Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why You Should Not Vote for Trump in 2020

Coal Miners


  • See those promised jobs come back?  Nope. Meantime the companies got bailouts, McConnell and the Republicans fighting the promised pension funding. Truth is those jobs will not come back, deregulation lets them use alternative and cheaper mining methods such as mountain topping which require fewer workers. And fracking and other energy sources are cheaper than coal. Workers need real healthcare and good paying jobs, not empty promises of jobs coming back. Specifically this group needs to support Paula Jean Swearengin for US Senate, Coal miners daughter fighting for YOU

Farmers

  • Soybean sales tanked due to trade war to boost manufacturers. Fun Fact - not only are farmers losing sales, those sales are largely going to Brazil and a major Trump and GOP donor, the Blackstone Group.
  • Corn sales down to boost profits for oil companies.
  • Farm bankruptcies up 25% and climbing, mostly due to the Tariffs but Climate Change is a factor as well with planting season issues and a mix of flooding and droughts.

Manufacturing Companies

  • Trumps haphazard trade wars have increased your input costs and hurt your customer demand. In picking a fight with so many countries at once in his hope of seeking bilateral one on one deals he has alienated many of our allies and weakened Americas economic power,
  • For example his trade war with China would be going a lot better if it was in coordination with our allies.  Also because its one sided, China put counter tariffs on the USA and lowered tariffs from other countries. So lower demand for American products due to higher prices compared to elsewhere.

Manufacturing Workers


  • Jobs are still going overseas and the Republicans kept in a 50% tax cut for companies making plants overseas when they did tax reform.
  • Trade wars raising costs and of course that means companies cut jobs to compensate, maybe they will come back, maybe not. But in the meantime you need to pay the bills so that is no consolation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

House Rule Advantage: Energy Transfer

In some supers and fantasy fiction a being can transfer energy to another or power a device.
There is no real obvious way to do this in GURPS.

  • DR with Absorbtion lets you regenerate HP or FP.
  • Healing lets you spend FP to heal others HP (or other injury).
  • Leech lets you drain someone elses energy to heal yourself.
  • Regeneration can be bought for FP.
Those are good options for taking, not giving.
You can use an Affliction or Affects Others to let someone have one of the above abilities but that requires them to use it. Doesn't work too well if your charging up a battery or something and it just doesn't have the right feel.
So what do we do?
Healing and Leech could just be hand waived as new advantages that reversed the effects.  Healing would let you transfer any amount of FP to another, while Leech is limited to 1 FP per level.
The latter feels the best to me so here is a variant totally not cannon advantage.

Energy Transfer

25 + 4/level
You can transfer your energy to an unresisting or helpless subject. This requires touch on a willing subject or a grapple on an unwilling one. The energy must fit a specified source and can only transfer energy to beings or objects that can contain the same energy, this includes Energy Reserves.
It costs the user 2 FP per FP the subject receives, and is limited to 1 FP received per level per turn.
Examples Sources: Chi, Divine, Heroic, Magic, Spirit, Vitality (normal FP), and mundane sources such as electricity.
Modifiers: 
  • Efficient Transfer, +25% allows you to transfer on a 1 to 1 basis.
  • Hazard, varies. can restore FP lost to the specific hazard (Dehydration, lost sleep, suffocation, etc,) in addition to normal FP loss. Use the typical modifier for Hazards and halve it (round up).
  • Malediction, varies. Your able to concentrate and gather the energy around the subject instead of shooting a beam. Use normal Malediction modifiers, Ranged is not required, as it is for Leech.
  • Range, +40% allows you to project a beam of energy over a distance, uses normal range modifiers and can be increased with the normal modifiers.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dragon Magic in Chalice World

Dragons in Chalice World are tied to the elements and use magic that reflects this. They learn it almost instinctively but do train each other, as well as occasionally teaching other races.

Dragon Magic Style

4 points.
This style of magic is heavily focused on the elements, but also includes dreaming and protection magic, as well as a unique Affinity that lets them manipulate and sense their personal horde. Dream magic is used to communicate with other dragons, or even other races and they sometimes entertain themselves by viewing others dreams.
Skills: Power Tapping (Dragon Lines), Ritual Magic (Dragon Magic), Thaumatology.
Affinities: Dream (IQ/H), Earth (IQ/VH), Fire (IQ/VH), Hoard (IQ/A), Magic (IQ/VH), Metal (IQ/VH), Void (IQ/VH), Water (IQ/VH), Wood  (IQ/VH).
Reflections: A dragon has the Reflection for its element. Because of this they tend to focus on that element as its spells are more effective. Dragons are unable to learn other Reflections.
Affinity (Hoard): This Affinity is tied to the dragons personal horde and allows spells to find it or parts of it that may have been ..relocated. However it also allows spells to conceal, examine, move, and protect it.
Energy Reserve: They typically have a personal ER matching their ST.

