Thursday, March 31, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: The Agenda

City of Villains, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, where people across the country can land in one city and become any type of fantastically-costumed ne'er do well they can imagine. The creator of Mac Hall and Three Panel Soul joins the world reluctantly.

The beginning.

The middle:

The end. was a good run, guy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Field Manual Kris: Bargin'

Sorry for the delay. Again, big difference between 'draft saved' and 'scheduled for posting.'

The chipping they're doing on the walls outside travels through the metal of the hull and makes it impossible to hear/work in my office for 2 hours each shift.

Resuming conversations with Ray. Shared both Playing Favorites and my scripts for Denver 5 with him. Understandably, he hasn't started Playing Favorites yet, but his feedback on Denver 5 has been invaluable.

I'm sorry 'bout the blog on Monday. "Scheduled" isn't the same as "worth presenting." I've cleaned it up and Thursday/Friday also look good. Even if every Monday and Wednesday until May has a 1000 Words post, you'll still get some quality of blog.

My new boss is Boomhauer, Souther, drinky, and completely incomprehensible at times. Works hard though. I will kill him if he keeps coughing like that though.

Trying to get the barge started back up. Collecting emails, creating new inventory forms, making new sign-in sheets, distributing supplies, hunting down paperwork that people had been filing in their lockers. When people ask about office supplies I tell them, "not until Tuesday." They don't get the reference.

Trying to resolve all the issues with people on the barge not having a clerk until two weeks ago. They are numerous and belligerent.

Work on Denver 5 continues apace, probably outreaching Derek's artistic commitment. Finishing the first storyline, polishing it a bit, then emailing it to him.

Comic Conversations also keeps moving forward. While I could probably do a 5 minute series of straight trash-talking Daredevil, mixing it up by discussing/praising him is not nearly as consistently entertaining.

I'm adapting well to the old place. I'm not utilizing all of the tools I developed at my last company, but I'm working on it. Acting unilaterally when any of the people around me could have a girl/idiot moment without warning perhaps makes me more cautious than I should be.

I'm headed out to the other barge, which is offshore, tomorrow. I'll probably be out for four weeks starting on the first, so I'll probably be in on Saturday, April 30th. Set your alarm clocks. I've been to the other barge a few times before, so I know my way around. If anything, I know the crew over there better than the guys they have here now. Also, I get my own office and I don't have to deal with my most hated co-worker or the new guy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 14

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites

That said, no matter how reasonable it might be long-run, Batman won't kill (offer not void in space or on space men) and he doesn't use guns (offer not void on Batman Classic or on space men). While there are qualifications, Batman is best used when he has to fight these impulses. Even the super-gritty grandfather of gritty comics, “The Dark Knight Returns” features a Batman who just can't bring himself to kill The Joker.

Yeah, there are a lot of reasons not to kill The Joker. Most of them fiscal (recurring villains are easier to work with than trying to churn out new challenges every month and taking villains that buyers are interested in off of the table is a poor idea in general). Included in that principle of real-world finance is the transient nature of death in superhero comics (seriously, Cable didn't even get a funeral between his death in Cable and Deadpool and his appearance in Messiah Complex, with accompanying ongoing series. If I had gone to any amount of trouble to help kill Cable, I'd feel like a totally worthless limpdick, especially if killing him betrayed my principles. Gambit.); characters come back from the dead because they shouldn't have died in the first place. Death isn't even a time out some days, especially for The Joker, who quit needing rationales for his return for some time now. Good job everyone who ever killed The Joker before. You accomplished nothing and you're a murderer (oh, and Batman probably doesn't like you now, either). And remembering the justice issues mentioned earlier? Killing anyone (even The Joker) will come back to haunt you. If shooting The Hulk into space nearly split Earth in half, nothing good at all would come from killing The Joker.

Now, those are perfectly fine out-of-character reasons for Batman not to kill The Joker. The 'real' reason he doesn't do it is because Batman's a pretty pissed off guy in general. His desire to strike back against those who perpetuate chaos and injustice can't become a quest to eliminate everyone who transgresses. Redeeming and deterring criminals should be at least as important as stopping them from their current crimes. Shipping them off to Blackgate Penitentiary forever (forever pronounced “until they escape”) or until they're executed (providing they don't escape beforehand or get powers from being executed [Sinestro].) doesn't redeem anyone. Correctional facilities—in comics or in real life—are not for rehabilitation; they're punishment and places to lock criminals in with your Rorschachs. Anyway, if Batman didn't believe in reforming criminals, he'd be racking up a body count higher than Joker multiplied by Thanos.

If he were to judge which ones were redeemable and which ones weren't, then he becomes judge, jury, and executioner (not quite sure what the 'jury' portion of that is doing that isn't redundant with the 'judge' part, but he's Batman; I'm sure he can handle the collective responsibilities of three courtrooms, if need be). He would no longer serve the system; he would be a chaotic force of nature who's simply supplanting one form of imperfect order with another one. One based entirely on a single man's concept of right and wrong. He would also have to become jailer, judge, and reformist for every criminal who didn't need to be killed, since the resources available to the criminal justice system would no longer be available to him (although yes, if he can afford to buy The Justice League a new tower/satellite every time there's a cataclysmic event, then he can probably afford a massive secret prison under Wayne Manor).

Even if you cite The Joker as an exception to the rule, then you run into a strange situation. How many people do you have to kill to be the next Joker? How many do you have to be able to kill? How many do you have to be willing to kill? How many more lives can Batman save if he just starts profiling babies in his own version of Minority Report: Extreeeeeeme?

That baby was pure, concentrated evil.

After what point does Batman begin to decide that the bodies he's piling up are somehow more acceptable than those of anyone else? Because he's murdering people for a good cause? Batman can shoulder a lot of moral responsibility, but it's just too much to ask of him.

Speaking of responsibility and The Joker, it's been a part of his character for about twenty years now that The Joker only exists because of Batman. Without Batman, The Joker has no raison d'etre. The Joker isn't crazy in a world without Batman; the natural result of a man making himself a symbol to fight chaos is that someone specifically rises to stop him; to demonstrate that chaos is inevitable. Joker is the price that's paid for all of the other crime The Batman stops. Is that any reason to kill a man? Someone you made? Batman doesn't have to kill The Joker to keep him from killing; all he has to do is stop being Batman. Which one is more morally permissible? Who's to say that The Joker isn't a natural outgrowth? That he isn't a meme within Batman's universe in the same way that Batman is in ours? An idea that grows and changes with the times, but which infects the populace whenever one of their own carries himself too high? (That would be a badass villain for Batman, Inc.) Strike one down and another (or others) rise to take its place. Not only is Batman responsible for this man being The Joker, another one may very well rise to take his place.

Next                                           All                                           Previous

Monday, March 28, 2011

7252-Time Walking ArchiveTrap

It's called 'Assistant Management,' aka 'Deflect shit up or down,' and I ask a lot, but they won't let me put it that way on my nametag. :(

Don't criticize; I've got 24 hours of 'Euphoria Phase' before I'm remorseful about no longer being a productive member of society. :P

27 Jun 2009
Even now, I'm only productive four weeks out of six.

WHOO! LAST DAY! :D about 9 hours ago from txt
27 Jun 2009
My last day at F.Y.E.. Good times. Good times.

@catalystgamelab Oh, look, it's Strategic Ops! I don't know if it's honest excitement or sarcasm, having preordered it, but not having it.
27 Jun 2009, in reply to catalystgamelab
Yeah, that was a special administratively-supported kick in the pants. 

