Saturday, June 30, 2018

Tarrifs, Good or Bad?

A Tariff is a tax on imports or exports, and since it is on the goods it amounts to a sales tax.

The price for the product or goods its is made up of goes up and that means the consumer pays more for it.

When a Tarrif Makes Sense

  • Protecting a domestic industry from foreign competition. If people have to pay more for a foreign product they are more likely to buy local products. In this case the government is telling and trying to force consumers what they should buy.
  • Protecting a vulnerable domestic product while it retools or rebuilds. This is like the above but the argument is for a short term tax to help give an industry time to adapt to a changing market,
  • Sanctioning or punishing a country by hurting its industries and thus citizens. This can make sense if, and only if your the majority customer and they cant just sell to other countries.

When a Tariff Does Not Make Sense

  • Imposing a Tariff on a country without international support. If the country your trying to punish can easily sell elsewhere your not hurting it and instead your hurting your own citizens by making them do without or pay more.
  • Imposing Tariffs on countries that you sell stuff to. This gives them the opportunity to impose counter tariffs and now your hurting your own consumers AND your own industries as they lose sales and likely lay off workers.
The issue is really not that complicated. Tariffs are usually a bad idea, though there are some circumstances where it could be a winning political strategy.  However it is almost never a winning economic strategy.
Tariffs raise prices and cost jobs, especially if you get carried away with them.
We do need to improve Americans economic power and also do something to stop IP theft by countries such as China. Tariffs just are not the way to do that.
In fact right now, were actually helping Chna and by taxing our allies encouraging the rest of the world to make trade deals without us. The current GOP policy has already cost Americans and its going to get worse when and if most Tariffs actually go into effect.
The majority of Republicans are fully aware of this and many admit its a bad idea but since they chose to back Trumps play and not stop it they are #GOPComplict in Americans losing jobs and paying more.

Friday, June 29, 2018

GOP Continues to Attack and Harass the FBI and DOJ

Why does the GOP want to protect Putin?

I get why Trump does, he owes him too much money and I suspect getting out of paying by declaring bankruptcy again wont work in this case. He has to do Putins bidding to pay the debt off, hence stalling and reducing sanctions as much as he can, weakening NATO, and making China and Russia more powerful on the political and economic stages at the expense of America.
But why are so many Republicans trying to help those efforts?

The GOP has..
  • Blocked a bill to require Tariffs be voted on. Remember Tariffs are in effect a sales tax. Tariffs on incoming goods mean Americans pay more, and as long as Americans buy the goods or foreign countries can sell elsewhere they are not hurt at all.
  • Allowed the withdrawal of multiple international treaties and agreements. Most of the benefit is going to China, but Russia is also gaining as the USA steps back other countries make new deals and trade partners. So our farmers and manufacturers are losing business.
  • Allowed the weakening of the US dollar by massively increasing the national debt. If this continues the dollar will be replaced by the Euro or something else as the default currency. At that point we are in major trouble and unlikely to recover.
  • Sabotaging the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling with the 2016 election. In doing this they are further eroding Americans confidence in the government, just so they can protect Trump.  If they really believed he was innocent they would wait for the investigation to finish and then declare victory.  No one fights that hard to obstruct justice if they are innocent. One of thier current excuses is that its gone on too long with no proof of collusion. 
    • Russia Investigation; 397 days over 20 indictments and 5 guilty pleas so far, including 4 ex-trump advisers and a bunch of Russians.
    • Benghazi, over 2 years
    • Hillary Clinton's email investigation, over 3 years
    • Iran-Contra; 2,420 days
    • Whitewater; 2,978 days.
The evidence that Trump is helping Russia at the expense of the USA is clear and indisputable, the only thing we dont know for sure is if that is because of an arrangement or just incompetence.
Most of the GOP dont get the possibly incompetent excuse, they dont have a history of multiple bankruptcies and are reasonably presumed to be competent.
So why are they selling America out? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

GURPS Alchemy Redux

Alchemy and Herb Lore are well setup in GURPS but I needed something a little different for the Chalice World which uses a mix of Chinese and Indian elemental systems rather than the Western one.  It is primarily based on the Chinese 5 elements but mixed with the Indian system in that I added two ideas from Indian culture and changed them somewhat. Air and Void are not treated as traditional elements but as Chi/Life force and the absence of energy (Void).

Magnum Opus from Pyramid #3/109 came up with a colorful way to decide what components you need to make a potion that can add more flavor for players. Its based on the classic 4 western elements and you mix and match for the desired result.
Blackening: Earth, body, maturity, resilience.
Reddening: Air, personality, creation, avoidance.
Yellowing: Fire, spirit, growth, action.
Whitening: Water, mind, decay, adaptation.

