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Monday, April 7th, 2036

Time:8:47 am.


Ever since I read about the story of Medusa I have been both fascinated and sympathetic towards her.

While the origins of Medusa's tale are murky, the widely accepted story says Medusa was a vibrantly beautiful young woman, a priestess of Athena with many suitors, and one night while asleep in her temple she is raped. Because of this, Athena curses her so that any man who gazes upon her beauty, or meets her gaze, is turned to stone. Because Medusa cannot be looked upon by another man, she grows bitter and her bitterness turns her hair into snakes.
I think the original story is much older, but the tale of Medusa was co-opted by the Greeks, and as part of Greek mythology Medusa becomes one of three gorgon sisters. They are all terrible, wicked and hideous creatures, except for Medusa who is beautiful but cannot hide her hideous nature completely because of her hair of snakes. As part of her new role, she is a vain woman who is most proud of her beauty, and is cursed into a hideous creature by Minerva (the Greek name of Athena) for using her beauty to seduce a man in Minerva's temple. Perseus is later sent to decapitate her, a task it is presumed he will not return from. But even today, the Greek adaptation of Medusa as a vain and self-absorbed woman who is physically deformed for being proud of her natural beauty prevails.

To me, in either story, it always felt like Medusa got a raw deal.

Medusa almost seems like a prototype for a symbol of "the scorned woman." There is no clear indication as to why Athena curses Medusa, but the story taken as is shows that Medusa is a victim and she is punished for being a victim. She is beautiful, but she doesn't entice anybody, she isn't dressed provocatively, she's not a prostitute, she doesn't invite her rapist into the temple or even know who he is. In fact, the name of the rapist is never revealed in the original story.
So why does Athena curse her? Is it because she doesn't know who the rapist is, or she does know but doesn't accuse him? Is it simply because she was violated inside the temple, and somehow transgressed a sacred law simply by being assaulted?
There's a hint of sado-masochism in the tale, Medusa is exceptionally beautiful but if you look at her you will be turned to stone. While the tale is traditionally implying that Medusa is being punished, gazing upon her is actually a form of very mortal punishment.

The story of Medusa's curse is one of a rape victim blamed for her victimization.
When it comes to rape victims there is this horrible mindset in the majority of our culture, amongst both men and women, that the rape is somehow the victim's fault. Much of the blame on victims applies to things that an outside observer assumes is within the realm of control, "she drank too much and look what happened" or "she was wearing slutty clothes, what did she expect would happen?" In fact, many rapes are never reported exactly because women fear that they won't be believed or their attackers will be excused in some similar manner.
So Medusa is punished for her own rape, and by a woman deity no less! As for the rapist? He gets away. We never even learn his name.
It would seem to me that if you wanted to raise awareness about "victim blame," or you wanted to create a counterbalance to that mentality, it would be easy to turn the figure of Medusa into a symbol of retribution or redemption.
I'm disappointed that Medusa has turned into an evil figure, almost by default. After all, the curse bestowed upon Medusa is itself a powerful ability and if used wisely could be quite judicious. I think that's because Medusa is a woman and, as part of our culture's bias against strong matriarchal roles, you cannot have a woman running around who can turn men into stone because women just shouldn't be allowed to wield such power. Thus the power makes Medusa a villain who needs to be slain.

One could find more sexist overtones in this retelling, but some are obvious and simply not as interesting to me as the original story.

Since the early 80s film Clash of the Titans was released, Medusa has always been depicted as reptilian in nature. She has yellow eyes, which seems like it has always been a universal symbol of being evil. In modern artwork and in toys that have been made of her she is always depicted in venomous or wicked ways. She's almost always got scales from head to toe, fangs, hoofed feet. In my mind, Medusa is not any of those things. She is an incredibly beautiful woman, and she's a victim, not a villain.

In reality...
I imagine the story itself was inspired by actual rapes that occurred in the ancient world. A man might rape a woman and get away with it, and thus the victim would become a bitter or scornful woman. So the tale could also be taken as a warning to men of what happens to beautiful women if you abuse them.

As a footnote, Piers Anthony wrote a series of books set in a world called Xanth.
The main "good guy" marries a Medusa-like character, and they avoid the problem of her petrifying gaze by having her wear a veil that she can see through but that nobody can see her eyes through. This same "good guy" is a wizard, so you would think he would come up with some way of curing her other than simply a veil. But Piers Anthony would never have personally written a solution that removes the obvious use of the veil. (Anyone familiar with Piers Anthony's writings knows that all of his stories are slathered in an underlying misogyny.)
Which also reminds me, the origin of the Islamic tradition of keeping women wrapped up in a burqa to hide their beauty could also be seen in this story. Something I had never really connected to it until a few years ago.
Comments: Read 34 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Time:3:27 am.
Wow, Livejournal is different all over the place! I log in and the first thing I have to do is switch my view back to the original and alter how I can post. I hate forced change. Websites don't need this 2-year obsolescence that seems to accompany every fucking corporate takeover, or every seemingly personal whim of the head CEO.

