Friday, August 29, 2014

Gunblog Variety Podcast #2

Hey, look, Sean and Adam invited me back for another podcast!  It's as if they like me or something. :)
You can listen to it here, and the show notes can be found here.

SHTFriday: Scan Your Stuff

In a disaster, it might be difficult to prove you are who you say you are, or that you really do own this property, or that you really are related to those people in the hospital/refugee camp. 

Over at Blue Collar Prepping, I talk about backing up your important data and having multiple ways to bring it with you. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Salem Watches a Movie(ish) – Doctor Who: Deep Breath

Well, ok, it's not a movie. But it was in the theater.

So after much careful deliberation on available funds, I decided to go ahead and pre-order a ticket to the theater showing of the season premier of Doctor Who. I'm not even going to try and figure out which season this is, seeing as how that one year that we had the feature-length episodes with Tennant may or may not be counted as an individual series and keeps throwing off my organizational folders. Technically, this would be the third time I've seen the episode (that's counting timeshifting the original airing, mind you, I would never ever ever watch that leaked workprint. Promise. And I haven't seen the next two episodes that leaked, either. Promise), but I missed Day of the Doctor in theaters, so I wasn't missing this one. As usual, spoilers ahead.

You know me and green women.
A nice extra to those of us who saw the episode was a vlog made by potato-head Strax prior to the episode, with guest appearance by the gorgeous Madame Vastra and her wife/maid Jenny. It served as a nice intro to people that may not be familiar with the series history, as well a chance to throw in some pretty hilarious piss-takes on the older series, such as referring to the Third Doctor as “an unfortunate hybrid between Man and Granny.” Strax is always welcome. Another bonus was the return of the “Doctor Who Confidential” behind-the-scenes documentary. Highlights were the effects that went into the villain of the episode, and seeing Peter Capaldi at the first read-through.

Speaking of Capaldi, we finally see this new Doctor in action. Previously, all we had of him was him in a panic, decrying his kidneys, or the cameo in Day of the Doctor, where his eyebrows stole the show. Watching him in action is truly a treat, as he is possibly the most talented actor to date to hold the role, and he's obviously enjoying himself immensely, possibly more so than Matt or David before him. I don't even have to use flowery words here like gravitas or presence (although I technically just did), as Capaldi easily has the energy and intensity of his predecessors, coupled with experience and bearing. In his post-regeneration trauma, he's wildly unstable and nigh-incoherent, but once his mind settles, what we have is a razor-sharp, intense Doctor with a brusque irascibility which recalls the classic series in a very comforting way.

Some of the best banter in the series.
There's been rumor that Jenna Coleman may be leaving at the end of this series, but I'm hoping she doesn't. I've been on the fence about Clara until now. She's clever and independent, but she always felt too comfortable around the Doctor, literally having more conflict with the TARDIS herself than with him. Witnessing this regeneration has really thrown her a curveball, and she's questioning just how safe she, and those around her, are with this stranger. “If his face is new, where did all these lines come from?” From this conflict, we get two outstanding scenes. Madame Vastra's questioning of her resulting in Clara losing her temper, and the wonderful bickering in the restaurant. Capaldi and Coleman have some amazing chemistry, and I really hope we get more than one series with them.

The guest cast in this episode really shines, as well. Vastra, Jenny, and Strax return, and some of the quieter moments in the episode are really carried by them. Jenny serving as Vastra's muse when she's not even doing art, Clara and Strax's banter around her 'medical exam,' and the touching moment during the climax, where we get what is possibly television's first interspecies lesbian kiss. The villain, a version of the returning Clockwork Robots from the acclaimed “Girl in the Fireplace” is extremely menacing, and really comes across as this inhuman, mechanical monster that quite literally has a screw loose, and the ending scene has a wonderfully creepy woman named Missy that's setting up the teaser for the series arc. And that's not even to mention the preceding scene, which has a truly touching cameo from a surprise guest

My final impressions on this episode, and the event of seeing it in the theater, is that it was worth the wait from the previous series, and worth the ticket price to see it on the big screen. Capaldi shines, and has wonderful chemistry with Clara. I've got high hopes for the remainder of the series, and the direction that Capaldi will help steer this ship in.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Because It Amuses Me

There's no A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Game Store from Von this week; he's currently out of a job and finding gainful employment is more important than writing for my nerd blog.

Speaking of writing for my blog, last week I received quite the interesting email on the very topic of being a guest writer.  I responded, because it amused me so to do, and because I don't like leaving some of my better material unpublished I figure I ought to post it here where it can be admired.

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:47:10 +0800
Subject: Guest Blogging Inquiry
From: Nicole Pretty

Hi Palette!

I wanted to take the opportunity and introduce myself! My name is Nicole and I work with, a high risk merchant processing provider. We're looking at the opportunity to write an article as a guest post on

Our company's co-founder "Blair Thomas" would be the one providing the article. He'9s a self-made entrepreneur, has blogged on hundreds of sites, has exhibited at various industry conferences in the US and he has 10+ years in the electronic payments industry managing several successful businesses, agent offices and registered ISO's.

The article we're thinking about writing would focus on the Firearms Industry and tailored to your site. However if you would like Blair to take a different approach, we're open to hearing any other related suggestions you know would better suit your site's audience.

As an additional benefit for publishing Blair's article, we will share the published article to our social media networks :) and also give you the opportunity to post a related article onto our blog as well.

I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best Regards,

Nicole Lopez
Blog Marketer

Now this is fairly obviously spam, and I wasn't sure if I'd get a response, so I kept mine terse so that I wouldn't waste any effort. (Also, I was a bit miffed I was referred to simply as "Palette" and not "Erin" or even "Ms. Palette".)  But still, I decided to take a chance. You don't ask, you don't get, am I right?

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:12:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Guest Blogging Inquiry
From: Erin Palette 
To: Nicole Pretty 

How much?

-- Erin Palette

"Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing." -- Margaret Chittenden, writer

And then -- oh joy! Oh frabjous day! -- I actually received a response.

