Monday, November 30, 2020

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 129: Erin is Dreading Black Friday


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss some new events in the Kyle Rittenhouse case;
  • Connie returns with a new Washington in Plain English segment where she discusses her work with the nonprofit organization Every Legal Vote;
  • and then Weer'd sits down with Sarah and Jon Hauptman of PHLster Holsters to talk about the Enigma Holster Chassis.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Padraig O'Malley

I have wanted, for quite a long time now, to make a halfling bare-knuckles brawler in either D&D or Pathfinder. I have wanted this mainly because I think it would be hysterical to play what is essentially the embodiment of the Notre Dame mascot -- for some reason, halflings always have Irish accents in my minds -- but also because it would be a challenge to make an effective fighting character when starting from the standpoint of "penalty to strength and lacks reach."

Unfortunately, the challenge proved too great for many years. The closest I could come was do dual-class between Barbarian (for the Rage) and Monk (for the martial arts), but those had the twin problems of conflicting alignments and reduced progression in both classes. I tried it with straight Fighter, but while the extra feats were nice, the standard D&D Fighter tended to be an armored tank, not a supple pugilist. 

Then the Advanced Class Guide introduced the aptly-named Brawler class, and I knew I'd found my holy grail. A hybrid of Fighter and Monk, it gave me the best of both worlds: a good Base Attack Bonus progression, d10 hit points, and slew of class features specializing in unarmed attack (Improved Unarmed Strike at lvl 1, Flurry of Blows at level 2, etc). Then I discovered the Mutagenic Mauler archetype, whereby the Brawler would drink an alchemical elixir to make like Mr. Hyde and gain bonuses to a physical stat and natural armor. 

Then things got crazy. The campaign I was in used the World is Square rules, which does away with a lot of the annoying Feats that you have to take to get to the good stuff, like Weapon Finesse or Improved [Whatever], and that made the idea of a halfling Brawler not just viable, but downright deadly. Now I could make attacks based off Dexterity instead of Strength and being small was an advantage due to the AC bonus and the Underfoot alternate racial trait. 

But what made me laugh hysterically was the realization that my bare-knuckles brawler could also be a _wrestler_. Halflings with the Brawler favored class can get a +1 to the Combat Maneuver Bonus to Grapple... and I could take a feat at second level to make me a nasty grappler... oh, and did you realize that not only do Dan Bongs give you +2 to Grapple, but that bonus is untyped? Meaning that it stacks if you have a second dan bong in your other hand? And that all Brawlers get Two-Weapon Fighting for free at second level? And that there's no restriction on what size creatures you can grapple?

With that, I present to you Padraig O'Malley. He's currently 3rd level in our game, and if he can't punch it unconscious, he'll grapple it... and even if it's able to escape the grapple, that's a good way to tie up the enemy's actions so that your party can retreat/regroup/heal. Oh, and it's a REALLY good way to prevent spellcasters from casting spells. My ultimate goal is for him to grapple something ridiculously huge, like a dragon or the Tarrasque. He'll be the guy trying to headbutt it into submission as he clings tenaciously to its ear. 

Here's his character sheet (PDF).

Here's the image I used as inspiration:

And here's his backstory, as requested by the GM (he wanted plot hooks and why we were adventuring in a hive of scum and villainy. It's worth noting that this game is set in the World of Greyhawk

Padraig O'Malley was born in the Shireland, a halfling community in the Duchy of Tenh, to an impoverished family of farmers and sheepherders some 31 years ago. He was the oldest of three boys, and while not the strongest or the smartest of the lot, he was certainly the quickest. The rowdier boys in the Shireland did their best to pick on him, but they quickly discovered that he had a quick jab, a nasty right hook, and a wicked eye for shot placement, and he was soon left alone. 

However, his younger siblings were not as skilled as he. His middle brother Coinneach was fair of face and slender of build, and was often the target of jealous rage by the jilted suitors of the girls he was wooing. Ronan, the youngest, was small and weak but had a sharp mind, and his parents hoped that he could be apprenticed to the Church, or perhaps even to a wizard. They couldn't have seemed more like victims if they'd tried, and Padraig spent much of his early life trying to protect them both. 

One day, while driving the sheep to market, both Coinneach and Ronan were assaulted. Ronan was beaten unconscious, and  Coinneach had his face disfigured by a club. They both lived, but  Coinneach was blind in one eye and Ronan was left traumatized by the assault. 

In the words of Padraig, "This be where ah lost me fookin' temper." He went to the local tavern and... spent all the money he had on the most expensive bottle of liquor he could find. Then he went into the forest, found a faerie ring, and stepped into it. 

When he woke up the next morning, he was a different man. Older, meaner, sharper around the edges. The years spent in the faerie mound had taught him the secret fighting art of Boo-Tin as well as the knowledge of how to mix Poitín, a special liniment guaranteed to relax aching muscles and strip paint off walls (90% alcohol by volume). Padraig then went back to town, found the villagers who had assaulted his family in a nearby inn. He drank the Poitín, kicked the door open, and shouted "Me name's Padraig O'FOOKING Malley, and I'm here to kick the arses o' the blaggards what hurt me brothers!"

Padraig doesn't remember much after that. It's all a red-coated haze. He knows that he beat several of them to death, and one of them was the son of the local Sheriff, and so he regretfully went on the run. Several villages over, he settled in a part of the Shireland near the border to the Bandit Kingdoms, doing menial farm work.  He met a bonnie lass named Dægeseage (Daisy) and settled down with her. Padraig and found contentment. 