Mortal Kombat has more recurring characters than the name implies.
Jun 26th 2009

News alert: no mystery surrounds death of 50 year-old man with a history of drug abuse, anorexia, and heavy cosmetic surgery.
Jun 26th 2009
F'ing really!

TRO:3087-Drafted: 32%, Waiting for Writeup: 41%, No Stats Yet: 27%. I'll try to knock out two more drafts tomorrow. 38/35/27 sounds good. :D
Jun 25th 2009
Man, I remember when I thought someone would care about a Battletech universe I made. Good times. Good, oblivious to the obvious times.

MJ is dead. Maybe he'll finally release something new.
Jun 25th 2009
Admittedly not in good taste. It's just not right to make fun of writer's block.

@catalystgamelab Jesus-fucking-Christ, more 'Unseen' bullshit? Are Battletech fans equally clingy over their noonies and first cars?
Jun 25th 2009
Yes. Yes they are.

There's a big civility gap between feeding someone into a meat grinder head first vs. feet first.
Jun 24th 2009

A wheelchair racing/battle game would play out a lot like Double Dash.
Jun 24th 2009
I'll be back after dropping off all of these turtle shells at the old folks' home.

"...excuse me? For a moment there, I thought you said 'my clone army'." Darths and Droids is awesome!
Jun 23rd 2009
Seriously, you guys. Click that link!

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's the Magic: Sheep!

So, I've been working on a pet mechanic I like to call Herd for a while now:

The concept behind it is pretty simple; if Herd creatures are all blocked, they're stronger. If they're all unblocked, they're stronger. If you block some and let others pass, then they're weak. Granted, it has the dangers of becoming a 'win more' mechanic, but then so does Battle Cry, with the caveat that Battle Cry can be one-shot once your Battle Cry dude(s) are blocked first to kill them. Barring that, you're holding your forces back until you're ready to alpha strike, and that's just dangerous.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: Star Trek: The Perfect Crew, Decidination

Last time, I was trying to nail down just what factors I needed for my Star Trek dream crew. This week, I'm actually making the calls.

Eligible Candidates: Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Archer, Data, Riker, Spock, Sulu, Nog(future Nog), Jadzia Dax, Worf, Kira Nerys, Chakotay, Crusher.

After mentioning future Nog, I need to bring up the fact that since I'm looking at TOS, TNG, and Enterprise, then I'm also taking the liberty(though not to any great length) of selecting people at different phases of their lives. A young ensign Kirk working under a Captain Data might be interesting, or even try Commander Sisko riding shotgun XO under Captain James T. --oh, just geek-gasmed.

Kirk is great, but he, Picard, and Sisko all fall aside under another surprise criterion; that of something new to explore. We've covered a lot of ground on Kirk, Picard, Spock, Kira, and Sisko. Archer? I'm not enamored with. He comes off being pretty whiny. I actually like alternate universe Archer because he's a dumb goddamm brute who got lucky, but we're not doing alternate universe here. Data sucks. I want to say that now. I loved him as a kid, but he's useless. Either we're going to get him fully developed (and at that point, what is the point? I guess he can be a 'well-adjusted' android...), or still 'Data,' which couldn't put him in the Captain's chair. I don't want Worf in the big chair, the man's roles are skitzo enough that I wouldn't want to saddle him with another one. In addition, his blazing crazy Klingon side does exist and...well, he might make a good second officer. Someone to wreck the ship in every movie since Riker isn't around. PS: Riker is out. He sucks. What did he ever fucking do besides suck and die? That leaves me Sulu, Dax, and Chakotay. (Crusher is out too. She was only in because she is a Commander and she commanded a ship in "All Good Things." She's out because she becomes a shrill bitch and doesn't do anything but bitch, bitch, bitch!)

I'm gonna go with Chakotay. All I ever saw him do in Voyager was nod and 'me too' Janeway in Voyager...also, trite Indian things. I think there's more of a character there than we got to see. As someone who has decent leadership presence, but still went Maquis, I do like him. For a government that plays Pepsi to the Federation's Coke, I think he fits in well.
Captain: Chakotay

Engineering: Data, Scotty, Spock, Geordi, Wesley Crusher, B'lanna Torres, Seven of Nine, Kathryn Janeway, Miles O'Brien, Rom, Kevin Riley, Jadzia Dax. First, let's get one thing straight. Geordi LaForge was the third best engineer on that ship; maybe fourth, depending on just how good O'Brien was with warp engines. Geordi's a good guy, but he's surrounded by fucking prodigies. In "Relics," I think his ego underwent a complete implosion. He's an adequate engineer, but I'm not putting together an 'adequate' crew. I've made my feelings about Data clear.

I'd like a chance for Torres and Crusher to redeem themselves, they could both use it, but I'll pass. Torres is the only Klingon I've ever seen to somehow get bogged down in 'Klingon'ness and she's the type of woman that loves the taste of barf mixed with industrial runoff. Seven and Janeway are right out. I'm thinking about putting them both in every lineup just to erase them, but I'll erase them now and forever by mentioning how developed they are, how everything about them has been covered in detail and they'd be a painful rehash at this point. Sadly, the same goes for Spock.

Rom, Riley, Wesley, and Scotty are on deck now, and y'know what? When I line them up this way it's obvious; Scotty over the competition, even if they were borged into a single, annoying hivemind(Riley stays on for being the first starfleet officer to ever hijack a starship...while drunk.). Not because he's the best (though he is), but because there's still a lot of Scott ground to cover.
Chief Engineer: Montgomery Scott

Tactical: Checkov, Worf, O'Brien, Jadzia Dax, Worf, Tuvok, Tasha Yar. Worf and Checkov are both out; being even-headed is one of the things I listed above, and as twichy as they both are, I couldn't imagine their fingers hovering over the photon controls when someone is trying to face down a pair of Romulan warbirds in the Neutral Zone. I'm not saying they're incompetent, just...twitchy. O'Brien is both a soldier and an Ops man, he's certainly fired his fair share of weapons, but it's not his thing. Same goes for Dax. I just don't see it. That leaves Tasha Yar and Tuvok. *sigh* Tasha Yar, we hardly knew thee. Tuvok on the other hand, spent seven years being a 'token Vulcan-guy.' We don't see enough pointy ears, but...Tasha Yar did die like a bitch. She deserves some redemption...but ultimately, she's a beat-em-up type, not a 'phasers are firing' type.
Tactical: Tuvok

Security/Operations: Checkov, Worf, O'Brien, Jadzia Dax, Worf, Tasha Yar, Wesley Crusher, Data, Michael Eddington, Odo, Nog, Harry Kim. Harry Kim is living weaksauce and is immediately stricken. We eliminate Dax again. Checkov, Yar, Worf, O'Brien, and Odo are all men who are tough-as-nails as well as not being to shabby on the uptake.That said, I'm not sure what qualifies Checkov as being 'tough-as-nails,' or Worf as 'not being to shabby on the uptake.' O'Brien's a war hero.Yar is cool enough that she has honorary 'man' status.

Eddington is a fun one. We certainly don't know much about him. He's cunning. Dangerous. Morally brave. Almost sexily so. We also don't know much about him, something we can't say about Odo or O'Brien. Seriously, what would you do with O'Brien or Odo in a new ongoing series? As much as I like both (I think O'Brien's been in most categories so far and might even be in more, if only out of courtesy), we've really seen the characters run their course. Tasha Yar, Wes--okay, Wes is out. Data might be technically competent, but he's a boring ubercharacter and he's out of all considerations ever as of now.