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:04:54 +0800
Subject: Re: Guest Blogging Inquiry
From: Nicole Pretty To: Erin Palette

Hi Erin, 
Thank you for your prompt response.
I just want to clarify - Do you require payment for posting articles on your site as a guest blogger? 
We were thinking of mutually helping each other draw visitors to our sites. If you could allow to us post articles on your site that is relevant to your niche, we'll also promote your site on our social media accounts and if you are interested, we'll also let you post articles on our blogs. 
Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in. 
Thanks, Nicole

Well then! Now that I knew there was a human being behind this who actually had to read whatever I say, I decided to have some fun. I did some brief Googling of of this "Blair Thomas" -- does Nicole's use of quotation marks strike anyone as being suspicious -- and I determined that this bank does exist, and it services  "questionable" industries like adult entertainment, bad credit, credit repair, collection agencies, electronic cigarettes (why? I dunno)  and online firearm sales.

Because we all know that tons of gun dealers and FFLs read my site, right?

The other thing I determined is that "Blair Thomas" writes some of the most boring articles on the planet, typically about banking or finance or retirement. Just the kind of thing that would fit right in at Lurking Rhythmically, eh?

So here's what I wrote back, because fuck it.

Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:20:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Guest Blogging Inquiry
From: Erin Palette
To: Nicole Pretty

Dear Nicole,

>I just want to clarify - Do you require payment for >posting articles on your site as a guest blogger?

Yes, I do.
You see, your company's co-founder, "Blair Thomas", clearly didn't get where he was by doing things for free. He's a successful businessman, after all. And so I ask myself, "Why does this person want to write an article for my blog that has nothing to do with merchant banking?"

And then, as you so handily said,

>We were thinking of mutually helping each other draw >visitors to our sites.

That's called "advertising", Nicole. You are a business; I am a hobby blogger and a struggling writer. What you are attempting to do is buy advertising space on my blog without paying for it. While this makes perfect sense for someone like "Blair Thomas" to do -- after all, one
doesn't become rich and successful by paying for things when one can get them for free -- it also makes the same amount of sense for me to require payment for you to use my blog as an advertising venue. Come on, you certainly have the money for it; after all, I'm probably less expensive than some ad campaigns you've run.
>If you could allow to us post articles on your site
>that is relevant to your niche, we'll also promote your
>site on our social media accounts and if you are
>interested, we'll also let you post articles on our >blogs.
Ah, so now we're at articles, plural. Previously it was just one article, and now you want to do several. This only lends credence to my assertion that you want to use my blog for advertising.

>Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in.

Look, I'm a capitalist. I am all about the exchange of money for goods and services. If you good folks want to use my blog as an advertising platform -- and clearly you do, because we're having this conversation instead of you just deleting my email that asked "How much?" -- then I am fine with that.

Provided, of course, that you pay me.

Why should you pay me? Because clearly I have something that you want. If I give you that thing for free, then not only do you get what you want at my expense, but I've now told you that my work -- and believe me, I've worked hard over the past 7 years to make my blog worth noticing -- is essentially worthless, as it can be bought with vague promises of traffic being sent my way.

To quote the 13th Ferengi Rule of Acquisition: Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.

But perhaps I am being unfair. Perhaps "Blair Thomas" is a friendly sort of fellow who enjoys writing guest articles for the sheer joy of it. If that is the case, then I choose to exercise the "take a different approach" option you mentioned I had in your first email. Any of these topics will do:

- Blair's thoughts on Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, and what that means for the series vis-a-vis its return to the "cranky old man" doctor of the 1960s versus the "pretty boy eye candy" of recent years.
- What he thinks about the upcoming 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and which edition is his favorite. (Note: Pathfinder is also an acceptable edition.)
- Which would win in a dogfight: a Viper Mk.VII from Battlestar Galactica, or an SA-23E Starfury from Babylon 5.
- Which My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic pony is the best pony, and why.

If "Blair Thomas" wishes to write an article on any of these subjects, he may do so for free. If he does not approve any of those topics, then it's going to cost you to advertise on my blog.

I have a Google pagerank of 4 out of 10 according to, and from my stats page you can see that I'm currently averaging about 7,650 unique visits per month.

Doing some quick and dirty math, that brings me to a figure of about $250 per blog post. If you'd like to buy a multi-post subscription we can certainly haggle some and probably get you a bulk discount.

Here are the rules:

- I'm not going to publish guest posts back-to-back. The most you'll get is once a month.
- No more than two links to whatever you're selling per post.
- I reserve the right to edit those posts for grammar and content.
- I reserve the right not to post the article if subject is not relevant or the writing is too poor to salvage.
- I reserve the right to decide when the guest post airs.

If these terms are acceptable to you, then we can do business. If not, we can haggle. But you're not getting free advertising from me.


-- Erin Palette

Oddly, I haven't received a response back.  Gosh, I wonder why?

Perhaps next time I should just include a link to this internet classic

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Traveller Tuesday: X-Boat Routes in the Marches, take two

Instead of doing any writing yesterday, I spent my productive hours updating a previous version of my Xboat route map for the Spinward Marches.  But hey, it's content!

Design notes:
  • The purple lines are for high-speed (J-5 and J-6) military and diplomatic channels. They are not usually available for commercial use, although an obscenely wealthy corporation could buy space on one -- but they likely have their own J-6 ships for that. 
  • I have no way to differentiate between a route that stops at a system and one that simply passes through it. Sorry. You'll have to use your discretion. 
  • Whenever possible, I made a direct line to subsector capitals. 
  • Whenever possible, I made loops instead of lines, both for speed of transmission and for the ability to route communication around damage where needed. 
  • I gave preference for systems with scout bases, naval bases, and class A or B starports unless doing so simply made little sense. 
  • Shaving 1 week off transmission time was insufficient reason to put in a route. Shaving off 2 weeks was given strong consideration, and 3 or more meant the route was added .
  • Using this system, communication from sector capital Mora to the other subsector capitals is damn fast, considering that each hex is a parsec (3.5 light years across):
    • 2 weeks to reach Lunion and Rhylanor
    • 3 weeks to reach Lanth, Glisten and Trin
    • 4 weeks to reach Aramis, Frenzie, Regina, Mertactor
    • 5 weeks to reach Iderati
    • 6 weeks to reach Mire and Jewell (but only 2 weeks from Jewell to Regina)
  • Ivendo and Fosey become these odd J-6 hubs, which become less odd when you realize that Ivendo has both a Navy and a Scout base, and Fosey has a Naval Intelligence office. Hmm....
  • Keen-eyed folks will note there's one route that doesn't quite make sense. This was deliberate on my part and not a mistake. I don't want to get into further detail as my players are likely to read this.
  • Fulacin is now interdicted due to recent events in-game. 
  • Similarly, Walston is now a Class B port and X-boat hub due to the actions of the PCs. (It's going to be integrated into the Imperium as soon as the population gets it racism under control.)
  • I switched the locations of Bronze and Steel because I had an adventure called "Project Steel" which was all about removing the X-boat base at Biter and routing it through Steel, and the canonical position of Steel made that idiotic. Rather than change the adventure (Steel is habitable, Bronze is not), I used GM fiat to switch the positions of the systems. 
  • It's now a Jump-2 for the Sword Worlds to get any mail from the Imperium. Suck it, Swordies. 
  • Flammarion is now even more of a critical hub as it is the official link from the Imperium to the Darrian Confederation. It goes to Spume and not Darrian because I figured it was more important for mail to get onto the Confederation's mail service than to go to the old capital. 
  • There is, however, a J-5 diplomatic link to Mire, as well as an emergency backchannel between Regina and the Darrians via Thanber
  • The Zhodani were deliberately left unchanged to represent the Imperium not fully understanding what is going on in their neck of the woods. 

