tracker7: (Default)
Since starting the rewatch of Battlestar Galactica (2004 edition) and catching a few episodes of the original on one of the local digital side-channels, I've been thinking about the role of religion and/or faith in my gaming and related writing.

I'm, for sake of labeling, a post-Christian atheist. I grew up in a pretty mainstream rural Methodist church, and was somewhat involved in youth groups and things like that, but never really wanted to be warming a pew on Sunday mornings (evenings, at Wednesday night prayer meetings, revivals, you see where I'm going). To be honest, I think I learned more about being good and doing right from episodes of Star Trek on WAVE-3 than I did from most of the preaching I was exposed to - I sure enjoyed them more and loved Sunday mornings when I didn't have to go to church.

I remember a Palladium Fantasy game in high school, where the PCs were crusader-missionaries, spreading their faith by example and at the point of the sword. There was a World of Darkness game in the mid-90s, with the PCs caught up, indirectly, in angelic and demonic machinations. My D&D 3 historian/lawman/wizard was devoted to his goddess, if occasionally angry with her, and cared little for the beliefs of others. Currently, my Pulp Cthulhu investigator was raised a Quaker, left that belief for something between non-specific Protestantism and agnosticism, saw some weird shit while part of the occupation of Haiti, and is now confronting Yig's cultists. My CP2020 solo was a lapsed Catholic, more so in stories I wrote about him than in play.
In my current Star Wars game, there's no real discussion of religion, outside of the Force.

tracker7: (Default)
Met some new-to-Louisville folks at Colin's shop on Friday, and found myself in the role of ad hoc tournament organizer for the X-Wing players there. Everyone got plenty of loot, including some Armada goodies for us fleet commanders. Then, most of us decamped for more gaming at Heroes, and holy cow, did I get a surprise. I'd pitched it as a night for Epic play, and got some interest. Wound up with three 4-player games going. Pretty terrific!

Harvey's remains came through, dropping a lot of rain and cooling the air quite a bit. I didn't hear of any flooding or any other serious issues. There's another hurricane in the eastern Atlantic, probably hitting the East Coast in a week or so.

Last night saw North Korea's most powerful nuclear test yet, something in the 50-120 kiloton range, if seismic information is to be believed. NK claims to have developed a thermonuclear device, and they've progressed to test-launching ballistic missiles over Japanese airspace instead of into open ocean. I hate feeling alarmist, but I keep hearing Admiral Painter's words - "This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it."


I don't know where the information came from, and today it doesn't really matter. We'd observed Imperial patrols ranging further and further out from the Onderon depot, and Sector Command decided to hit one of them. A target presented itself - a Raider rendezvousing with a Gozanti carrying the sort of material we can make better use of than Moff Vancyon's forces can. Sector assembled an appropriate force, a couple of CR90s, a GR75, a couple of refitted freighters, and all the fighters we could round up.

For a few blessed minutes, it was perfect. We dropped out of hyperspace a stone's throw from the Imperial ships and it seemed we caught them completely unaware. Less than a squadron's worth of TIEs showed on our scopes; we had more than twenty fighters. The Raider was caught between our corvettes, taking more broadside fire than it knew what to do with. We had 'em.

Then the sensors started screaming. Realspace reversions all around us, and coming in fast. The Empire had set its own trap, and we'd fallen for it. If only that had been the case.

It was a pirate force. Three of those damned C-ROCs, faster meaner versions of the Gozanti, and enough fighters and transports to give both sides pause. And they were spoiling for a fight. They came roaring right into the fight between us and the Empire, throwing both sides into chaos. We wan
ted that Gozanti's cargo, but the pirates must have wanted it more. What had been a straightforward engagement became a brawl, damned near three separate battles. I hate saying this, but the Imperials handled themselves better than our divided force. We lost over a dozen fighters before our own ships disengaged and ran for safety - we did manage to destroy one of the C-ROCs, at least. The one that made the mistake of tangling with the Raider didn't last long. The corvette and its fighter escort cut the thing to pieces.