Resources: Dragons gather large hordes, which they use as power objects (DF 18: Power Items) which can give them access to a large FP store to power their spells. They also like to build caverns on dragon lines, or near nodes and mana basins. They prefer to avoid mana geysers which can be more disruptive than useful, especially since a surge tends to wake them up.

Friday, October 18, 2019

GURPS Review: High Tech: Electricity and Electronics

Disclaimer: I was a playtester on this one and that can sometimes make you feel a part of the book, hence possibly biased.

High Tech is basically the industrial period to modern and near future in technology.
That can cover a lot of material, and much of it easy to understand and stat for a game. So High Tech gear books are mostly time savers rather than new and original ideas.
This one though is a little different.
At 52 pages its a good sized book and as is typical of the author its pretty dense and tightly written.
So lets break it down....
High-Tech: Electricity and Electronics

Chapter 1: Basic Science

5 pages
This covers the basic science and is really useful at giving the reader a simple grasp of electricity and an idea on how electronic devices work.

Chapter 2: Laboratories and Workshops

5 pages
There is a lot of adventure useful material here your unlikely to see elsewhere. It goes over measuring methods and devices, goes over devices including a bunch of medical stuff, and finishes up with toolkits. This is a really useful chapter and gives the reader specifics on whats in various toolkits. Also a lot of very useful tools here.

Chapter 3: Power and Machinery

9 pages
Whats electricity without a means to store and transmit it? This chapter covers batteries, generators, motors, lighting, and more. Except for the lights this material is more useful for the base than the field.

Chapter 4: Signals and Waves

9 pages
I think we spent more time on this chapter than any other.  If your players (or you) like to improvise stuff in the field this will give you stuff about signaling that is really useful.

Chapter 5: Computation

5 pages
Wait, another chapter on computers? We have this material in other books but here the author goes into more detail and especially the history and under the hood of the technology.

Chapter 6: Electronic Warfare

8 pages
What modern day adventure would not include secure facilities and ways to break into them? Thats the scope of this final chapter. But it also includes weapons, jammers, targeting, fuzes etc.

Summary

This is the kind of book GURPS was famous for in Third Edition. The author put in a lot of research time and camr up with an extensive list and stats for gear.  The playtesters included people with a lot of electronics backgrounds of various types and the author used that feedback to refine a few things and add a bit of material. Its really handy for the techy types with ideas for using various things and improvising things as needed but the equipment list is also great for most modern settings.
This is the kind of source book we haven't seen in awhile and is useful for other game systems set in the right time period.

RogerBW's Review

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Oct 2020 Dem Debate Opinion

Lets see what the polls say but my initial takeaways...

Winners

  • Senator Sanders had people writing him off after his heart attack. He needed to show he had it still and I think he was the most animated on the stage. Also again, most issues are framed around him. He easily had the most to lose so needed to do really well and he dd that tonight.  Also the AOC endorsement came out tonight will help, not a huge deal since so many supporters shared but if she had gone for Warren it would have hurt him. 
  • Yang did a great job. His UBI is practically a mainstream issue now where before it was treated by the media as a joke.
  • Castro did a solid job overall. I doubt he gets a big bump but he did very well.
  • Tom Steyer was pretty focused as we knew he would be but he hit his core issue of corruption really well. Also saying as a billionaire he also thinks they need to pay more in taxes will win him points.

Losers

  • Senator Harris kept trying to use that personal anecdotes and it came off false. Also what was with that attack on Warren? Trying to pin her on twitter banning Trump was a weak move I dont think resonated well.
  • Mayor Pete was overly combative,though he had a good moment on Syria.
  • Senator Gabbard also was overly aggressive and her attack on Mayor Pete on Syria I think will alienate a lot of vets who would agree with Buttigeg that Americas word is a powerful defense and our soldiers need it.
  • VP Biden took some solid hits from Senator Warren and Sanders. And he opened himself up to both those big hits. If he hadn't have attacked Sanders I doubt Sanders would have hit back. And he came off condescending to Warren on the CFB, especially if you know the history,