That leaves Yar, Eddington, and Nog. Nog is pretty cool. He's eager to please, but he's also competent and battle-hardened. Eddingston is an absolute terror... Final conclusion: Yar. Eddington is featured as a villain, only to reveal his status as friendly plant at a crucial moment and vanish into the shadows, appearing once a year thereafter for a fun episode of intrigue and questioning loyalties. Nog is screwed because he's a recurring DS9 character and already has a lot of development under his belt.
Security/Ops: Yar

Navigation/Helm: The ship's pilot, eh? Riker? No. Paris? No. Young Picard? Eeeeeeh No. Jadzia Dax? No. O'Brien? Qualified, but only here as a courtesy. Sulu? Hmmmm. Ro Laren? Hmmmm! Goddammit! Making me choose between Ro Laren and Hikaru Sulu! It's a brain-aneurysm! I mean, Sulu is the better pilot, but Ro was pretty cool and we hardly knew her! She resurfaces later as the tough-as-hell Captain of the Pegasus in the new Battlestar Galactica. He turns up on Howard Stern and Heroes! Can't....choose!

Okay, Ro. I like them both, and they both deserve more time, but I'm gonna go with my gut on this one. Ro Laren. She's more of a rebel, and I can totally dig that.
Nav/Helm: Ro

Sensors/Science: Uhura, Worf, Data, Harry Kim, Seven of Nine, Kathy Janeway, Wesley, Geordi, Jadzia Dax, Spock, O'Brien, Tuvok. Okay, that leaves Uhura and Worf. When someone says Science, I don't think Worf. Sorry.
Sensors/Science: Uhura

Chief Medical Officer: McCoy, Pulaski, EMH, Crusher, Bashir, Troi? Ezri? EMH and Crusher are right out. Troi and Ezri are just here for laughs(LOL, aliens!). That leaves Pulaski, Bashir, and McCoy. Gimme a young Pulaski. It's not that I don't like McCoy, it's that he's already been covered pretty well and Bashir...he's no competition for Pulaski.
CMO: Doctor Pulaski

Civilian: This is my wildcard. Naturally, Garak, Harry Mudd, Guinan, Keiko O'Brien, Wesley Crusher, Jake Sisko, Quark, Morn, Neelix, Kes, and/or a civilan version of any other character. The role of this character is pretty ill-defined; they're there to give the military types an outside perspective. Granted, this isn't a very formal military organization, but it still represents someone outside of this. Anyway, despite all of the characters who've fallen by the wayside because of being overdeveloped, I'm going straight with a thoughtless fave on this one: Elim Garak. He has a mysterious air about him that works in a 'young nation' setting, as he can represent the cynical, self-interested pitfalls inherent in these things. Whatever corrupt organization sits at the root of this not-Federation, it's put Garak on this ship, whether he's loyal to its interests or not.
Civilian: Garak

The only real question left is who my XO is. Pulaski, Garak, and Ro are right out. Doctors and civilians don't make good commanders in Star Trek, and conn is usually a lower-ranking position. That leaves Uhura, Scotty, Yar, or Tuvok as my XO....maybe Yar, if she's a bit older. Scotty's going to be in engineering most of the time, so it's not him. Uhura or Tuvok. My gut's telling me Uhura.

The ranks are incongruous. The Voyager pair are post-series. Ro Laren is certainly straight out of TNG, sans her Maquis sympathies. Uhura is from the Wrath of Khan period, and Scotty is younger Scotty from the series(was he a Lieutenant or a Lieutenant Commander during the series?). Tasha Yar is Tasha Yar if she hadn't been mauled while trying to flank a tar baby. I'm saying this is Pulaski's first tour as a ship's Chief Medical Officer. Garak? Young Garak. Just watched Dirty Harry recently and still thinking of young Andrew Robinson.

Not pictured:
Engineering: LT Montgomery Scott
Medical: LT Katherine Pulaski
???: Elim Garak

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Field Manual Kris: A Golden Age

So I'm headed out soon. Probably tomorrow/Friday. Definitely within the week.

I wanted to set some blogs up for the coming month or so that I might be gone. Obviously "Playing Favorites" and "Timewalking Archive Trap" are the easiest features to do this with. Well, while I was mining my Myspace blog, I just said "Fuck It" and started processing every one of my MySpace blogs of note.

I started before noon and I'm only back to the beginning of 2007.

Sadly, I couldn't take the comments, which make me really appreciate Terry, Derek, my sister, Jordan (who maybe went back through all of them after meeting me), and an old friend from Texas for their consistent support of all of my emo blogging bullshit over the past few years. I mean, it wasn't entirely altruistic; they got some bitchin' videos out of it .

The two (major) projects I'm working on right now just got kicked back to me, so after taking care of things around the house prior to my departure and doing all of  my blog stuff, I'm going to be working on those. Kind of looking forward to it.

And man, I just found a retrospective blog from 2007, talking about blogs from the long ago year of 2005. Wow, don't hurt your neck looking that far back, past-Kris.

Relevant to My Interests: Comic Book Reviews

So I looked into comic book reviews on the YouTubes because I might be making one in the near future.

Jesus Christ, they are terrible. Mr. Christ, if you're reading this right now, please don't read these things. I guess you're omniscient and everything and know everything there is to know about them, but there's a certain "ineffable quality" that is gained, and at a terrible price, if you watch these things yourself. Just don't.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 13, just gushin' 'bout Batman

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites
But why is Batman one of my favorites? He doesn't have an arc that he develops through. Certainly, he learns things, but really, Batman versus the Joker will do as well today as Batman against the White Martians did years ago (so cool!). He doesn't have a villain that he constantly strives against to beat that he'll eventually beat; he'll learn vital lessons that let him beat whatever scheme is in front of him and continue doing that for just about every adventure ever. Case in point: he just beat Darkseid—the God of Evil—with minimal advance preparation to settle their best two out of three grudge match. It's cool that he goes toe-to-toe with the dude that pounds on Superman when he's getting his rage on; it's amazing that he lost a round to The Ruler of Apocalypse and constant threat to New Genesis, planet of cosmic-scale gods and survived to fight round three. Standing back, the dude's resume is top notch. 

When you get closer, his wins are largely done with style: classic last-minute reversals that are well crafted from a well-established character and story that are enjoyable to read. That said, that cool, collected detective who picked up a radion bullet from a crime scene is the same one that managed to pull Booster Gold and Blue Beetle's asses out of the fire in Bialya. Sure, the character changes a lot over the years, but just like with Dickbats, the perspective is so far away for most of us that we can't appreciate the growth within each arc or characterize the changes over time as some sort of unified narrative development of the character. While each Batman is a different character, The Batman idea itself doesn't develop much beyond a chimeric adaptation to the zeitgeist. The different Batmen, however are what make him a successful meme. He is simultaneously one idea presented with different details; the details that find purchase in the mass consciousness are the aspects of him which proliferate and which in turn produce variations based on those differences which can find purchase as the culture in which it exists changes. Batman's character development (and it could be argued that of any long-standing character) isn't a unified narrative arc, but a reflection of the expectations and desires of those who perpetuate the underlying idea he represents. Again, Batman's scale prevents macro-analysis of his character growth, and a micro-analysis doesn't turn up much at all either because he is essentially flawless.

