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Subject:174 Lagus Assault Guns
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

After a bit of a delay, Tom Arnold and I got together for another Vassal ASL game, this time with a scenario from the recent Hakkaa Päälle. The Russians have taken the offensive in Finnland in mid-’44 and are back to trying to break the defenses that stopped them in the Winter War.

In this scenario, the Russians enter with eight squads (split between 1st line and elite rifle squads), a couple leaders, a HMG, a T34/85, a SU-152, and a IS-2, and then get six squads of (628) assault engineers with a couple FTs and DCs on turn two. The Finns defend with ten 648 1st line squads, a MMG, hero, PSK, two Sturmis (StuG IIIs in Finnish service), and a 81mm MTR. They’re actually in two groups, but one setup area is just a subset of the other. One squad equivalent gets HIP, and the Finns get to assign two of their available PFs to any unit(s) they wish (probably the hero, but one each to the hero and best leader seems like a good idea). The Russians have seven turns to either take 5 of 7 buildings in the board 17 village, or get 5 squads (not squad-equivalents) and two AFVs past a ‘finish line’ that lies behind the village.

Tom had the defending Finns and set up a defense scattered along his setup line. Interestingly, he used all his available Dummies (6) as large “?”, giving me five possible locations for his two Sturmis. It looks like the normal approach is along the west flank, going through some cover, and driving right at the village where there’s some open ground for the AFVs to operate. I decided to go on the east flank, in the board 32 woods, and try to drive for the goal before he could get everyone to focus on me. Better yet, there’s a nice gap at the beginning of the path that leads towards the village. By securing that, I can keep him uncertain as to which way I’m going. In fact, if he puts too much in front of me, I can switch goals in a hurry. Patch was by while I was setting up, looked things over, and had much the same idea, which was neat.

My initial advance had the two T-34s, covered by a pair of squads, holding my west flank. The main drive went up the 32A5 road, seizing the initial groups of houses for some cover. Tom only made one attack, revealing two full squads at the ‘gap’, and broke two squads who were armored assaulting up the road, while pinning a leader. I put acqusitions on the two squads, and on 17X2.


Situation, Russian Turn 1. North is to the left; the red circle is where the victory buildings are (two are covered by Finnish “?”), and the dashed line is what the Russians need to cross. As usual, green is movement, blue is advance, and red is routs.
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Subject:Patreon
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

I am now a ‘creator’ on Patreon.

If you don’t know, Patreon is a website for creators to keep in touch with their fans, and the fans can support artists by offering money. There’s a variety of ways this can work, with flat monthly charges, per-piece of work done, etc. This is meant as something of a ‘grass-roots’ version of the art patronage system that existed through much of history in Western civilization; though today it might be easier to see as a variation of the Kickstarter idea. Two of my roommates, Smudge and Baron, are currently partially earning a living through Patreon.

What am I doing on Patreon? I’ve been aware for a while that I have a few people following my various detailed game AARs. Which is very heartening; it’s always nice to be appreciated. But, doing those reports isn’t easy or quick. Not only do I spend a good amount of time writing up the description (I’m not a very fast writer), but I’m stepping through the entire set of Vassal logs to generate that description, and I’m going into Photoshop to create all the maps that show how everything went each turn. It takes a few hours to put together one of those AARs for a short game.

So, I am hoping that a few people like my writing enough to compensate me for my time and give me a buck or two every time I post one of the big, detailed ones.

What does this mean for this blog, and BGG (where I also post these)? Nothing.

Nothing will change. Nothing will be held back, or held behind a pay wall, or delayed. Game posts will still be here, and be cross-posted to BGG, and to Patreon. I am just hoping for some purely voluntary encouragement for me to keep doing this (and possibly do it more) by means of a financial ‘thank you’. Consider this: if you bought a magazine with an article like one of my AARs in it, would you think that was a good buy? If so, then consider funding my posts.