Sorry to feature what is basically a Lucas rework of a rerun, but I actually spent 3+ hours working on this last night and I'd like to to have something blogworthy to show for it. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Much Ado About JPFO

Which is not to say that I think the organization titled Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership is "nothing"; not at all.  I just have difficulty coming up with good article titles at times...

Anyway, for those of you who may not have noticed, there is currently a deal being made whereby the Second Amendment Foundation will acquire JPFO.   This has pissed off two bloggers whose opinions I respect, Claire Wolfe and Nicki from The Liberty Zone blog, who not incidentally are writers for JPFO (or were, in Claire's case; she resigned in the wake of this revelation as an act of protest).

On the other hand, Oleg Volk -- another blogger whose opinion I respect -- has said  "I see this as a good development. SAF can give JPFO greater reach."

And on the gripping hand, David Codrea, whom I also respect, is maintaining a guardedly neutral stance about the whole affair.

I'm not really sure what to think here.  I definitely don't want JPFO's unique voice to be silenced or become generic, but I also see benefit in greater funding and resources.

I'm not telling you what to think, either. I just encourage every one of you to read as much about it as you care to, come to your own decision, and let the leadership of JPFO where you stand.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gunblog Variety Podcast

In the wake of my first ever YouTube video (which I actually filmed a week after I recorded my part here), I continue my bid to create an Erin Palette Media Empire by appearing on Sean Sorrentino's podcast in my role as a Blue Collar Prepper.

Give it a listen -- Sean's assembled quite the cast:

Show notes are available on the GunBlog VarietyCast blog page.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't You Think She Looks Tired..?

     In 2006, for the first time in decades, The Doctor toppled a government on television, bringing Prime Minister Harriet Jones's Golden Age to an end by whispering six words into the ear of her aide. The six words “Don't you think she looks tired?” A moment symbolic of any small act that creates a crack in the foundation of a much larger idea. Why am I bringing this up? I promise, it has relevance. 

     Now before we get too far, I should acknowledge and admit something. I don't talk personal politics often. I feel I probably should, as I have friends that range from far Left to far Right, liberal libertarians to conservative republicans to socialist democrats. I play my own political hand close to the chest, though, most of the time. In my younger, more extreme days, I was an old-school pinko lefty. For years I pretty much identified as communist, and spent a great deal of time hurling not-well-thought-out insults at the far Right. I've railed against bigots and religious zealots, and thrown things at corrupt politicians. I've flirted with charges of disrupting the peace and inciting riot. And I did most of this in the American Deep South. In retrospect, I consider myself lucky I haven't been disappeared down a dirt road or swampy hollow. I've mellowed in my days, though, learning the hard lesson that you can indeed have friends that hold differing political views (something I feel a great many need to learn), but this is the reason I am so dead-set against Social Justice (capital S, capital J) activists and their antics these days. Those causes I fought for, and still believe in, are causes that they're doing more harm than good to. Causes that I was fighting for before they were co-opted by people with louder, less rational voices.

     Modern Social Justice is the squat-house built on the shaky foundation of Third-Wave Academic Feminism. And don't get me wrong, I'm not against the good that Feminism has done for the world. The first wave, with its women's suffrage (even if they really were only fighting for white women – one battle at a time, I suppose), voting rights and property ownership, and the second-wave with its sexual liberties, workplace equality, and other noble goals really made some positive change, even if we have to ignore some of Solanises and Dworkins that these eras might have spawned. Third-Wave Academic Feminism, though it started strong by addressing and bringing attention to important subjects like rape laws, domestic violence, and childcare, has since had no such clear goal, and therefore has floundered a bit in the modern day, lashing out at whatever it can reach. This lack of focus may have been what spawned the Social Justice (again, capital S, capital J) trends of the last decade or so. Identity politics mixed with cultural Marxism, but completely disregarding class struggle in favor of branding entire groups of people oppressor and oppressed without consulting them first.

     So why I'm bringing all of this up right now is that recently a hashtag and picture campaign called #WomenAgainstFeminism has sprung up, a sort of reaction to negative stereotypes (justified or otherwise) of modern Feminism. This has, of course, also had a knee-jerk reaction of criticism from feminist sources ranging from the standard “oh you just don't understand feminism” to the absurd “these women are simply puppets of men.” The latter I find especially entertaining and appalling, as it's basically stripping women of their agency to disagree, something that any first- or second-waver would find detestable, I'm sure. In fact, the barrage from either side has gotten loud enough that major news outlets have gotten wind, and in their typically expected modern sensationalist manner, have started asking the question “Do we even still need Feminism?” I remember a CNN segment where a female presenter brought on two other female journalists, and asked the question. The first agreed with the presenter that absolutely it was, but the second one's started with “Weeelll....” to the abject horror of the presenter and other journalist.

