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TheDarkness last won the day on February 18 2017

TheDarkness had the most liked content!

About TheDarkness

  • Rank
    Negative of His Only Known Picture

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    From Chicago, currently in China, live in KC
  • Interests
    Martial arts, guitar and songwriting, fiction writing, tabletop rpg design, movies, Mandarin, Chinese philosophy, politics(grudgingly), helping my wife sleep by way of long monologues about any of the previous entries
  • Biography
    Born, survived 2016
  • Occupation
    Teacher, Eastern Civ, currently teaching ESL
  1. Star Wars 8 complaint box

    As far as the movies go, the Skywalkers are the only important lineage, without exception. For my own viewing pleasure, correlation is genetic, causation is the force. They have genetics in common, but, barring acceptance of midichlorians, a coincidence that Skywalkers just are super delicious to force cooties, the actual cause is the will of the force giving them all force powers, not genetics. I mean, skill with the force starts with mindfulness, does this sound like a trait any Skywalker other than Leiah, the only one raised by non-family, had any measure of in their youth? If it isn't a tendency to traits one associates with jedi, but it's genetic, then it's force cooties. It's either midichlorians or the will of the force, so thematically the will of the force is so much better an explanation. Conversely, one could say that the midichlorian theory is it, and that the jedi sought to end their own genetic lines specifically to spare others the danger of accumulated power and knowledge in powerful lines. My biggest problem with the movie, however, is one line. In the bomber attack, the bombers were told to keep a tight formation. I'm not sure why, that seemed to be a bad idea.
  2. Star Wars 8 complaint box

    For me, the problem is, in a galaxy wide story, bloodlines are irrelevant. Literally, if the jedi are dependent on bloodlines, there is no way they could have ever been as influential as they are. And, to top it off, if one accepts bloodlines as relevant, then why aren't the cloners the most powerful producers of jedi and sith? Even in the stories with Thrawn, the clone sith was substandard, when, in reality, breeding programs and cloning would be the only efficient way to make either the sith or jedi anything but a tiny, tiny fringe too small to preserve their own traditions. And the new movies seem to be accepting the limits of that. Luke and Annakin never equaled Yoda, and yet, there is little focus on Yoda's lineage. Even the Emperor could not best Yoda. There is literally no consistent logic with an order dependent on transferring genetic potential to maintain effectiveness to be a celibate order. The OT never actually states that it is genetic. It is far more thematically and philosophically(in a jedi sense) useful to view the fact that Vader's two children had congruence with the force to be the will of the force, that Vader's power became balanced by the force settling around those most likely to finally balance him as an individual. Everything one would expect to be at play in a universe where family lines carried seriously relevant force potential is absent in the Star Wars universe for everyone but the Skywalkers. Yes, that's likely a result of poor world development matched by pop philosophy's influence on how the jedi were written, but it is what is written. There is absolutely no need for the idea that the existence of the jedi without sith would lead to a new sith/dark jedi, and vice versa, through some convoluted rule or mechanic. The allure of the dark side already guarantees the tendency for some force users to turn to evil just like normal people do, and the depiction of the heartbreak and self delusion required to pursue the sith way already guarantees the seed of redemption. When Yoda says that the dark side forever clouds one's destiny, Vader proves that Yoda misinterprets this idea by showing his destiny to end through redemption; yes, a redemption that means his own destruction because of his dark past, but ending as a jedi capable of moving past death. This is actually something I like about the new trilogy. Many complain about Kylo Ren being a brat, but honestly, sith are brats, evil is pretty much selfishness taken to its extreme, which is likewise why I find the idea of grey force users silly, the jedi's problem was not their central philosophy whatsoever, but their execution of it, the idea that more ideas that are merely steps toward the dark would make for a less destructive order. Taking children, acting as a police force working in a regimented way, these are not central to jedi philosophy, but customs they came to accept to their detriment. Vader and Palpatine hid the bulk of their baseness, but when their goals are observed, they are as childish as Kylo Ren's. Kylo Ren, in real world terms, acts out of rage far more purely than either did, and it is unseemly, because rage is unseemly, but that is supposed to be the source of their power. This is why I think the final movie might prove interesting. We are in no doubt of what Ren is, he cannot play the role of mysterious villain like any of the others did, and it seems like the new movies are already specifically playing against types. Whether they pull it off or not is yet to be seen. And Ren did claim to see Rey turning to the darkside in his vision. As for using the originals as templates, getting into a debate about how derivative they are, or whether their interpretation is novel in its own sense, gets messy. I'm sure there are more than a few that would sum up the OT as samurai movies set in Flash Gordon.
  3. Star Wars 8 complaint box

