Thursday, May 28, 2015

17 to 01: Court Martial

Derek says lawyers are interesting. I say they're boring assholes. 

We also talk about conviction and how confidence can sway people where reason doesn't. Feature or bug?

Bug. It's definitely a bug.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Active Probe 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.

Active Probe Modifications
Active probes in Battletech are generally used just to assist with Hidden Units, detecting minefields, and sensor rules, rarely-used optional rules.

Fast Facts:
-Paltry 6 hex range.
-Trumped by ECM.
-Not TAG, which allows you to attack the enemy.
-Not C3, which makes attacking the enemy easier.

Not for nothin', but Battletech is a game about attacking the enemy and making them win the race to the grave. A simple improvement would be allow active probes to negate some battlefield impediments.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Affleck as Olbermann

I'm pretty sure I've posted this one before, but it's a favorite and election season is nigh.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

17 to 01: The Galileo Seven

Derek and I politely fight for thirty out of fifty minutes about every. single. thing. in this episode.

There is a lot of what I feel is unintentional allegory in this episode, which is not to its detriment. Spock is constantly able to do everyone else's job and an episode which exploits his weaknesses to the hilt is much needed, but I'm still sifting for larger social messages.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Targeting Pod

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.

Targeting Pods
Somewhere between a turret and a targeting computer, targeting pods contain a bundle of direct fire weapons. Controlled by computers through a bundle of sensitive actuators, they create a precise way of directing fire.

Targeting pods are an extension of sensor-to-muzzle targeting improvements, but they fall prey to the law of diminishing returns. While the technology may be more on par with the Clans, most warriors draw the line at keeping the computers from doing all of the fighting. On the other hand, the technology is too advanced for what the Inner Sphere can offer. If it did exist in the Battletech universe, it would likely be the hopeless pet project of a Clan scientist. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Leviathan Warships

Yeah, it's just a video game trailer, but it's an amusing video game trailer.

Update: I bought the game during a Steam sale and I wasn't impressed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Dumbest Thing in Comics that Franklin Richards was carried to term by Sue Storm and not Reed Richards. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

17 to 01: Conscience of the King

This episode is stupid and needs to be twice as long. We mention Kodos getting side-tweeted, McCoy's misunderstanding of the galley layout, and The Oedipus Honeypot.

And yes, the conversation about whether Starfleet is a policing or scientific organization--which you have to admit isn't technically a conversation we've had before--comes up.

I'll be the first to admit I was way off my game in this one. I sincerely apologize and I promise to do better in the future.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Mass Fire 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.

Mass Fire Missiles
To: Khan, Clan Ghost Bear/Nova Cat
From: Xxxx, Ghost Bear/Nova Cat Scientist Caste
Our first approaches to creating a medium-range, mass-fire weapon resulted in an upgrade of Inner Sphere, dead-fire intermediate range missiles which held--in the prototype stages--similar performance characteristics, with approximately half the weight, with only a few efficiency losses we were confident would be ironed out in time. However, the more compact size with the greater rate of missile load caused ammunition feed problems (especially when we tried guided munitions models). This was the focus of our research, but ultimately found that further work would require too much time and too many resources.
We then turned to a new loading system, one which loads one volley of unarmed missiles while the other is ready to fire. The safety systems which protect these 'sitting' missiles, in addition to the dual-rack ammo-feed system, boosts the weapons size to one comparable to the Inner Sphere system it was built off of. Still unguided, these missiles differ from the original Draconis Combine production lines only slightly.
The major benefit of this system is an decrease of 25% in the weapon's cycling time. However, field-tests with experimental control circuits have allowed a much faster cycle, up to twice as fast, causing a virtually constant stream of missiles to issue forth from the launcher. This allows a 'mech to saturate an area in a mass of unguided missiles, even if most of them actually collide with one another or prematurely detonate in flight.

While there were initial concerns that this 'saturation mode' would risk feed jamming, the new feed system is in fact so effective that it is virtually impossible to jam. Analysis and further testing have shown that before constant higher rate of fire causes a short in the control system circuits long before jamming occurs. When this happens, a constant, unstoppable stream of missiles pours forth until the on-board ammunition supply is exhausted. Only a complete shutdown of the affected unit can stop this, and any subsequent use of the weapon will automatically cause it to resume.
Standard Fire:
MFMs act like MRMs, down to the ranges and the +1 to hit modifier.

However, MFMs have another mode of fire:

Saturation Fire
Saturation Fire can either target a unit or a hex. When using Saturation Fire, the MFM uses twice as much ammunition and generates twice as much heat. In addition, it gains a -1 to hit, negating the +1 penalty it usually gains.

When rolling a '2' on a to-hit roll, the MFM remains in Saturation Fire mode as the control circuits are burned out. It will fire every turn, expending two points of ammunition and generating twice the normal heat. If there's not a unit target, the pilot must target hexes. The uncontrollable fire results in a loss of the -1 to-hit. When the 'mech is shutdown, the weapon stops firing.

After startup, the weapon may be only be fired in Saturation Mode and will  automatically become uncontrollable afterwards. The first time it's fired after shutdown, it gains the -1 bonus, but not afterwards.