Yes, flawless. Batman is human in the technical sense (depending on just what the hell “Superman/Batman” is doing this month. You think I'm kidding. Seriously, they had Thomas Wayne meet Jor-El there. And they talked about the kids they might one day have. I hate incestuousness in my comics and movies [Star Wars], but this was practically a family reunion/orgy. Not everyone in the history of everyone everywhere has to have met everyone else [Star Trek crossover novels]. I wish I was kidding here about how bad it is in this book, I really do. I have found shooting stars and wished upon them to the effect that this comic was some kind of joke to no avail. I like to imagine in those moments that in some reality there was something inconceivably worse and I wished for it not to exist and it didn't. I like to think that this has happened many times and each time one of those terrible things gets erased, a hovering 'canceled' stamp passes over “Superman/Batman” instead. I figure that Bruce Wayne's only a few years away from being ret-conned as Superman's half-brother or some shit.), he is not so human in the artistic sense. Yes, the makes little mess-ups, but when The Black Hand destroys him with a subconscious suggestion, then fills him up with drugs, erases his memory, and puts him on the street, his second back-up personality kicks in, lets him become Batman again, and stumble into a deathtrap...that he actually gets out of and while you were reading the words “on the street” and “stumble into a deathtrap,” he rewired a dime-store radio to trap all of his opponents in a building so he could punch them all when he did escape.

It was awesome to read and Batman is pure righteous violence. He is comic books with- No, Batman is comics. There isn't a damned thing about him that is “comics, but-”. His character has depth (the style of depth varies from writer to writer), history, righteous vengeance, good ideas, a mask, a good moral compass, but not very many flaws. Perhaps there's some sort of flawless/relatability/wish fulfillment balance that these heroes have and Batman has just broken the system(or used relatability as his dump stat).

He doesn't compromise his principles. He has a long view mixed with typically short-sighted morals, and those really are his closest flaws, which—being Batman—are also his greatest assets. His long-view makes him so endearing because it puts him head and shoulders above other superheroes. In fact, he's one of the few who regularly beats out the rule that superheroes are more capable in their own comics. In Booster Gold, Booster screws up the timeline and makes it so that cyber-virus OMACs led by Max Lord destroy most of the members of The Justice League in their homes. In the series of panels that this information is exposited, you see an OMAC-ed Alfred catch Batman unawares in The Batcave. Liking Batman as I do, I was irked, but I recognized it was a Booster Gold comic, and it was on him to save the day, etc., etc.. Fast forward to the thrilling climax, and Batman shows up having already infiltrated Max's satellite headquarters weeks ago and was preparing to destroy it from the inside. When the time line was finally restored, Batman, remembering nothing of the OMAC-friendly timeline, reveals that he knows Booster Gold has been up to something and gives him grudging respect and offers a friendly ear. That's Batman; he isn't the guy that you beat up to show how awesome your character is. He's the guy that acknowledges your character has finally earned a measure of real worth. It isn't his ability to punch his way out of trouble that people like about him (though make no mistake he does do that and we do like that about him), it's that he is clever and his solutions have to be clever because simply shooting rays at something isn't the answer. The same way Captain Picard couldn't just point Worf at his problems to solve them; Batman can't use brute force to solve problems. 

Next                                           All                                           Previous

Monday, March 21, 2011

7252-Favorites, Part 3

Hm. Due South comic book reviews.
Friday, February 11, 2011
It's a great comic, and I never give it the kind of attention it deserves, but it's hard to really explain it to people. I'd like to do a review of it, but I also need to make sure I right by a really good work.

Just watched the pilot for "Jack of All Trades." Don't feel too well now. Think I'm suffering from camp poisoning.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The first symptom is thinking of Adam West when anyone mentions Batman for any reason.

Just finished a blog on The Middle East. Kinda feel like I'm trolling my spell checker.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Poor little paper clip.

Nevermind.Darwin leaving X-Factor puts the team at 9 guys, plus the 2 added in the very same comic. Next issue: Darwin. #mutanthoarding
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Peter David just keeps collecting mutants. Every month, more mutants join X-Factor. He's a good writer, but I think that he's going to end up writing the entire X-Universe.

Socially Awkward Penguin: Ran out of storage space for Magic cards. Turn down movie invitation to make new decks.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Man, those new decks were fun good okay playable meh poor.

DnD Warlocks: Magical tanks.#DnD
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Aside from actually rolling, looking up warlock abilities is the longest part of combat in 4th Edition.

Oh, god. Mardi Gras is coming. Forget Galactus; that shit needs a herald.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
World destruction versus drunk drivers, revelers, traffic, excited people talking about Mardi Gras and how drunk they're going to get, traffic, people talking about how much money they're spending on beads they're going to throw away, drunk people talking about Mardi Gras and how drunk they're going to get, people asking about plans for Mardi Gras as if it's a think you do stuff for, and everyone everywhere else during Mardi Gras because.

Planechase game. Man walks into Otaria and casts Traumatize. Then he YABLARGLE NAQVMEIY
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Two Traumatizes are serious business. One Traumatize twice is almost just as dangerous.

Social Anxiety Penguin: Going through old Myspace blogs to see why they were popular. Realize they weren't. 

January 12, 2011 7:03:15 PM
The best humor is based on real life. Also, the saddest. :(

Yes, it is actually. Why do you ask?

Thursday, February 03, 2011
Paul! That's a ridiculous name for a cat!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's the Magic: Nothing Much

This Week's Best Thing Ever
It's been a quiet week for Magic. Sure, I played a multiplayer game where Deadpool actually got out Hive Mind and it was awesome and I used Djinn Illuminatus to replicate Book Burnings a dozen times, but I just haven't been engaged with the game lately. I put together two whole tiers of decks this week and haven't really been excited about them. I dunno. Maybe it's the doldrums. Maybe it's that I've been so busy running roleplaying games. Maybe it's the other projects I'm working on. Maybe it's my frustration over not being able to craft Heroic Magic.

On a positive note, I did manage to finally crack my 'sixth land' problem. Since I crafted my ten answers to the now-complete Great Designer Search (congratulations, Ethan Fleischer), one of the things that's interested me is the opportunity to introduce a sixth basic land type, a Remnant, when revisiting Zendikar.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: Star Trek: The Perfect Crew

It's a lingering question in Star Trek mythos: Kirk or Picard. Now, I despise fanboyish "If X would beat Y" matchups. Such things quickly break down to become intellectually bereft contests of popularity and nostalgia, backed up with arbitrary points of canon married with tenuous 'logic' to back them up.

I'd much rather explore a crew for a Star Trek show that utilized characters who have enough character to be interesting, but never got enough exploration in their actual appearances. A television show or series which got to develop under-used characters--however irrelevant it may seem in the wake of the new Trek movies--is certainly more interesting.

The first step is to establish a ship, a mission, and, a series. These are, after all, characters in a story...but what story? The Star Treks franchise thus far has given us a peek into real scientific theory and what it could mean for mankind, a bright future where the human spirit--not technology--elevates us above our state today, truisms about human nature and politics presented honestly without familiar context, and stories that try to hit one or more of those points and fail embarrassingly. DS9 did it's own thing to become a serial drama, and in that respect did very well, but being a serial drama about flawed humans might make it good television and very enjoyable science fiction, but sadly, it doesn't make it good Star Trek. Voyager, for its many, many, many flaws is actually a very good example--in terms of format--of narratively disconnected episodes that keep a consistent overall theme.

I'm not thinking of doing anything new here. I'm mixing and regurgitating Treks to make a franken-series. We're in the future, we're on a type ship we've seen before, we're dealing with alien races. Tone is paramount. Worf was a waste on TNG, but shined in DS9. Or could you imagine Kirk spending an hour alone with Troi and talking about his damned feelings? Janeway during the Dominion War? Setting can make or break some characters.