Which reminds me:

Just to reiterate, I don't really update this thing anymore. I still lurk occasionally, but Google+ and blogspot fulfill my gamer blogging requirements.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Subject:My tweets
Time:7:00 am.
  • Sat, 19:16: When I think of the brony subculture, I think: a) creepy, b) furry, c) gross man-child doomed to be alone forever, d) all of the above
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Subject:What Saturday was like for me
Time:3:28 am.
1am - a taxi drops off a guest in the lobby, the guest is so drunk he can't find the elevator in the lobby and passes out on a couch, he apparently threw up in the taxicab and then spit in the driver's face, the driver called the police but by the time the cops arrived one of the guest's friends had gotten him to his room and we didn't know where that was

2am - I start getting noise complaints about a group of drunks swimming off of our pier, people are swimming and singing and being loudly and obnoxiously drunk, the housekeepers tell people to come inside and start locking the doors, the drunks go back outside unlocking the doors as they go and continue to swim and be loud

3am - a black guest has fallen asleep on one of the couches and two white guests (who are part of the loud drunks outside) decide to play security cop and hover around him making noise and being obnoxious, one of the white guests offers to "kick that nigger's ass" if I need help rousting him from the couch, I try to explain to this drunk douchebag that he's a guest of the hotel and I'm not going to kick him out of the lobby until 3:30, the racist thinks this is a radical concept and I explain that there are a lot of drunk people at this time of night and I point at him as I say that, I explain that 3:30 is my cutoff for being nice, he offers to "kick that nigger's ass" again and mutters something about him not belonging here, I ignore him and finish my work

3:30am - I rouse the black guest in the lobby mainly because I'm worried these two drunk white racist douchebags are going to start some shit and while I am waking him douchebag alpha comes u behind me and yells "Time to get up! Get out of the hotel!" I turn on him and say "Sir, I don't need your help. You are a liability to the hotel. Go sit down and finish your pizza." he sits down and I escort the black guest to his room

3:45am - I'm still getting noise complaints from outside at this time and my assistant has gone home, I cant find the housekeepers and I have drunk people in the hall on the 7th floor, I decide to call the police and ask for assistance, they send one officer who goes down to the pier and tells people to come inside, the housekeepers are actually still at the hotel and one of the housekeepers spends most of his time escorting the officer around and probably talking his ear off about things that are not important

4:20am - I'm still getting noise complaints on the 7th floor so I go down to tell them to be quiet, its the same group who was on the pier and they're in their room at the end of the hall with the door propped open - the door was answered by a guy wearing nothing but Speedo swim trunks, the same man was also in the middle of telling his friend how he saved him from being arrested at 1am and now he tells me they'll be quiet and closes the door to his room, they continue partying

4:40am - I get ANOTHER noise complaint, the same room has now called me three times within one hour, and I call the police again, when the police arrive they go down to issue tickets and don't return until 5:15, this time they have the guy who spit on the taxi driver and they hold him in the lobby until the driver shows up to ID him, the noise complaints stop

Both when the officers showed up at 4:45am and when they left after that final visit they chastised me for calling them over an issue as mundane as noise complaints. The last thing I said to them was "I'm sorry you feel like I'm wasting your time, but I've been working here for five years and this is only the third time I've ever called the police. I know how to deal with noise complaints, I don't have the ability to deal with drunks who deserve to be arrested and fined for being a public nuisance. That's the only reason I would ever resort to calling you guys. And I think it really says something about how obnoxious these people are since you've been called to the hotel three times tonight to deal with the same group of people."
They agreed that the drunks were unusually obnoxious, and then they left.

Seriously, fuck the police.
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Time:12:26 am.
Our case is in review. This is the sort of limbo that is frustrating as hell, because how long does it take to review a case? Either you need more information or you don't. I really want to schedule an appointment with the USCIS in Milwaukee just so I can talk to a person who can give me some straight answers. The US Immigration website is a pain to navigate through and there is nothing there telling you what kind of requirements you're expecting to uphold. And literally every form you have to file costs a minimum of $340.
Comments: Read 8 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Time:7:00 am.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Subject:Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
Time:3:46 am.
I do not even know where to begin.

A little historyCollapse )

The Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is part of the Old School Renaissance. A game that doesn't model itself on a previous system of Dungeons & Dragons but uses the concepts of modern D&D and manages to cut away the fat of the last thirty years, then adds seasoning and spices that evoke the flavors of playing a 1st edition AD&D game with a GM who loved using Judges' Guild and other third party supplements wisely and judiciously. The DCC RPG assumes the reader has a working knowledge of RPGs and the conventions of modern D&D. As the author lays out the rules in each chapter he also includes explanations for why the rules are designed in such seemingly incongruous methods, which certainly helps a reader who might be confused about the subject matter, but the further you delve into the book the more you see that these methods are actually harmonious with the larger work.
During character creation a player randomly generates four 0-level characters along with a few meager items and copper pieces and it is assumed during the first adventure or two that you will gradually lose "extra" characters to death and misfortune. After reading the 0-level adventure included with the rulebook I can safely say it is a party killer, but if the characters are smart and wily they can overcome the minions and traps of this small dungeon and temper themselves into budding adventurers. Not heroes, the tagline on the back cover makes that clear. Moral ambiguity rides shotgun with the adventurers of this game.
The only other thing I will mention is the demons and devils. This game has them in spades. They are not only antagonists, but they are also included as potential allies for those characters willing to risk the corruption that comes along with making dark pacts to foul hellspawn. It's refreshing to see a slick, big budget game that doesn't try to soften or diminish the role that evil plays within a harsh, cruel world. In this way DCC RPG manages to remind me of Warhammer, and how alien and aloof the divine powers of that game could be.
The book itself is a lot of fun to read and the older stye of artwork can tickle nostalgia as much as it can reignite the imagination. I don't think this game will appeal to everyone. In my own gaming group the players are split down the middle with interest and disapproval, but I think anybody who gives it a chance will find this game to be a lot of wild and dark fun.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Subject:bitch bitch bitch!
Time:8:06 pm.
Yesterday I took my car in to get a tune up. I'm worried my car won't make the trip to Toronto and back, so I just wanted to get everything checked out and prioritize what needs to get fixed on it. The estimate comes back and it's $1300 to fix everything: replace the spark plugs, replace the serpentine belt, replace the air conditioner, refill the freon, clean out the fuel injection system, replace an inner tie rod, replace the rear sway bars, replace some more shit, pay for labor, blah blah blah.