My hope would have been that I could charge people by category, so the ASL fans could just pay for the ASL reports, and the SFB fans for SFB, but Patreon isn’t set up for that. So, if you decide to subscribe, keep in mind that the bulk of the reports will be for ASL, with occasional charges for SFB, and Up Front (and hopefully a few other games), and set your rate accordingly (which I believe can go as low as $0.05 per post).

Finally, I will note that if you have a login at Patreon, you can just ‘Follow’ me for no money, and still get an email every time I post there (from what I’ve seen, the images don’t come through in the email, but at least there’ll be a link to follow, and you’ll know there’s something to see). I will be putting my face-to-face and other adventures in there, so they’ll be part of the email feed though no one will get charged money for them.

So, come see what’s happening over at Patreon!

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Subject:Two Rounds of Nemea
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

Having finished up a big game, Patch and I did another round of Commands & Colors: Ancients, this time being the Battle of Nemea from Expansion #6. After some of the more interesting battles we’ve been doing, this is a return to basics: There’s no terrain, no special rules beyond the use of hoplites, and it only requires five banners. The Spartans are down a couple units compared to the Athenian/Boeotian army, but have some of the five-block Spartan hoplites, one more card in their hand, and go first.

Patch had the Spartans the first time, and the action led off on his left, and I made contact on my turn, but did no damage (archery and an evaded combat). Patch then used Leadership Any Section to move up more of his left, but didn’t do any damage to my evading cav. I Ordered Center to bring up more of my line, and Patch Ordered Medium to bring up his right, and press the attack on his left, doing a block to the the MC on my left, and doing three blocks to the unit with my right-side leader, who died in the first attack. I did nothing back, with all the dice being the wrong symbols or leaders! (I would have given as good as I got if the leader had lived.)

I Mounted Charged into the part of the line in contact, and wiped out two units while doing a block to a third, but lost the other MC and took three blocks on a unit in return. Patch Ordered Three Center to knock out both of the 1-block units I had, and did two damage to another, driving it off with a banner (which also saved him, as it drove it out of contact with Patch’s third unit). I Double Timed to bring my intact left units into the fight, and did good damage to two units, but I was now engaging the heavier Spartan hoplites. Patch Ordered Two Center to engage a weakened unit and knocked it out without trouble (though I finally realized I’d just drawn a First Strike card just as he rolled the dice). 2-5

As the Spartans, I led off with Order Two Right, Order Two Center, and Inspired Left Leadership to start closing with most of my line, sticking one MH in front of the line (if I’d been smart, I’d have angled it differently for leader support). Patch had Ordered Center twice, so my forward unit made contact, and took two blocks after having only done a single banner. To my surprise, Patch used I Am Spartacus and rolled a sword and four banners. He could have wiped out my forward unit from a blocked retreat, but instead had no turn at all.

I used Mounted Charge to bring our lines into contact. This wiped out three of his units, and weakened two others at the cost of 6 blocks across three units. Patch Ordered Mounted, which knocked out one unit (after a First Strike took out a couple extra blocks) on each side. I Ordered Three Center to continue the drive, but a two-banner hit allowed one unit to get away with one hit when I had another attack lined up. I did one damage to another unit, and took two in return. Patch Ordered Three Left to bring up a flank, and did two hits to one.

I then activated the bulk of my line again with Order Medium, but couldn’t really come to grips. I drove off his left-flank Light with a hit, and did a hit on a hoplite while a banner drove it out of range. Patch countered with his own Order Medium, and charged in with everything, including a couple units that were down to one block. Of course, my units were pretty beat up, and Patch started eliminating my units. The only unit that survived was driven off by a banner, so there still was no battle back. Similar to my earlier charge, he wiped out four units in one turn. 4-5

Afterword:

We’ve gotten used to the 6-7 banner battles with some terrain. This one was very short and direct. I’ve complained that Patch keeps getting the Mounted Charge cards, which are often decisive in these hoplite battles. I got it both times, and I still lost. Though it certainly was huge in the second game. We both thought I had it at that point, and my inability to finish him off in the next turn gave him the chance for the upset.

