Thursday, April 30, 2015

17 to 01: Miri

Whoo boy. Derek finally makes me realize that there's definitely...I mean Kirk and Miri...the writers, they...they apparently shipped this. Not cool, writers of Star Trek. Not cool.

Nothing is cool in this episode. :(

TW: Discussion of sexual assault.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Unguided Missiles

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Unguided Missiles
Don't get crazy, I just did to Short Range Missiles what Medium Range Missiles did to Long Range Missiles. 

Long Range Missiles are old school weapons shooting out to 21 hexes for up to 20 damage. At some point, someone decided to make Medium Range Missiles, which shoot out to 15 hexes for up to 40 damage. They're also incredibly inaccurate and aren't great.

Why would I not make a new version of a not-great piece of equipment?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

17 to 01: What Are Little Girls Made of?


Wow, this episode, so theme. Much relevance. Many social message.

Lots of firsts, in this episode.

TW: More discussion of misogyny

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Double-Weave Armor

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Double Weave Armor
Double Weave Armor is a new, bulkier armor that is simply more resistant to damage. Its a somewhat linear improvement of basic armor by Clan scientists. It uses larger energy-absorption weaves to reduce damage caused by weapons. Less efficient space-wise than most armors, the Double Weave Armor still yields a standard mass-protection ratio. At certain ranges, AC shells simply bounce off of it, and it stores and radiates energy weapon heat.

Rules Level: Experimental
Available To: Clan Star Adder
Availability: Battlemechs

Game Rules: Double-Weave Armor reduces damage dealt by attacks according to the range they are fired from and the amount of Double-Weave Armor mounted on the 'mech.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Captain America 3: Civil War Leak

If the early footage is to be believed, they really cheaped out on this one.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters May 1st.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Battle for The Hugos

Every year since 1953, the World Science Fiction Society has given out The Hugo Awards for notable works in science fiction. Categories like Best Novel, Best Graphic Story, and Best Dramatic Presentation have been given to Star Trek, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and even The Avengers.

Nominations and winners are voted on by members of the society, who either pay to attend the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) or who buy a membership. A few thousands folks and a handful of rules assign some of the preeminent awards in science fiction to works and writers. 

Like most election systems, The Hugo Awards are not, nor have they ever been, marks of absolute quality. They designate the works which are able to garner the votes of the most WSFS members. They're marks of what's most popular that year among a handful of science fiction fans. Granted, you'd be hard-pressed to argue against the quality of those winners.

Hell, you pick one.

Back in 2011, a writer by the name of Brad Torgerson lost the Hugo for Best Novelette to Charlie Jane Anders, noted female and LGBT+ proponent. The following year, Torgerson teamed up with fellow Hugoless writer Larry Correia to address a problem Torgerson's website characterizes as
"...the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

17 to 01: The Squire of Gothos


In this episode we talk about geologists in space, dandies vs fops, and Derek's desire to have Spock as a mentor.


Just remember, before Ben Sisko punched Q, Kirk pimp-slapped Trelane.

Twice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Kablooey

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Multi- and Omni- Directional Ammunition Explosions
The Problem
This is a house rule I have and never use. I offer it untested to folks on the chance they might like it, run with it, and make it their own.

Every so often the ammunition inside of a 'mech explodes. Sometimes it takes a critical hit and sometimes the 'mech just runs too hot. Regardless, the ammunition does damage to the internal structure of the 'mech and, as the system is currently written, makes a beeline straight for its incredibly important center torso location.

A 'mech with a destroyed center torso stops being a unit. Ammunition explosions are often such an instant kill that the peripheral rules about pilot damage are often that: peripheral. Also, the unit can't be salvaged; you just tear the gear off of it and slam it into another unit. With the center torso, you can patch it up and add a 'mech to your forces.

Ammo explosions suck and they should suck, but maybe it can be dialed back a bit.

Monday, April 13, 2015

STT: Eishon

Eishon
High Concept: Dedicated Romulan Security Officer

Eishon was assimilated by the Borg in her teens. She participated in the destruction of several civilizations and was assigned with tasks related with suppressing other Borg and reviewing transporter analysis by lesser drones.

After over a decade, she was one of thousands saved during Operation Right of Janeway*. She was actually rescued by the Ferengi Daimon Clemoff. When the tide of the battle shifted, Clemoff lost over a third of his crew, but he saved hundreds of individuals. The bounty paid for those rescued more than paid for a new Marauder.

After fifteen years of trying to find a place in Romulan society, Eishon applied to Starfleet Academy. There, she still faced discrimination, but her talents and temperament led to a grudging respect. While still watched carefully for any remission, she has found her place.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nations as Characters: Examples

So I'm still on this kick. It turns out that the FATE Core book has an example of this. It keeps the basic skills and includes aspects (of course). I haven't moved onto aspects or stunts yet, but if my interest keeps up, it's the next thing on the list.

Ententé Alliance
Diplomacy: 3
Culture: 2
National Resolve: 2
National Loyalty: 1
Military: 1
Infrastructure: 1

In the original 3087 setting, the Alliance was a small collection of systems carved out just rimward of the old FRR remnant. Populated with Clanners, Lyrans, and Dracs (is "Dracs" offensive"?), the Ententé Alliance citizenry enjoys the wealth and plenty afforded by peace and technological advances.

EA's (I know) strong diplomatic ties with The Ghost Bears, Draconis Combine, and Lyran Alliance--buoyed by technology trades (mostly medical), military cooperation, and intelligence sharing--are enough for the little state to become one of many cross-roads of known space.