Summary

I think Sanders had the biggest night, he really needed to show he still had more energy than anyone else on the stage. I was watching talking heads and they commented on it.I think it was Maggie Haberman who said he had more energy in the last hour than she did.
I dont think anyone else will see a big rise but the winners list dd well for themselves.
Warren had the mos talk time and as the current front runner took the most incoming fire and she did not really win them all. She needs to come clean on the increased taxes thing. Overall I think she held her place, which as a front runner is enough.
Biden was I felt a big loser here. He picked two fights he came out behind on and relied on his record which is a mixed bag. Also he needed to turn around the falling in the poll status. He came off week.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Vampires in Chalice World

I liked the vampires in the Vampire the Masquerade setting (First Edition) in many ways and was disappointed at what happened when they were converted to GURPS Third Edition. Over the years various fans have made their own conversions but I wanted to go with the concept rather than a conversion.
The basic idea is instead of a single vampire tpe there are a bunch of bloodlines with different powers. I also did not like the origin as it wont work for anything other than earth history.
So I made my own vampires...

I have the detailed, though not yet completed writeups on this site. But a quick summary follows.
There is a common vampire template, mostly based on the standard GURPS Basic Vampire.
Each vampire also belongs to a bloodline, each with their own lens and available powers,
I designed the bloodlines not based on the abilities I wanted but based on each clan feeding on a specific emotion or mental state. This gave me a good variety, though there is room for expansion.

This is the key thing about these vampires, they feed on blood but also on mental energy.
Part of the inspiration for that was the tv show "Lost Girl" and I liked the differentiation.
They also have a variant on Energy Reserve that I want to use for various things and this gives me a way to test it, especially in the most abusive and munchkinney ways since they can refill the pool through draining..
Another key difference was the origin story.
How are vampires created? Why can they have different abilities? Why drink blood?
These vampires are essentially created by forgotten and lost gods who are so weak compared to their old selves that they can only survive as parasites. They need both life energy (blood) and spiritual or mental energy to thrive. So the origins are beings called Vampire Lords possessed mortals and drained them dry but infected their spirits with a disease that can be passed along.
So those first vampires could create others, though I made it require a ritual to keep the population in check. In this setting than, vampires are a disease of the spirit rather than a possessing demon, soul returned from hell, or some magical force binding them like a lich.

Vampire Page

Monday, September 30, 2019

This week on Right, Left, Center

Lets talk about Defense Spending!

Right

Conservatives, especially leadership feel that the majority of our tax money should go towards defense spending. A strong military is an important part of national security. However Conservatives also believe in smaller government and lower taxes.

Left

Liberals and Progressives (there is a difference) believe that the majority of the governments spending should be domestic. The Left is more willing to pay higher taxes but want the money spent wisely and according to their priorities.

Center

Both sides agree that a strong military is vital to protecting the country. The dispute between them is a matter of how much is enough and where the priorities are. Unfortunately this is also confused with pork barrel politics and lobbying. Defense contractors lobby Congress for further increases in spending so they can make and sell more stuff. A Corrupt Congress will do what gets them the most money, influence, and power. Also defense contractors may operate factories, research facilities and other things in a Congress persons district which can affect voting. And House Reps especially are supposed to look after their districts and the people who voted them into office. Senators look after their states but are generally supposed to have a long view on whats good for the country and act that way.
All too often when the Budget is figured out Republicans raise military spending, even above what the military requests. If Democrats object they are called unpatriotic and if they want to match the increase domestically they are called wasteful and accused of just wanting to raise taxes.
This leads to a partisan mess that hurts the country and wastes tax payers money.

Choosing Priorities

No one really likes paying taxes or wants them to go up. However money has to be raised to be spent.
So the question is not do we spend it but how do we spend it and when is enough enough?
US Military spending is typically over  half the US budget in discretionary spending. So if taxes are to be lowered its an obvious place to look for cuts. If we cut too much we make ourselves vulnerable, which is unacceptable. So again how much is enough?
The US outspends every other country in the world on defense, and by a large margin. In fact we typically spend as much as the next 5 to 10 top spending countries combined! The count varies from year to year but its always a lot more than others.
Here is a fairly recent example but this has been measured for various years by many companies.
In deciding if we spend enough the question has to be asked. Why do we need to spend more than everyone else year after year to be safe?
Is Congress saying the American military is so bad it can only win if it costs so much more than anyone elses?
Regime change wars are ineffective and usually turnout bad for us. We win the war but turn the people of the country against us and build up more anti-US sentiment which spawns more problems, including terrorism.
I think we need a strong defense but not t be involved in so many wars or prop up defense contractors. Imagine if we put a hundred billion into repairing our roads, airports, new dam and water projects to better manage flooding, renewable energy to combat climate change, etc. We could create thousands of new jobs very quickly and save more American lives.