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Subject:The March of Folly
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

Barbara Tuchman was a journalist before becoming a history author, and despite The March of Folly being a book about certain historical incidents, it is more a work of journalism than history. It is an investigation into the process by which governments embark on self-destructive courses (‘folly’), despite recognition of the problem, and alternative courses being available. As such, it is more of a screed against certain practices, rather than a real attempt at balanced or impartial history.

The good news is that we’re not treated to the faint sound of axes grinding. Instead, we’re given front-row seats to the grinding wheel.

The book is split into four parts (with each one being longer than the last) on the Trojan Horse, the (start of) Reformation, the American Revolution, and Vietnam. Each is well written, but are effectively a completely separate work, since they just serve to try to illustrate her point, instead of having any inherent connection to each other.

The Trojan Horse section is purely illustrative of her point, since it’s a discussion of myth, with little idea of what really happened. But it is a powerful story, and not a bad way to bring up themes, though I don’t know that it’s overly successful here.

The Reformation is really about the ten major Popes in the run up to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. As such, it paints a picture of the excesses and temporal politics of the office while calls for ecclesiastical reform go unheeded. The main problem is that it ignores that high office was seen as a means of self- (or family-) aggrandizement. The idea of the point of office being something bigger than the self is a more modern idea (this is briefly addressed in the epilogue).

The American Revolution chapter mostly deals with events before the outbreak of fighting. Tuchman considers the end result of the conflict to be fairly inevitable (and right or wrong, this assumption helps keep her on-topic), and concentrates on how British policy ended up alienating people who wanted to be part of the empire into rebelling. As such, it is a very good Britain-centric analysis of British policy and government.

Similarly, the Vietnam chapter is at its best before American troops get directly involved there. Starting with the French, and the unresolved difference in goals between them and our aid to them, it traces through the entire tragedy to the American pullout. The fighting isn’t covered in any real sense, but the demands of rabid anti-communism with its fears of all communists everywhere working in concert with Moscow are well pointed out (though not as well developed as I’d like; though that’d probably be going off her topic).

An unaddressed theme that comes out of the last two parts is the fact that these crises often grow out of situations that just weren’t seen as very important at the time. They were low-priority, low-impact items that only increased in importance after missteps had caused the situation to blow up. The real ‘folly’ may belong more to being unable to prioritize correctly, but even that is an exercise in hindsight.

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Subject:Destroyer Demolition Derby
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG

Somewhat to my surprise, after Patch and I finished up “Arctic Crossroads” he suggested an SFB game. He wanted smaller ships, and something other than Klingons, so I looked to a Kzinti-Lyran fight (appropriate as they’re also involved in the Four Powers War right now) with squadrons using ships smaller than CAs.

The Kzinti produce their first Destroyer in Y159 (our current playing date), and I certainly wanted to show it off, as I don’t think it appears in many scenarios. It’s mostly known as an ‘also ran’ ship, as production is halted in favor of the later Medium Cruiser, and it is relegated to second-line duty during the General War. But right now, it is brand new, and effectively the one of the most advanced designs around, and certainly the best ship the Kzinti have for the tonnage. At a Move Cost of 1/2, it has 24 power, 2xdisruptors, 4xph-1, 2xph-3, and 4xdrone racks. This is more power and firepower than the larger Light Cruiser class, which it is effectively replacing (the CL will be refitted to have more power, more disruptors, and bring its drone racks up to 4, but that’s a few years away still). It shows a shift from ph-3 to ph-1s, and an increase in drone throw weight (eventually, just about all Kzinti ships have at least four drone racks, but until now, that’s only been true on the much larger CS/CA/CC hull as well as the seven racks on the much larger DNE).

