Monday, December 26, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 229: ACP Holiday Party

In This Episode

It’s an ACP Round Table! Join Weer’d, Erin, David, and Oddball as they exchange gifts and discuss these news stories:

  • There was a mass shooting in Australia, despite all the stories saying this never happens.
  • There was also a mass shooting in Canada, which they admit happens, but certainly not as much in America.
  • In America there could have been a spree killing, but a brave armed citizen shot the attacker.
  • The CDC colluded with anti-gun groups to scrub defensive gun uses from data.
  • Injunctions against Oregon and California anti-gun laws were made.
  • And California Police are allowed to use lethal force... with robots?

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, December 25, 2022

A Cornucopia of Christmas Cheer

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

I've spent most of the day pleasantly exhausted, so here's a collection of random things which pleased or amused me. 

Hanukkah Harry Saves Christmas

This blast from 1989 was so hard to find, it makes me wonder if it's been expunged from the internet for some damnfool reason. 

Regardless, enjoy this funny and heartwarming story from when Saturday Night Live was still funny. 

Star Wars/Trek Holiday Funnies

I never realized I needed this last image until I saw it.

Remember, Worf's adoptive human parents were the Rozhenkos, and from what I recall of their appearance they had a solid Jewish vibe. Given that the origin of Hanukkah occurs during the Maccabean Revolt, that makes it 100% a War Miracle, and Worf would definitely approve.

These comments from Ori Pomerantz's share are pure gold and so I must share them. (His post is set to Public so I figure that's all right.)

Miss Ukraine 2022

Miss Ukraine brought a sword to a beauty pageant, and I'm obsessed. The vibe is just *chef's kiss*, and I'm certain the NATO symbolism on the wings isn't accidental. 

The «Warrior of Light» costume symbolizes our nation’s fight against darkness. Like Archangel Michael, who defends Ukraine with a sword, it protects us. Viktoriia has a weapon in her hands, her body is covered in armor, and at the same time, she carries light through the darkness that came to our peaceful lands with the aggressor.

The monolithic jumpsuit symbolizes armor and wraps Victoria like a second skin.

The white dress consists of a stylization of a vyshyvanka with puffy sleeves and a skirt that has more than 10 meters of fabric to it.

The headwear is decorated with spikelets, which are traditional in Ukraine.

Symbolic wings are burned in battle, framed in blue and gold armor in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and decorated with various mirror ornaments, opened for the decisive battle.

The costume was created in Ukraine in four months in extreme conditions, to the sound of sirens, without electricity, and by candlelight.

This In Nomine reference is going to make sense to very few of you: 
And the Laurentines go, "Doo, do doo, do doo, do do doo..."


Given what day it is, you can probably guess at whom this is directed. 

Peace (on Earth) out, y'all. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Another Gaming Story

So, who wants to hear the story about the Traveller player character who took an anti-tank missile to the chest?

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.

This is the same group as in my previous story, but it was earlier by several years. The PC we will call "murder machine" was your typical murderhobo who, during the course of play, had sold his soul to Naval Intelligence, and in return his brain was scooped out of his body and placed into the highest tech cyborg body possible. He then acquired a suit of powered armor which further enhanced his abilities. Basically, he wanted to be a Warhammer 40K Space Marine, and he got pretty damn close to that. 

In this adventure, the PCs found themselves up against a squad of trained commandos and their transport, a VTOL gunship which also carries troops, rather  like a higher-tech version of the Hind Mi-24.

This is the picture I used. Looks mean, doesn't it?

The player characters were hiding and under cover. The commandos fast-roped out of the gunship and set up lines of fire in hasty fighting positions. The gunship then flew off to blow up a compound (where the PCs had just been, and who had triggered the alarm which brought the gunship there in the first place) to erase evidence and leave no survivors. 

Once the gunship flew away, the players executed a fairly well-orchestrated ambush against the soldiers who had pretty impressive armor and weapons. It was a tough fight, but the players won, mainly by being smart. Then the gunship returned because its troops were dying. 

I, an intellectual, figured that the PCs know that they can't shoot this thing down, because it's armored like an A-10 Warthog (and they KNOW THIS because I've TOLD THEM) and they have no anti-aircraft or anti-armor weapons, just small arms and one SAW equivalent. The smart thing is to run away, seek cover, try to find another way to defeat it, and they've been smart so far. 

