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Everything posted by assault

  1. Alternatively, you could refrain from ham-fisted and insulting distortions of indigenous culture. Personally, I would rather see a character named The Incredible Wombat-Man. Alan
  2. True. Still, they were a whole different thing from open practice of the Black Arts. Remember, the general social context was still very conservative. Serfdom and all kinds of feudal stuff like that was still widespread in Europe. I can see two sets of responses. One would be an "arms race" approach, with every nation forming its own Royal Society type college of wizards. On the other hand, other states would get very heavy about the practice of magic, and try and lean on its users. Of course, a lot of the "usual suspects" for the second response were has-beens by the late 17th/18th century, but there were still powers like Russia hanging about to act as muscle for the Holy Alliance. Alan
  3. Newton and Boyle were alchemists. Newton wrote more on mysticism than science. I think that you could justify magic being accepted as a branch of science (or vice versa), and becoming accepted. Of course, that would only be true of some forms of magic - others would be vigorously suppressed. I'm having a bit of a Frankenstein moment here. You would probably have different attitudes to magic in different areas. Some would be in "burn the witch" mode, while others would be more liberal. I'm assuming fairly low powered magic, of course. Things would be rather different if wizards spend their time throwing fireballs at people who annoy them. Hmm. The liberal/conservative question would be quite interesting - the more "modern", "enlightened" areas would be the ones tolerating "The Black Arts", while the more conservative ones would be defending the faith. Cue the Inquisition. It sounds like the wars of religion would break out again. Very interesting. Alan
  4. Re: Australian heroes Assault yawns, and ignores these upstarts... OK, yeah, Eternity is good. I'm OK with the Bomber too. It's a good in-joke. Of course, this raises some other questions: where are the supporters of other teams? (Not to mention the supporters of real football...) Generally, I don't bother with particularly "Australian" names. It seems kind of redundant - either these characters are Australian or they aren't. Sticking on a label doesn't really change things. I won't bother to suggest "Australian Maid". Somebody has already done that joke. Alan
  5. What, they accuse them of being Americans? No, seriously, good post. It would be quite playable. I may have to consider my own invasion scenario. I was considering starting a game, and an invasion would be a good way to start. At least, it worked for the JLA and the Fantastic Four (the first two superteams of the Silver Age). Of course, those invasions were pretty much one-session wonders, but hey, you can't destroy the world _too_ many times. Hmm... Alan
  6. I'm mortally offended by the suggestion that I would drink Fosters. Hmm... but that hint of familiarity with Toowoomba is interesting... Alan
  7. Well, I've been to both the UK and the US, and, let's say, if banality wasn't invented by the US TV industry, it was imported very early on. Seriously, Australian TV tends to feature US and UK shows, as well as local product (and various odds and ends from other countries). Generally, the US shows are "dumber" than those from other places. Not bad, just not intelligent. It's like they're made for Texans. Of course, one of my favourite programs is an Austrian cop show whose star is a German Shepherd, so what do I know? (Kommissar Rex, if anyone cares.) What can I say? And I get up at 4am on Tuesday mornings to what the Justice League cartoon... Alan
  8. You are an enemy of the Daleks. Exterminate. Exterminate. Exterminate! Dude. It was 1963. TV in the UK was about a decade old. They were making it up as they went along. And, incidentally, lot of the early episodes sucked pretty hugely. On the other hand, there was a reason my local pub had it on TV last night: too many of their patrons leave and then come back around the time it comes on... Most suspicious... (For Oberon: "my local pub" = the Irish Club. It's as near as any other and they pour Guinness correctly.) Alan
  9. Assault: "Oh you have got to be freakin' kidding", followed by lots of gratuitous face pounding and bottom kicking. Alan
  10. Assault looks confused. Then he takes out his knife and looks kind of "stabby". OK, ERB wasn't the best writer in the world, but he sure as shootin' wasn't the worst. Get a grip. I mean, have you read the freakin' Gor books? They're like Burroughs if Dejah Thoris decided she wanted to be a slave and get her a** whipped. Regularly. Alan
  11. It's been done, sort of. The Daleks had a war with the Movellans, a bunch of anthropomorphic robots. The war went for a thousand years or so, with the two sides deadlocked. Their strategy computers kept predicting and countering each others' actions. Eventually the Daleks tried to recover Davros so he could tell them what to do, but the Doctor interfered. I suppose the Cylons could get Baltar to tell them what to do, depending on your view of the rumours of his death. He's not as smart as Davros, but he would probably be better at treachery. Davros has a lot of the Dalek's own weaknesses. Even so, I suspect the result would continue to be deadlock... Alan