We're licking our wounds now, and listening.
tracker7: (Writing)
Hitting the Empire in regions it considers safe or under complete control was a pretty brave - maybe even foolhardy - choice, but after Scarif and Yavin, Command has been feeling aggressive. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Here in Japrael, we're taking advantage of the power vacuum and confusion that Moff Dardano's death brought on. Seven Bells and Archer are still our biggest sticks, and they got a workout a couple of weeks ago. After one of my teams met with resistance fighters on Akeforst, Sector Command sent the frigates and a couple of corvettes and every starfighter we could get out hands on over there. Successful raid. Destroyed an Imperial frigate and a couple squadrons of TIEs, plus one of the planetary navy's corvettes. We lost six fighters, and in the calculus of warfare, that's an acceptable trade. Big prize out of the raid, too. One of our corvettes was retasked with boarding a gas freighter before it could jump out of the system, and we got our hands on a few thousand tons of blaster and coolant gases.

The same team, a few days ago, got mixed up in some real trouble at Onderon. Our listening post (which has to be relocated and soon) got word of a real high-level visitor, extend all courtesy and all that. We figured probably a possible new Moff or something along those lines. Nope. Nothing less than the Devastator - Vader's Star Destroyer - dropped into the system and was in orbit over one of Onderon's moons for several days. It left a good-sized garrison there, and Sector Command decided that whatever was there was pretty important, so we sent my ops to investigate Sector parked Archer at the edge of the system. Well, things happened, and there was a fight, and based on the ops team's report, there was an Inquisitor there. I've given that team some off-the-leash time. They're good, and whatever Sector has coming up next, they'd be useful, but we'll manage without them. They've got ... something to pursue, and right now, no one else needs to be involved. They'll be back when they're back.

The offensive over in the Corellian sector isn't off to the best start. Two of the task forces there got beaten up pretty badly; the third handed the Imperial Navy a resounding loss. I don't know much more beyond that. High Command committed a big, big pile of resources to this and if it doesn't pay off, we're going to be hurting.


Dec. 17th, 2016 12:05 am
tracker7: (Gaming)
Flight Officer's Report, action of [date], Onderon system

Per Commodore Sougal's request, I am submitting my account of the engagement identified above.

Transmissions intercepted by Whisper Base indicated a small Imperial convoy entering Onderon system would be carrying several hundred tons of parts and supplies for the Imperial ordnance station near Iziz, and that the convoy's assigned escort cruiser had suffered a severe drive failure and would be unable to travel with the convoy during its final leg. Sector Command hastily organized a strike force of two Nebulon-B frigates, Archer and Seven Bells, the CR90 corvette Tarafa, and the starfighter and armed transport complement from Canval Base.

The Imperial vessels exited hyperspace near the edge of the system's gravity well, following procedure for entry into a safe system with high levels of civilian traffic. Our frigates immediately deployed their starfighters and moved at best speed to intercept the Imperial freighters. As expected, there was a small escort force still present - a pair of Raider-class corvettes and a small starfighter complement.

Within a matter of minutes, the Alliance frigates had the freighters under their guns and were preparing to launch boarding parties. A number of Imperial ships broke away from the main body, and Commodore Sougal directed the closest Alliance ships to intercept and prevent them from escape.

Tarafa led this hastily-dispatched force, consisting of my element of A-Wings, an element of X-Wings from Canval, and two armed transports, the Leap of Faith and Tilted Heart. The breakaway Imperial force consisted of one of the Raider corvettes, six TIEs of mixed type, and a Lambda-class shuttle. Captain Gerb, commanding Tarafa, ordered the starfighters to engage the TIEs escorting the shuttle, under his corvette's support and directed the transports to harass the Raider. Gerb stated his belief that the shuttle was carrying high-value personnel and that it should be the primary target for our part of the engagement.

Just before the transports entered weapons range of the Raider, the Imperial vessel suffered a series of explosions in the drive section and broke apart. The transports did not fire on the Raider; I believe that the ship had been struck by turbolaser shots from one or both of the Alliance frigates and incurred greater damage than initially identified.