Then I chose a Lyran Light Cruiser to lead the opposite squadron. It has the exact same BPV as the DD (after adjusting for the lack of ESG capacitors), and while larger with more internals, and it has slightly better phasers (4xph-1, 4xph-3), coverage isn’t quite as good, and its shields are slightly weaker than the DD’s.

Both sides’ squadrons were rounded out by a pair of frigates, which also happen to have the exact same BPV, and fairly similar characteristics. Patch, as it turned out, went for a full load of Type-II (speed 12) drones, with no larger Type-Vs, for a total cost of 16 BPV. I vaguely contemplated taking some transporter bombs, and I should have, but neither of us took any.

We set up, and rolled randomly for Weapon Status (with a +1 for a war zone), and ended up with WS III. That was to my advantage, as the Kzinti don’t have any multi-turn weapons, and it meant my ESGs were already fully charged. I also had a suicide shuttle pre-charged on the CL. The Kzinti squadron went speed 15 for the first turn, as did my CL, while my FFs went 16. We simply closed the range for the first half of the turn, but the DD turned off at about range 25. During impulses 28-30, we fired as ships hit range 15. I stuck to disruptors, which all missed with six straight 5s. Patch launched half his drones on each ship, and volleyed all his disruptors, which all missed with three 6s and a 4, while four phasers he fired also missed on “better” rolls (two 3s and two 4s). On impulse 32, I turned towards the Kzinti FFs to see if could engage them separately from the DD.

With ranges coming down fast, I decided to put power into overloads on CL, and EW on the FFs, and went speed 9 for the CL and speed 13 on the FFs. Meanwhile, Patch sped up to 19 on his FFs while the DD stayed 15. Patch was surprised I hadn’t boosted speed as well, which I had considered, but I wanted to be prepared for a close-range pass (and the FFs stayed on regular disruptors in case something like this happened). Sadly, I only had slightly better EW than Patch, but it meant I would have even shots at his FFs while everyone else was at a +1 to fire at each other.

Patch’s FFs turned off on Impulse 4, confirming my fears that he would just dance around my slower-moving squadron this turn. On Impulse 10, I turned towards the gap between Patch’s forces and starting warming up an ESG to tackle the wave of drones that was in there. To my surprise, Patch turned his DD in shortly after, allowing me to get closer to it. Things started coming to a head on Impulse 15, when my FF-1 started sweeping the drones with its ESG, and my FF-2 and the DD traded shots. Both ships hit with one disruptor, and missed with the other, and had similar phaser rolls, though the ph-2s on my FF led to less damage being done.

On Impulse 18, I turned towards the DD, as it turned back away, launching its last two drones for the turn (the other racks had staggered fire over the previous few impulses). The DD scored another 4 points on the front shield of FF-2 with the 360-phasers, while the CL did 15 points to shield #3 of the DD, hitting with both disruptors and one good phaser roll (a second phaser missed entirely…). The next impulse, FF-2 announced its ESG, and I fired another three phasers at the DD. FF-1’s phaser missed, but the remaining ph-1s on the CL both rolled 1s to knock down the shield and do 5 internals, including a ph-3 and two power. That was pretty much it for the turn, though on Impulse 28, the two Kzinti FFs fired disruptors at my FF-1, with one hitting, and on the next couple impulses, they launched drones.


Turn 2, Impulse 18, showing movement throughout the turn.
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Subject:The Tyrants of Syracuse: Part 2
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

The second half of Jeff Champion’s history of Syracuse picks up right where the the first left off: The death of Dionysius the Elder and the ascension of his son, Dionysius the Younger as Tyrant of Syracuse. He uses this split as a convenient excuse to avoid using ‘the Elder’ and ‘the Younger’ while each is actually in office, since the change in ‘default’ occurs across the books. And it actually works.