  12. First, Akhenaton wasn't "slaughtered", as far as I am aware. The backlash against his cult seems to have ocurred after his death. But there was a backlash, either way, so the details don't matter. Judaism is interesting. It was very much a product of its environment. There are some suggestions of it being built up from different layers of tradition. In particular, of course, there are all those periods that the various prophets like to condemn, where the mainstream, orthodox Jewish practice involved recognition of other divinities. In particular, of course, a divine consort... There were also Zoroastrian influences from the period of Persian rule. "Pharisee" is a variant of "Farsi", ie "Persian". And then, of course, Judaism evolved further after the destruction of the Temple, but by that stage it was coexisting with Christianity. In a sense, modern Judaism and Christianity are contemporaries with a common ancestor. There is a third "brother" too - the Samaritans. And then, of course, there is the cult reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls. While it is generally thought that this group was an exotic sect, the scrolls still allow a glimpse back at Temple era Judaism. The Bible was a historically formed document that assembled various, usually oral, traditions. I'm not saying that it's wrong, incidentally. I just mean that it took shape in real time. But all of this is way off topic. To bring it back to FH, maybe we should look at the relationship of religion and society in Fantasy worlds. We could, very easily, postulate a situation where various deities exist, with one or more of them getting a bit jealous, and demanding that their worshippers forsake all others... This could have the amusing consequence where you could have multiple "good" cults all busily trying to mess each other up, not to mention fighting the heretical polytheists. I like it. I think I might use this. Anyway, I think I might withdraw from this thread, since it is going into flame territory. My apologies to anyone (human or divine) that I have offended. Alan
  13. Snicker. Chuckle. News to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Ringo. I suppose it was written in English, wasn't it? Alan
  14. I'd go with "an educated gentleman of a scholarly persuasion". There are two different varieties of this, depending on culture. In some cases, it would simply be somebody important enough to play the role of priest and/or Roman Republican style magistrate. I've always wanted to be a Tribune of the People. In more medieval situations, I would go with someone who attended University, was ordained into minor orders, and pursued a respectable career as a county squire, mercenary and pirate. Hopefully he could expand his estates and maybe even end up as a baron. (That's not too hard, since a baron is technically just a landowner who holds his land directly from the king.) I had better explain that. Universities began as schools for training priests. Most of the students were in their teens - more or less high school age in modern terms. Not all wound up in the priesthood - many simply left after a couple of years, while others ended up in "minor orders" - as something less than priests, monks or friars, but with the right to be tried in church rather than secular courts, and maybe a few other perks. Of course, celibacy was optional. Of course, these are character conceptions from the two campaigns that are jostling for space in my brain at the moment. I'm trying to draw a map, but I can't quite make up my mind which way I want to go. The two aren't really compatible, since the former is city state or clan oriented, while the latter has a powerful church. The latter is also pseudo-christian, while the others are non-specific. Sigh. I'm being indecisive as usual. Alan
  15. Re: Re: Re: Re: could kitty pride beat superman? That's OK. Reed Richards would come along and zap him with the Ultimate Nullifier. Moving the Earth back into place might be a little tricky, though. Alan
  16. I'm not sure that this makes sense. In the superheroic case, it would be possible to build a normal individual and then add superpowers to them to get them up to 350 points. This doesn't really work in SF. Frankly, I would work out as a roughly 0 point character. What am I supposed to spend 150 points on? If I spent them on characteristics and skills, it wouldn't be me any more! Still, if you want to know what my "not me" wish fulfillment character would be like: well... hmm... Something Trekish (sans transporter and replicator silly-tech)... Economy as per First Contact... Ah yes! Someone who works in Colonial Planning and Management. He works on the team that plans new colonies, and eventually gets to manage/govern one of the colonies that gets established. He's someone who comes in after the explorers and scientific researchers have done their respective things and declared a world safe and suitable for economic exploitation. Basically a bureaucrat with a gun, a fiefdom and a private army. Alan
  17. Most ancient lancers seemed to have held their lances with two hands, and not used shields. This is recorded in various works of art. It is further supported by literary sources. Aside from Alexander's crowd, notable lancers included the Sarmatians, Armenians, Parthians, and Palmyrans. The Romans had some too. Various groups further east used them too. Modern experiments suggest that a decent saddle is more important than stirrups. May I suggest you do a little research if you want to continue to discuss this topic? There should be some useful sources on the net. Alan
