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svensson

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Everything posted by svensson

  1. I've used BRP for: - A Space:1889 steampunk game - A WWI 'horror-lite' scenario - A fantasy game without the runes of RuneQuest The only time BRP has broken down for me was trying to play a Twilight: 2000 game with a table full of veterans and gun nuts. Just like it's counterpart GURPS, unless you want to write a sourcebook on trivial ephemera and ballistics tables, you have to kind of accept certain arguments at the table between so-called 'experts'. When some guy pulls out a copy of a training manual on a given piece of equipment, your game has slid entirely off the rails 😁 But that's literally the only time it hasn't worked. The one thing you have to be careful with in d100 games is warning the players just how deadly combat is. BRP combat is not to be entered into without your complete attention and preparation because any stupid 'goblin' has a 5% chance of killing you outright every single round. [That works out as: 20% of skill level chance to impale with a short spear, 10% chance to hit 'Head' location (if used), either double damage - armor points (if just an impale) or full damage w/ no armor (if a crit), damage 2d6+2 (if doubled) or 7 (if critical hit)]
  2. OK, it depends on just how Warhammer-riffic you want to get with it. For a relatively simple Colonial Horror type game, you can file off the names on a couple of Cthulhu titles. The Blood Tide monograph for BRP [link below] deals with the Golden Age of Piracy [roughly 1600 and 1720 or so], and you'll be able to find info on black powder muzzle-loaders [matchlocks, wheelocks and flintlocks] and cannon there. For a little later period take a look at Devil's Gulch, the Wild West version of same [percussion cap and fixed cartridge arms]... now with more Gatling guns! 😆 Both supplements deal with limited magic in keeping with the setting... Blood Tide deals with voudoun and sea curses and Devil's Gulch is a bit more Gothic, with hex-masters, Devil-winds, and Native American Wendigos. With either one, you can expand the Magic effects with the systems in the BRP Yellow Book. HOWEVER, if you're looking for more Tzeench and Nurgle cultist type stuff, you're probably gonna have to mod that yourself. There is a large body of work in RuneQuest dealing with Chaos and corruption, so that should be a snap. Besides, EVERY fantasy party should go up against a Cult of Thanatar at least once... just to put them in their place.... [link to Chaosium page on Blood Tides] https://www.chaosium.com/blood-tide-pdf-and-ebook/
  3. I had to take a couple days away from the thread for personal reasons. One of those reasons was me not following one of my own rules. I have a small bit of wisdom that I've developed over my half century of riding this rock around Yelm.... "If someone says something, and whatever it is can be taken two ways, and one of those ways insults you, hurts your feelings or pisses you off, they most likely meant it the other way. Don't take offense where none is meant." And I found myself getting angry for reasons that I can't quite put a finger on. So to those I was mistakenly angry at, my apologies. I note that this is the second thread I am involved in where things have gotten slightly sharp. The common denominator is me. So let me clarify some of my principles just to clear the air with some of you. I consider myself to a 'practical' rather than 'theoretical' egalitarian. If everybody is 'equal' then 'equal' it ought to be. I firmly believe that every employee should make the same money for the same job. I believe that salaries ought to be public, but bonuses ought to be private. I believe that each and every single person has the right to try something and either succeed or fail on their own merits based on clear, open, objective criteria. I believe that if you have a complaint or accusation, you stand up, point your finger and make that accusation... put your name on it... and let the chips fall where they may. And I support anyone who has the courage to do that and the facts back them up. To put it another way, Frances Haugen [the Facebook whistleblower] has Zuckerman's ass on a hook and has the proof, chapter and verse. Alex Jones [the gasbag that runs InfoWars] is an idiot and can't prove one tenth of the conspiracy bullshit he panders. I believe that the US Constitution applies to all Americans and those present within the United States. I took an oath to defend it and that oath never, ever expires. I treat with respect anyone who has taken a similar oath to their founding documents of their people. I may not LIKE some of them, but I respect them. For example, I have a lot of respect for Great Britain, not so much for Russia or North Korea. I don't care who you love, who you sleep with, or who you marry. I believe in the sanctity of a person's private life. My sole criteria are these: a] everyone is an informed consenting adult and b] nobody is being coerced into something they don't want to do. If those simple criteria are met, your business is your business. I never claim that I 'understand' when I don't or that I 'empathize' when I don't. I'm a middle-aged heterosexual white male. I will never know what it's like to be a pregnant gay Black woman. That doesn't make that woman any less human or any less worthy of care, concern or courtesy, but I accept that some bridges cannot be crossed as a facet of human nature. I never hold someone