus pop out of cover, one shot Samael Hopkins (with the help of a red joker) then they watched in horror as he popped back into cover. After that people decided it was time to leave him alone. Things would of been even worse had I realized that fast works on every activation meaning that I always could of used three actions but we'll leave that off for another time. I never did manage to get Seamus into hand to hand combat. His damage output is actually much greater there and he heals every time he kills someone, it is actually where he belongs. He just happens to have a gun and since every other enemy model on the board had a gun of some sort I was more than happy to stick to cover and use it effectively. The odd person out in the whole affair was Lady Sybelle. At 6 points, with regeneration, a decent ranged spell, and some fancy triggers she seems good. But then I realize that for the same 6 points I could get a convict gunslinger, a ronin, a punk zombie which out damages her, and some other stuff of dubious value. The biggest sticking point in the Convict Gunslinger which is hands down one of the best units in the game. So why would I even bother to ever consider taking her? Well her model is absolutely fabulous. BUT I think the thing that makes her critically important is that all the Bells are companions with her, and she has the ability to call a belle to her. This gives the resurectionists a much needed boost in manunverability which is one of their critical weaknesses. This is especially true in a game that doesn't nesisarrily award victory points for just pointlessly killing models but instead for achiving certain objectives like grabbing some treasure, claiming a table edge, or having a unit in all four corrners of the game board. That last one sucks for resurectionists. I mean they are a group of people where a move of 4 is a luxury. So in the second game where we actually played James and I were locked in a vicious melee in the center of the table then all the sudden in the last two turns we both spit up because we had to achieve our own ends. It was kind of bizzare but you can really see how that is part of the games intention. You are forced to make hard tacitcal choices as to if you want to win. DO you leave some of your figgures unsupported in a bid for victory points or do you stay till the bitter end. In some ways it is a race to incapacitate the other person's crew enough so you can achieve your goals but that is much easier said than done. So I think I am going to be keeping Sybelle around. It is pretty amazing when you are able to out manuver your oppenent with an army of undead hookers.

So my first game went well but I think once James and Tyson crawl over the learning curve Seamus is going to have a much harder time with them. Especially with Jame's crew. The whole "no spell casting thing, now discard a card" bullshit is going to get old quick. Oh well hopefully we will get to play enough games where that will happen. I mean I didn't even get a chance to bust out my Victorias :(. It is for the best though, I got some Ronin incomming to help round out their crew. Ronin are AWESOME for more reason than they are Samuri chicks with cowboy hats. I am really looking fowards to seeing what they can do on the table. For now though? I am going to do something else. YAY!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ignoring the Fire

Ever set fire to something then just didn't pay atension to it? That's how I roll cause fuck dealing with fire. Anyway I can't tell if it has been 6000 years since I've written a blog post or if it is because I am feeling unusually fertile. Heh I like the word fertile it amuses me. Yeah so I don't know which is which but for the love of god I am erupting with things to day and not a lot of time to say them. No real reason, playing a lot of Dungeon Fighter which is stupidly fun for the most part. Though there is one part of the game that I've hit where things get pretty frusterating. So I am going to go through it in an alternate fasion.

SO now here I am writing, so lets see what I can get going.

1) I am thoroughly convinced that the next silicon valley will be centered around renewable energy. See recently enterpenuers ears have pricked up, they have realized that all they need to do is to create a source of energy is cheaper than oil. Plans are currently underway. Ethenol didn't work out so well which is unfortunate but another plant has been sucessfully used to create gas. The nice thing about this plant is that it grows virtually everywhere and it is compleatly inedible. So we could use land that is not being used for farming, and this plant isn't as nearly as hard on the soil as corn is. This is just the first step. Hopefully this whole oil spill spill thing will really get some people moving on the whole renewable thing. It isn't quite as bleak as people make things out to be. One of the things that bothers me about renewable energy are the naysayers. I mean there are always naysayers and they are almost always idiotic. The thing about it is that so many of them don't even really make sense. Like the people who don't want to live near wind power plants. Really, REALLY? People live under high tension power lines. Don't be an idiot. I don't paticualrly know to much about the subject because it doesn't really show up in my reading net to often but I predict that will change.

2) I will be expanding on this latter I think but I read something that really clicked with me. In order to make a governement work you need to both have a high degree of morality. The type of government you have determains where that morality needs to be placed. This doesn't include christian morality, in fact christian morality isn't actually very useful as far as this is concerned. Like I said I will expand upon this later right now it is just kicking around in my head.

3) I need to get scalped volume 6.

*) This is going to be a tiny comic book round up. My stomach will do this thing where it isn't hungry, it isn't hungry so I decide to leave my house and read some comic books or so some writting then as soon as I sit down and get situated I NEED ALL THE FOOD EVER NOM NOM LOLZ. Fuck you body.