I'd like a series that can occasionally be a vehicle for both social commentary and the newest science available to us. I don't mean comic book newest science that makes the plot go, but elements that show us the impact that new scientific discoveries imply about the universe at large. The driving force that solves problems should be humanity, reason, and hard work.

Mission: I think that a good format would be something akin to The Next Generation; mostly exploration, but also a handful of diplomatic and scientific missions. TNG is quite possibly the most beloved Star Trek because it left itself open to do a lot of things that weren't metaplot related. Sure, DS9 and Voyager both swam against the current a bit, but they were still in a river headed one direction.

Theme: Star Trek has always had a theme of danger, exploration, and camaraderie. Danger delivers a certain amount of requisite, narrative heft. Exploration is the driving force for these characters to do what they do despite the dangers. Camaraderie in inherent to the human element; one part of showing how the human spirit can overcome the problems is for people to work together. Not always well or perfectly, but still together.

Story: There are not a great number of smaller powers in the Star Trek Universe. Generally, it's just Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, etc. I'm thinking a confederation of planets that isn't the Federation. There are certainly complaints to be lodged against the Federation and the way they do things (So'na, Maquis, Prime Directive, Dominion War, Section 31, etc.). This "Trek" would consist of a handful of ships, secondhand from Starfleet, the Federation, or whoever is selling starships this week.

Mission: To patrol the border, coordinate diplomacy and joint operations with neighboring states, capture pirates and smugglers, explore new tracts of unexplored space, either as survey and first contact, or simply providing an accounting of territories.

Ship: I think my crew wouldn't have the biggest, bestest, boldest, or biotechist ship in the fleet. I'd opt for a Nebula Class; modular starship with a visual look similar to that of the familiar Enterprise-D.

Mood: This star fleet doesn't carry over the strictness of the Federation, but they're still professionals, and they're still a team. A 'young nation' feel prevails; they don't have the staid demeanor of The Federation; they don't have a rulebook, instead opting for a common ethos. While the captain does have the option of how to deal with issues, explaining his/her reasoning to his/her superiors when things go wrong is an essential element.

Billets: Just which stations a ship needs 'named' characters for is a relevant question. I don't need the expansive cast of DS9, and since I don't need to shoehorn in Worf or a second Dax, I can skip over Strategic Operations Officer and counselor.

Captain: Someone in the commander/captain area. He/she's most of the authority for the ship and often takes an active hand in the ship's operations.

Second in command/other billet: With a smaller, crew there isn't the extra space for full-time middle-management. Like with TOS, the number two will do something useful on the side.

Engineering: Who can fix an engine with bailing wire and duct tape better? I could settle this one here, easily, but for the sake of consistency, I'll cover this later with the rest.

Tactical Operations: In tactical, you need someone perceptive, quick, and possessing, above all else, good judgment. A captain may not have time to order the shields raised or to order torpedoes fired, but a good tactical officer knows.

Security/Operations: I wrapped these two together instead of the more classic Tactical/Security combo established with Worf and continued with Tuvok. I get where you have a 'combat guy,' but I don't see where using the shields and hunting down boarding parties are the same damned thing. Given the coordination that has to happen between the Helm, Security, and the Captain, it's pretty amazing anything happens on a starship ever, but then, that's really the Enterprise, which--despite the fiction--handles like a fat guy running serpentine uphill. Maybe timing isn't that critical. Anyway, the position calls for someone with a good spine and an excellent head on their shoulders. Someone who has a good grasp on overall ship's systems and knows how to catch a thief.

Navigation/Helm: The guy who pilots the ship, and I guess plots courses. It's sort of a standard position, but one that's something of a red-headed stepchild. I mean, our most prominent helmsman was Tom Paris, who was diet Will Riker, who was, in turn, diet Jim Kirk, so that makes him something like half-and-half tap water with store-brand cola. Try some of that. It tastes like barf mixed with coffee and industrial runoff. That's Tom Paris.

Sensors/Science: These come together pretty well. It has always amazed me that only the original Enterprise and DS9 had a science officer. But then, even DS9 phased theirs out. The rest had ill-defined, engineer/scientist/borg/Janeway officers to solve their crazy puzzles. I'd like to have someone back at that post.

CMO: I want a doctor who isn't preachy or holographic. That's setting the bar pretty low. I think we all know what makes a good doctor.

Non-Crew Dude: Y'know, the guy who isn't one of the guys. Guinan, Neelix, half the cast of Deep Space Nine.

Next Week: Decidination

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog in Exactly 1000 Words: Caring

Good Luck Bear always knew how to throw one hell of a party. 
Maybe it was because of his innately gregarious nature.
Maybe it was because of the cancer.
Rest in peace little buddy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 12

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites

I haven't brought up Batman yet for two reasons; I expect he's a huge commitment in terms of subjects of study and I'm quietly afraid that he just won't hold up to close analysis, an irrational concern only heightened by his resurgence in popular culture. This is an irrational fear; some sort of chiroptophobia with the twist that it's about a man who dresses up as a bat and he's not as cool as I think.

If there was a scale of irrationality, it would be pretty high because, as much as an opinion can be an objective fact, I love The Goddamn Batman. I'm not just looking at him as a series of characters with similar themes, behaviors, and histories written by several dozen writers over the years, but as a cultural facet that may as well have rewritten himself into the fabric of the universe for his multiple iterations which can find a chord with any but the most dogmatic canon fanboy (canboys, from this point forward).

When Grant Morrison wrote All-Star Superman, people were wowed by the simplistic retelling of Superman's origin in just one page(!):
“Doomed planet.
Desperate scientists.
Last hope.
Kindly couple.”
It was brief, but if you didn't know who Superman was, that page did an awe-inspiring amount of jack shit for you. Luckily, even if you're reading this from data pulled off of a destroyed server in the post-apocalyptic remains of the human race, you already know Superman's origin story (Yes, he will likely outlive our culture itself so long as intelligent races grapple with the disparity between the ease of wrongdoing and the elusiveness of justice). The one page 'retelling' from All-Star Superman is less an introduction and more a recap. I'd like to say that it's the most hyped recap page in the history of comics and probably the best one that doesn't include Deadpool (All-Star Deadpool written by Alan Moore. Do it comics. Do it now.)

Now there was--and you don't have to be the world's greatest detective to figure this out--an iconic superhero who did get a one page introduction which successfully introduced him to readers who hadn't ever heard of him before. It was The Goddamn Batman in his first comic:

Any questions? I believe Superman may outlive us all, but there is no doubt in my mind that if he doesn't, Batman will continue to exist beyond our civilization and possibly our species itself. There's an old zen story; a man asks a Zen master about the secret of happiness. The master says, “Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies.” The man is stupefied; death cannot lead to happiness. He says as much to the master and the master replies, “Any other order cannot allow happiness.” Batman's origin begins with a break with that fundamental order of life itself; the father dies before the son. What follows is sadness, anger, and resolve. Despair giving way to righteousness and the desire to make the world make sense (acknowledgments to Frank Miller); to outwit, outfight, and out-resource the chaos and smallness of the universe that causes these breaks. So long as there's chaos that injures life, life will strike back and Batman will be its instrument.

Next                                           All                                           Previous

Monday, March 14, 2011

7252-Favorites, Part 2

Tweets are great. My tweets are better. And these tweets are the best of the better.