Anyway, $1300 is a lot of money I don't have. So I explained to the mechanic that I was driving up to Toronto in three weeks and asked him what he would fix if he was on a budget? Immediately he said "if the tie rod stops working it's probably the only thing that's likely to stop your trip." I looked at the prices for everything, and I made a very confident assessment that I could bring the car back for a day and have him fix the tie rod, the air conditioner and the serpentine belt. Total $408 - but it could go up another $100 if they find a coolant leak in the air conditioner. I have JUST that much in the bank so I said "I'll bring the car back next Friday - when I get paid - that way I don't have to feel poor for a week and a half."

All good, right?


Today my driver's side door wouldn't open. I'm pulling on it from the outside and it looks like the plastic casing on the inside of the door is completely loose, and it's catching on the rubber insulation of the door frame. The same thing happened to the passenger side door, but I never got it fixed. So I wedge the door open as best I can and try to wiggle the plastic to get it to slide past the rubber and the plastic pops off the door. Now it won't close properly, and when I do try to close it the plastic catches on the rubber again and it won't open.

I called my auto body shop and asked them how expensive such a thing might cost and they said "Up to about $500" ... So, fucking great! I can get my car fixed or I can get my door fixed. Either way I'll have to wait for my next paycheck AND be poor for three and a half weeks anyway.

I'm taking the car into the auto body shop tomorrow morning after work, and hopefully their estimate will be a lot lower than $500. I'm praying it won't cost more than $300. But really, this is just the fucking way of my luck. I let problems go until the last minute and then when I have the money to take care of something, like debt or my car or some other fucking expense, than a new problem arises and forces me to spend my money elsewhere. I just fucking hate it.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Subject:Poop should not be green.
Time:7:00 am.
Unless you're Cthulhu, because then everything coming out of your body should be green.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Subject:Weekend Update
Time:2:00 am.
It's been a long time since I actually posted about my life outside of gaming, so here's a brief recap of stuff:

I have money. I'm not out of debt entirely, but it's nice to be able to get a paycheck and not feel the need to deposit it right away. I just sat on my last paycheck for a week without depositing it into my bank account for no other reason than driving to my bank was out of my way. No longer living paycheck to paycheck is really awesome.

I'm still gaming. My Sunday night group has turned into a short-term Legend of the Five Rings game that Jake has been running. I've been playing an honorable Scorpion samurai who was forced into service of a young Crab shugenja. I'm having a lot of fun and I imagine we'll play that until Jake leaves Madison. Then I also started GMing for a Saturday group where I've been running a Stars Without Number campaign of my own design. I've posted a little bit about it, but I finished fleshing out the area of space they're in, and I created a handful of adventures that I could easily drop into a session. I don't know how long the group will want to play, but so far I've been having fun acclimating to a new group.

I'm writing a game. I've been collecting and reading and compiling so many OSR role-playing games lately that I decided to write my own. I've started looking at multiple systems and have been picking and choosing different things that I like about all of them. I don't know what my final game will look like, what it will be called or how it will even play, but it will be a labor of love. I've been devouring writing advice columns lately while I work out the mechanics of the game.

My mom is moving to Texas, and I'm moving in to her condo. I don't know yet if she is going to make this a temporary move or a permanent one. I'm looking forward to moving in to her place, cleaning it up, and making it sellable. She's had one garage sale to get rid of her stuff and is having another one this weekend. In about three or four weeks she'll leave town and I'll start moving my things into the condo, and paying my mom rent. She's not very good about taking my money though, so I'm thinking of setting up some form of direct deposit between our banks.

I'm getting married. We met online a little over a year ago, and we've visited each other several times over the last year. She lives in Canada and when we talked about one of us moving to the other's country we determined it might be easier and more affordable if she moved to the States to be with me. The next time I saw her after that I asked her to marry me. It's a pretty big change, and it's exciting and scary. I can't wait.

Minutia. I would update more often, but everything else I think about seems like minutia. Like, I found a copy of a softcore porno I saw when I was 11 years old that I've been trying to track down for a few years because it has never been released in the North American market. I've started purchasing original printings of classic Traveller books to have my own vintage collection. I'm going to get a new job, I don't care what it is as long as I'm not working 3rd shift, as soon as Marie moves in with me. I've been eating a lot of brats and root beer floats the last few weeks, which is bad because most of my pants are starting to get really tight around the waist. I still haven't finished all of the quests in Skyrim and I'm beginning to get annoyed that Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas didn't have this much content in it - but now I'm really excited for Fallout 4 because I know it's development will have been informed by Skyrim.