    In Empire, the plans of the characters, especially at the end, come to naught. Luke interrupts his training to save his friends, yet his actions have no bearing on their rescue, Han takes them all to Bespin to lay low, and is led right into an Imperial trap, threepio discovers the trap early only to be taken out of commission so that he ends up being unable to reveal this until it's too late, Han pays for choosing Cloud City by being frozen in carbonite(and that fate is specifically tied to his not settling his debts earlier in the movie because of acting as the hero). Luke loses his hand. In the new movie, the bad planning does not succeed, but is generally tied to character development, much like Empire, and likely as a thematic homage. The idea that sci-fi fantasy or fantasy requires all plans to be heroic and successful is at odds with a lot of cornerstones of the genres. Moria was a clusterf$%#$ that further established the stupidly incautious behavior of one hobbit. Sirius Black dies because Harry was impetuous. It is very hard to establish a threat if the heroes never fail of their own accord. That said, I strongly believe that the only course open in the new trilogy is one in which the very context of us vs. them is eroded, which would be in keeping with what they've done so far. Kylo Ren is an enemy we understand too well to provide the kind of drama necessary as an inscrutable adversary, so Kylo's redemption or ultimate fall, not the focus on an enemy, as well as the fall of the dynamics at play that drive the constant war, seems the likely theme. And, for the record, the constant need to have force powers fall into family lines and tied to genetics should be called midichlorian theory, and I am quite happy that Rey is not somehow yet another skywalker, that she's not a clone of a jedi, etc. You'll note that, at the end of the movie, a slave kid moves a broom with the force after listening to the story of the fall of Luke. Just some slave kid, not a kid made in a vat by Palpatine, or the long lost line of Darth Bane, just a kid who happens to have force abilities, which would seem to be a prerequisite for any organization that once was able to staff a force large enough to police the galaxy with a host of non-skywalkers/palpatines, etc. Forgive my curmudgeonness, it's ironic that I dislike making everyone related to a past major character, but could care less about midichlorians, since the latter is the only actual explanation ever provided for the former in force sensitives.
  4. Weapon Speed

    Think I've found it, p. 147 CC, Unequal Reach, basically the one with the shorter weapon has an OCV penalty until they succeed with an attack roll, at which point the penalty falls on the person with the longer weapon(the assumption being that the short weapon bearer moved into their ideal range, and past the long weapon). Is that correct? Seems a perfectly good mechanic for it, with the caveat that, when the situation begins in the ideal range of the shorter weapon, the process reverses, with the longer range weapon bearer having to succeed on an attack roll in order to lose the penalty. Ah, rereading the entry, I believe they imply that that is exactly how it works, cool! If that's the case, for the crazy good knife fighter, I'd also focus on making them stealthy and/or with good presence, so they could often get their way close-in before combat even begins and be the one to benefit from range at the outset.
  5. Weapon Speed

    Sadly, I only have access to Champions Complete right now, I'll see if I can find it in there.
  6. The Grand Unified Fan Theories Thread

    I don't love or hate midichlorians any more than I love or hate the basic premise that made them a presumed fact long before the prequels, the fact that, for very little story value, they made force sensitivity inheritable. Leia's force potential served no useful purpose in the movies. I sort of view the whole grey jedi busines as more annoying. I like the GOT theory. Willie Wonka, in the original movie, was clearly a child murdering madman. You never see any of those kids again. He sets them up for the trap, and then they're gone. I don't believe for one second that he was anything but upset over the fact that Charlie didn't end up getting pureed by the fan when he drank the drink that was put there to do exactly that.
  7. Weapon Speed