     Whether we do or not, it's six little words that attacked the foundation that the Social Justice Warriors have built their flophouse on. If, as a culture, the sacred cow (no insult intended there) that Feminism is has started to be publicly doubted, perhaps identity politics as a whole will start to shake apart. While I hope none of the good works are undone, I can only hope that we can move into a period where open discussion is once again encouraged over shutting people's voices out because of the circumstances of their birth, whatever those circumstances may be, by shouting the word privilege at them, or blaming all the troubles in the world on an ethereal, ill-defined conspiratorial organization that may as well be the Illuminati. There's been entirely too many people of late that feel they can enact positive social change by tweeting obscenities or writing an angry blog-post shaming someone for an accidental slip of the tongue, and not enough attention paid to people pushing for actual change.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Let's settle this once and for all, shall we?

So, a bit of history.  Two weeks ago, this conversation happened:

Therefore, I present to you the aforementioned obscure piece of Sisters of Mercy fanart.

Let that be a lesson to you.

(Editor's Note:  I have no idea what lesson I'm being taught.  I never said I didn't believe Von. 

And the fact remains that it IS botched German.  :P  )

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Traveller Tuesday: Troop Berthing

Previously, I talked about staterooms aboard ship and how they're smaller than college dorms.  Today, I'm going to talk about berths for sailors and marines, and how their sleeping areas are even smaller than that.

In High Guard, it is mentioned that
Staterooms or quarters must be provided for the entire crew. The captain of the ship must be provided with an individual stateroom, as must the commanding officers of each section and the commander of the ship's troops. All other personnel on military vessels must be provided with the equivalent of half a stateroom each.
Half a stateroom. That's 2 dtons each. Luxury, says I, because I have seen (and slept in) the marine quarters aboard the USS Guam, a helicopter carrier, and any non-NCO gets at most half a dton for personal space.

This arrangement here?  That's about 3 dtons total.
This is not from the Guam; this is from the USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke class Destroyer. (Click on the link above to check out the photo essay; it's fascinating.) The Barry is actually smaller than the Guam, but the bunk arrangements were about the same, which tells me this arrangement is fairly typical for the US Navy.

Yes, I am fully aware of the rule in Traveller that not all of the dtonnage allocated to staterooms actually goes into the rooms themselves, and that a good chunk of it is actually spent on common rooms. That's fine. But the cramped nature of these ships, and the similar cramped nature of Traveller deckplans, indicates two things to me:
  1. Traveller ship design was influenced by people who actually served in the Navy. None of this "condo in space" thing that Star Trek has. 
  2. Sure, the officers get nice staterooms (and that's where the majority of the common space comes from), but the enlisted ratings get stacked like cordwood. 

Slightly less cramped are the Crew Rest Compartments aboard jumbo jets.  I never knew these existed until this link was posted on a Traveller board that I frequent, and for some reason this just tickles my sense of exploration and love of hidden compartments.  (That link is also worth following; not only are there more great photos, but there are also some amazing YouTube videos of CRCs aboard different planes. Some of them look downright luxurious!)

But while some of the rest areas are easily a dton per bunk (and therefore likely 2 dtons allocated per crewmember)....

... you'll note they're STILL stacked like cordwood:

What's rather amazing is how sci-fi the renders of the area look when compared to the mock-ups:

In conclusion:  They're packed like sardines in real life, so don't feel like you need to hew faithfully to the rules as written. It's all an abstraction regarding "gameable space" anyway; the rules require that tonnage for crew is paid for, because crew has an effect on how the ship plays in the game, just like turrets and ammunition and fuel and engines.  The game does not require the designer allocate tonnage for landing gear, or life support, or gangways, or even toilets, because those things aren't gameable space -- from a rules perspective, they're just assumed to exist because their existence has no mechanical effect upon the ship.

In other words, don't sweat the realism, and you can stack your marines and ratings three deep.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Gunday Product Reviews: SGM Tactical 50-round Glock Drum

So, a while back I mentioned that I had acquired a 50-round Glock-compatible drum (still available for $40 + shipping at Mississippi Auto Arms).

I've shot it several times since then and, let me tell you, it's a hoot. Let me break it down for you.

Things It Is

  1. Fun. More ammunition is always better, right? 
  2. Reliable. So far I haven't had a single jam or misfeed while using it, and I'm not the only reviewer to feel that way -- this Video Blogger has similarly good things to say about its reliability. 
  3. Efficient.  It holds an entire box of round nose 9mm. 
  4. Rugged.  It's made of Dupont glass-filled polymer with steel innards. Admittedly, I haven't beaten mine all to hell, but I've dropped it and banged it against things and it still works. I don't know if I'd take it to war, but I have no worries about using it in a home defense scenario. 
  5. Easy to load.  There's a nifty ratchet system that works each round down into the drum. Work the ratchet to depress the follower; insert a cartridge; release the ratchet; repeat.  There's no spring to wind as the ratchet does that for you. 
  6. Inexpensive.  Did I mention it's only $40?  Last I checked, 33-round stick mag from Glock was around $33.  Of course, I also see this drum going for a LOT more than $40 at other online stores, so if you want one, I'd suggest you get one now. 

Things It Is Not

  1. Fast to load.  I timed how long it took me to load it -- not rushing, just a "Ho hum, gonna load this mag" speed, and it took me 2 minutes 25 seconds to load 50 rounds. You aren't going to be reloading this in a fight. Your fingers get pretty tired, too.
  2. Easy to transition. This drum is three times the width of a pistol, and extends a good 3-4 inches from the magazine well. If you're doing lots of  tactical pie-slicing or switching from carbine to pistol, the drum IS going to get in the way and you WILL bump it against something:  your thigh, the hallway corner, the heads of small children or pets...
  3. Easy to gauge. By that I mean there's no way to visually inspect how many rounds you have left. You have to keep count. 
  4. Easy to tell when you're empty.  This is the single biggest drawback of this drum magazine:  there is no slide-lock to indicate when you're out of ammo. Combined with the above, that's pretty serious. 
  5. Easy to clean. Sure, you can swab the feed lips and the stick part of the mag without problem, but if you want to clean and lube the mechanism, you're going to be unscrewing a LOT of Torx-head screws.