Five of the TIEs - four G/T models and an Advanced - moved quickly to screen the shuttle and engage Tarafa. Captain Gerb maneuvered to keep his ship between the TIEs and the smaller Alliance ships. A single Interceptor flanked our starfighter formation, making no effort to join the other Imperial fighters. Tarafa fought well, damaging or destroying the TIEs and firing on the shuttle. The shuttle proved to have been outfitted for combat with a heavy cannon, however, and coordinated with the TIEs to deliver heavy fire to Tarafa. The Imperials overcame our corvette's defenses and Tarafa's drive section began to fail. With the ship's maneuverability and speed greatly reduced, it was an easy target for the remaining Imperial ships and was destroyed.

When Tarafa was destroyed, the shuttle and TIE Advanced moved to disengage and escape. We destroyed the remaining TIE and landed enough shots on the shuttle to collapse its shields, but the vessel ultimately made a jump into hyperspace. Our detachment assembled into formation and rejoined the main Alliance force.

I can find no fault with the conduct of the detachment, and credit Captain Gerb with preventing the destruction of a number of starfighters and armed transports. We enjoyed the great fortune of the early destruction of the Raider; I feel certain that that vessel would have inflicted severe losses on our detachment. Of particular note, one of Canval Base's X-Wing pilots, Jaina Pelar, performed extraordinarily well. Officer Pelar flew aggressively, keeping her fighter closer to my A-Wings than I would have expected. Pelar displayed an uncanny ability to coordinate her own weapons fire with that of her fellow pilots. Her piloting skill is notable, but she is a superlative gunner. While the loss of Tarafa and most of her crew will be keenly felt, I expect that Sector Command will soon replace the ship, likely through the method of stealing an equivalent Imperial vessel.

I am available for further discussion and evaluation of the events of this action, at your convenience.

J. Battin, Flight Leader, Nightside Squadron, Seven Bells
tracker7: (Default)
Last night, over on the G+ wasteland, I saw some comments on a kerfuffle involving this year's Hugo Award nominations. Short form - a couple of dudes got nominated and some other people think there's been ballot-stuffing or the like.

The dudes in question are Larry Correia and Theodore Beale, the latter writing under the pen name Vox Day (OMFG AREN'T I CLEVER NO ONE WILL GET MY CLEVER WORDPLAY ON BEING THE VOICE OF GOD). I've read only a little from each of these fellows, about enough to be comfortable in not wanting to read more. The borrowed copy of Correia's Monster Hunter International failed the 100-page test, and failed it spectacularly; occasional dives into his online presence haven't improved my take on him, and he was an utter dick at the one face-to-face encounter I've had with him. Baele's not a good writer by any means; well, his grammar's pretty good, but that's about it. Assuming he's not engaging in some kind of long-form trolling or performance art, his blog posting indicates that he's a pretty terrible human being as well (but has occasional reasonable economic ideas). John Scalzi refers to him as Racist Sexist Homophobic Dickweed (RSHD), and I can't find it within me to disagree.

Whether or not the nomination process was gamed doesn't affect me at all, and I'm not sufficiently outraged to buy a WorldCon supporting membership just for the privilege of voting against these guys and for some of the good stuff I've read in the past year (like, Charles Stross's very good and very creepy Equoid). There is no shortage of material out there for me to read or view, and I can continue to vote with my wallet.

That's easy enough to do in many, many cases. Take occasional whipping boy Orson Scott Card. He's a dreadful homophobe, and a disingenuous coward, and seems to be able to only write variants of one story. Makes it easy to not support him in any way. (Disclaimer: Yes, I saw the Ender's Game movie, and it was terrible, and I donated twice what I paid for the tickets to anti-bigotry organizations after seeing the movie.) On the other hand, there's Bryan Singer. I like Singer's movies, and I'm looking forward to Days of Future Past. Singer's long been known as a chickenhawk, and of late, some very unpleasant accusations have been made against him - Google's right over there, should you want to know more. I'll see the movie. I'll probably watch The Usual Suspects again. But if these accusations prove to be true, some part of me will probably be a little bit conflicted.
tracker7: (Default)
I think my muse is back, at least for a little while. I've written 13,400+ words since Sunday night. My Anatomy grade has slipped to a B, but I'm going to consider that an acceptable tradeoff.