accountable for something they themselves did not do. I hold nations accountable for their policies, for good or ill, but people are to be taken one at a time. And yes, that includes my own United States. I refuse to be guilted because of crimes my ancestors may or may not have done. If I found out tomorrow that one of my ancestors was the biggest slaver in South Carolina, **I** am still not responsible for that. I have never enslaved anyone, I have Black family members, and I grew up poor and identify more with poor Black folks than I do with upper middle class whites. This last one might very well be controversial to some. I am a historian. I believe in historical accuracy and I completely reject the 21st Century conceit of molding history to fit a modern social agenda. I refuse to hold people accountable to a modern standard when they had no exposure to that standard. I accept social progress as just that.. *progress* . For example, Benjamin Franklin founded the first abolitionist society in North America. He's widely regarded as 'not being a racist'... but by modern standards he most certainly was! He wasn't about to accept a Black man as a son in law or mixed race child as a grandson, nor would he have had a Black man to dinner. He opposed slavery as a moral and ethical sin, but was not about to accept Blacks as a social equal. This is what social progress means.
  4. That would make perfect sense, given the amount of traffic between resource supplier and resource consumers. Just as now with COVID, airplanes spread the disease faster than it could be identified as a epidemic. The amazing thing is how fast COVID WAS identified and containment measures began to be taken. There is no doubt that the Spanish Flu started in the US... USAMRIID [the Army's infectious diseases agency -- the descendants of Walter Reed in a sense] believes it began in one of the huge training camps surrounding Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas. The process of conscription was a major event in America at the time, and the Army felt that men learned better 'under canvas' than someplace where home was just a train ride away. The policy was to move men by rail out into the countryside where they could focus on the training rather than moms and wives. While these camps had good sanitation, FAR better than the camps a generation before in the Spanish American War, packing 8 men into a squad tent is a recipe for respiratory infections.
  5. Point taken about Pakistanis, Afghans, etc. They're not 'Arabs' per se. As for evangelical churches in the US, I agree it's on a case by case basis. But something to remember is that many of these Black churches welcomed Jewish money and support during the Civil Rights marches era. They walked arm in arm with B'nai B'rith, and American Jews got fire-hosed, beaten and murdered for the sake of the rights of Blacks to vote. Now the grandchildren of those same clergymen are calling Jews 'Christ killers'. So I personally find that hypocrisy just stunning and have no problem whatsoever calling them out on it. You don't get to cry 'RACISM!' out of one side of your mouth and preach hatred with the other. It simply doesn't work like that.
  6. And yet, the British Empire was one of the bastions of democracy as Western civilization knows it. And they inherited THAT from the Saxons and Vikings. And they introduced the idea of qualification and promotion without reference to caste in India. And they suppressed the Thuggee. And they built the hospitals, schools, railroads, and other infrastructure that underlays Indian independence to this day. I'm **certainly** not saying that the British were benevolent dictators. They were not, and every single piece of historical evidence proves that. But India and all of the Crown's former domains DID get positives out of the deal. Say what you will, but the gift of English Common Law beats the shit out of tribal traditions and rule of some peacock-feathered rajah all day. Besides, if you want to discuss who got eff'd over by the British Crown the worst, India is gonna have to long hard talk with Ireland before they figure out who's in line first. I would like to hear what growing up in Burma was like, though. One of my best friends' father was in the US State Department and he spent part of his childhood in Rangoon. Even had a Boy Scout troop there!
  7. Well, my friend, you brought the 'R-word' into the convo, so I felt the need to address it. And please understand that my views on racism are American in nature. The British experience with it is gonna be different from the French or German or anyone else. As a reenactor and historian I'd be a fool if I didn't acknowledge that racism is central to any discussion about history. Unfortunately, the subject is now being used as a one-question litmus test on almost any event since 1700. And I don't 'glower' at anyone, Bill. I'm perfectly happy to let someone have and say their own views for their own reasons and I don't consider 'I disagree' to be an insult. And I hope you've noticed that when you or I or anyone else have been in the teeth of a discussion, I NEVER revert to calling someone a name or disrespecting their opinion. I try very hard to keep it to the facts as I know them, and keep my own opinions malleable to new information as it arrives. After all, only one of us Judeo-Christians ever 'got it in writing', I don't suppose myself to be Moses in any form. 😉😆🤣 I may have opinions, often strong ones, but those opinions are based on facts as I know them.