    And actually, contrary to my original post, I now think that, for ease of play, splitting the difference between long swords and two handed swords should not be the focus. It is specifically the knife that the mechanics cheese badly, but the only reason is because there is no penalty for the longer weapons in close that I am aware of.
  8. Weapon Speed

    I think discussions like this are fun, because, as a bit of a tinkerer who is designing an rpg, they raise questions that fall into a spectrum of 'is the best solution for me and my games essentially builds, tinkering with the game mechanics, or a combination of the two?' In this sense, while it may or may not be true that the mechanics are or aren't immediately suited to the task, this doesn't mean there's no value in tinkering with them if one feels they aren't, and it's probably good for the system itself to have people attempting to do so, even if more often than not, the attempts fail. I don't view any game mechanics as self-referential in any useful way. In the case of Hero, I think they are referential to: What players will see as sufficiently realistic to not suspend disbelief Modes of play that are cinematic A balance between executing the previous two without making gameplay burdensome In this sense, using the example at hand, rules for weapon length work well for the two handed sword at its ideal range, but inside of that, likely due to number 3 above, I'm not aware of the mechanics that fulfill number 1, which is, while there are a few moves a two handed weapon can do in close range, the vast majority of their repertoire is actually not useful in that range, whereas in close range, knives are superior because they do retain all possible attacks. Oddly, short weapons not having their own range reward seems to not be in keeping with #1, realism, or #2, cinematic feel(since movies have always included a ton of people pulling the knife or shorter blade in-close, such as Aragorn in LOTR, Commodus in Gladiator, far back into movies starring folks like Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn). I'm not even sure the reason for its exclusion in many games is tied to #3 as much as being something to do with rpg history, and that the granddaddy pretty much relegated the knife to a sad position. It would be an added mechanic, but oddly, the cost and burden of modelling is often put on the knife, not on the long weapons intrinsically being more limited in close range. As a base, I tend toward seeing the reach rules sufficiently representing the difficulty of getting to the inside of someone using a longer weapon than your own when action is occurring at the ideal range for that weapon. It's a decent mechanic. Now, if, from the outside, one wants a knife fighter who can bypass a two-handed sword at that range, I think that is the perfect sort of case for 'you are wanting something special, and so you should build it and pay for it'. But I do not see it as fulfilling the spirit of what the mechanics are meant for, fulfilling 1,2, and 3 above, to make that knife wielder pay for a bonus that really should be the two-handed sword's limitation in close range. So, my view on the original question is, reach rules work well as the base mechanic for the two-handed sword at it's range, but applying a limitation to long weapons(which would also lower their cost) that reduces their DEX or DCV/OCV or some combination when closer is the appropriate mechanic that places the cost where it should fall, which should not be on the knife. From their, the superb knife fighting character would then spend points to capitalize on this, but not be forced to create a mechanic that shouldn't be his or her burden to bear.
  9. Weapon Speed

    I think one difficulty that is coming up comes from making the base for comparison a two handed sword versus a dagger. Historically, there's not a lot of manuals recommending being the one with the dagger alone unless one is already inside range. There is plenty of discussion of what one can possibly do if one is the dagger wielder not yet in that range, but that discussion is in context of solving that problem, not pretending it's not a problem. Dealing with how the game reality of a long sword may deal with the game reality of a two handed sword might yield a more concise, cogent approach. It is generally the case that the long sword is a strong balance between 'useful against armor' and 'fast enough in unarmored combat against other weapons'. While the previous posts are correct about how a the pivot use of two handed weapons mitigates one aspect of the weight issue, it does not mitigate the problem of the momentum at the end of the pivot. The only motion that matters is not the total movement, but the movement that defends or attacks, so at the end of an attack, heavier weapons tend to be slower to recover despite two handed use. Now, some long swords face the same issue, being one handed and, in the case of some long swords, weightier, but, this is mitigated in many cases by having the second hand available for a shield, which heavily defends a large section of the fighter, or a knife, or for grabbing the opponent or their weapon. I just think trying to base the rule around the extreme examples makes it harder. Reach, speed, and ability to penetrate armor seem to be the three aspects of note, Lucius is absolutely correct that the speed does not solve the reach problem, and so the weapon with reach, by definition, will have the first chance to attack at its range, regardless of the speed of the shorter weapon, since it is not at its range. To counter that, it is movement, not weapon speed, that the knife wielder needs to actually attack first against the two handed sword, and especially the long sword. This is purely talking in terms of a realistic baseline, obviously in superheroic or legendary level games, one can simply up DEX and do it that way.
  10. Precognition