L5R stalled out again, due to venue issues. I think we've got those solved, although it means a longer drive to and from gaming. I'll take it. I want this game to go off, and be a good one, to a great degree because I'm really starting to believe that this is going to be my last regular gaming in Lexington.

On that front, this week saw more movement. My student aid report revealed one little hurdle, a default of $74. I'm one for picking my battles, so I just paid the amount - $74 isn't enough of a hill to fight over when $70K in aid is on the table. Friday afternoon, I get a call from the EdDept's default resolution center, and no lie, I expected to end up beating my head against my desk when I saw that number flash up on my phone. After confirming that I was, in fact, me, the caller started apologizing. Turns out that not only was the default record in error, I was owed some money instead. Holy cow. So, the appropriate university departments get notified, and one more hurdle is cleared. With this resolved, and the final old transcript submitted, things are now out of my hands. If this is going to happen, it'll be at the pleasure of the universities.

Got a fantastic surprise from one of my gaming buddies last night - a shiny new copy of Pandemic! Assuming the early March edition of Snowmageddon doesn't make such things impossible, we're going to break this sucker in at tomorrow's game day.
tracker7: (Writing)
Friday night - left work a few minutes early, ran out to CostCo, grilled some ridiculously thick-cut chops, enjoyed a quiet and not-super-cold evening.

Saturday - went to Louisville for a model train show, swung by a game store to see a buddy for the first time in way too long, went to dinner with a friend and her ... well, son's pretty close, but it's complicated. Talked about the probable move and related matters, like housing and work while in school.

Today - slept in, decided that I was going to blow off pretty much everything. Stayed in pajamas, read some L5R material, discovered that my trusty old roaster oven makes a pretty good slow cooker.

And I wrote a little bit, too. Couple thousand words. Seeds from five years ago. Sometimes the wheels grind slowly; hopefully they'll grind fine.
tracker7: (Default)
I'm starting off the last day of a four-day weekend. It's been, mostly, a good stretch away from the office (and, hey, I've got another one in 57 hours). Friday and Sunday were the best days, and I'm going to credit getting out of and away from the apartment with that. No grand adventures or day trips, just running some errands, but it got me off of the couch for a few hours early in the day, and that kept me from just being a slug all day.

It seems to have paid off a little bit. One of my goals was to finish up a proposal for a SF game setting, and late last night, I got the response - "I'd like to see more." So, today's going to see some IM discussion and laying the foundation of this thing. And I'm going to make myself get out of the apartment to work on this today.

My game club is stepping up! One returning member has put out a call for an open and ongoing game to be played at game days. One of my regulars is pitching two options for the inadvertent post-apocalypse day in a few weeks. I'm still planning my own games, but if these come together, the additional options are going to be fantastic to have around.

Thanksgiving is this week, and to the best of my memory, this is the first time I've had the entire four-day weekend off from work since '96. I'm looking forward to it, even if (or maybe because) I don't have any plans between Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. As long as I'm not by myself or camped out at a hospital or something, I'll be happy enough. Or shopping on Friday. That's anti-fun.
tracker7: (Default)
So, in addition to the word dump from Friday night, I've been trying (again) to write more. Getting in some bits and pieces during downtime at the office, and, of late, before heading in to the office. For most of the past two weeks, I've woken up around 5:30AM, fully an hour before my alarm's set. Like, wide awake, and fully rested. So, some mornings I pull the blankets back up and doze or meditate or whatever for a while, and some mornings I grab the iPad or head to my desk and I write something. Stuff usually goes into my Dropbox, sometimes it goes to the other blog, and sometimes it goes here. And sometimes it gets deleted, because I just wanted to purge it from my mind.

Anyway, Friday night was good. After a stressful week at the terrible day job, I needed good company, and D delivered. Conversation over dinner (at Boombozz Pizzeria - quite good) went to some strange places now and then, but it was so good just to talk with someone about something besides advertising or contextless griping. Still some dissonance, but I'm almost familiar enough with dissonance to be comfortable around it. Stayed in Louisville later than I meant to, and got caught by construction traffic on the way home, so I missed the midnight showing of Alien, but not the end of the world.