From there, the book details the next two decades in Syracuse dealing trying to get rid of Dionysius the Younger. The careers of Timoleon and Agathocles are also well covered, as well as Pyrrhus’ campaigns in Sicily, Hiero II, and the fighting in Sicily during the first two Punic Wars. Champion points out the shift in Syracuse’s fortunes when the expansion of Rome into southern Italy and Sicily puts the city between two much larger powers. Until that point, Syracuse consistently held sway over most of Sicily, and could successfully fight off Carthage, even though neither side could ever truly conquer the other. Once Rome was on the scene, Syracuse became distant third to the two major powers in Sicily. The book’s epilogue wraps up with a quick overview of Syracuse’s history since being conquered by Rome, including the shift of power in Sicily from Syracuse to Palermo.

For some reason, the editing in this volume broke up for a few chapters in the final third of the book, with some missing words, and sentences that had been incompletely rewritten. But then the problems went away again at the end, and I didn’t see any problems for the bulk of the book. Other than those hiccups, it’s a good book on an interesting subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention, just like the first volume of the series.

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Subject:MA Style: Hasodo
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

Having recently gotten and read through GURPS Martial Arts, I thought I’d try writing up a new style.

The Terukai set out to colonize new worlds with giant slowboat colony ships. One particular ship eventually made landfall on a lushly inhabitable planet, but for some reason, the industrial base never set up correctly, leaving the colonists to build an agricultural society largely on their own, and tales of their origin have faded into the dimmest of legends.

One of the few high-tech resources left from the original ship are a set of fabricators of miniature forcefield generators. They aren’t horribly rare (they have no moving parts and last a long time), but maximum coverage tends to be a couple square feet, so protecting anything large is difficult (and there’s usually not much point), but working them into a suit of armor is easy, setting up a few to mutually reinforce for a ‘force-shield’ is common, and they can also be configured to form the edge of a weapon. Such comparatively lightweight protection has made ranged weapons (bows and guns) less popular, and most fighting is dominated by melee weapons.

In addition, various forms of weapon arts are very popular, and there are regular tournaments between popular champions. These tournaments use ornate and fancy (and often fairly skimpy) protective armor, that are well laced with forcefield generators providing complete coverage. Weapons are kept on ‘blunt’ settings, which keeps them from easily penetrating the fields, and minimizes damage when they do—all while still providing an exciting light show for the audience.

The most popular of these sports is Hasodo, which uses a long, narrow, straight sword with a crosspiece (a Thrusting Bastard Sword; B271, 274, LT54, 66, 70), and a reinforced Force Buckler.

Hasodo 4 points

This is actually a family of related styles, only some of which concentrate exclusively on formal tournament dueling, and this entry tries to cover the main points of the spectrum of different schools. Thanks to the forcefield-based equipment, serious injury is difficult, and tournaments put fewer restrictions on non-Sport skill-users than normal.

Perhaps surprisingly, the style is largely defense-oriented, with users usually sticking with Defensive Attacks and Evaluate until an opportunity can be found or made for a Committed Attack, or something flashier. Tournaments are all about sword-play, so various dirty tricks and unarmed strikes are disallowed; strikes are allowed anywhere but the head, but as a pragmatic consideration, attention is focused on the upper body. Non-tournament oriented schools do teach various dirty tricks, and head strikes, but the usual emphasis is on bringing the lower body into play, and training in various kicks.

Serious practitioners are expected to dedicate their life to the art (in tournaments, deadly combat, and in study), which includes learning how to make their own equipment. Any true ‘master’ is supposed to be able to make a sword and armor as good as can be found from a dedicated armorer/weaponsmith—this mostly just gives those very few who can master all three arts bragging rights over the rest! (Note that most ‘armors’ created this way are generally harnesses to put force field generators on (which does still require the Armory (Body Armor) skill), plus protection for important/vulnerable areas such as the vitals and hands. Swords are generally crafted by dedicated weaponsmiths, though many students do learn the basics and could assist in crafting one.)