One day he came back from a hard day of work in the fields to find that the cottage he and Dægeseage lived in had been ransacked, the front door hanging open. He rushed inside, fearing the worst, only to find that the woman he loved was gone. The local constables weren't of any help, stating that it was likely a slaving party from the Bandit Kingdoms and that his wife was gone forever. 

Padraig quietly mixed a fresh batch of Poitín, locked up the cottage, tendered his resignation to his employer, and walked into the Kingdoms. He didn't know where to look, but that kind of thing never stopped him before. He'd walk until he found someone and ask them if they knew anything, and if they gave him any trouble he'd kick a mudhole in them. If he has to punch everyone inside the Bandit Kingdoms, that's fine with him; it keeps his mind off his grief. 

Why yes, I do speak with an outrageous Irish accent when playing Padraig. However did you guess?

Monday, November 23, 2020

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 128: Grumpy Old Podcasters


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss a new research paper that analyzes gun ownership in the Jim Crow South;
  • Xander brings us his Independent Thoughts on how gun owners are Guilty Until Proven Innocent;
  • David gives us a historical accounting on the preservative known as Cosmoline;
  • and Weer'd sits down to interview the cast of Wrighthouse Radio.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Monday, November 9, 2020

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 126: Hold My Guns


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss the cancellation of SHOT show 2021, the passing of film legend Sir Sean Connery, and a charity called Hold My Guns that lets people store their guns at local gun shops for safe keeping;
  • then Weer'd fisks Sandy Phillips's gun prohibition Zoom presentation.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Sunday, November 8, 2020

V5: the Clan of Death

In the mythology of Vampire: the Masquerade, there is a clan of vampires who did not achieve their position in the usual manner of "being a descendant of one of the 13 whom Caine embraced before the Flood." Instead, they diablerized the unsuspecting Antedeluvian of another clan, thereby becoming a clan in their own right, but this heinous act marked them as the enemies of the other kindred and to survive they needed to rely upon their magical abilities, subjugated supernatural soldiers, and their own tight-knit structure to survive. To this day they are mistrusted and seen as being only out for themselves. 

Quickly now: am I talking about the Tremere, or am I talking about the Giovanni?

Unfortunately, the answer is both. The Giovanni are just a re-skin of the Tremere, with Necromancy instead of Thaumaturgy and Potence instead of Auspex. The similarity was only reinforced in the 3rd edition (aka Revised) when Necromancy was given multiple magical paths in exactly the same manner as Thaumaturgy. I always preferred the Cappadocians, the original Clan of Death introduced in Vampire: the Dark Ages, who approached the study of the afterlife from a spiritual and scholarly aspect rather than from one of power and manipulation and whose disciplines were Auspex, Fortitude, and Necromancy. 

As it turns out, the writers for this version of VtM agree with me at least in part, because they have decided to rename the clan of death Hecata. I assume this is a reference to Hecate, the three-faced Greek goddess of magic (including necromancy) due to the fact that the Hecata are an amalgamation of the Giovanni, the surviving members of the Giovanni, and all the other death-related bloodlines like the Samedi and the Nagaraja. On the one hand, this is good because it ties up a lot of loose ends in the form of errant bloodlines tied to a meta-story. On the other, it's bad and lazy because, suddenly and magically, all of these bloodlines with their formerly disparate powers and weaknesses now all have the same disciplines (Auspex, Fortitude, Oblivion) and bane (the Giovanni weakness of dealing extra damage when feeding -- which, if used properly, can become a benefit in combat). 

What's worse is that the V5 writers have decided that the shadow powers of the Lasombra come from the same netherworldly source as the Hecata's necromancy, and now canon Lasombra have Dominate, Oblivion, and Potence. So now not only do the Lasombra resemble pre-V5 Giovanni, they also have access to necromantic powers... which rather puts the lie to the Hecata's claim as the "clan of death", doesn't it? Ugh. 

By the by, this is why I made my version of the Lasombra jettison the whole "shadow power" concept. Not only was Obtenetration reductive ("We're the clan called 'The Shadow' and we have shadow powers"), but it also opened a huge can of worms by making the Hecata no longer unique and giving the power-hungry Lasombra access to too much power. 

So, with all that said, here is my version of the Clan of Death. In terms of game heresy it's worse than my Tzimisce writeup but not as bad as my non-Obtenebration Lasombra. Much like in Cult of the Blood Gods it integrates the Giovanni and Samedi back into the mother clan but, if I may say so myself, my version does it less awkwardly by ignoring a lot of the metaplot-backstory baggage which caused all the problems in the first place. This also nicely explains how and why the Cappadocians have managed to get along without the Camarilla: they are effectively a sect in their own right, and much like the Banu Haquim of previous editions* they are too useful and too powerful to alienate but too insular and too disturbing to be kept close. 

Also, for those who are wondering about the Nagaraja, I left them out because I think they're too interesting to be a mere bloodline. I'm going to tweak their concept (and probably their disciplines) to see if I can't come up with a clan that has a distinct flavor of India and Central Asia. 

* I am NOT a fan of the Assassin Clan joining the Camarilla. I preferred them as NPCs who did awful things for payment in large quantities of vitae, not the Cam's new enforcement branch. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Interviewed at "The 19th"

It was a pleasure to be interviewed for this article. 

Hopefully 2020 will have as its silver lining the normalization of firearm ownership.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 125: Deepfake Necromantic Blood Dancing


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation as the newest Justice to the US Supreme Court  and a story of abuse of the Red Flag laws in Canada;
  • Loveball gives us a boots-on-the-ground report of what it's like to attend first Grade in 2020;
  • and Weer'd fisks someone who has crossed the line by turning to Digital Necromancy in order to further his gun prohibition crusade.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to