  8. All legitimate points, Bill. But I want to point out a couple of things especially concerning India.... Firstly, while there were railroads and so on in India, food distribution was FAR more medieval in nature in the subcontinent than in more developed countries. British colonialism treated India as a resource, not an asset, and much of the transportation system was set up to remove resources from India rather than to distribute resources to Indians. Secondly, India provided the Empire with over 30% of her fighting troops, especially infantry. When those troops came home, they brought the disease with them. This made India a locus for infection far outweighing just the colonial [white] presence. Thirdly, the Hindu caste system so prevalent in India actually helped spread the disease among the poorest and least able to fight it. Lastly, yes, there was a great deal of racism in 1918, and that racism was a major cause of disease mortality. But that was on the part of EVERYBODY. Every single adult of all races was prejudiced against somebody for some fault, real or imagined. It is absolutely true that the most egregious offenses were done by white Anglo-Saxons and Europeans, but let's not trivialize those same offenses committed by Africans, Arabs, Hindus, Native American tribes, and so forth. 'Racism' is not solely a 'white man's crime' no matter what the current New Liberal narrative might say. In the US today, there are evangelical Black churches that are just as anti-Semitic as any neo-Nazi. Africans were still enslaving Africans to Arabs until the British Empire put a stop to it. When India was granted independence from the British empire, the very first thing it did was commit pogroms with Hindus versus Arabs and Arabs versus Hindus. The fact that we here in the 21st Century find such things to be reprehensible is called 'social progress', and in 1918 that progress hadn't been made yet. And we both know there's still a Hell of a lot more work to do. Please note: I am using 'racism' in it's 21st Century definition. A lot of people were not racists by the standards of their day, but would still be considered racists now. Benjamin Franklin founded the first abolitionist society on the North American continent, but he still wouldn't accept a Black man, no matter how well educated, at table for Sunday dinner or accept a mixed race child as a grandson. Standards change as progress moves.
  9. The overwhelming historical evidence tells us that the Spanish Flu had almost no effect in Africa, South America, and Asia. China saw a lot of deaths, but some real pockets of colonialism really did dodge a bullet. The only infection locations in all of Africa, for example, were large cities... Algiers, Cairo, and Cape Town. And, because history has a sense of humor, Spain had one of the lowest mortality rates due to Spanish Flu in Europe. NONE of which is any kind of excuse to avoid COVID protocols, of course. It's just historical trivia.
  10. Well, Qizil, the Spanish Flu was deadlier for several reasons. As I understand it, neither the CDC, the Royal College of Medicine, nor the Pasteur Institute has an original Spanish Flu serum for study. I might be wrong, but I remember reading that several servicemen during the post-War One Russian Intervention [1918-1920] died of the Spanish Flu and there was serious talk of digging up their corpses to see if they could find a viable sample. In any event, the Flu was more virulent and deadly for several reasons: a] Epidemiology was in it's infancy and Public Health laws to stem the spread of disease were weak at the time; b] The overall health of **everybody** was depleted due to World War One. The soldiers had endured months of cold wet or hot fly infested conditions from living outside in literal charnal pits in the trenches. Civilians were living with severe rationing and therefore their calorie count was low and vitamin deficiencies were rampant. Also remember that this is before refrigeration, so food supply and diet was seasonal... you got certain greens and fruits in the right seasons, fresh protein was limited to slaughter times, etc. If it wasn't for the railroads being able to move food quickly from the farm to table, it was almost medieval. c] There was almost no understanding between the differences in bacteria and viruses, and damned little treatment for either one. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and it wasn't stabilized for use until World War Two. Even Sulfa based drugs weren't fully fielded until 1935, and they're much less effective overall than penicillin. And, of course, neither of these drugs work on viruses anyway, just the secondary infections. The only real treatment was supporting the body's own immune system, which exposed that many more people to the virus. So, if we were in 1918, yes, I think the COVID virus would probably as or more deadly. But there's a lot of factors to that as well. What we do know is that this is the disease we're confronting. It comes at a very unfortunate time for everyone, although I can't think of what a good time for it might be. Civil unrest was rife in the G8 nations to begin with over lots of different reasons. The free world is facing challenges from Russia, China, and other autocratic states and non-state actors that are profiting from that unrest. Social media is being used as a tool by several groups and interests to spread disinformation and doubt in the democratic institutions and the rule of law. And, of course, you can rely on a large percentage of homo sapiens of doing stupid shit to prove 'you're not the boss of me!'