And I can't think of anything else right now.
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Subject:Her name is Marie
Time:9:00 am.
For those of you who read my LJ but are not friended to me on facebook, I'm engaged now. If all goes according to plan I'll be shacked up with my new wife by the end of the year.

Comments: Read 10 orAdd Your Own.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Subject:Only ten dollars!?
Time:9:21 pm.
  • Sat, 22:26: @Bethblog While waiting for Dawnguard to come out on PS3 picked up Rage and am loving it. Just wish it was more open-ended. But I am hooked!
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Subject:Character Creation: Traveller
Time:2:03 am.
The classic Traveller role-playing game, published in 1977, uses a system of character creation that is not only 100% random, but it's the only system I know of where the character can die during creation. There's an optional rule that allows a PC to finish the creation process with an injury, and I must assume that most people must have used this rule when creating a character. The part of this system that I find fascinating is the complete randomness of it, yet it only uses one or two six-sided dice for every score and table.

Classic Traveller was intended as a generic science fiction role-playing game that could accommodate any specific setting or genre of play. Over the years demand for details of an 'official' campaign led to the Imperium, but similar to Greyhawk's development many regions of space seemed to be randomly generated and just shoved together, with explanations for their interactions determined later.

So let's get started.

The Game: Traveller (sometimes referred to as Classic Traveller)
The Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop
Familiarity: Never played, but have read through the books many times.
Books Required: Book 1 - Characters and Combat (there are supplemental books for expanding characters of specific services but they aren't required and I don't own copies of those anyway)

The first step of character creation is to roll basic characteristics using 2d6, applying the roles to the characteristics in the order rolled:
Strength 6
Dexterity 6
Endurance 9
Intelligence 10
Education 4
Social Standing 6

Since 7 is the average roll on these rolls, we can already see that this is guy is very smart and resilient, but otherwise average. He probably grew up on a poor but rugged world, or perhaps he lived a very rural life, which would explain why he hasn't received a lot of education. If I had any say in what skills he might get I would definitely give him something related to wilderness survival or hunting. For now I am going to give this man a name, Sten Laurent.

The next step is acquiring skills, this is accomplished by joining a service. Most services are of a military nature but there are rules for joining nefarious or less reputable organizations as well. Even if Sten doesn't successfully enlist into the service of his choice, he can potentially get drafted into the same service. The most difficult service to join is the Marines, but I feel like Sten would know he hasn't received a proper education and he would choose a service that might give him better training than he received on his homeworld. The best service for that would be the Navy or the Scouts, and since the Navy is harder to get into Sten goes after them. I need to roll 8 or higher on 2d6 to get in, but Sten gets a +1 to the roll due to his high Intelligence. I roll a 5 and he doesn't get in, now he must submit to the draft which is another roll. I roll a 4 which leads to Sten getting drafted into the Scouts, he considers himself lucky since that was his second choice. For my character background, I envision Sten having some foreknowledge about getting drafted into the Scouts and he doesn't have a problem with that, but he tries out for the Navy anyway because he thinks their benefits are better. When he doesn't get in perhaps somebody pulled some strings to make sure he would get into the Scouts, like an overbearing family member or a rival with connections in the Navy. This would be something I would leave open for a GM to bring up as a plot hook later.

Every term of enlistment in a service lasts for four years, and at the end of every term you get one random skill, but you must also make a survival check to see if you die in the line of duty (or get injured and are forced out of the service). At the end of every term you can get promoted (which requires a roll) and then reenlist (another roll) or you can muster out and receive a commission (more rolls). Characters who are drafted don't get commission bonuses for their first term. Without going into the minutia of the rolling mechanics I'm simply going to sum up Sten's career in the Scout Service.

Basic training in the Scouts involves learning how to fly a starship (Pilot 1) and Sten ends up taking a broad range of classes (+1 Int, Jack-of-All-Trades 1). During his second term he begins taking on more physically strenuous duties (+1 Str) and begins learning technical expertise (Mechanical 1). During his third term he's broadened his technical expertise (Electronics 1) and manages to pick up some rudimentary firearms skill (Revolver 1), he's injured however and is forced to muster out at the age of 26. During his time with the Scout Service he managed to get more schooling (+2 Education) and has saved a sizable chunk of money (20,000 Credits).

Instead of getting physically injured, I would suggest to my GM that Sten was caught in a firefight that forced him to kill several pirates but not before seeing a few close friends in the Scout Service get killed. This has left him with a bad case of panic attacks whenever he is forced into very stressful environment, which is why he was forced to leave the Scout Service.

The rules suggest using abbreviations for characters and they refer to these brief 6-digit codes as UPP (universal personality profile). A ten is expressed as an A, an eleven as a B, etc. Sten's characteristics according to this code would be 769B66. This method of expressing a character smacks of computer code, which makes me assume that Marc Millar and Loren Wiseman were programmers during their day jobs.

The way I would write the character is like this:
Sten Laurent, age 26
Strength 7, Dexterity 6, Endurance 9
Intelligence 11, Education 6, Social Standing 6
Electronics 1, Jack-of-All-Trades 1, Mechanical 1, Pilot 1, Revolver 1
20,000 Credits

Sten is a fairly average spacefarer who is smarter than his background and experiences might suggest on the surface. And now I would be free to purchase equipment, but that's boring so I'm going to skip it.
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Subject:OSR rough draft
Time:7:54 am.
I have been wanting to write my own set of rules for some time. I created a homebrew amalgamation of GURPS and d20 three years ago, which worked conceptually but was difficult to use in play since I was the only one with a copy of the rules. My recent tweaking of Traits and Perks from Fallout into Stars Without Number rules has left me thinking about that game I ran three years ago, and how I could improve upon it. The old school renaissance that led me to Labyrinth Lord, Adventure Conqueror King, and Stars Without Number has also inspired me to use every era of gaming as my idea box - before I had limited myself to making a new set of rules that could easily be called a d20 variant.