Naturally, legendary masters not only possess superior fighting skills, but hand-craft the legendary weapons that they’re known for. Combat-wise, tales talk of parrying missile weapons of all types, acrobatic mastery of battlefields, fending off hordes of opponents, and most of the other usual feats. One prominent legendary master was blinded halfway through his career, and still bested all his foes!

Skills: Broadsword or Broadsword Sport; Shield (Buckler); Two-Handed Sword or Two-Handed Sword Sport.

Techniques: Armed Grapple (Any weapon skill in style); Bind Weapon (Any weapon skill in style); Choke Hold (Two-Handed Sword); Close Combat (Any weapon skill in style); Counterattack (Any weapon skill in style); Disarming (Any weapon skill in style); Feint (Any weapon skill in style); Retain Weapon (Any weapon skill in style); Spinning Strike (Longsword); Sweep (Two-Handed Sword); Targeted Attack (Two-Handed Sword Thrust/Arm); Targeted Attack (Two-Handed Sword Thrust/Torso-Chinks in Armor).

Combinations: Broadsword Deceptive Attack/Torso + Two-Handed Sword Swing/Arm; Shield Beat/Weapon + Broadsword Thrust/Torso.

Perks: Acrobatic Feints; Form Mastery (Bastard Sword); Grip Mastery (Longsword); Skill Adaptation (Bind Weapon defaults to Two-Handed Sword).

Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting; Precognitive Parry.

Cinematic Techniques: Roll With Blow; Timed Defense.

Optional Traits

Secondary Characteristics: Improved Will.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Enhanced Block; Enhanced Dodge; Enhanced Parry (Any weapon skill in style); Fit.

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Duelist), Overconfidence.

Skills: Acrobatics; Armorer (Body Armor)/4^; Armory (Melee Weapons)/4^; Jumping, Karate (plus the Kicking technique); Short Sword.

Perks: Weapon Bond.

Notes: Why, yes… this is all derived from an attempt to figure out a setting where ‘bikini armor’ made sense. (Thank you, Johji Manabe….) Terukai aren’t human, but they’re close enough to it for government work (and roles in Star Trek). I don’t have an entirely clear picture of how the style works, so it’s a bit fuzzy around the edges, though this has already helped focus some thoughts. The swords in use here should use regular Thrusting Broadsword stats with an Armor Divisor of (2) when on, but regular damage and crushing damage when off, and crushing with -1 damage in ‘tournament mode’ (and if it isn’t obvious, this isn’t a lightsaber; this is a regular sword, but the blade is generated by forcefield emitters lining where the regular blade would be). One forcefield generator configured for defense probably provides one square foot of coverage with DR 3 and reduces Armor Divisors by one stage. They’re generally either linked up for larger coverage or greater DR.

I’ll also note that this probably isn’t too far off of what Sword Dancing from Jennifer Roberson’s Tiger and Del books looks like. You’d need to strip it down to just Broadsword/Broadsword Sport, and use COH (Alimat), and past that… I’d have to read the books again. I’d expect a heavier emphasis on the acrobatic parts.

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Subject:MA Style: Hanosa
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

Having recently gotten and read through GURPS Martial Arts, I thought I’d try writing up a new style.

The Terukai set out to colonize new worlds with giant slowboat colony ships. One particular ship eventually made landfall on a lushly inhabitable planet, but for some reason, the industrial base never set up correctly, leaving the colonists to build an agricultural society largely on their own, and tales of their origin have faded into the dimmest of legends.

One of the few high-tech resources left from the original ship are a set of fabricators of miniature forcefield generators. They aren’t horribly rare (they have no moving parts and last a long time), but maximum coverage tends to be a couple square feet, so protecting anything large is difficult (and there’s usually not much point), but working them into a suit of armor is easy, setting up a few to mutually reinforce for a ‘force-shield’ is common, and they can also be configured to form the edge of a weapon. Such comparatively lightweight protection has made ranged weapons (bows and guns) less popular, and most fighting is dominated by melee weapons.