That's when Murder Machine decided to go full-on "STAND AND DELIVER!" by walking out from cover and shooting the gunship with the SAW.

He rolled. He hit. He rolled damage. I consulted the craft's armor, because vehicle-scale is different from personal-scale. 

I say, "You've chipped its paint."

Then, because I love drama, I give them a little cutscene. "Cut to the cockpit. The pilot says "We're taking fire!" and the gunner says "Nah, it's just small arms, nothing to worry about," and pulls up a video feed of the PC." (Who is in Battledress, which is what powered battle armor is called in Traveller.) 

The gunner goes "Holy shit! He's wearing Battledress!" 

The Pilot says "Kill it."

If you've played StarCraft 1, where there's a cinematic involving a Terran saying "Kill it!" and launching a missile at a damaged Protoss thingie, and when it explodes he goes "Yeah! YEAH! Feel that hot love right up your tailpipe!".... you've got the right idea, because the gunship is Not Fucking Around and launches what is basically a Hellfire at Murder Machine.

To our great surprise, Murder Machine DID NOT DIE. The anti-tank missile hit, and ablated his battledress armor to basically nothing in the chest area, but his augmented cyborg body is still functioning. Badly damaged, mind you, but  still functioning.

I said "The blast knocks you flat on your back. Your helmet is blaring all sorts of alarms as it suffers critical failure. But you're still alive, thanks to [all this stuff], although barely. In the gesture of universal defiance you shakily raise one hand skyward, then extend your middle finger." There is much laughter. 

I, an intellectual, figured that this has sent the proper message to Murder Machine who will decide discretion is the better part of valor. Murder Machine, a Marine, decides "I aiten't ded yet", so he STANDS UP AND TAKES ANOTHER SHOT AT THE GUNSHIP. 

Between his wounds and the full-auto penalty, he misses.

I decide that this stupidity must be punished. The gunship, now well and truly freaked the fuck out that someone survived an anti-tank missile, decides FUCK THIS and pulls a Kylo Ren on him. They launch another missile and follow up with the chin turret gun, which I think is a full-auto rotary-barrel grenade launcher.

They hit. The damage, when converted from vehicle scale to personal scale, is obscene. To use a D&D-ism, this would be well over 100 hit points worth of damage. 

I don't precisely remember what I said , but it was along the lines of "You explode into a fine red mist." Then I crack my knuckles, and in my cruelest Game Master voice I croon, "I've killed one PC. Who wants to be next?"

The other PCs wisely choose to learn from his example and unass the area immediately.

Post-Script: Murder Machine wasn't really dead, because a dead PC just means the player rolls up a new one. A crippled PC, on the other hand, is amusing and a learning experience.

Later on, the surviving PCs found that an emergency locator beacon was transmitting. Upon investigation they discover Murder Machine's head inside the battledress helmet, which ejected to safety and put his head into cryosleep. The thinking here is "Save the brain, and the body can be cloned later." Of course, that depends upon access to cloning technology, which the PCs don't have and is damned expensive, so they have to improvise. 

By "improvise", I mean that when they get back to the ship they assemble a basic life support system for his brain (remember, everything else on him was cybernetic) and mount it and his head to a maintenance robot, which is basically a Roomba with manipulator arms. Think one of the skutters from Red Dwarf, crossed with 790 from Lexx. 

What followed was a nearly year-long side quest where the PCs slowly upgraded can't-call-him-Murder-Machine-anymore's body into a less impressive, but at least bipedal humanoid cyborg, frame. 

To the player's credit, he learned his lesson and was much less foolish after that. Also to his credit, he had a sense of humor about being the ship's Roomba for a while. He's a Marine in real life, so he can laugh at himself. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 228: Segments Galore!


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss a Stop the Bleed event held by the Atlanta Pink Pistols chapter and funded by Operation Blazing Sword;
  • Xander was hacked recently, and he brings us his Independent Thoughts on the aftermath and some of the things he could have done better;
  • David's segment on optics covers electronic sights;
  • Oddball explains his love of expensive knives;
  • and finally, Weer'd fisks Joe Biden's speech at the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence.

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

Main Topic:

Independent Thoughts With Xander:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Oddball’s Corner pocket:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Thursday, December 15, 2022

A Gaming Story

This happened back in 2017, when I decided to run a Pathfinder game using the D&D 3e module The Sunless Citadel, as it had been recently converted to 5e and republished under Tales from the Yawning Portal and the Virtual Tabletop version was available on Roll20. 