Yesterday I started work on a new set of rules that I am going to eventually try publishing. I don't think it would make money, but I think it would be really cool if the members of my gaming group could use an actual physical copy of my rules.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Time:7:00 am.
  • Tue, 13:10: It costs $20 to download a digital copy of Alien, and it costs $20 to order all four Alien movies on DVD from amazon. @_@
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Subject:Gorilla On The Inside
Time:7:00 am.
  • Mon, 00:45: Exploding Torso is another great name for a band.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Subject:The end is here!
Time:4:28 am.
This is a recap of two sessions of playing.

Vince is playing Sister Mary / Mirumoto Hitomi
Colin is playing Priscilla White
Jake is playing Hehaka
Joe is playing Farsnworth

In the world of Deadlands, the heroes had followed the cult that had plagued Never Smiles' tribe into the west, and discovered a plot to create a deadland around Devil's Tower. Having two weeks to prepare, Professor Farnsworth built an ornithopter that would allow them to approach Devil's Tower from above, a direction the forces at the Tower had no defenses for. As his new invention brought them in to land on the top of Devil's Tower, they noticed that Sister Mary Elizabeth was no longer among them and she had been replaced by Mirumoto Hitomi.

Before they could discern an adequate explanation for Sister Mary's disappearance the group was surrounded by human-sized bats. They cut through the swarm of giant flying rodents with relative ease, and began to search for a way down into the hollowed out Tower. Without decent light, Farnsworth lit his flamethrower and kept a steady flame going in order to see the way down. The slick tunnels were perilous and several of them slipped, but Hehaka lost his footing at the lip of a long descending tube and slid all the way down into a small chamber being guarded by two men dressed in work clothes emblazoned with the Iron Dragon logo.

Taking them by surprise, Hehaka ran forward and chopping into one of the guards four times, crippling him. Farnsworth had jumped down the tunnel after Hehaka and appeared in time to light the crippled guard on fire. The other guard cried out in fear and began begging for his life. As the rest of the group made their way out of the tunnels, the surviving guard explained how to avoid some of the traps and pitfalls leading down to the furnace.

The group prepared to sneak through one of the shortcut passageways, and they found that the walls pulsated and the air moved back and forth through the tunnels, it left them with the impression that the passageway was actually a bronchial tube of lungs. It was so discomforting to Professor Farnsworth and Hehaka that a streak of white hair spread across the Professor's scalp and Hehaka's skin tightened revealing vericose veins.

They arrived in the chamber where a great furnace warmed the room. A dais with a blue and white field of energy looked to be powered by a black crystal on a nearby pedestal. A former friend was in the room, Jonny Lu, and he looked to be severely wounded. He was conversing with a doctor about an intruder inside their base, but before he could be overheard to describe very much of this intruder Hitomi strode into the room and attacked. Some of the group could see an undead gunman hiding in he corner of the room, and this zombie-like gunslinger walked forward and began firing two pistols at them.

Farnsworth took steps to destroy the furnace and directed his friends to destroy the black crystal before using his memories to use Milo's teleport spell and go back to the Ornithoptor, only to find it surrounded by more devil bats. Hitomi called upon her memory of Ace's powers to fly the undead gunman through the portal, and Hehaka quickly destroyed the crystal.

As the world collapsed around the crystal, the doctor at the dais could be heard to say "I only thought I was helping."

FLUX! into Birthright

After the return to her lair, Rasha the dragon finishes addressing her lizardman army and in that moment their memories return.

Vince is playing Arlen / Mirumoto Hitomi
Colin is playing Iego Hapex
Jake is playing Rafeal
Joe is playing Milo

Rasha becomes the shaman Never Smiles, and doesn't change back. The group quickly assess if she can use her dragon abilities and magic, and Never Smiles flies around the chamber elating "I can fly!" Never Smiles then suggests traveling to the Gorgon's Crown and enlisting the Gorgon's help, since his fortress rests on top of one of the Cold Rider's seals, and presumably the Gorgon doesn't want Cerilia destroyed either.

They determine that Hapex can use Speedman's powers to run into the Gorgon's Crown with Milo and then use Milo's magic to teleport there. As soon as Hapex arrives he is ambushed by goblins and his body is pelted with arrows. Hapex dies suddenly, and as his body falls his superhero alter ego Speedman is still standing where he once was. Milo teleports back to the dragon's cave while Speedman successfully knocks out all of the goblins and Milo brings the rest of the party to Gorgon's Crown. Milo buries one of the amulets of protection where Hapex fell and then they begin their trek into the valley before the Gorgon's castle.

The Gorgon is there to meet them at the gates and doesn't seem to understand their explanations of the other universes and the destroyed worlds. Rafeal tries to give the Gorgon memory but the Gorgon uses magic to clutch Rafeal by the throat. The Gorgon offers to help, and then asks Rafeal "Are you willing to die to save the world?" Rafeal's answer displeases the Gorgon and he slices his wrist open, forcing Rafeal to drink some of his blood.

