Episode 1553: Catch of the K

Sep. 26th, 2017 10:11 am
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Episode 1553: Catch of the K

Just another case of Talking is a Free Action.

If a PC ever says they want to catch a live grenade... Well, of course you should let them try. Just be prepared to go into critical mop-up mode if necessary.

Keybounce writes:

Catching a live grenade. Holding it. Catching a live grenade.

I know how the grenades that we use today work; pulling the pin doesn't start the timer, it's more of the safety. Letting go of the grenade starts the timer.

Somehow, this robot has fast enough reflexes to catch a grenade (okay), enough time to carry on a conversation, and still throw it far enough away to be out of the explosion range. Why are they using people if they have robots like this? Seriously. If you have battle robots this good, and we've already seen the droid factory technology, why do you use people at all?

Now, the dialogue. I thought you might need some help. Some help killing people. You can't cover the whole battlefield yourself. But I can. Just watch me. Let me show you what kind of combat droid I have. One insignificant toss, and I'll take out all of those troopers behind you.

What disadvantages did Sally take to get a robot that is this good at combat? Has Pete's min-maxing rubbed off? Will her "just toss death around like it was nothing" lead to part or all of the TPK?

And remember: this whole thing looks like a kill box. Whoever has been killing the soldiers is watching these people, and not killing them. I just imagine some people offscreen, reporting to their superiors, and saying something like "they would make a powerful addition to our side"/"they will join us or die".

I mean, it's not like these PCs are weak minded non-Jedi...

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

Heh.

I've possibly mentioned this before, but I really like K-2.

Something I've noticed here is that Bria seems cool with killing people, K-2 obviously doesn't do anything except killing people, but Cassian is very much non-lethal. This possibly confirms that he doesn't really have a combat background, but it is certainly suspicious behaviour for him to be really concerned about not killing Stormtroopers when he is supposed to be in the Rebellion.

I hope someone mentions this soon. Maybe Bria. She does seem very good at killing people, and may get annoyed if Cassian keeps telling her not to do it.

— aurilee

Transcript

Guess who has two thumbs

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:07 pm
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And was in a vehicular mishap that got him to work two hours early?

Homage and Laura Lippman's Wilde Lake

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:52 am
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I have a complicated relationship with Laura Lippman's work where I tend to find it layered and thoughtful but just a little too bloodless and just a little too cynical; also, she has a book that repeatedly describes a character of exactly my weight as "hulking," and I am petty enough to be bothered by this.

Wilde Lake has not resolved my feelings in one direction or the other. It's a deep, compellingly fractal look at memory and information that is damaged by the fact that none of the characters seem deeply involved, at any time, with anything, and that it is utterly insistent on letting you know that it's a To Kill a Mockingbird homage.

Some of the latter is nicely done, like the beginning which looks at the circumstances in which Luisa's brother Jem--I mean, AJ--got his arm broken--but much of it is clumsily inserted (the obligatory scene where Luisa insults a lower-class boy's table manners and is reprimanded for it) and some of it is even cringe-inducing (the book is careful not to specify the Brants' housekeeper, "Teensy," as black, but it suggests it very strongly and her characterization is stuck in the fifties). Literary homages of this kind, I think, should remind us that there is an essential grandeur to the business of being human. We ought to be reminded, every now and then, that the petty jostling for power in Congress, or within a rural family, can be Shakespearean; that the social norms of who should text whom, and when, can be just as mannered as any exchange between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. But To Kill a Mockingbird is too close in history to work on those terms, and the only neat effect you get from Lippman using it so much is the resonance with the controversy of Go Set a Watchman--Wilde Lake tries to be both novels, dealing with the child's eye view of complications that only reveal more faults in adulthood, and that is slightly cool. But it still seems like borrowed significance that asks the reader to care about Luisa and her family not because of the importance Lippman has invested in them but because we all know Scout and Atticus; it's fanfic with a couple of degrees of separation, neither fish nor fowl, and it would be better if it weren't.

And maybe if it weren't, the novel would have to work a little harder to develop its characters and make their motivations and moralities distinct. As it is, everyone here is sort of low-grade unpleasant while being firmly convinced of their own superiority, which makes for a monotonous emotional palette. Luisa Brant praises her brother for having a midlife crisis that was actually original, for example, but since that crisis involved quitting his job, growing a ponytail, and divorcing his wife for a younger yoga instructor, I'm at a loss as to which part of this, exactly, is supposed to surprise me. (Then again, her brother also wrote an editorial in high school that had all the depth of an average college admissions essay yet somehow provoked a New York publisher to contact him about writing a memoir before he even turned eighteen, so maybe her brother was a veela.) That conviction of superiority, which cannot be fully supported, is the heart of the novel, and the point of it, to be fair, but it's insufficiently sold. I never bought that the Brants were exceptional, or even very charismatic or likable, so there was no fall from grace or catharsis in the revelation that they weren't.

And that revelation needs to hit, because Luisa's eventual epiphany--that we are all people of our time--is too obvious to carry much weight if there isn't a personal element.

Despite that, there are cool things here, even if all of them are best appreciated intellectually rather than emotionally. Lippman is very smart about the way both personal histories and histories of record are often made out of lies and omissions, and very attentive to the way one generation's virtues can be the next's horrified discoveries. That does eventually make the novel into something compelling, and--probably owing somewhat to Lippman's journalistic background, and points to her for that--something far more reminiscent of true crime than of literary suspense. It feels like unearthing history.

The ultimate result is a novel that is frustrating in its unevenness--complex, but far too lukewarm for greatness.

the immortal universe, part II of III

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:00 am
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September 25th, 2017next

September 25th, 2017: Hal Con was a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who came by and especially big thanks to the two Squirrels Girl who came by! BOTH WERE GREAT COSTUMES and it's always awesome to see cosplay of your characters. Thank you so much!

– Ryan

I would have thought lawful

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:59 pm
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I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-8

Constitution-16

Intelligence-10

Wisdom-8

Charisma-7


Alignment:
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

The Good Place

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
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I've been watching this really clever sitcom while doing the exercise bike. Sadly, I only have a couple of episodes to go for the first season. Why couldn't it be longer?

It is so rare that I like a sitcom, but this one is smart and funny, and the actors terrific.

A leaf

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
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Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

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I am taking care of someone's cats

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:45 pm
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As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

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