I got to indulge my Fading Suns love at today's game day; first part of an adventure to conclude in two weeks. FS was the second game of the day, and that's for the best. The first game was the beginning of Invasive Procedures, and man, Ben P can flat-out run a horror game. Some nice staging, and it doesn't (or maybe it does) hurt that IP is written around one of my personal terror triggers - corruption of the self and removal of identity. I think if this had been the evening game, I would have gotten home, poured a bourbon, and slept with the lights on.

UofL and Auburn won on Saturday, and the Bengals beat the Patriots this afternoon, and right now, my Dodgers are beating the Braves in Game 3 of their NLDS. As is normal with me, I'm trying to keep my hopes under control, but, man, LA looks so good right now. This is probably the best team they've fielded since 1988.
tracker7: (Gaming)
I'm not going to call it a disappointment, because All For One is a darned terrific read. I love the writing, especially the flavor text attached to the character templates. The book left me wanting a little bit more - specifically, how the mid 17th-Century France of the game is different from that of The Three Musketeers (I mean, besides the demons and witches and monsters).

I'm a little over halfway through DC Adventures: Hero's Handbook, and am very very pleased. I like the changes in the Mutants & Masterminds rules; without playing it *cough*Stacey*cough*, it seems streamlined and a bit faster in play.

My post-GenCon burst of energy seemed to have disappeared by Thursday afternoon - work-related crapstravaganza striking again. It came back this morning, thanks to some Facebook and YIM interactions. Wasn't expecting that, but I'm sure not going to turn it aside. I've got my notes for an article on drug trafficking and anti-drug law-enforcement agencies strewn across the couch, and wordcount is starting to come together.

After seeing quite a few of the things used as really really good PDF readers at GenCon, I'm looking hard at getting an iPad in the near future. Page rendering is terrific, and the screen is big enough to show a full page clearly.

Time to get back at it. It's the politics of contraband, after all.
tracker7: (Writing)
This was, unfortunately, a lost weekend.

Plans to go to Louisville on Saturday for a roller derby bout were disrupted because some people can't bother with a simple phone call. Less than thrilled with this.

Sunday started off well, at least. Long-overdue trip to the grocery. Watched the last three episodes of Fringe. Settled in to write. For whatever reason, some recent writing blocks didn't show themselves, and I managed to get quite a bit done. Put the fantasy project to the side for a while and went back to an older action-espionage project. Mixed that in with some fiction. Felt good about it when I stepped back for a reread and evaluation.

Lengthy phone conversation with CPTAAL, on his drive back from Louisville. He had a good weekend, at least.

Oh, hey, for you Jane Siberry fans out there, she's giving away the whole catalog.
tracker7: (Writing)
It's raining hard out there and I have a nice cup of chocolate-infused coffee at my side, and I cannot put a darn word down.


Jan. 1st, 2010 04:50 pm
tracker7: (Comics)
Previous friend-locked post? Times a thousand.

Got out of the office around 1:30, but D couldn't leave the clinic early, as they had an emergency surgery come in. We got together shortly after she got to town. Late dinner, then up until an ungodly hour talking. Got together for breakfast this morning and then watched the Auburn-Northwestern game. Good times.

Doing some writing this afternoon, maybe getting out for a while this evening.

Currently reading Spin State, by Chris Moriarty. Recommended.

I'm feeling quite good, and still have an entire normal weekend ahead. RoXXor.
tracker7: (Comics)
Third try at this entry. There's something stirring in the ether.

Mecha & Manga is a good read. I don't know how much use I'd get out of it in a potential Mutants & Masterminds game, though.

Likewise, I'm really enjoying reading Rogue Trader. It's more appealing to me than Dark Heresy - I like the focus on exploration and exploitation.

My contributor's copy of Spycraft Declassified: Odd Jobs was waiting for me when I got back to the office Tuesday morning. One of the collected articles in that volume included an expert class I'd forgotten about - it's potentially plenty useful for my JEI game.

Looking at a significant sell-off of my gaming collection. Stuff I've had for years with minimal use and little chance of using it in the future, things that just don't capture my imagination anymore.

Still dealing with the higher degree itch. No way I'm going to shoot for the Masters or PhD in English. That ship ... well, it didn't so much sail as was scrapped before even being commissioned. I'm about to a point that I'm willing to take advantage of parental guilt to help pay for such a project.