Rafeal's bloodline increases and becomes tainted, as his body painfully convulses and he begins to transform into something altogether inhuman. The Gorgon then replenishes his strength by impaling Arlen with his sword. Arlen's body falls out of where Hitomi is standing and a wave of cold emanates from the Gorgon as he bellows "Fools! He has already succumbed to my powers!"

Milo uses his magic to teleport the party away, but something keeps Rafeal tethered to the Gorgon. The mountain behind the Gorgon's castle erupts into a volcano and he leads Rafeal into his dungeons. The Gorgon's back is seen to be hollow and indistinct, and as he guides Rafeal into a mechanical labyrinth says "The physical representation of machinery is actually a metaphor, since you never finished making the world the bits that are unfinished are filled in with this machine, normally nobody could see it but I have always been a part of it since I have never fully been made, Rafeal" When pressed about what his statement means he simply says "This is YOUR world Rafeal!"

FLUX! into Traveller

Having trekked up the mountain with the droyne shaman, Lara's crew are attacked by a giant four-armed gorilla. It knocks Nicholai down and Eshru falls to the ground clutching his head, it charges toward Lara with a bloodlust in it's eyes but Lars jumps on the beast and wrestles it as best he can. The beast tries to bite through Lars'es power armor and Lars uses the moment to shove a grenade into the beast's throat then punches himself free just as the creature's torso explodes. With the explosion everybody notices that the droyne hasbecome Never Smiles, and...

Vince is playing Captain Lara / Mirumoto Hitomi
Colin is playing Nicholai Blackman / Speedman
Jake is playing Eshru / Rafeal
Joe is playing Lars Willis

Rafeal reiterates what happened at the Gorgon's Crown and mistranslates the Gorgon's words as "we" not "I"

They decide to finish their trek up the side of the mountain. The dark and lurid green forest persists along the mountainside, but eventually the ash and cinders have washed away and exposed the sheer rock face. A narrow steep trail leads part way up and at the end a cavern exists. Hearing the howls and grunts of apes in the distance, they double their ace to the cave entrance.

Never Smiles uses his clairvoyant abilities to survey the cavern and sees ten guards protecting the tunnel into the chamber. Speedman runs in and knocks them out quickly. They find a cage with starving droyne being held prisoner and free them, then Hitomi leads them deeper into the skeleton-strewn cavern.

They find another bluish gate, like the one on the planet Rhise, only this time a woman lies between the arch, her face is still recognizable but her body is stretched across the dais and bulbs of flesh and skin strung from her body wrap around the arches of the gate. Underneath her translucent yellowish skin dark sinuous shapes can be seen, as if her body is filled with black snakes. She babbles constantly, a low gutteral sing-song. A dark-skinned Vilani woman can be seen addressing more guards, none of them notice the party, and Eshru kills M'weru with a powerful psychic assault.

Hitomi charges forward and slices her blades into the babbling woman at the ate and the black snakes spill out of her body unmaking the world as they writhe across the floor. Everything splinters apart except for Lars and he sees a woman walking towards him in the distance of the darkness. As she gets closer he can see her clearly and she is the woman from Rhise. She says "You already released me into this world, but I couldn't erase the other worlds until I had been released in them as well." Lars tries to shoot her but his bullets pass through her body as if she weren't there. She says "You haven't figured it out yet, we're the gods Lars. We are in charge." He asks her if the world has been destroyed and she winks "Our time is almost up." So Lars punches her.

FLUX! into Marvel

The crystal is almost finished! Only one piece remains, and the heroes are retrieving it from the Palace of Lord British, which floats on a cloud above the United Kingdom. As the ornithoptor approaches the Palace it is bombarded with dazzling light bombs which blind everybody. Mister Magnum manages to land the ornithoptor and everybody disembarks. Once in the cloud palace courtyard they see themselves for who they really are...

Vince is playing Ace / Mirumoto Hitomi
Colin is playing Speedman
Jake is playing Cannon Man / Rafeal
Joe is playing Cool Man / Lars Willis

Immediately, Lars takes the crystal and uses Milo's teleport to go to Australia, where he is quickl knocked unconscious by the Grey Gargoyle.

Lord British steps out of his Palace and says "The first time we met you mistook me for a villain invading America, just because I was travelling with Fireman Fritz; now it is you who are the villains, trying to release Doctor Morbius from his prison. We locked him away for the good of all heroes, and you would risk letting him free, why?" Speedman says "We've made a terrible mistake!"

To the heroes Lord British looks like an alter ego of many characters they've interacted with before. Caine and the Gorgon, from Birthright. Speedman's occasional sidekick Ricochet, and Ace's contact in the Central City PD. The chief of Never Smiles' tribe, and a member of Agency from Philadelphia who once attempted to seduce Sister Mary Elizabeth, from Deadlands. And finally Emperor Hantei, from L5R.

Lord British holds up the last piece of the crystal and says "Here! Take it, but I will not be responsible for the consequences." The Grey Gargoyle uses his own teleportation ability to arrive at Lord British'es floating palace and Speedman ends up with all of the pieces of the crystal. Some debate about what should be done with the crystal ensues, and Speedman decides to leave for Australia, using the Grey Gargoyle's still-open gate to escape.