Things Neither Here Nor There

  1. Weight. It's not as heavy as it looks, but fully loaded it still weighs about 3 pounds. 
    • Inserted into my Sub-2000 and supported by two hands and a shoulder weld, it's barely noticeable weight-wise. 
    • It's more noticeable when plugged into a pistol, but I didn't consider it a big deal as the weight is exactly in line with the grip. Funny enough, the extra weight did seem to mitigate barrel rise somewhat. 
    • You definitely don't want to carry it in a pocket, though. Its weight plus its size (above) make it awkward to cart around. 
  2. Inattention. If you aren't paying attention when you're loading it -- say, you're watching TV -- it's entirely possible to pull the ratchet down more than is necessary such that when you insert a cartridge, it tumbles nose-first. This can sometimes result in that cartridge being pushed the wrong way (primer facing forward, bullet facing back) when the ratchet is released. 
  3. Insertion. If you insert this into your firearm with the slide or action locked back, there's no trouble. But if you want to insert it with the action or slide forward, you're going to have a bit of difficulty as the rounds aren't going to depress enough.  What you must do in that instance is work the ratchet slightly to make the top round go down enough that the drum can lock in place. 

Is It Worth Getting?

To my mind, absolutely. At the very least it's a fun range toy; at most it brings a lot of bang to a self-defense scenario. However, if you are going to go that latter route, here are my recommendations:
  1. Don't get more than one per gun.  Seriously, there's no easy way to carry it on your body, and prying it out of a cargo pouch takes more time than it's worth. And again, note how there's no slide-lock when empty, and if you're loading with the action forward, you either have to fiddle with the ratchet or lock the action back before you can insert the drum. 
  2. Carry stick mag backups.  Just in case you run out of ammunition, or the drum misfeeds. God forbid you ever need more than 50 rounds to defend yourself, but fortune favors the prepared. 
  3. Train with it.  As I said, it's bulky, and you're liable to bump it into things, or knock stuff over with it. 
That said, I enjoy mine immensely and I'm glad to have it. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Torchwood: A Post-Mortem

     In 2005, there was perhaps the most powerful hype-train that ever rolled down the hype-tracks when Doctor Who, long thought dead having been off the air since 1989 (save for a single TV movie in 1996) was returned, in grand fashion, to television. The new series brought a new generation of fans, watching it on BBC, later on the sci-fi channel, and probably causing the biggest spike in torrent traffic until Game of Thrones came along to trounce everyone. Among the new ideas and characters brought about by the show was omnisexual time-pirate “Captain” Jack Harkness. Charismatic and handsome, with the shiniest, toothiest shit-eating grin you'll ever see, John Barrowman was a one-man sexual revolution in science fiction, and caught on quickly as one of Who's most popular characters of all time.

      So popular, in fact, that when he was left behind after 5 episodes, they gave him his own series. Playing off the “Torchwood” meme that was going on in the series at the time, Harkness was running his own chapter of the covert alien-napping agency that was featured on the mother-show, in what was billed as a darker, more mature Doctor Who for grown-ups. But was it? And what happened to Torchwood? Why isn't it still around?

      Well, In reality, the show started strong, complete with a shock ending for the first episode from big-name actor Indira Varma, but quickly devolved into a muddled mess of swearing and sex. From Gwen cheating on oblivious husband Rhys to Owen nicking a pheromone spray (and endeing up with a small crowd of people in a club having sex with him (creepy, Owen..)), to Jack and Ianto playing Naked Hide The Pocketwatch, the first series could hardly catch its breath from all various forms of sex that kept happening. The stories didn't help the situation, as multiple “sex monsters of the week” popped up, including a gas that possessed people to have sex with it, an alien having sex with a member of the team, and a girl that Ianto was having sex with turned into a robot zombie. This turned a lot of people off to the first season, and led to dwindling ratings, causing quite a few people to miss some late-season good episodes, including the one with the return of a lost teammate, the friendly ghost episode, and some more of Jack Harkness's backstory.

Series 2 was stronger, starting with Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer playing basically Spike from Buffy the Vampire slayer, only a time agent (like Harkness) instead of a Vampire, a parable about terrorism, and a touching story of a WW1 soldier with PTSD. It stumbled a little with a meat-whale and a self-insert fan-fic character gone wrong, but came back strong with an arc that guest-starred Martha Jones from Doctor Who and went into a mild-body-horror storyline with Owen. The rest of the series fizzled a bit after that, culminating in the grand tradition of Torchwood: Somebody on the team's gonna die.

     After Series 2, the show's format changed, and I like to think it changed for the better. Dropping from a 13 episode series to a six-episode miniseries tightened it up, and allowed it to focus on one larger over-arching story instead of several smaller stories, and gave the remaining characters real room to grow. The budget being concentrated into less episodes brought us things like a larger scale and more fantastical effects, including Jack Harkness being blown to smithereens only for his body to reform itself slowly – and very, very painfully. The critical acclaim for Torchwood was at its peak around this time, as well, and Children of Earth, the official name of the miniseries, is remembered fondly among the fanbase.

      After Children of Earth, there was a year without Torchwood, but lots of speculation. Eventually, there was news. Strange news. The BBC was teaming with STARZ to produce a new season of Torchwood. That would be Miracle Day. The premise was simple, but effectively gruesome in its execution. People stopped dying. Gunshot wounds stayed open. Automobile accident victims were broken and twisted, but wouldn't die. Someone burnt to a cinder was still conscious, awake, and in pain. Hospitals were overrun, and the world fell into chaos. The only person who could still die was the one man who previously couldn't: Captain Jack Harkness. Reviews were (rightly) mixed on this. Jack and Gwen returned, and scenes with them felt very true to the show's roots, but newcomers like Mekhi Phifer and Bill Paxton felt very out of place in what was very clearly a British scifi show transplanted to American soil.

     So where is Torchwood? Is it dead? Can it truly die? Russel T Davies swears he's not done with the show, but we haven't had any news in over a year, and that last news was basically “development limbo.” John Barrowman, meanwhile, has been a recurring baddie over on the CW's surprise hit Arrow. Burn Gorman's had roles in Dark Knight Rises, Pacific Rim, and Game of Thrones. Others in the cast have had.. varying amounts of work since. Would they come back? I think Barrowman and Eve Myles would. They genuinely seemed to enjoy the roles they played. But the real question is can Torchwood overcome the curse that afflicts it every time they try, in that the seasons start out strong, but fizzle, with a corresponding ratings drop? And in what form? It's spent as much time now in mini-series format as it has in episodic format, and the mini-series format has much more critical acclaim.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[AFHOTWTTGS] Agents of Chaos

I haven't forgotten about the system review. It's coming, I swear. I'm just a bit busy this week, and my freelance work eats away at the same set of mental resources that are involved in learning/running/reviewing an RPG. In the meantime, have some sketchy ideas for villains.