Targeting Units
: When making a successful attack on a unit, the attacking player rolls 3D6 on a column of the Cluster Hits Table, taking the two lowest die to determine the resultant damage, which is then doubled. The die roll result is reduced normally by AMS, and applied in 5-point clusters.

Targeting Hexes: Hexes are targeted with MFMs like Thunder LRM Munitions, and scatter as artillery does. When making a successful attack on a hex, the attacking player rolls 3D6 on the cluster hits table, taking the two lowest die as the result. Each unit in a hex targeted by MFMs takes damage in 5-point clusters from the MFM.

Mass Fire Missiles
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

Monday, May 11, 2015

FFS: Pulaski Hate is Unjustified

So you have to be an idiot to hate Doctor Pulaski. I mean, you have your own taste and feel free to hate any character you want, but if you're in the Official Doctor Pulaski Hate Crowd, you are an idiot who doesn't understand Star Trek or basic story structure.

So...this is a character arc.

A few concepts unite the Official Doctor Pulaski Hate Crowd:
-Pulaski is space-racist at Data.
-Pulaski is a clone of Doctor McCoy.
-Pulaski doesn't get along with Captain Picard.
-Pulaski is...mean?

Yeah, "curmudgeonly doctor who doesn't like technology and is space-racist"certainly describes both of them. No denying that. Pulaski doesn't whine as much as Doctor McCoy. She has an appreciation for Klingon culture that McCoy could never--and would never--have. In fact, her space-racism is probably a more direct result of her technophobia than any ethnocentric bullshit like McCoy's.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Section 31, Item 7

Okay, so on Monday, I was talking about how Section 31 was just one guy. I listed the facts we knew about Section 31 from their original appearance in Deep Space Nine and how each incontrovertible element of Section 31 could be equally or more plausibly explained by a single rogue actor than by a secret conspiracy that had remained undetected for over 200 years. The final item, Item 7, was more complicated so it has its own post.

7. Sloan was party to a plot that required the cooperation of a. one Starfleet Admiral and b. a high-ranking Romulan intelligence agent.

It comes from the seventh season episode, "Inter Arma Silent Leges," which features the only intelligence operation we ever see Section 31 perform. Sloan manipulates Doctor Bashir and Admiral Ross to place--spoilers, BTW--a high-ranking Federation agent into the highest levels of Romulan government.

Item 7a is easier to prove than the self-evident manipulation of Bashir. Admiral Bill Ross is a dull as all the rocks in a Zen garden. He's awful. could convince Bill Ross that I'm the agent of a massive conspiracy which violates the principles of The Federation, and I'm from 250 years ago! The man's credulous and having him snookered requires no suspension of disbelief or further explanation.

Item 7b is a real killer. Toval is the leader of the ruthless Tal Shiar intelligence agency. He's apparently a Federation sympathizer who is feeding intelligence to Starfleet. He cooperates with Sloan to undermine a political rival. He then pretends to interrogate and shoot Sloan to cover the human's escape.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

17 to 01: Dagger of the Mind

In this episode, Derek and I differ on whether the misogyny on this episode goes too far or if it doesn't go too far enough, debate whether Dr. McCoy has a real medical degree, and tell of stories untold.

The condition was called strabismus. I didn't know it. I wasn't even close.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Battletech Heaps: Compact Heat Sinks

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.
Mathematical Heat Sinks
I'll be honest; I'm not 100% sure on the origins of this. I'm playing archaeological custom gear and analysis on this one; I just found some tables and notes in my archives. 

It seems like I just ran an analysis of heat sinks, found an extension of the pattern, and then created a piece of equipment to fill it out. Maybe I was baffled at the incredibly narrow niche of compact heat sinks.

Heat Sinks
Type            Tons Heat Crits   Analysis:
Single(SHS)      1.0  1.0  1.0     'k
Double(DHS)      1.0  2.0  3.0     '
Compact(CHS)     1.5  1.0  0.5     Sucky. Rather sucky.
x2               3.0  2.0  1.0       
Compact-I(CHS-I) 1.25 1.0  0.5     Okay. Better.
x2               2.5  2.0  1.0                      
H-Compact-Mod    3.0  2.0  1.0*    Me likey. Maybe a Clan version of one of the other ones? It was just the other day I was lamenting the Clans' lack of 3 ton, 1 crit equipment.
L-Compact-Mod    1.5  1.0  1.0*    
*Can be mixed with other HS types.

Monday, May 04, 2015

FFS, Section 31 is Just One Guy

For those you who didn't watch Deep Space Nine, Section 31 is an amoral intelligence agency that cites the Section 31 of Starfleet's Charter to do whatever it takes to protect The Federation*.

Deep Space Nine introduced Section 31, and since that time every shit author with a Star Trek license has tried to use it in some way. Think of it as Star Trek's version of "Batman, but he kills people!" It's shown up in Enterprise, the comics...there was even a novel line about it explaining how not only did every Captain from every TV series meet and know about Section 31, but Kirk created a secret cabal that fought them for over a century! Man, fuck Section 31.

So here's the deal. When you watch the three episodes of Deep Space Nine with Section 31, it easily reads as just one incredibly talented guy, Luther Sloan, who fucked with Bashir a lot. My burden of proof for this is light indeed; whatever theory I put forwards merely has to be as credible DS9's Section 31, a secret organization that's been perfectly hidden for over 200 years.

Yeah, about that well written.