Potential Aspect
Doctors of Honor:  Partially because of their extensive genetics program and public services, Alliance doctors are considered some of the best known. While the Alliance has doctors as good as those of any other state, it also produces Doctors of Honor, who participate in a training regimen designed after that of Clan Warriors. While many debate the efficacy of the program, those who have attained the rank of Doctor of Honor are a close-knit, highly-prized few. This aspect can be used on any infrastructure or academics roll dealing with almost any aspect of medicine (Usually an Academic roll).

The Jade Falcon
Military: 3
Infrastructure: 2
Law Enforcement: 2
Mineral Wealth: 1
National Resolve: 1
Academia: 1

Thursday, April 09, 2015

17 to 01: Balance of Terror


The first of many times we’ll talk about The Hunt for Red October

Also, Star Trek: Punching Fire.

The movie I was thinking of was Prometheus

Explicit language.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Battletech Heaps: MRM House Rules

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Medium Range Missiles Are Broken; Fix Them
MRMs are not broken in the sense that they're too good. I know they're designed to work with C3 systems and that they have the new Apollo system to help them suck less.

The first step is changing their weights and heats.

Name       Heat Damage    Short  Medium Long     Tons    Crits     Shots/Ton
MFM 10      4   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     3.0     2         24  
MFM 20      6   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     6.0     3         12
MFM 30     10   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15     9.0     5          8
MFM 40     12   1/Missile  1-3    4-8    9-15    12.0     6          6

Second, I'm taking the same route that they took with old school autocannons: Specialty Munitions.

Monday, April 06, 2015

STT: Tal

Tal is a young Ferengi with a dram of one day running a transportation ship in the Klingon Empire. 

Before joining the Academy, he served on a Ferengi marauder under Daimon Clemoff. The older Ferengi mentored him and encouraged him to join The Academy. 

In Tal's freshman year, his study of random information in isolinear databases turned up data that lead to the identification of the culprits of the 2400 Smithsonian Theft. Tal's ability to find patterns inside seemingly random systems was a talent that he honed during the rest of his academic career.

He also put together a betting pool based on his application to the Academy's Klingon Warrior Training Program. His plan was to pass indoctrination and quit the next week, beating the majority of bets and pocketing the bulk through a proxy who'd take a small cut.

As the first Ferengi to apply for the program, Tal was put through hell during the indoctrination phase. After two emergency transports to Starfleet Medical, he was ready to quit and pocket his money. News of Daimon Clemoff's death reached him at that time and he resolved to persevere.

The next three years were nothing but the harshest part of every Klingon ritual the program instructor could imagine. Against that backdrop, Tal volunteered for the salvage team assigned to the crashed Enterprise NX-01. He learned how ships were built from the keel up.

Tal's assignment to the Enterpirse was canceled due to its untimely destruction in 2404. He currently serves as an engineering officer aboard the Taiwan

Friday, April 03, 2015

Piddlin' about with the nations-as-characters thing again

You know I have an unhealthy thing for my old Battletech: 3087 game (Don't worry, I'm not going to repost it again). In it, players had characters and nations that they ran. The nation turns were simple and abstracted so that players could understand what was going on and make decisions on a national scale. One of the lessons I pulled from the failure of 3087 was that players "get" characters and a good nation-running tabletop game should characterize nations the same way it does characters.

I obviously started with FATE. Skills are bedrock in FATE and I needed a similar positive and negative skill space that characters get. I tried to convert FATE stock skills 1:1 to national-scale equivalents, so each nation could have ten of fourteen skills, but that was unwieldy. I settled on six out of eleven:

Sabotage (Provoke)
Infrastructure (Athletics)
Espionage (Notice)
Internal Security (Stealth)
Law Enforcement (Investigate)
Diplomacy (Deceive/Empathy)

National Resolve (Physique)
National Loyalty (Will)

Military (Fight)
Natural Wealth (Resources)
Culture (Contacts/Rapport)
Finance (Burglary)

Academia (Lore)
Artisan (Crafts)

It feels like a mixed bag. Some of these interact pretty well, but others don't. Impossibly, there are still thirteen. The Sabotage/Espionage and Security/Law Enforcement skills should probably be rolled into one. 

Would you like to run a nation that has six of these skills? Plus Stunts and Aspects that are mostly specific iterations of these skills (ie, a particular unit, a singular resource like vibrainum or hargel, or individual, exceptional people?). 

Where do technologies, histories, and nation sizes still fit into this? Still working on it.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

17 to 01: Charlie X


Janice Rand deals with yet more shit and we learn that Charlie X's full name is Charlie Fuckboy.

"Charlie X" is an episode that's rubbish at first glance, but a closer look reveals one of the series' most universal and knowing episodes.

Also, Antares is butts.

Contains explicit language and explicit discussion of sex.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Battletech Heaps: House Rules Flurry

Whether it's for nostalgia or novelty, Wednesdays are the days that I put up old Battletech house rules I created nigh on 10 years ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the (in)famous, addictive board game of armored combat, I'll add some context, but know that you should abandon all non-courier fonts, ye who enter here.

Not all house rules require a whole-page write-up. Some are just little gusts of rules that I like for existing weapons.

Bottling Luck
Sometimes, I roll a '12' when I need a '4'. I--like others--feel totally cheated by The Dice Gods when this happens. I mean, what the hell? I could've used that '12' at some other juncture. I wish I could just say, "No thanks, I don't need to be that lucky right now." So why not bottle it?

Once per turn, when you roll a '12,' you may opt to re-roll. If the re-roll hits, you gain an Edge Point. You can spend Edge Points let you re-roll a die.

The once per turn limitation and requirement to hit with the second roll are to keep players from using Pirhanas or other 'mechs with banks of small weapons to farm for Edge Points with them.