4) DMZ. Man if there is anything that breaks my heart more than anything it is what is happening to/with DMZ. DMZ used to be one of my favorite comic book series of all times. That first three volumes radiated with such a crystaline brilliance that even now when I go back and reread them I am struck by how amazing it is and I have to wonder where it is that things went so very wrong. The thing is though is that DMZ has fallen into a pattern. They will have one story arc that has nothing to do with the main charecter at all and they are just pure world building, then the next story arc will be involving the main charecter Matty. When I think about how the last book ended I want to smash this laptop against the table several times and use the broken shards to gouge out the eyes of Brian Wood. Of course I consider this to be the hallmark of really good writing. The problem is that everything feels so very very wrong. I activly want the main charecter to die now. There is nothing, absolutly nothing he could ever possibly do to ever redeem himself. *spoiler* Just in case you are wondering he made my favorite charecter kill 15 innocent people. Specifically a wedding reception. *spoiler* It isn't something you can ever come back from and he had the audacity to try and make us all feel sorry for him. The thing is that in the early books Matty has always been kind of a tool. But instead of growing smarter during his time in the DMZ he has instead... become a bigger tool until just recently. Now he is no longer a tool, he is a failure at life and he should do something grand and martyr himself. This of course won't redeem him and all honesty I wish he would just put a gun in his mouth and solve the series biggest problem, and that's him. The problem though? The rest of the side stories that don't involve Matty still have that complete crystalline brilliance. I just wish they would scrap the main charecter because he sucks. FUCK HIM.

5) Incorruptable/Irredeemable- I've been looking foward to this book for awhile now. I really want to buy this series but I am currently buying up Malifaux minatures which is taking all my geeking budget monies up. I should write about Malifaux! I will in a bit right now I am running low on time. Irredeemable is neat. It takes the idea of what if a charecter with all the same powers as Superman, a high powered superman that is, just looses it one day and starts going on a rampage. It is an idea that has been done before. It has been done in powers, black friday, supream power, and a few others. The thing is though is that unlike these other books which either get abandoned or the superman charecter is brought under control, in Irredeemable the world has essentially been thrown into a post apocalypse, run by an insane god, who can hear you from anywhere on the planet. It is a brave little book that I am enjoying. Incorruptable which is what just came out is what I have been waiting for. As you may have guessed it is about one of the ultimate villians deciding that in a world gone made he might as well try to do some good in the world. So picture a throughly unrepentant, repugnant individual whoes side kick is named Jailbait suddenly watches the end of the world and decides that he has found god of sorts. It is pretty funny. He of course takes the rediculous views twords do gooding possilbe in that he refuses to use anything he stole, so he ends up living in the house of a cop he used to terrorize after burning several billion dollars. It is neat! I really like both books, and I got to say I like Incorruptable a heck of a lot more, but it is VERY SLOW.

I can understand a lot of the criticism I've seen levied at Incorruptable though. This is mostly due to the fact that the main charecter is actually amazingly complex unlink the charecter's in Irredeemable. That's gonna have to wait though. I gotta runs.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


You know english majors get a lot of shit for what they do but god damn. No seriously, god damn psychology. I'll admit it. I am a lay person when it comes to science, political science, statistics, collating polling data, and experimentation set up. I am also aware that for each and every exparament that there are a certain number of budgetary concerns that we need to deal with so that all possible options can not be explored in the scope of a single exparement. I mean cool it is okay, I get that. The problem is that there is absolutely no self awareness what so ever about the situation. Instead they will take data that, even to a layperson, is incomplete or simply not collected very well and they shout from the rooftops that they have uncovered some sort of truth.

I find it endlessly frusterating because these people do have a scientific authority that the common public listens to. It isn't like they are studying the effect of gravityless environment on the inner ear of newts nor is it like me getting into an argument with someone else over the meaning of a passage in a book that maybe 4 other people have read. No psychology excists very close to the public sphere and as a result spamming poorly done experiments is a dangerous thing that actually sets back psychology as a whole. Oh well. This is something that ties back to the question, "does violent media cause violence in people". The public SO desperatly wants and A to B correlation between violence and violent media, or other things and for whatever reason psychology refuses to develop enough of a back bone to tell people that, except on the most basic of levels, people don't have gaurnteed cause and effect relationships with their stimulus.

In case anyone was wondering, what started all of this was this article. All in all it is a good article, it has some decent information in it and some lead offs to engaging thought. Of course when I started doing all that we have me bitching about data collection and exparamentation creation so what can you do. So where are the problems?

Well for one he lumps four very different leisure activities together under one banner. Reading books is increadibly diffrent than playing a video game, and playing a video game is hugely different than watching a movie. Furthermore the way a piece of media is absorbed is hugely diffrent. Me popping in Gundam Wing after a long day of work and just sort of zoning out is a lot diffrent than me hanging out with a friend and watching Gundam Wing over a game of netrunner. There is a massive diffrence between watching a TV program with a group of friends and talking about what is going on and the various issues raised then just turning on a movie with a group of friends so there are no awkward pauses in conversation. The article neglects looking a pictures, listening to the radio, or general story telling around a camp fire meaning it is axing a historical aspect to the whole argument.