Scribbling up ideas for an adventure in a location which affords at least two historical moments to faff around with - maybe three if we count the original entombment of the Silurians - has me thinking about time-travelling meta-villains, the guiding hand between three separate adventures in the same location; one for each system, almost.

'Time travelling meta-villains', of course, gets me thinking about Faction Paradox. Who are Faction Paradox? I couldn't possibly comment on that, but if you want an immediate visual idea of what's going on with Faction Paradox, you could do worse than this:

Schemes layer upon schemes, strings tangle with strings. What is seen is seldom what is meant. There's an air of the macabre and theatrical about the whole business, and a distinct sense of the convoluted, and an investment in the history of a planet that will one day become their refuge.

Of particular interest, perhaps, is the idea of the eighteenth century; beginning with the end of the Restoration (a setting of history back on its proper track, perhaps) and the Enlightenment, and concluding with Revolutions (American, of course, and later French).

The French Revolution presents us with an archetype who easily slides into the Faction's conceptual armoury - I give you Madame Guillotine, ladies and gentlemen.

Image by Zoe Lacchei and used utterly without permission.
The flamboyant, elaborate costume needs but a demure little skull mask (opera-derived, anyone?) and she's ready to go; a charming murderess with the hint of a French accent. I'm not sure about the squirrel yet. It's probably a spy. Squirrels are beyond suspicion.

The other idea I've had knocking around for a Who antagonist, for the longest time, has been... well, again, you'll see.

The Plague Doctor; the mask is worn to prevent the ingestion of contaminated air, and the role is to intercede in outbreaks of the most fatal diseases. I see this one as a grand vizier figure; a power behind a throne, a necessary evil, a sort of Rasputin character. The presence of the Plague Doctor seems to grant unnaturally long life and great vitality, and his counsel verges on the omniscient.

Of course, neither of them fits remotely in the Middle Ages. Perhaps that's the point; wilful anachronism. Research continues, as does the process of statting this stuff up; it's useless unless it's rendered gameable, after all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two-Part Traveller Tuesday: Un-kinking the Kinunir

And here is Part 2.

This is not whining. This is complaining.

Before I begin, I'm going to pre-segue into a mild rant about energy weapons in Mongoose Traveller. You see, in the core book, we get this chart:

Okay, that's all good and fine. Then High Guard, Traders and Gunboats, and Fighting Ships come out, all with ships of various sizes, and many of them (typically warships) sporting triple turrets of particle beams.

Then errata for High Guard comes out, and one erratum in particular says:

Why yes, Mongoose, I'm immediately going to correct all of the ships in all of the books put out since you forgot to implement this rule in HG. (Not.)

So in my Traveller universe, I ignore this ruling. Not only is it easier for me, but I also have a good rationale for it.  You see, on exactly the same page in the core rules as the Turret Weapons table, we also have this:

Kindly note how the triple turret is Tech Level 9 whereas a Particle Beam, above, is TL 8. And THAT glaring inconsistency hasn't been errata'd either*, so I feel completely justified in saying that my TL 15 Imperium has figured a way to cram three particle accelerators into a turret, thank you very much.

I bring this up mainly so that when I show you my ship designs, you won't say "Did you forget that you can only have one PA per turret?"  My answer is that I didn't forget; I have instead quite plainly chosen to ignore it.

The Kinunir

With that out of way, I'm going to show you how I fixed the Mongoose version of the Colonial Cruiser.
I fixed it up because 1) I expected it would feature heavily in a recent adventure of mine -- alas, it did not -- and 2) the stats are not only full of errors (such as having quadruple upgrades where rules-as-written only allow for triple) but are also poorly designed.

Therefore, here is my version of the Colonial Cruiser, where I merged Mongoose rules with what I felt the Classic Traveller version intended.

I expect there will be some disagreement about these stats among purists, so here is my reasoning for the changes:
  • Tech Level 15 seemed a bit odd, but the cruiser is a new design, and both Classic and Mongoose decree that it's TL 15. 
  • Numbers of crew and marines aboard are taken from Classic Adventure 1. 
  • This ship, by dint of having impressive weapons and a marine platoon (one squad of which is Orbital Assault), is pretty obviously designed for both space combat and light planetary invasion. Therefore I gave it both Reflec coating and Radiation Shielding, because why not add "free" armor?  It doesn't cost tonnage, just money, and when did the military ever give a fig about spending too much?
  • Added a Nuclear Damper for similar reasons. 
  • Also, I can't understand why ANY ship isn't self-sealing to help prevent explosive decompression. 
  • Jump 4 for a ship that's basically designed to kill pirates and invade breakaway backwaters seems excessive. Reducing jump rating to 3 frees up quite a lot of space, and puts it in the same jump range as the Type T Patrol Cruiser, with which it normally operates as a flotilla.** 
  • This allows me to up the Thrust to 5 Gs. We now have quite a respectable anti-piracy, anti-insurgency ship. 
  • Weapon upgrades -- okay, these are probably overkill, and the ship would do fine with just regular weapons. But hey, Mongoose started it, and I figured I could do better. "Accurate" or "Variable Range" make more sense to me than "Resilient", as the ship should be actively trying NOT to get hit. Being able to engage at greater range or with greater accuracy increases ship survivability without sacrificing combat effectiveness. 
  • I broke down the staterooms by rank mostly so that it made sense to me.  Note that there are no spare staterooms; I figure a ship like this is going to be pretty cramped and can't afford to have rooms standing empty.  If a notable passenger needs a room, they can double up with one of the officers. Non-notable passengers can just curl up on the barracks floor.
  • Added things like a medbay, briefing room, repair shops etc because it just plain makes sense. 
  • Emergency low berths added for those medical cases who can't be fixed by the ship's sawbones. 
  • Orbital drop capsules added to comply with classic version. 
  • Added an air/raft, because the Marine commander probably wants to travel on his own without depriving the armor squad of its G-Carrier. 
  • I replaced the fairly useless Pinnace with the MUCH more useful and versatile Raptor OSV from Noah Ternullo's excellent Apparition Class Starship, Multirole Deep Intruder. (Stats not included because you really ought to buy his PDF!) It performs the same functions as the pinnace regarding shuttle duties, orbital insertion and boarding hostile vessels, but it's also armored and can provide fire support for marines. The only thing that's lost in this manner is cargo hauling capacity, and since the Kinunir itself is streamlined and can make landfall, I don't think this is an issue.
  • Oh, hey, escape pods!  That's a good idea for a warship.  No, there aren't enough for everyone aboard, but between the pods, the Raptor, and the orbital assault capsules, I'm confident that everyone alive can make it off the ship.  