As Speedman escaped with part of the cystal, an alien named Centrum Tau from the planet of Xuvej landed in Lord British'es courtyard and asked for assistance retrieving the cosmic cube that protects his people from the Dreadnoughts. Speedman's attempt to divide the crystal had reduced his allies' memories of the other worlds to nothing, and so they agreed to help Centrum Tau and boarded his rocketship.

Resting in front of a cafe in Sydney, Speedman could hear the familiar voice of Bort singing a jingoistic pop ballad at an open mic in a cafe. He began to quiz Bort about what it was they were supposed to do, but Bort kept calling Speedman an idiot. Eventually he said, "Okay pal, I'm gonna tell you a secret. You've already lost. You're dying on the floor of a temple, and there is absolutely no way I can help you. I can't even tell you who your real enemy is, because if I say his name he'll show up. But really, your only option is to try and remember who you really are because this Speedman fella is just a fiction you've created."

Speedman began to believe that the true world was being concealed by these other worlds, and that by destroying the worlds they were actually winning. He used his memory to focus on the crystal and try to bring back his memories of the "true" world, and was able to restore his friends' memories as well. He put the crystal back together and Doctor Morbius stepped forward from the crystal, he could be seen in all of his guises and forms, and says "Yes! I did it, I finally did it!" as his body melts away and the world shifted and melted and fractured like it has done every time before. All of the heroes were pulled into a maelstorm of living nothingness, all around them power such as none have ever known, churning, blinding, deafening, power without limit. It drew them down deeper into it's swirling, seething center towards the very heart of the monstrous void, where they could all see Dr. Morbius again along with their 'true' selves, and underneath their different guises they were but children.

Bort hovered above them in a celestial playground, as if he were seated on a stool, playing his guitar, and singing a song about how playtime for the young gods was now over. But what would they play tomorrow?

And then the world- FLUX!
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Friday, June 8th, 2012

Subject:dice and math
Time:4:29 am.
Because I've been going through so many role-playing rules lately, I've been looking at dice mechanics and probability and sizing up which systems are simplest. Not which systems are best, because best is subjective. The basic differences in systems can always just be boiled down to percentages. The average to hit roll for an average human against another average human varies from system to system, but each variance can be expressed as a percentage which illustrates how each system is different.

In d20 (and most versions of D&D) the base roll is a d20 against a 10. Each number on a d20 can be expressed as 5% of a whole. Needing to roll a 10 or higher translates to 55% chance of success.

In World of Darkness the base roll might be a dice pool of four d10s against an average Defense of 2, which lowers the pool to 2d10. To get one success then would translate to 51% chance of success.

There is no average in GURPS since it's a point-buy system. Assuming a character with a DX of 10 and no combat skills, you can brawl without a skill but the character doesn't do as much damage, and the percentage chance to hit is 50%. But in GURPS your opponent can dodge the attack, and assuming a similarly unskilled character with a Dodge of 8, they have a 26% chance of evading that attack. Which means that an average character only has a 38% chance of successfully hitting another average character.

In Deadlands... forget it. It's too chaotic.

I've been tinkering a lot with 2d6 and 3d6 lately so just for fun, if you assume you need to roll 8 or higher on 2d6 the chance of success is 41%.

Extreme results have differing percentages as well. Assume you need to roll the highest number possible, and on a d20 it's a 5% chance, on 2d10 it's 1%, and on 3d6 it's less than 1%. On 2d6 it's 2.78%

Which then begs the question: Why don't people judge their games by the percentages? The more I crunch the numbers the more attractive 2d6 becomes to me. Yet most games, and probably most gamers too, shy away from using 2d6 because it's too plain or generic. There's a combat system waiting to be born out of 2d6 that nobody has adequately explored yet, or maybe they have and I've just never seen it.
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Monday, June 4th, 2012

Subject:Gorilla On The Inside
Time:7:00 am.
  • Mon, 00:15: Hypnotic Nipslip is the name of my new band.
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Monday, May 28th, 2012

Subject:The end is near!
Time:4:43 pm.
This is a recap of two sessions of playing.

Vince is playing Mirumoto Hitomi
Colin is playing Shiba Tsukune
Jake is playing Bayushi Togai
Joe is playing Shinjo Yasamura

Mirumoto Hitomi's lover, a Unicorn clan samurai, was tricked into dueling Hitomi's brother and lost. With the help of her brother Hitomi discovered the instigator of the duel was Hida Yakamo, but he had fled before she could exact her revenge.

Bayushi Togai enlisted the assistance of ratlings to help his clan return to Rokugan honorably, and received assistance from sympathetic Unicorn samurai and a man whom he believed to be Togashi Mitsu, a Dragon clan tatooed man.

After Bayushi Shoju's execution, Kolat conspirators had manipulated the Scorpion samurai into believing the Dragon clan were responsible for Shoju's ailed ambitions, and Togai led an army against a Dragon clan fortress, only to discover the Togashi Mitsu helping him was a magical mimic sent to trick him. The head of the Phoenix clan kept the attackers' forces in a constant state of retreat while they searched Dragon monasteries for the prophesied Black Scrolls. In retaliation for their defeated retraction, the Scorpion clan's samurai turned their attention to Phoenix lands and pillaged them.

Enraged by the magical trickery, and knowing it's source to be Fu Leng, Togai fled from his Scorpion army and journeyed with Shinjo Yasamura to the Imperial Palace. Seeing this as a betrayal, the remains of the Scorpion clan turn upon their Unicorn allies and both are devastated in the ensuing conflict.