The weekend looms. Won't be as eventful as last weekend, but hopefully I'll find some fun to get into.
tracker7: (Default)
Survived the ice storm. No power loss for me, didn't miss any time at work, no real problems. Luckier than many in this respect.

Work's going okay. Writing's slower than I'd like, though. Doing more stuff for GenCon.

Crushing still.
tracker7: (Writing)
I've rotated between the Spycraft job and two pieces of fiction today. Probably not the most efficient way of getting any writing done, but I'm unwilling to let this sudden burst of energy go to waste, and said energy is pushing all of these projects with an equal intensity. There was a fourth piece, something that's been rattling around with me for a long, long time, but I cannot get any traction whatsoever on it. It was an ugly and brutal little revenge piece, and I don't feel the need for that one anymore.

Arizona and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. Not at all what I wanted to see, but what can you do?

Old Man's War (John Scalzi) is a good read. Solid military SF, full of good ideas.

Back to work.

tracker7: (Happy)
Huh. Facebook stalker tonight. Somebody I'm jazzed about getting back in touch with.

Started reading Dark Heresy today.  Hoo-boy, but this looks like a lot of fun. Pretty simple rules, looks like, and I'm digging on the setting material. M&M or WoD next, though.

After this weekend, I'm at 50-50 on caring about the Super Bowl this year. I'm betting that I'll wind up rooting against a team, rather than for, and after a good run of games, I'm a little disappointed.

Back to the word processor. Deadline is starting to creep over the horizon.
tracker7: (Writing)
So, not much in the way of productivity today.  I was up much later than I expected to be last night, and after waking up a little before 7 and puttering around for an hour or so, I went back to sleep until 1 in the afternoon.  Was awakened by a phone call from Mom&Dad, calling to let me know that they were stopping by on the way home and would like to go to dinner.

So, they did, and we did.  And it was good.  And since we were in the area, I went by the game store and picked up Scum and Villainy for Star Wars SE.  Then to Joseph-Beth - I think my dad wants a copy of Weird Kentucky.

Now, I'm going over some notes again, and building on them, and instead of working on Spycraft missions, I'm dusting off the fiction chops for a bit.

Research tomorrow.  Not especially interested in the NFL games telecast here.

tracker7: (Comics)
Based on the character and story ideas we batted around on Tuesday night, I think this upcoming Star Wars game is going to be a good time.  I abandoned the Jedi aspect of my character idea - probably for the best, as two of the other three PCs are Force-users.  The Clone Wars is going to feed my lightsaber-swinging need for a while, I guess.

Wednesday night's Spycraft game almost didn't come together, but I'm quite glad that it did.  We ended the session with the two soldiers inside an office building under siege by 15 Russian mobsters, while the three other agents watched more-or-less helplessly.  The entire team is about to learn the cleansing power of high explosives, I think.

Justice Society of America is getting close to the end of the Gog/KC-Superman story arc, and it's been a pretty good run, I think.  There have been some off-putting moments, but they're few.  And I've got some bad feelings about where this is all going to go, particularly based on the "And evil shall inherit the Earth" poster from a while back.

I picked up Secret Invasion #8, having gotten a decent feel for the rest of the series and unwilling to wait for the trades to see the whole thing.  There were a few surprises, and I do see where the griping has come from.  I'm along for the Dark Reign ride, at least in the Invincible Iron Man and War Machine titles - and if Fraction's work so far is any indication, "World's Most Wanted" will be very enjoyable.

Planning to spend a good chunk of tomorrow in libraries.  I need to study up on submarines.  Maybe meeting with Mom&Dad for dinner.

tracker7: (Default)
It's been a pretty good, if extremely introverted, weekend.  Started reading Red Harvest.  Worked out some of the history for my Star Wars character.  Watched rather a lot of Star Wars on Spike.  Flew a couple of Ace Combat missions.  Started looking into replacing this ThinkPad with a netbook of some stripe.  Received my work order for a Spycraft project, and have identified some useful resources for it.

Know what I didn't do, though?  Shopping, except for groceries.


tracker7: (Default)

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