The PCs were either first or second level and were pretty beaten up, having just survived a tough fight against the boss of a dungeon level and his minions. The main treasure was in a classic big-ass iron chest. The Rogue checks it and finds it locked and trapped with the traditional poison needle trap. 

Unfortunately, the Rogue also can't roll high enough to disarm it. Taking 10 doesn't hit the DC, and because it's trapped she can't Take 20. But because she's rolling to disable the trap and not pick the lock, so long as she doesn't critically fail she can keep picking at it. 

(Some of you may be asking "Well, didn't they find the key when they killed the boss? Wouldn't that have bypassed the trap?" and the answer is that I honestly don't remember why that wasn't an option. I think it's because in the original adventure the boss isn't listed as having the key on him, so perhaps I ruled that it was hidden and the PCs didn't find it in whichever room it was stashed.) 

After 3-5 failed attempts, each roll edging dangerously close to the dread Natural 1, the Gunslinger decides to do the classic Hollywood tactic of shooting the lock off.  He rolls a Nat 1 and crit fails. 

I rule that the shot has mangled the lock such that it's now unpickable. Oh, and it's still locked.

The PCs then decide that the best course of action is to USE THEIR MELEE WEAPONS to damage the chest enough that they can access the interior.

I dig out the rules for item hardness and hit points, and they proceed to beat the SHIT out of that chest, a la Office Space and the printer.


When they finally broke it open, I was laughing so hard I could barely talk. Paraphrased from memory, I said something like this:
"OK, so what you see is... a lot of broken glass that probably used to be potions... which have soaked into the scrolls, making the ink run and ruining their magic. There's a couple hundred gold inside, but yeah, you destroyed 80% of your treasure."
The players learned a valuable lesson that day.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 227: the Hypocrisy and Stupidity of Gun Prohibitionists


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • Shannon Watts playing both the sides of a self-defense shooting;
    • Oregon starting to regret the consequences of passing Measure 114;
    • a San Diego Sheriff's Captain is in trouble for running a corruption racket which included accepting bribes in exchange for concealed carry permits;
    • several other bribery stories which show that corruption is common in may issue states.
  • David continues his series on sights by explaining the parts of a scope;
  • Weer'd interviews Stephen Gutowski of The Reload about his new gig with CNN;
  • and finally, Weer'd fisks the Brady Campaign again, this time about "the right time to discuss gun control."

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

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Interview of Stephen Gutowski:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Two Quick Updates

Well, it's been a week. 

"National Write More In My Blog Month", or whatever I called it, was a good step forward; I actually did write more blog posts in November than I have in quite a while. Unfortunately I fell out of the habit of writing this week, mostly because I'm exhausted from family drama and/or Christmas decorating and/or my aching body. (Yes, I'm as tired of complaining about it as you are of hearing about it.) Things are looking cautiously better, however, and I give myself a 75% chance of making it through this holiday season with my sanity, patience and health mostly intact. 

It's late and I'm tired so this will be quick, but I really wanted to write something this week so I could have a sense of accomplishment rather than kicking myself for another failure. (Yes, I'm aware I need to be kinder to myself.)

Two updates on topics mentioned in the Thanksgiving AAR:

1) Sal Hamilton is back for more drubbing. 

Apparently Sal wants a national org which represents everyone except white people? I don't think such a think exists. More telling is his dismissal of groups like AAPIGO, JPFO and NAAGA as invalid. As I said above, that seems pretty racist. 

I believe this one needs no further comment. 

2) The Molon Labe, Oedipus design has been finalized and is in the OBS-PP storefront! 

You can get it as a t-shirt, a sticker, a coffee mug, and an assortment of other merch. As always, the money goes to Operation Blazing Sword, a 501c3 tax-deductible charity. 

That's all for now. I'll try to update more often in the future. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 226: Is Self-Defense Becoming Non-Partisan?


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • an article from The Atlantic about rethinking "Run, Hide, Fight" in a manner that shows some minds are being changed;
    • the Chesapeake, VA Walmart shooting;
    • and Biden's declaration that semi-automatic weapons "have no redeeming features."
  • Next, Savage1R returns to the show to give us a breakdown of the FTX Cryptocurrency Scandal;
  • and finally, Weer'd sits down with Ian McCollum to discuss his upcoming book, Clockwork Basilisk.

The Fine Print

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

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