In addition, various forms of weapon arts are very popular, and there are regular tournaments between popular champions. These tournaments use ornate and fancy (and often fairly skimpy) protective armor, that are well laced with forcefield generators providing complete coverage. Weapons are kept on ‘blunt’ settings, which keeps them from easily penetrating the fields, and minimizes damage when they do—all while still providing an exciting light show for the audience.

The most popular of these sports is Hanosa, which uses a long, narrow, straight sword with a crosspiece (a Thrusting Bastard Sword; B271, 274, LT54, 66, 70), and a reinforced Force Buckler.

Hanosa 4 points

This is actually a family of related styles, only some of which concentrate exclusively on formal tournament dueling, and this entry tries to cover the main points of the spectrum of different schools. Thanks to the forcefield-based equipment, serious injury is difficult, and tournaments put fewer restrictions on non-Sport skill-users than normal.

Perhaps surprisingly, the style is largely defense-oriented, with users usually sticking with Defensive Attacks and Evaluate until an opportunity can be found or made for a Committed Attack, or something flashier. Tournaments are all about sword-play, so various dirty tricks and unarmed strikes are disallowed; strikes are allowed anywhere but the head, but as a pragmatic consideration, attention is focused on the upper body. Non-tournament oriented schools do teach various dirty tricks, and head strikes, but the usual emphasis is on bringing the lower body into play, and training in various kicks.

Serious practitioners are expected to dedicate their life to the art (in tournaments, deadly combat, and in study), which includes learning how to make their own equipment. Any true ‘master’ is supposed to be able to make a sword and armor as good as can be found from a dedicated armorer/weaponsmith—this mostly just gives those very few who can master all three arts bragging rights over the rest! (Note that most ‘armors’ created this way are generally harnesses to put force field generators on (which does still require the Armory (Body Armor) skill), plus protection for important/vulnerable areas such as the vitals and hands. Swords are generally crafted by dedicated weaponsmiths, though many students do learn the basics and could assist in crafting one.)

Naturally, legendary masters not only possess superior fighting skills, but hand-craft the legendary weapons that they’re known for. Combat-wise, tales talk of parrying missile weapons of all types, acrobatic mastery of battlefields, fending off hordes of opponents, and most of the other usual feats. One prominent legendary master was blinded halfway through his career, and still bested all his foes!

Skills: Broadsword or Broadsword Sport; Shield (Buckler); Two-Handed Sword or Two-Handed Sword Sport.

Techniques: Armed Grapple (Any weapon skill in style); Bind Weapon (Any weapon skill in style); Choke Hold (Two-Handed Sword); Close Combat (Any weapon skill in style); Counterattack (Any weapon skill in style); Disarming (Any weapon skill in style); Feint (Any weapon skill in style); Retain Weapon (Any weapon skill in style); Spinning Strike (Longsword); Sweep (Two-Handed Sword); Targeted Attack (Two-Handed Sword Thrust/Arm); Targeted Attack (Two-Handed Sword Thrust/Torso-Chinks in Armor).

Combinations: Broadsword Deceptive Attack/Torso + Two-Handed Sword Swing/Arm; Shield Beat/Weapon + Broadsword Thrust/Torso.

Perks: Acrobatic Feints; Form Mastery (Bastard Sword); Grip Mastery (Longsword); Skill Adaptation (Bind Weapon defaults to Two-Handed Sword).

Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting; Precognitive Parry.

Cinematic Techniques: Roll With Blow; Timed Defense.

Optional Traits

Secondary Characteristics: Improved Will.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Enhanced Block; Enhanced Dodge; Enhanced Parry (Any weapon skill in style); Fit.

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Duelist), Overconfidence.

Skills: Acrobatics; Armorer (Body Armor)/4^; Armory (Melee Weapons)/4^; Jumping, Karate (plus the Kicking technique); Short Sword.

Perks: Weapon Bond.