So, there you go. That's how I'd turn the Kinunir from a joke to a credible pocket warship. 

Art by the always-excellent Ian Stead

* Obviously, the answer is that at TL 8 the only way one can mount a particle beam on a ship is by using a barbette, but could they be arsed to mention that?  Nope.

** I thought I had read that somewhere but now I can't find the source. Still, it makes sense to me:  a flotilla of 3-5 400 dton Patrol Ships being headed by a Kinunir makes for a dandy pocket fleet.

Two-Part Traveller Tuesday: More on Missiles

Since I didn't write anything yesterday, I give you two entries today. Both are for Traveller, as it's what has been occupying my mind lately. Part 2 will show up later tonight.

So, back to missiles.  Last year I fixed the issue with thrust and time to target (link to handy spreadsheet here), and now I find myself thinking about their potential additive properties.

Allow me to explain.  In the core book of Mongoose Traveller, we are given three types of missiles for starships:
  • Basic. TL 6, does 1d6 damage, costs 15,000 for 12. 
  • Smart. TL 7, does 1d6 damage, costs 30,000 for 12. 
  • Nuclear. TL 6, does 2d6 + crew hit damage, costs 45,000 for 12. 
My question is, quite simply, Why can't a nuclear missile also be smart?  We've already established that if you can built a smart missile you can build a nuke, and we can clearly see that the price difference for smart-izing a missile is 15,000.  So why not make Smart Nukes that are TL 7, do 2g6 damage, and cost 60,000 for 12?  It only makes sense. 

And that line of thinking naturally led me to consider all the other missiles from High Guard et al (again, found at the spreadsheet link) and wonder "What's keeping me from making a smart, long-range, multi-warhead nuke?"

The answer, naturally, is "Not much."  So here are some quick and dirty rules for getting the most out of missiles in Traveller, assuming you don't mind spending gobs of money on one-use items. 

1)  We start with the assumption that all missiles are Basic (Tl 7, 1d6 damage, 15,000) and build from there. 

2)  We add whatever improvements we want. All additions and subtractions are cumulative. 
  • Making a missile Smart costs 15,000 and doesn't affect payload, range, or endurance. Requires TL 8 and may only be shot from a TL 8+ launcher. 
  • Making a missile Nuclear costs 30,000, adds 1d6 + crew hit to damage. Endurance and thrust unaffected.
  • Making a missile Long Range costs 10,000, subtracts 1 from all damage rolled, and missile now uses thrust and endurance of baseline long range missiles. 
  • Making a missile Multi-warhead costs 25,000, adds "x 1d6" to all damage to represent multiple warhead strikes. It uses thrust and endurance of baseline multi-warhead missiles (unless this is improved with the Long Range addition). 
  • Making a missile Decoy costs 20,000, subtracts 1 from damage, and uses thrust and endurance per baseline decoy missiles. Requires TL 9. 
So if I really wanted to, and had enough money (like the military), I could indeed have a TL 8 Long Range, Multi-Warhead, Smart Decoy Nuke that moves at thrust 5 for 7 turns, has a -2 to be shot down by point defense, and does (2d6-2 + crew hit) x 1d6 damage, and costs a whopping 115,000 per group of 12. 

3) Now let's look at some of the specialty missiles and how they could be upgraded. 
  • Fragmentation missiles may utilize all upgrades, although some of them (such as decoy and nuclear) may be of questionable benefit, while others are pure overkill.
  • Jumpbreaker missiles may be made smart, long range, and decoy, but do not benefit from further upgrades as this missile isn't intended to cause damage in the first place. 
  • Shockwave missiles, because they attack sand clouds, only benefit from being smart, long range, and decoy. 

With me so far?  Okay, now it's time to get mean. Look at the rules for Advanced Technology in High Guard and notice how weapons systems can have benefits like "accurate" or "high yield". 

On the one hand, it seems patently silly that by upgrading the missile launcher one is able to make the missiles go further or do more damage, especially when we already have long range missiles that can be loaded into any launcher of any tech level. (I'm okay with "accurate" as I assume that the launcher is painting the target with a laser or otherwise using advanced avionics to steer the missile to the target.)

However... there's nothing to stop one from upgrading the missiles directly, is there? Well, other than money, of course. 
  • Both missiles and their launchers may be upgraded to Accurate. I imagine the to-hit modifiers would be cumulative. 
  • Easy to Repair  is just silly and should not be allowed. 
  • Both High Yield and Very High Yield* are possible. Yes, you can have VHY nukes. Be afraid.
  • Long Range  and Variable Range both make no sense as I don't see how a launcher could make a missile go further. Besides, we already have a missile add-on for just that thing. 
  • Resilient seems silly until you realize that it creates a missile that must be hit twice before point defense kills it. Combine this with my evil idea from last week and you've got one hell of a party. (Special thanks to one my players for thinking this up.)
I believe that these rules nicely highlight the difference between civilian-grade (what the market can bear) and military-grade (goverments can throw tons of money at something and not blink) weapons systems.

Want a Resilient, High Yield, Long Range, Multi-Warhead, Smart Decoy Nuke?  Sure thing, just fork over 230,000 per dozen. Be sure to listen for that cash register "ka-ching" sound every time you shoot one!

* I can't think of a reason why Sandcaster barrels can't be made High Yield or VHY either. Make the launcher Accurate and you have a very potent, if very expensive, anti-laser system. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

SHTFriday: Potassium Permanganate

I finish up Blue Collar Prepping's first ever theme week (water purification) with a discussion about one of the many uses of Potassium Permanganate.  Seriously guys, this is like the Swiss Army Knife of chemicals.