    I actually have worked on a general system to deal with this, I'll put the link to the discussion where I first brought it up. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, especially since it requires a fair amount of work ahead of time. The main issues tend to be that precognition tends to be some combination of: modeled as different powers that presume some foresight(my excellent dodge is due to knowing what is coming), which models some aspects but not others of seeing into the future. This one is the only approach commonly used that isn't problematic, but only models a narrow range of what precognition would allow is almost worthless, as the 'visions' one may have are purposefully limited to a point that begs the question 'should the player have to pay for this?' is too much a GM tool and not a power of the players, yet still is paid for by the player, which is dodgy in the extreme At various points in the thread I'm attaching, I discuss a setup using cards that contain campaign personas and general types of people, cards that contain campaign locations and general types of places, cards that contain tropes/conflicts/relations. The advantage of the system is that the more detail one wants, the more elements one must include(I'll choose this one location, and x number of persona cards, and x number of trope cards), and thus, the more uncertainty about what it all means, plus it aids the GM in making the vision without the GM being able to railroad away details in order to use the player's power to run the show completely. The GM sees the cards, must include all of them, but has the leeway to influence enough to make sense(well, this trope makes no sense given the two npc's the vision includes, so there must be a third, unseen npc or pc, only unseen because the precog selected too few people to view- seeing the future should not mean seeing it more clearly than the present, what is not directly viewed in the vision will often have as much or more weight as what is). Another advantage is it does give the GM story elements on the fly without turning what the player paid for into a leash that the GM has on the players.
  11. Favorite Moments from "Babylon 5"

    The episode where Londo and G'Kar are trapped in the lift together. I think the episode might have been called the Mad Bomber or something like that.
  12. Non-combat influence

    I generally won't worry too much about making someone buy something to demonstrate every element of this. Think in terms of real world parties/banquets. Not everyone is there because they know the person throwing it that well. A throws party, B and C go because they know A well, D through H go because they either know B or C well, etc. So, I would presume that some people there are there because of affiliation with someone else. As long as the right contacts are invited, and the right venue and cause and all are in place, then it can be assumed that the effect is to get more than immediate contacts, and some of the result is not because of the contacts A bought, but that B or C has.
  13. Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)