Of course the article itself is talking in larger terms, why do we imagine at all, but it is using a nebulos frame through which to put the argument in.

It also claims that the emotional responses to imagination is very real which opens up some dangerous doors. Oh well.

I suppose when I have someone coming down off the mountain holding an exparament in his hand telling me that "This is how I think" I immeadiatly get suspicious especially when I think in a way contrary to his findings. The scary thing about psychology is that it is not a proper science at all. It works from the generalized assumption that there is a normal baseline behaviour and that most of the goals surrounding psychology is making data sets fit this sort of baseline behaviour and coming up with treatments so that deviant behavior will fit that baseline behavior.

This is diffrent than say physics where a physicist makes observations about the world and then uses math to try to explain what is going on. There isn't a baseline set of assumtions they are trying to make nor are they trying to fix things that don't work. A way to look at it is that when Newton's theory of gravity stopped explaining every situation ever they didn't start rebuilding the world to try and make it work. Instead they came up with a new theory of gravity.

Psychology doesn't do this. Psycologists make assumptions of how we are supposed to be (heterosexual) and when things deviate from that we have a mental disease that can be fixed with conditioning and treatment. The problem is that I don't think they ever really spent a long enough time collecting data about how we live without their meddling. They make assumptions about us without knowing the full story, or even half of the story. It is kinda scary actually.

Of course the quetion of imagination and aesthetics has been pondered over by authors and artists for hundreds of years. Glad to see psychology finally deciding to play catch up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It is a NEW MONTH!

Well that is more or less exciting. My magazines are starting to come in which is pleasant and happy. I've been picking through Foreign Affairs recently which is one of those things. It makes me thing about things and becomes interested in the larger issues facing the world and I am struck with the realization that I am unable to affect the modes of thought that affect the wider world. So while I find myself ultimatly enjoying thinking about these things I am made sad with the way things work sometimes. Though for every time I am made sad by something I find my self relieved about something else. It is hard to explain. I ended up grabbing a subscription to it because it is pretty cheap and over the course of the year I will get roughly a 1000 pages of text about all sorts of neat things. Mostly though, I grabbed a subscription because more often than not I need to go research the things they are talking about and it helps when I can do that in the comfort of my home or over lunch rather than in Barns and Noble which is where I normally do things like that.

I find it upsetting just how large the gaps of information are inside of my head. Take NATO for example! After reading an article about how the European Union needs to communicate with NATO more I realized that I have no idea what the hell it did. It turns out that it is a collalition of allies that all promise to come to each others aid should they ever be attacked. Basicly, you know how we got into WW2 because of Pearl Harbor. All of Europe wanted to be like that so should someone every try to gank Poland or something like that ALL allies that belong to NATO will come to Poland's aid. Of course the amount of aid will vary from country to country. So Greece will be giving signifigantly less aid than say America. While we can dance around the subject and smile away the pain the overwhelming reason why NATO was formed is to protect Europe from Russia which has only just recently stopped being crazy sauce. No seriously Russia was FUCKING SCARY.

This of course lead me to realize that I didn't know what the hell the UN did. So there are NATO troops, UN troops, and troops for each and every individual army. That is kind of insane. Furthermore all the malarky that is going on Afganistan should more than likely be handled by the UN and not NATO. But since we are at a point where we are thinking of including Russia in NATO, we have to wonder what the hell are we going to do with the entire organization now. Right now it is doing lots of peace keeping stuff much like the UN is supposed to be but it isn't doing it nearly as well. In fact UN peacekeeping missions are overwhelmingly more successful than our country.

The thing is that the UN has a far more inclusive membership than NATO. Wee I am using an alphabet soup and I know pretty much what it all means. I feel special.

So back to Russia! Russia joining NATO has all sorts of potential. We are using NATO more and more for peacekeeping and miscilaneous world actions. Like the 9/11 terrorist attacks were enough to warrent NATO involvement whereas our activities in Afganistan are a bit more nebulous. Leaving the current situation aside we generally spend 700billion monies on our armed forces. The entirty of Europe spends 300billion. Their contribution isn't insignifigant, about 1/3 of the troops in Afganistan are NATO troops and they have sustained more than 40% of the total casualties. The problem is that European countires would much rather send money and non military aid rather than just a bunch of people holding guns. As it stands now European forces are so behind the times that someone could snatch up two or three countries and consilidate forces before anyone could mobilize enough forces to stop them. Europe suffered through two world wars on their soil they are pretty much done fighting.

Russia isn't done fighting. Fuck, immeadiatly after WW2, after loosing 17 million people, Russia wanted to keep fighting. So if we were to add to Russian milirary power to American Miliary power, combined with the European ability to teach, and organize? Then hell, we could do all sorts of good. The now the problem with that is who do we help and how.

Personally I think post colonialism needs to back off a little and let us breath but that is another post for another time. Also? I gotta run.