Watching Apocalypse Now. Pretty good movie, actually. The Odessey plus Heart of Darkness and Vietnam.
2:16 PM Oct 1st, 2009 via txt
How messed up good is that movie? I didn't get to see the end of it, but I assume they left room for a 2012 Rambo/Willard team up movie versus zombie terrorist Sergeant Barnes.

Hodges is awesome.
1:31 PM Oct 18th, 2009 via txt
Seriously. Hodges. Awesome.

yay. working with dad. :(
7:50 AM Nov 7th, 2009 via txt
I like helping out my dad. However, that often means working with him on ambitious, but poorly conceived projects.

Baste & Switch (and mill)(and kill) finally won a game. Fear the Hedron Crabs! #mtg
10:42 PM Nov 8th, 2009 via web
While this deck no longer exists, it does mark my first Hedron Crab victory. Truly a momentous day.

Re: Trojan commercial: If they have blow-job machines, why are they selling condoms?!
November 21, 2009 11:16:07 PM via txt

Ah, self-checkout; the only place where your line moves slower than one run by Wal-Mart workers.
November 22, 2009 6:47:57 PM via txt
Another case of "Bad Idea, Worse Idea."

Huh. Victoria Hand is a lesbian. I knew there was a reason I liked her.
December 02, 2009 8:02:29 PM via txt
It's not like I like lesbians (I think my comment on record is "useless"), but for some reason, I like well-portrayed lesbians in comics.

Chekov's gun? New Port City is rapidly becoming Chekov's gun store!
December 03, 2009 7:37:42 AM via txt
Ah, New Port City. Your impenetrable labyrinth of history and interpersonal connections will forever be locked away from this mortal world. And it turns out "Chekov's Armory" is the phrase I'm looking for.

Last tweet of the day. I swear. American Dad referenced Rusted Root! :D
December 06, 2009 8:55:54 PM via txt
You guys just can't fathom how much I love 90's has-been band Rusted Root.

CSI ep "Say Uncle": 1 minute into fieldwork Hodges looks in a garbage can and finds the evidence. Hodges is awesome! #hodges
December 09, 2009 10:46:18 AM via web

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's the Magic: Rider on the Storm, or Eating Crow

 Huh, That’s Funny
You know what's funny? Storm Crow.

"Storm Crow has a sword next its power. Baneslayer Angel doesn't!
Sol Ring can't attack; Storm Crow can.
Storm Crow doesn't die to Krosan Grip like Black Lotus and the Mox.
Storm Crow has flying, Tarmygoyf doesn't!
Storm is OBVIOUSLY the best card in all of Magic. The proof is all there!! "
-Pinsir52, Portal printing

Sword in the Wrong Place-itis. Classic case. Totally incurable.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Green Box: Battletech, The Clans, pt 2

If you don't know much about the Battletech universe, this brief write-up can help you out. The Inner Sphere primer is linked herepart 1 of The Clans writeup is here, and the mini-glossary is linked here.

Downtime, aka Crawling in my Ferro-Fibrous Armor (The Clans, part 2)
With The Inner Sphere having manipulated their code of military honor, started down the path of closing the technological gap, and bought themselves time to rearm and unify against a common threat, The Clans decided the best thing they could do would be to start killing each other again for a little while.

Take that, us!

Clan Wolf was decimated by this infighting more than most others (a sliver of their forces broke off and defected to The Inner Sphere. No sane person in the setting considers them traitors for this.), but they also had a pretty good foothold in The Inner Sphere. They staged a number of Trials of Possession where they would fight units from other Clans. If that unit won, well, good on them they all got to go to Chuck-E-Cheese's after the fight. If that unit lost, then they became part and parcel of Clan Wolf and got the titillating privilege of being the first into the fray whenever the war with The Inner Sphere started back up again (believe it or not, Clanners consider this fate superior to an afternoon at Chuck-E-Cheese's). Surprisingly, quite a few units fell during these 'Harvest Trials,' and just gave up their allegiance to their people in order to bolster the depleted ranks of Clan Wolf and gain the slim chance of actually killing people from The Inner Sphere, that is, if the meatgrinder of Clan military service left them as mechwarriors in another eleven years (it probably wouldn't).

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Game's the Thing: Three Campaigns, Part Four: Son

The Doom Effect abides by many of the rules I've put forward in the last Three Campaigns blog, but it also violates a number them. I'd like to walk you through my plans for my new campaign, in the hopes that it will help me focus as well as motivate you to add some input that will help me make sure my players' needs are met.

The Doom Effect will not be serious. That will help keep it flexible, but also acknowledge that this isn't a continuity-heavy, story; this is guys getting together to blow shit up and high-five about it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 11

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites

See, Nick Fury is awesome too, but I don’t see him as being a hero. Yeah, Nick Fury can crash a motorcycle through a wall into a Hyrda base with two machine guns, a cigar, and no shirt, but for some reason, ‘heroic’ doesn’t seem to work for him. I mean, he’s pretty much got a tiny mask that covers 100% of 10% of his face, which also has to count for something. He certainly does the right thing, even when it’s only right in the long run. He’s on the continuum between Veidt and most other superheroes, so it’s strange that he just wouldn’t fit. Maybe it’s because he’s ‘Nick Fury’ and not ‘Patch Fury.’ Or ‘Just-Eyes’ or something. Maybe it’s because he’s just a hands-on manager of a structured, legitimate organization, and most of the guys I consider to be superheroes are vigilantes.

Though there is a strange moral immediacy to these characters. I talked earlier about not being able to justify the ends with the means because the means always serve as a foundation for the ends (unless you’re Spider-Man, then it’s not so much crap in, crap out as it is sunshine in, crap out).  The medium seems to encourage taking short-sighted, immediately moral choices without considering the larger picture. Heroes foolishly don’t compromise in the face of reason, and often win for it. I guess this is one of my unspoken pet peeves (and logically, it births my attraction for characters who are willing to make hard decisions regardless of the world being rigged to punish them for that[whether they are aware of it or not] because a simplistic application of absolute morality would simply be unconscionable). However, Nick Fury does that, and while I do like him for that, he just…isn’t fun to read about. Ultimate Nick Fury is a magnificent bastard, bar none, and it’s great to see him do his thing, but I think that ‘magnificent bastardy’ is at some far end of a polar scale from ‘super-heroism,’ despite my general inclinations.  Nick Fury doesn’t have a lot going on except that he’s a stock macho man (see earlier comments about cigars, motorcycles, and machine guns). He’s the alpha dog of the Marvel Universe, which is cool; someone needs to have the cojones to put a bullet in someone’s head every so often, but I just can’t think of any story I’ve read featuring Nick Fury where he actually made me want to read more about him. His most compelling characterization was actually from Ultimate Alliance 2, which isn’t an insult.

Okay, it kind of is, but not to Ultimate Alliance 2.

See, Dickbats is the opposite end of the spectrum. He clearly develops and grows over time. He has stepped up when called, and did so humbly and reluctantly. Just putting him a paragraph down from Nick Fury makes him look like a little girl. Nick Fury would’ve laughed his ass off if someone insinuated he needed to be Batman. Of course, in a universe with Nick Fury, I could see someone making the bad call that they didn’t need a Batman (like dakka, you can always use more Batman). Dickbats is likeable, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow into the role of Batman (even if he bores The Joker), but until he turns the corner and sells me on that, I just don’t see where he’s going and I’m hard-pressed to care. I’m not hooked, not because not enough has been done with Dick Greyson to make me pay attention, but because there’s so much behind him that there’s no way for me to parse out the relevant portions, much less give a damn about them when they happened over a decade ago.