  11. The problem with Mathematicians is that they're looking for nice clean solutions to the universe in a theoretical environment. Theoreticians have a huge fucking problem when they actually have to their proverbial or literal hands dirty and APPLY their theories Real Life [tm]. Vaccines and epidemics are not nice and clean and defy every attempt at creating solutions. Why? Because biologicals are messy. Especially people. And, 'The Big Bang Theory' aside, I'm not about to ask a mathematician or physicist about dating advice. Or medical advice. Or mechanical advice. BTW, I'm a historian. I know all about Ivory Tower types that lose their minds when stupid things like facts bugger up their precious theories. I get up in schools in a very liberal Western US state and talk to high school kids about race relations in the United States. Talk about 'messy', and the facts almost never match the perceptive opinion...
  12. I think 'The Skull' is a 'be very careful about it' zone rather than 'forbidden'. You can see political parties all across the political spectrum in multiple countries trying to make hay out of the COVID epidemic. And this is in no way new. I can understand some push-back in the US over governmental intrusion into the private lives of citizens, I really can. In the course of my lifetime [I'm in my mid-50's and started becoming aware enough of the news to have a reasonable opinion in the Jimmy Carter era] I've seen a constant barrage of legislation that seeks to control, channel, impede, or abolish freedoms that were assumed in my parent's day. Between the political Left's 'Nanny Welfare State' to the Right's moralistic Evangelical pontifications, it seems like the only thing government wants to do is tell me how to live my life. But a fucking plague is the wrong thing to push back on. This isn't abortion or guns or eminent domain or socialized medicine. This is common sense. Yes, the precautions are an inconvenience. Yes, there are some side effects to the vaccine in some people. I had a couple side effects from the COVID vax, but it was NOTHING compared to my 'adverse reaction' to the typhus shot I got in Basic Training. And you know, I don't see measles or smallpox killing people much anymore and there isn't much of a market for iron lungs either... With a track record like that, I'm alright trusting science rather than the Playmate of the Year. Not that Jenny McCarthy wasn't a lovely looking Playmate, but until she gets a degree in Epidemiology.... It's kind of a 'stay in your lane' situation.
  13. I'm very sorry to hear that. Like you, I'm a huge fan of the MERP modules -- especially the revised and expanded 2nd edition entries. I was sad when Saul Zaentz sued ICE over the licensing, given how little money he would have made off of an RPG at the time. Nevertheless, my sincere regrets and condolences to the family and friends of Terry. This Old Geek very much appreciates his work.
  14. I really don't know how to politely say how concerned I am for your family, but I am. I won't feed you the trite and pithy 'thoughts and prayers' line, but I am concerned and I sincerely hope you all pass through this difficulty healthy and well. My respects.
  15. You know, the internet has been around for almost 40 years and by now you'd expect that all the smart web wonks out there would have developed IRSF... the Internationally Recognized Sarcasm Font.... 🤣😆😁
  16. That's probably where I got the inspiration for it. As to the question itself, that's rather easy. The ill-informed are easy to piss off. It's the 'believe the big lie over the uncomfortable truth' dichotomy that fuels so much propaganda.
  17. I'm the first person I know to come up with this, but I DON'T fancy myself to be all that clever. SOMEBODY had to have some up with it first, and I just don't know who that somebody is. "If ignorance is bliss, how come there are so many pissed off stupid people out there?"