After the Phoenix clan rebukes Yozo Junzo's promises and exile him to the Shadowlands, Shiba Tsukune is commanded to take the Black Scrolls to the Emperor. Mirumoto Hitomi follows her to provide protection. At the Imperial Palace, the Emperor declares a momentary peace between clans so that the true threat to the Empire, Fu Leng's growing army in the Shadowlands, can be addressed.

The head of the Unicorn clan refuses to allow Yasamura to work with Phoenix samurai and a duel is staged to resolve their differences, but on both sides two shugenja conspire to trick their clans into working together. Iuchi Karasu, a Unicorn shugenja, and Isawa Tomo, a Phoenix shugenja, duel for their clans and purposefully kill each other in a simultaneous strike. As both lay bleeding on each others' swords, they implore all in attendance to focus their rage at the Shadowlands army.

Tthe Shadowlands army was sighted moments later, with Hida Yakamo and the Crab clan leading the charge, the Emperor commanded Shiba Tsukune to lead the defenders... and a mighty battle was engaged that last for hours.

Mirumoto Hitomi was forced to duel an oni, Oni no Tsuburu, a fearsome hulking brute almost the size of four men, and she slew it. As Hitomi drove deeper into the Shadowlands horde she was confronted by a Kumo, one of the twisted spider people of the south, and bounding past the abomination she swung her sword and split it's abdomen in two. In this moment of glory, Hitomi began to remember other lives she had lived before.

Shiba Tsukune saw her Phoenix clan banner fall and felt honor bound to pick it up and carry it throughout the battle. She ended up suffering grievous injuries because of the weight slowing her down. The Crab clan necromancer, Kuni Yori, saw her slowed by her burden and forced a confrontation, but the undead shugenja was no match for Tsukune's blade and his head was severed from his skeletal body with one swing. Tsukune then topped her banner with Kuni Yori's head in order to draw the fire of her opposing army away from others. It was at this moment that Tsukune began to remember her other lives.

Shinjo Yasamura found himself defending the general of the Unicorn army, and managed to single-handedly rout a platoon of goblin troops. He chased their defeated comrades on horseback into the arms of eager Crane samurai ready to slay them quickly. As he turned his attention back to the battle he was confronted by Moto Tsume, an undead Lion samurai, and Tsume leapt into the air, knocking Yasamura to the ground. Now at a disadvantage, Yasamura was forced to duel the undead samurai and lost, remembering his other lives as this one ended.

Bayushi Togai saw an opportunity to draw the fire of undead archers held in the Shadowlands army reserves and swooped in to kill them. As he fought past the archers he encountered the enemy's reserves of shuganja and those he didn't kill were scattered into retreating. As he returned to the main engagement, he witnessed a Scorpion clanmate who had spoken against him swarmed by skeletal and zombie soldiers, but abandoned the treacherous samurai to his fate. In those moments, Togai began to remember his other lives.

Hitomi found another oni to duel, this one was surrounded by an unholy flame which she extinguished by calling upon the powers of her alter ego, Ace. Ace's powers over the air buffeted the oni into the ground making her an easy kill.

Tsukune found an opportunity to destroy the enemy's banner, and plant her own clan banner into the heart of the goblin bannerman. She found herself surrounded by goblins and nearly died if it hadn't been for the intervention of Bayushi Togai. Tsukune was now so injured and weak that she could barely stand, and Togai dove toward Tsukune through the enemy army. He managed to grab Tsukune and pull her out of the conflict, but was prevented from returning to the palace by a giant oni with long acidic tongues whipping around it's giant green-skinned body, Togai called upon the memories of his other lives and used Rafeal's arrows to distract the oni and return Tsukune safely to the palace.

Finally, the Monstrous War Machine of Fu Leng broke through the army and reached the southern gates of Otosan Uchi. The fighting on the field ceased as the Crab general, Hida Yakamo, plunged into the courtyard of Otasan Uchi, striking down any who stood before him. The three heroes still standing managed to make their way back into the palace through a secret passage revealed to them by Bayushi Kachiko, the Emperor's wife, and they reached the courtyard just in time to see Hida Yakamo smashing the broken body of Togashi Yokuni, the Dragon clan daimyo, open, his ribs cracking and splintering through his chest. Yakamo reached into Yokuni's chest and pulled out a black scroll, it burned away leaving Yakamo's hand black, and the Emperor fell down out of his chair, unconscious.

Yakamo turned to the three heroes and said "I should have thought of this sooner, there are no seals in this world." Hitomi didn't hesitate and brought both of her swords down across Yakamo's body, killing him instantly.

Hantei the 38th, Emperor of Rokugan, stood up and revealed that he has been possessed by Fu Leng, and now that the daimyos were all dead and the samurai armies decimated, he would rule over Rokugan. He laughed and the world around him split apart and fractured.


In the alternate 19th century America, the heroes had followed the cult that had plagued Never Smiles' tribe into the west, and discovered a plot to create a deadland around Devil's Tower. Having two weeks to prepare, Professor Farnsworth built an ornithopter that would allow them to approach Devil's Tower from above, a direction the forces at the Tower had no defenses for. As his new invention brought them in to land on the top of Devil's Tower, the heroes noticed that Sister Mary Elizabeth was no longer among them, she had been replaced by Mirumoto Hitomi.

And that's where we left off...
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