  18. Major "Bzzt". 1. The Normans most certainly did have stirrups. 2. Lancer cavalry had been around since well before Alexander the Great's time.... And what do you think Alexander and his buds were using? Baseball bats? Alan
  19. Loud "Feh!" sound. Arneson and Gygax really owe the world an apology for the "non-magical Dwarves" thing. Even cultures that don't have Dwarves know that blacksmiths work magic. Like it doesn't take magic to make a sword... Sheesh. Alan
  20. The thing is that it has become far worse over the last few decades. Tolkien's three volume epic was an exceptional work that literally took decades to write. It wasn't "the standard fantasy novel". Now, on the other hand, every book seems to be part of at least at trilogy, and each book is two or three times a long as earlier fantasy novels. And very little of that extra tonnage is worthwhile... Alan
  21. This is called page bloat, and is a result of poor editing. If you look at the _good_ Conan stories, as opposed to the ones written within the last twenty years, you will notice that they are very sparsely written. This is particularly true of those written by Howard himself. The Carter/de Camp stories are a bit more verbose. The fake stories are almost as flatulent as anything else on the market. Of course, these are the very same Conan stories that feature some rather gratuitous T&A! Actually, that's part of the formula - it's not a Conan story without it, any more than it's a Conan story without the supernatural bit. Actually, the latter is probably more disposable... Alan
  22. I was jerking your chain. Actually, it sounds like Conan isn't your cup of tea. At least, there are some bits in there that are a bit iffy, and would probably set you off. The other authors and books I mentioned are classics - in the "if you haven't read them, you haven't read fantasy" category. They are the kind of guys who show up most of the more recent writers as the hacks and drones they are. And I suspect you wouldn't like them. Still, try them. The only one of the books I mentioned that I would suggest avoiding is "Well of the Unicorn". Other Fletcher Pratt is OK, and I thoroughly recommend his "Harold Shea" series (co-written with L Sprague de Camp). Anderson wrote lots of classic SF, and only a few fantasy books - but at least two of them are gems. "The Broken Sword" is grim, dark, Vikingish stuff, with doomed heroes, and seriously high powered magic. It's not really fun to read, but it's... wow... Give it a try. "Three Hearts and Three Lions" doesn't have much sex, or at least not enough for it to be a problem for anyone who doesn't have a problem. It's a damn fine read. So try it. It's a lot less grim than "The Broken Sword", and might be the better one to read first. If you don't mind juveniles, you might consider Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain" books - "The Book of Three" etc. No sex there, and a lot more plot and characterisation than you would expect. I don't think much of most modern fantasy writing. I started with Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy (when it was a trilogy!), and then went on to Conan and John Carter of Mars... Of course, I was in my teens at the time. I don't read much fantasy any more - I'm more into detective fiction writers like Dashiell Hammett. It's still pulp literature, but Hammett, at least, is a better writer than most fantasy authors. You might consider him, if fantasy isn't to your tastes. And there's always Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, Spenser, Ariosto and Malory. There's nothing like getting your fantasy from the source. Alan
  23. OK, well, don't bother reading the Conan stories. If you do, don't bother telling us what you thought of them, because we're not interested. Another author you shouldn't read is Poul Anderson. In particular, avoid "Three Hearts and Three Lions" and "The Broken Sword". You'd hate them. Also: avoid Fletcher Pratt. Totally old school. "The Well of the Unicorn" would particularly annoy you. Alan
  24. Yeah. They don't like losing at chess or football, either. I don't see a bit of competition being a problem in RPGs. Perhaps you should consider that RPGs were essentially a spinoff from miniatures wargaming campaigns, which were emphatically competitive. The cooperative aspect of RPGs makes interplayer interaction easier, but adding a competitive element outside that could make life much cooler. Of course, the problem of handling lots of players emerges at that point. Hmm... I suppose you could do it with smaller groups... Two groups of two or three wouldn't be overwhelming, would it? Anyway, previous posters have pretty much covered any thoughts I have on the main topic of the thread. Alan
  25. The irony here is that the lead into gold business was itself (originally) a metaphor. The "lead" was the human soul! Of course there were lots of different schools of alchemy, in Asia as well as Europe, with different philosophies. In general, however, their goals were spiritual, or at least dealing with questions of eternal life. Mucking about with base matter wasn't the point, except insofar as the aim was to transcend it.... Inevitably, some patrons of alchemy had rather more mundane aims, of course. Finally, we should remember that most science emerged when the alchemists emerged from "underground" and began to practice publically. Yes, the early scientists - Newton, Boyle, etc - were WIZARDS! The Royal Society was the British government's own tame college of sorcerors! Ain't that cool? Alan
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