Which brings up The Batman...

Next                                           All                                           Previous

Monday, March 07, 2011


Tweets are great. My tweets are better. And these tweets are the best of the better.

It's what I do. Just keep going. That first year of college is usually the roughest. Followed by the 5th and 12th.
I've been in college for a while.

Playing Shadowrun. Need to make the blanket defense of all my character's bad decisions--"I'm an ork"--more deadpan. Practice, practice.
12:14 PM Sep 20th, 2009 via web

Naked females aside, it was a pretty good day.
1:14 PM Oct 11th, 2009 via txt

What?! They just moved this hundred-page, all-Pacific party to the European theater! O-o #Cryptonomicon 
2:06 PM Oct 14th, 2009 via txt
Cryptonomicon. Pretty good book by the guy who wrote Snow Crash. Check it out. Better yet, check out Snow Crash.

Just described myself as 'a rolling stone.' Is that pretentious? It feels pretentious. 

5:50 PM Oct 21st, 2009 via txt
Good news is, it's far below my pretension baseline, so...I'm the rollin'est stone ever.

What if you put the happy thoughts mirror from Harry Potter into the dark force tunnel from The Empire Strikes Back? 
4:19 PM Oct 29th, 2009 via txt
Then put Cobb from Inception in there. According to box office release numbers, this should be the best joke I have or will ever write.

Jesus christ, I hope that woman's face is a halloween costume. I think I just became double-gay. 

3:58 AM Oct 31st, 2009 via txt
Saw Elton John on the cover of People a few months later, so it canceled out. Just regular gay again.

The Sentry dies in every other issue of the Dark Avengers. It's like they're making a comic with Sentry for people who hate The Sentry. 

8:26 PM Nov 4th, 2009 via txt
I'd make a joke about how that could be a comic for everyone since The Sentry is universally loathsome, but I know there are people out there who love The Sentry solely because in New Avenger #2151 it talks about how he'd be so much stronger than The Hulk and Superman put together and if anything makes you a winner, it's liking imaginary dudes who could totally beat up other imaginary dudes.
Dark Avengers was a comic with The Sentry for people who weren't shitpiles.

You can't colonize Mars, man, it's full of ghosts! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009 5:11:25 AM via txt
True story. I saw this whole documentary about it.

Man, I can't watch "The Rock", I need to sleep. Wait, John C. McGinley is in it?!
Sunday, November 15, 2009 7:03:56 PM via txt
I don't mention my love of John C. McGinley's character of Perry Cox from Scrubs much because for the past few years I've played this drinking game where whenever I'm reminded of Scrubs' decline, I drink until the sad goes away, but...*glug* *glug* *glug* 

For treatment of medical-related sadness.

Friday, March 04, 2011

It's the Magic: Finish Him

I've been reading Goblin Artisans, which is a pretty cool Magic blog. One of their features is a Magic card/mechanic that they discuss. It's an appealing idea.
Tides of Time is probably not that balanced. All it takes is some simple collusion with an artifact deck in a multiplayer game and you and an opponent each have infinite mana. Granted, yours is blue so you do have a bit of an advantage, but seeing how it plays out would be interesting.

Of course, I also like the back and forth potential that it has and the conundrum of how it untaps at the beginning of your turn make it a fascinating card and tend to balance it a bit. 


Ugh: Group Play
I've got until early April to finish out the old tournament bracket. If I can't find a way to finish up a lot of these games, I'll either have to let the three remaining players vote, or proxy for whoever can't be here. I'm not happy with either, but it's what I've got.

Highlighted games are those which haven't been played yet.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: Gepanzerte Welle (Part 3 of 3)

Battletech is a universe set in the 31st century where giant robots called Battlemechs are kings of the battlefield and feudal realms fight for planets devastated by years of warfare. I'm also putting up a 'Green Box' entry with background for Battletech in general, and this write-up in particular. It's linked here, or it's just below if you're using an RSS feed.

A few years ago, I tried to convince my friends to participate in a Battletech email-based roleplaying game where each of them would play the ruler of one of these realms and play politics and manage war in one of the best universes for it. They didn't not decline, but participation was marginal and the fiction I had for the setting got shelved as I focused my work on storytelling and original settings.

"She told me all of the things that would happen to me when I was very young. The beatings, narco-interrogation, lies, and humiliation. As I child, the only real terror of being caught by the Clans was the beatings; humiliation and drugging were something that children tend not to understand as well. As a young man, after they captured me in New Hills Heights, I understood each of those things. They'd told me she was dead at least a half-dozen times before it really happened. For them, her actual death just meant they had more proof.

I never believed them though. Not the first time, and not the last. Later, when I was training with them, fighting with them, and bargaining with them, I always expected my 'mech to round a corner and find her Orion.
I wonder constantly if it would be friend or foe."
Tavan Londeri, Memoirs of My Mother, discarded notes c.3080

Supplementary Reports

As has been noted, the information we have contests Ashlain as the location of the final defeat of the Gepanzerte Welle and the death of Blair Londeri.  None the less, a majority of the Ghost Bear information packet has been verified, and the following reports have been appended to the Gepanzerte Welle file for the sake of completeness.

Earlier actions on 'Ashlain' against The Gepanzerte Welle are fairly routine and easily summarized (though original copies are attached for your review), though the final report has been included in the main body of the profile for obvious reasons. Blair Londeri and her allies were on the receiving end of a brutally efficient, textbook takedown by Omega Galaxy that drug on for months. By many appearances, Omega Galaxy even began using the unsupported unit for counter-insurgency training. The handful of survivors were taken as bondsmen or absorbed into the lower castes, with many of the others being killed in combat or after capture.

Action 111-31
Office of the Loremaster, Clan Ghost Bear
Omega Galaxy, [CLASSIFIED] Cluster, [CLASSIFIED] Star
Star Commander Soth
Ashlain, Blue Mist Mountains (Region NW-1-BMM, Nav [CLASSIFIED])
Ghost Bear Dominion, August 11, 3064

1112: First contact was between [CLASSIFIED] star and three damaged 'mechs in Golf Whiskey paint scheme and Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Chola and Mikke engaged while I observed their first field performance. Both satisfactory.

1158: Pursuing surviving Assassin through the mountains (Heading: [CLASSIFIED]). Losing ground due target terrain familiarity and maneuverability.

1227: Target moved into a ravine. Deployed star in 2-2-1 split formation, with rendezvous point at Nav [CLASSIFIED].

1233: Contact with target. Target hesitated to disengage. Mikke made two affirmative shots before target retreated down ravine. Increased pace.

1251: Reached Nav [CLASSIFIED] at end of ravine. Sensor contact with target lost.  Tenah adequately demonstrated techniques for tracking jump-capable battlemechs to Chola and Mikke.

1256: Mikke demonstrated immediate tracking competence. Chola did not.

1319: Lost contact with Cluster Command. Chances of apprehension are slim. Threat level low. Will continue tracking for training purposes.

1329: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1336: Found unmapped mine. Too small for battlemechs. Suggest investigation as an asset to the Clan. Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1346: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1356: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1406: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1415: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command. Chola spotted traces of battlemech movement across shallow slope of loose rock. Moved unit across slope to train Mikke and Chola on maneuvering on unstable terrain.

1422: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command. Tenah assisting with training. Mikke and Chola show continued improvement. Chances of apprehension are slim. Returning to base once trail fades.