Notes: Why, yes… this is all derived from an attempt to figure out a setting where ‘bikini armor’ made sense. (Thank you, Johji Manabe….) Terukai aren’t human, but they’re close enough to it for government work (and roles in Star Trek). I don’t have an entirely clear picture of how the style works, so it’s a bit fuzzy around the edges, though this has already helped focus some thoughts. The swords in use here should use regular Thrusting Broadsword stats with an Armor Divisor of (2) when on, but regular damage and crushing damage when off, and crushing with -1 damage in ‘tournament mode’ (and if it isn’t obvious, this isn’t a lightsaber; this is a regular sword, but the blade is generated by forcefield emitters lining where the regular blade would be). One forcefield generator configured for defense probably provides one square foot of coverage with DR 3 and reduces Armor Divisors by one stage. They’re generally either linked up for larger coverage or greater DR.

I’ll also note that this probably isn’t too far off of what Sword Dancing from Jennifer Roberson’s Tiger and Del books looks like. You’d need to strip it down to just Broadsword/Broadsword Sport, and use COH (Alimat), and past that… I’d have to read the books again. I’d expect a heavier emphasis on the acrobatic parts.

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Subject:Digger
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

The problem with reviewing this is that I don’t know where to start….

Digger is one of those rare things from the world of webcomics: A small project that bloomed into a larger story, and then came in for a successful ending. (Projects that don’t successfully do this aren’t rare in any medium, but only webcomics let you see the process of wandering around trying to find the plot. In other mediums, failures don’t get published very often.) This process took a mere eight years and ~760 pages, collected into six volumes.

I jumped in the deep end with the full collected omnibus. It is now the largest graphic novel I own (yes, beating those legendary Cerebus ‘phone books’—those are only ~500 pages).

Digger echoes Bone in its use of a variation of the Visitation Fantasy where the start of the story is the main character wandering into a new and strange locale, and you never see the character’s original home. Unlike Fone Bone, Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels talks about her home quite often, and it helps provide defining contrast to what the setting of the story is like.

The central plot structure is The Big Quest, but it takes some doing to get there. In the meantime, the small little area Digger is in provides for more than enough conflicts, and Newhart-style comedy to be going on with.

I’d certainly like to see more of this world. We get an idea of what wombat burrows are like, we see a hyena tribe, we meet a god or two, we see… almost nothing of a human village that’s in the middle of the geographical area the story is in, though we do meet a few humans (including one that currently has a deer head). We hear of dwarves, but don’t see any. There’s a lot of very dangerous territory between Digger and her home, and it takes a lot of arcane knowledge to travel much of the distance safely. It’s a world filled with potential stories.

And a good amount of anthropology (furry-pology? zoopology? eh, heck with it), with the origin myth of hyenas explaining why females are bigger and the first child often dies. Fumbling attempts at ethics. Fortune-telling slugs.

It’s big, and it rambles, and the end is slightly disjointed, and it’s still an excellent story.

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Subject:Dungeon Sorcery Spells 5
Time:12:00 pm

Originally published at Rindis.com. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been a bit since the last set, but here’s ten more spells for GURPS Dungeon Sorcery. They’re a mixed bag of low-level spells, but there is something of an emphasis on invisibility.

Acid Arrow (SC)
Conjuration, Somatic, Verbal
22 points
Casting Time: 2 seconds
Casting Roll: Innate Attack (Gaze) to aim.
Range: 200 yards
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell launches an acidic projectile at its target, doing 1d+1 corrosion damage if it hits. The acid will continue to work after hitting, doing another 1d+1 damage after 10 seconds unless it can be washed off or diluted in the meantime. There are normally no distance modifiers for this attack.

Innate Attack: 1d+1 (cor; Cyclic, 2 cycles, 10 seconds, +50%; Increased Range, x2, +10%; Long Range, (LDM) +50; Requires Gestures, -10%; Requires Magic Words, -10%; Sorcery, -15%; Takes Extra Time, x2, -10%) [1.65×13]
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