  18. I would be a fool if I didn't say that someone was profiting from the divisiveness in the G8 generally. In the US, I would start with the Republicrat and Democlican National Committees and work down. In other countries, your mileage will vary. Apply labels as you like. But as a historian it's incumbent on me to note that absolutely none of that is new. There has been push-back from the wealthy and entitled against 'mob-ocracy' since Pericles of Athens and that isn't going to change anytime soon. What I think makes the modern era different from the previous ones is, of course, the internet and social media generally. Memetic warfare, also called 'molding public opinion' and 'spin doctoring', isn't anything like new either, but access to the net has allowed each and every interest, party, conspiracy theory, think tank, and dumbass with an opinion a huge bullhorn to scream their nonsense to the world without any consequences whatsoever. Add to this that there are indeed foreign powers that seek to divide public opinion in democracies around the world to their benefit. China and Russia are the big two, but international jihadism is steadily becoming more sophisticated and slick in their deepfake production and propaganda skills. I refer you to Mike McMaster's book 'Battlegrounds' and '15 Minutes of Shame' by [of all people, but someone who knows something about it] Monica Lewinsky for more information on the development and monetizing of public opinion.
  19. And, of course, the per capita deaths are MUCH lower. But it's still a landmark nobody wanted.
  20. Here's some statistics for you. The day my father passed, the United States exceeded the number of direct-cause deaths [that is to say, it's on the death certificate as the proximate cause] due to COVID than we lost during the Spanish Flu of 1918-20. The day after that was the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Because 'fuck y'all', that's why. I understand that many people in the G8 are feeling intruded upon by their governments. I can commiserate about the lack of privacy, the 'gotcha' journalism, the deepfakes, the surveillance, all of that. But let me offer anyone with doubts a very simple bit of advice: A FUCKING PLAGUE IS THE WRONG THING TO PUSH BACK ON. You want to push back against government interference in your life, here's a few things you can do [this is American, but I'm aware that Great Britain, Germany, and France have similar laws and issues; translate freely to your circumstances] - How about you push back on the nastier aspects of the Patriot Act? I mean, does the NSA REALLY need to be going through your mail without a warrant? - How about you insist your jurisdiction get rid of surveillance cameras with face recognition profiling in public areas? - Ooh! Here's one: doesn't it piss you off even a little bit that cities and counties have now automated speed traps, red lights, and stop signs? Now you just get your ticket in the mail without having to even bother a cop! And make absolutely no mistake: this has NOTHING to do with safety. It's a revenue stream, an additional tax levied on you for having the unmitigated gall to buy those roads to begin with. THESE are the kinds of intrusions you should be worried about, not a freaking vaccine.
  21. Makin' space on the bookshelf for the dead tree version of that....
  22. Ok, cuz 'physics', the only way they translate into some new universe after passing through a black hole is on a molecule by molecule basis. Current theory says that black holes rip structures apart down the atomic level -- and not all atoms would survive. So the physical locus for your matrix gets ripped into atoms smaller than the silicon it's made of. That being said, I don't see how anyone would survive in or out of your matrix.
  23. So, scanning the answers given here, nobody can 'duck into the matrix' and wait out evolution. If Habitat 47 dies, the matrix dies. So nobody gets to wait out anything. They either fight against entropy on the chance they might die or they give up and die anyway, binary solution. OTOH, given that this is the last pocket of life in observable universe, it's kind of a 'flip a coin: tails you lose, head you don't win' situation. Things like this are one reason why I'm not a big fan of The Mythos or Warhammer. There's no enjoyment in a 'all hope is gone and all your efforts are less than wasted' scenario for me. Don't get me wrong. I'm no Pollyanna happy flower by any stretch of the imagination. But you have to offer your players something more positive than a damp, oily hab cube with a dirty bunk and steaming bowl of Soylent Green...
  24. You're thinking of Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Solaris'. The writer of 'Sunshine' [Andrew Garland] cite it as an inspiration for their film, along with '2001' and 'Alien'.
  25. Wow. THAT'S a happy one.... 😁 OK, it's interesting science fiction, asking the questions about the meaning and purpose of life amidst despair. There was a 2007 movie about Earth's sun being extinguished called 'Sunshine' that explored similar questions. What I'd like to know is this, 'the matrix' has to have a physical location somewhere. There has to be a power source, servers, something physical to preserve the personality 'engrams' with netherworld of electronic life. But if somebody drives the last habitat into a black hole, and that habitat contains the physical plant of the matrix, how would anyone stay alive? The matrix is a man-made construct, made up of the same zeroes and ones as DOS was back in 1976. However much it may have attained an existence of its own, it still requires a physical presence in 3 dimensions in the real world. Destroy that and you destroy the matrix.
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