1432: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1442: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1453: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1503: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1523: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command.

1531: Nav [CLASSIFIED]. Still no contact with cluster command. Trail led to a number of unpowered battlemechs with apparent Golf Whiskey paint scheme in a narrow crevasse. Made determination to clear crevasse before sunset. Tenah suggested wariness.

1535: Destroyed all unpowered battlemechs. Preparing to clear site unaugmented. Leaving Chola to continue calling cluster command and intercept any enemy action.

1554: Valley clear. Finished preliminary scouting. Searching caves.

1604: Cave facing northwest near far side of crevasse emanating smell of coolant, possibly occupants and other supplies.

1628: Area clear. Confirmed death of Blair Londeri and militarized citizenry in cave. Due to spillage, lack of maintenance, no recoverable material within.

1637: Still no contact with cluster command. Returning to base.

Part I
Part II
Part III

The Green Box: Battletech, The Clans, pt 1

If you don't know much about the Battletech universe, this brief write-up can help you out. Part 1 is linked here and the mini-glossary is linked here.

During the twilight before the civilization-wrecking warfare that defines the modern age of Battletech, a number of folks saw the writing on the wall and took their toys with the intent to go home with them. Home was just as happy to blow up its own nose to spite its face, so they took their toys and voyaged through space for months on end with no real goal. People in Battletech get straight A's in dramatic action, but straight 'incompletes' in thinking things out. One mutiny and several suspected cannibalizations later, they found a quintet of stars, each with a habitable world, in convenient proximity to one another.

As a general rule of thumb, everything important is named 'Kerensky.'

These weary travelers rested their heads and life was good until someone started taking bets as to which state they had abandoned was currently blasting the others into the stone age at a slightly faster pace than the rest, and then someone had a baby and everyone wanted to give them advice despite having no common cultural framework for doing so.

Then, those refugees began to blow each other up and wrecking what little civilization they had on these five barely colonized worlds.

But some of the guys saw the writing on the wall and left their nascent homes to travel into the darkness of space--with no real plan--to avoid the chaos and devastation of civilization.

Either Battletech is the slowest Monty Python reference with "technological decline" replacing "fell into the swamp," or it's a prophetic iteration of the "Yo Dawg" meme featuring a guy that Xibit heard liked "exoduses from a collapsing civilization."
Yo dawg, we heard you liked tired memes...

As one might expect from fiction featuring giant robot war machines, politicians shooting more lasers than legislation, monarchies spouting unironic democratic values, and prevailing technologies that prohibit women from wearing anything more than underwear in the midst of deadly combat, those who exodused from the exodus secluded themselves for twenty years on harsh worlds where they trained relentlessly to both become better warriors through the honing of their martial skills and become worse warriors by believing those skills would form the foundation of an effective, equitable government. Those guys became The Clans.

There were originally twenty Clans, most of which were named after wacky animals found only in the second group of exodus worlds (known as The Kerensky Cluster).

The Clans use warriors genetically constructed from the genes of successful(Bloodnamed) warriors of the previous generation as both their main-line troops and as their leadership (therefore creating a collection of states governed by a collection of pedigreed warrior-leaders to replace the collection of states govered by a single pedigreed warrior-leader they had just left behind.). However, other 'Freeborn' citizens of other castes (roughly translated to 'slave caste,' 'slaves with name caste,' and 'devious plot device caste''), can try out to become warriors. Since most of these 'Freeborn' die from the universally arduous training conditions, most of the remainder die from institutionalized bigotry, and those who succeed are generally armored cannon fodder, the primary purpose of allowing 'Freeborns' to become warriors seems to be the entertainment of the more sadistic members of Trueborn warriors.

Similarly, aspiring Trueborn warriors (all of them) are also put through rigorous training before they are allowed to fight; many of them die and only a handful from each class, or 'sibko' actually become warriors. The remainder wash out and are reclassified as members of another caste.

This, as do many things, varies from Clan to Clan.

For Trueborn warriors, their highest honor is to become Bloodnamed and die in glorious battle. Each Clan has twenty bloodnames derived from the original twenty warriors which founded it. Obstensibly, those warriors' genetic legacies form the foundation of that entire Clans' warrior caste (trade with other Clans and vaguely defined genetic science keep inbreeding from being a problem). Up to twenty warriors can share each bloodname at a time. These warriors are the only ones who have their genetic legacy passed on to the next generation, and they also comprise the Clan council which effectively rules the Clan under the leadership of an elected executive, or Khan.

Natasha Kerensky, because she's relevant to just about everything in this article.

Whenever a bloodnamed warrior dies, other warriors who share that name elect mechwarriors who have performed well in combat to replace them. Those warriors fight in a tournament--yes, it's called something else, but I've played enough Street Fighter to know a deadly fighting tournament when I see one and I'm not about to bullshit you on this--to see who is a good enough warrior to receive the bloodname and have their genetic legacy passed onto the next batch of vatborn killers.

Back to the (Slightly Earlier) Future
Operation Klondike was The Clan's return to The Pentagon Worlds after twenty years of absence. While the forces present had destroyed themselves enough to make a victory of 400 warriors over five planets seem feasible, there were still significant armies present to make the fight an entertaining one for the reader.

The Golden Century was the period of time that followed Klondike, during which The Clans decided to improve the universe by killing each other exclusively. During this time their Devious Plot Device Caste came up with a number of advanced technologies that their leaders took and used without even saying thank you to prove to one another that their warrior genes were superior.

Operation Revival is the period of time where The Clans invaded The Inner Sphere, planning to liberate the place they'd abandoned to barbaric warfare all those years ago with slightly more civilized warfare.

Strangely, The Clans did some reconnaissance on their target fifty years before their invasion (operational intelligence isn't usually the strong suit of a culture who thinks that being a good shot qualifies you for governance) by sending some guys along. Those guys posed as mercenaries while gathering intelligence they sent back home, realized that The Inner Sphere was central to the setting, and then did everything they could to sabotage the Invasion (In keeping with everyone who betrays The Clans, no sane person in the setting considers them traitors.). Only one Clan read their intelligence during the invasion. This means that The Clans collected interesting dividends on their intelligence mission: The Inner Sphere received a collection of top-notch Clan warriors, The Inner Sphere got a slug of advanced technology, The Inner Sphere received intelligence on The Clans, and The Clans received the blackest, most metal gift of all: absolutely nothing.

Though it explains their reluctance to engage in intelligence-gathering missions, now that I think about it.

The universe's foremost intelligence agency.

Whenever the first wave of Clans (somehow) got stalled out by the technologically inferior, less-skilled, numerically superior, well-informed underdog warriors of The Inner Sphere, they activated a second wave of Clans eager to kill things. As unimpressive as the first wave was, you could be forgiven for forgetting the names of the second wave, even if they killed you.

Finally, ComStar (the interstellar phone company which keeps legions of elite mechwarriors, the Com Guard, on their payroll because don't ask questions just go with it!) challenged them in an all-or-nothing Trial on the unassuming world of Tukayyid. If ComStar won, The Clans would halt their advance. If The Clans won, they'd be really dissappointed when ComStar reneged on their offer to hand over Earth (losers).

The universe's foremost fighting force/phone company.

Pretty much the least-martial of the insignia in the Battletech universe. Even their splinter groups throw a broadsword in there.  A ??? with a trailing ??? is the wussiest thing in a universe where every other insignia is something trying to kill or punch you.

Goddamn it St. Ives, there's a reason you don't exist anymore.

Again, is the source for most of these images.