    As far as the false equivalency thing, I do think that is a fair statement, while also recognizing that it doesn't exonerate the Democratic party of its own flaws, I just do not see strong evidence that they are wholesale the same flaws outside of those areas where elected officials' decisions are hemmed in by the structure of the state, the military, or the current states of the global balance of power. Other than the beginning of Obama's presidency, left leaning publications and figureheads of the left made public statements against his policies and approaches. A simple search will show many figureheads of the left criticizing the ACA as too little, his military choices as a betrayal of his election promises, and, most especially, his actions intended to give GOP legislators room at the table that they then repeatedly chose not to take as pointless. One can find scores of articles from the mainstream press of the left on every one of these topics, and from Daily Show to Real Time, almost all those shows routinely criticized the Dems and Obama for these policies and for their seeming ineffectual actions in electioneering. The difference is, the left, as far as major news sources, had and have to compete with each other, and thus have no one monolithic message that can reliably be cited without ignoring countless articles disagreeing from others on the left with equally large followers. The right, conversely, has one major cable news provider, that serving a party whose political strategies are not the same as the Dems. The GOP has, for years now, based most of its actions on winning elections over establishing long-term policies that are different than the Dems. Yes, especially in regards to trade and the use of the military, both are not particularly different, but this more often than not has ties to the fact that, when dealing with the rest of the world, there are not as many options as people like to believe. North Korea and the current situation is a perfect example. I happen to know one of our country's foremost experts on that topic, especially as it relates to China. There is not an expert worth dealing with on the topic that now buys into the 'crazy Kim' propaganda in the way both sides present it. North Korea has repeatedly worked on development of nukes, followed by slowing that work in response to sanctions and aid following said sanctions. While the press and leaders have repeatedly used that as evidence to prove the 'crazy Kim' thesis, neither U.S. nor Chinese experts have considered it anything other than the actions of rational actors, even if we don't like those actions. The recent attempts to change how we deal with it have only shown how thoroughly planned out those actions were compared to new attempts to stop it by way of bombast. This is not to say that the Kim's are or were admirable leaders, but that they established a long term goal, and have largely completed that goal against huge resistance by meticulously sticking with a plan for specific results geared toward ensuring sovereignty even against three major powers, two sharing borders. Treating it as anything else has proven to be a recipe that pits those powers more against each other than against North Korea. But, this is the result of elected and appointed leaders buying the propaganda we ourselves put forward to our voters, and having to act as though it were all as simple as that propaganda portrays it to be. You'll note that the exact same 'crazy Kim' approach was seamlessly followed from the father to the son. This policy had its virtues, but the current administration has spent a lot of the capital those virtues gave. For dems, this was less of an issue, being a bigger tent party these days, there is not as often one issue, aside from equality, that all dems seem to consider deal breakers, and so playing the realpolitik of the situation was an option. For the GOP, it's become a huge issue, because, focusing on election wins more than long-term policy wins, they had to increasingly play to populist issues, and so 'we need to deal with Kim' has lead into the realization that it was never as simple as it was portrayed to be. Whereas many dem voters might support increased gun control, most elected officials on that side avoided pushing that at all, while the GOP has put big dollars behind pushing forward statewide laws that they knew would not stand the constitutional test, because it played to their base, and the ability to push those messages by way of one single major cable network and smaller news sources acting as an echo chamber and source for reading the pulse of populist messages meant that there was not competition at the top to counter such policies. The RINO label is almost exclusively applied to the remnants of the camp that Buckley would most recognize, people who actually recognize politicking a two party system as being way more complex than simply always supporting one's party. It is the nature of the different structures of the two parties and the press serving their views that the dems and the left leaning press outlets will have less party unity, and that the GOP with one monolithic cable presence and a focus on election wins over anything else will lean towards similar iterations of the same populist messages. The idea that these different structures yield the same uniformity of message is an uphill claim against the structural reality in place. MSNBC, for instance, tends to be less centric than CNN, whereas FOX must put it's dollars more behind the most popular view in place in the GOP, and will have less programming dedicated to programs that focus on views that may be more valid, but less popular. Quite literally, in the last thirty years, the Dems have not had the capacity to have one monolithic message, the GOP has increasingly moved toward purity tests(RINO) and similar messages, and these two are the results of the goals and structures of the two parties and the media associated with them.
  14. Post A Weird, Random Fact About Yourself

    I'm expecting it was the Rolemaster 'Table 97.56: Things That Don't Fit Anywhere Else Or Even Have the Slightest Reason To Occur Ever, Critical'
  15. Post A Weird, Random Fact About Yourself

    I have the mutant ability that makes the taste of almonds that aren't fresh taste a bit chemically. So almond flavoring, which is made of the less choice almonds, is repulsive beyond reckoning to me. I had no idea that I was experiencing something different than others until a friend, who is a taste tester, and actually a 'super taster' who is able to differentiate very subtle differences in flavors, explained that that's actually a thing. So there, you know my mutant power.