Actually, just read the entire week, especially if you live in Ohio or Michigan. Or Utah, for that matter.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Salem Watches A Movie: Guardians of the AAAHH IIIIEEE AHHH HOOKED ON A FEELING

I'm high on believing. That I'm in love with this film.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way...

     So the last few times I've watched a movie for Erin's blog, it hasn't turned out well. I was rendered nearly unintelligible by World War Z, and simply confused by Age of Extinction. I'm happy to report that, this time around, I can not only recommend, but heartily urge anyone who hasn't seen Guardians of the Galaxy to go see it. I'll try to avoid spoilers. I've only lightly skimmed the comics myself, so I'm not overly familiar with the characters. I know who they are, but I don't know how accurately they are portrayed. I can say, however, that they stand on their own without prior knowledge of the team. I described this film as Han Solo guest-starring in the greatest episode of Farscape ever, and I stand by that description.

     The tone of this film is set from the very first moments where the main protagonist, Chris Pratt's “Star Lord” (aka Peter Quill) clomps menacingly onto the screen only to press play on an ancient Walkman, pop his mask, and proceed to lipsync and, in glorious fashion, shuck and jive his way through the ruins of an ancient city to the tune of Redbone's “Come And Get Your Love,” punctuated by moments of catching alien rats and using them as cod-microphones. This movie steadfastly refuses to take itself too seriously, and it benefits greatly from it. It's not technically a comedy, and it's not technically a space opera, but it's got enough of both to succeed as either simultaneously.

     On paper, this really shouldn't have worked, either. I mean, yes, it's a Marvel film. It had budget behind it and momentum from Marvel's previous films, but on paper? It's a smaller, niche group of characters with less exposure. Iron Man? Lot of people know him. Captain America? His death in the comics hit mainstream news. Guardians of the Galaxy? Totally niche, and to the rest of the public evokes such cinematic disasters as "Masters of the Universe" or "Prisoners of the Lost Universe." It's directed by a guy that used to make films for Troma Films. TROMA. Toxic Avengers. The team has a wrestler, two CGI characters, and a TV comedy actor. Zoe Saldana is the only one with major mainstream success in the main cast. But it all falls together. It all works.

     This is a team of distinct protagonists with great chemistry between each character. Dave Bautista's performance was probably the weakest, and he was still a great character. Vin Diesel managed to take a CGI character with one (repeated) line and give it so much depth that it made cry a little at one point. Chris Pratt was the perfect balance of absurdity and competency. Zoe Saldana's Gamora was menacing, dangerous, and a little bit vulnerable. And Bradley Cooper's (cast for his voice, known for his face) Rocket stole every scene he was in. Even the bit players, like the Nova Corp or Space-Merle (Michael Rooker's portrayal of Yondu) were memorable.

     The villains were a little on the weak side. Thanos, the big bad teased at the end of Avengers, was very sinister and threatening, but Ronan and Nebula could have been handled better. By the end of the film, I'm still not sure (besides possible religious zealot) what Ronan's motivations are. Nebula was excellent (angry shouty stabby Scottish cyborg) and came across as a very competent baddie, but I just kept wanting to see more of her than Ronan, especially the scenes where she and Gamora interact. There's chemistry between these two that I can only hope we'll see in later installments. The menace was there from the baddies in the film, but they could have had more impact.

     Early on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I kept thinking things like “How can they make an Iron Man movie?” “How can they make a Thor movie?” “These characters aren't big enough to headline their own films.” But this one? This could be Marvel's Star Wars. Guardians of the Galaxy and its success (92% fresh rating on RT, $94 million opening weekend) has proven, at least in my mind, that Marvel can make films out of any of its properties.

    Or even resurrect a previously shamed one. Stay after the credits, folks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

[AFHOTWTTGS] The Terror of Llanberis

For those not in the know, I've recently spent ten days on holiday, in the mist-wreathed mountainous wilderland of North Wales (and it made a lovely change from the sun-baked nightmare-scape that London becomes in the summertime, too). Leaving aside the part where I got engaged to the lovely and infinitely patient Hark (although that happened, and it was terribly cute, even the part where she headbutted me in the chest four times before she could say yes), I've also spent a good week of that time living in a Doctor Who serial - probably a Pertwee-era one, all location filming and quarries and stock footage of gorgeous Welsh scenery.

Don't believe me? Have a dekko at this lot.

At the foot of Mt. Snowdon lies an ominous-looking artificial lake at the bottom of a foreboding slate valley. At the far end, if you squint, you can just about make out a small village; I'd check the name, but Google Maps is being an arse today and I didn't write it down. I know it's not Llanberis, because that's at the end where this photo was taken.

On one side of the reservoir, for such it be, we have the First Hydro power station. Lovely place to work, surrounded by glorious scenery and with the National Slate Museum just up the road. (Tell me you can't hear any companion of the last ever uttering the words "the National Slate Museum? Sounds fascinating" in tones of low dudgeon and great sarcasm. Except Barbara or Evelyn, who would pop inside quite cheerfully for a potter around and a nice cup of tea and doubtless discover a Clue there. If I were a cruel bastard, I might put a plot hook in there just to see if any Who RPG players would take the bullet. Your Call of Cthulhu group would be on that.)

The beaches around the reservoir are honeycombed with these little outflow tunnels, some of which look like nobody's gone near them since they were dug. I wonder what might have burrowed its way into that network, or been inadvertently disturbed? Obviously, I default to Silurians, although Silurians in Wales has been done to frustrating effect by our Mr. Chibnall of contemporary Who fame. I welcome the nerd fight over which Silurians are best, given that either three-eyed heat-rayed weirdos or scaly Neve McIntosh are fine by me.

Overlooking the whole ensemble, you have Castell Dolbadarn, built by Llewelyn the Great in 1220, and final seat of the kingdom of Gwynedd before its conquest by the English (hawk, spit, up the Celtic Nations etc. etc.) Here's where you get your time travel on. Somehow, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, in the last years of Welsh independence, could well be swept up in one of those change-the-course-of-history plots; imagine if the English army had been broken by scaly wossnames from the deep, and the Welsh resistance aligned with its 'demonic' allies...

'liberated' from Dominic Self
Incidentally, the Monk is pulling my GM face. That said, I don't think this is a Monk story. It's more of a Faction Paradox plot... and if it is, I have just the agent for it. Stay tuned.

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