For the Chalice World setting I needed something a little different and below is the starting point. To use this system you will need to understand the Magnum Opus article.  However with that in hand the notes below should help my players figure out what to use.  If I get a PC Alchemist we will start a formula and material listing.

*References GURPS Thaumatology Chinese Elemental Powers, GURPS Thaumatology
NOTE: Ill review non game sources later. I have some Feng Shui books I can use to add to what is below but they are not as handy as the above referenced sources.

All materials can thus be categorized by thier elemental natures and the standard order in books on the subject is...
Red (Fire) Green (Wood) Yellow(Earth) White (Metal) Black (Water) Gray (Void)
The article expresses every material as having a value from -2 to +2 but as this is a high fantasy setting I choose to rank them as -3 to 3.

  • Mundane materials are -1 to 1
  • Exotic and supernatural materials are -2 to +2
  • Legendary materials are -3 to +3

Earth, Element of Balance

  • Body: Mouth, Heart, Spleen, Stomach
  • Mind: Desire, Intelligence, Love
  • Taste/Smell: Sweet/Fragrant
  • Animals: Oxen, Hairless Animals
  • Plant: Panicled Millet
  • Direction & Number: Center, 5
  • Season & Weather: Adulthood, Thunder
  • Location: Internal Courtyard
  • Paths: Earth effects
  • Other: 

Fire, Element of Greater Yang

  • Body: Heart, Small Intestine, Tongue, Lungs
  • Mind: Joy, Insight, Passion
  • Taste/Smell: Bitter/Burning
  • Animals: Fowl, Feathered Animals
  • Plant: Beans
  • Direction & Number: South, 7
  • Season & Weather: Youth, Summer, Heat
  • Location: Hearth
  • Paths: Elements (Fire/Heat effects)
  • Other: Growth, Speech, Virtue

Metal, Element of Lesser Yin

  • Body: Nose, Kidneys
  • Mind: Sorrow, Speech
  • Taste/Smell: Acrid/Rank
  • Animals: Dogs, Hairy Animals
  • Plant: Hemp
  • Direction & Number: West, 9
  • Season & Weather: Old Age, Autumn, Cold
  • Location: Outside a Door
  • Paths: Gadgets
  • Other: Fulfillment of Oaths, Smell


  • Body: Legs, Wings
  • Mind:
  • Taste/Smell
  • Animals:
  • Plant:
  • Direction & Number:
  • Season & Weather:
  • Location:
  • Paths:
  • Other:

Water, Element of Greater Yin

  • Body: Bladder, Ears. Kidney, Liver
  • Mind: Fear. Perceptiveness
  • Taste/Smell: Salty/Rotten
  • Animals: Pigs, Shelled Animals
  • Plant: Millet
  • Direction & Number: North, 6
  • Season & Weather: Winter, Rain
  • Location: Well
  • Paths: Elements (Water effects)
  • Other: Death, Hearing


  • Body: Eyes, Gall Bladder, Liver, Spleen
  • Mind: Anger, Overall Personality
  • Taste/Smell: Sour/Goatish
  • Animals: Sheep, Scaly Animals
  • Plant: Wheat
  • Direction & Number: East, 8
  • Season & Weather: Spring, Birth, Wind
  • Location: Inside a Doorway
  • Paths: Health, Nature (Plant effects)
  • Other: Charity, Sight

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Deadpool with GURPS

Check out this article on Geek & Sundry about some alternate Deadpool covers!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


The Meta-human Agency for Security and Knowledge is a Cabinet level agency and the premiere government organization for dealing with meta-humans and related issues.

Bureau 1

This bureau runs the training schools for meta-humans and normal agents who work with them. Most students enter in junior high and stay through college levels. After graduation they are required to serve for 4 years to help compensate the agency for its training costs.

Bureau 2

Working with the FBI, state and local law enforcement this is really the most public face of MASK.
Meta-humans assigned here are under strict ethics and reporting guidelines.
The standard meta-human agent has: 
Advantages: Code of Honor (Police) [-1 or -10]; Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Police Rank 2 [10].
Disadvantages: Duty (-15) [-15].
Skills: Area Knowledge (City) IQ/E; Criminology IQ/A; Law IQ/H; Leadership IQ/A; Professional Skill (Law Enforcement) IQ/A; Writing IQ/A
Those who have a high profile often have Status 2 as well.

Bureau 3

This bureau is the official liaison to civilian and government agency's at all levels with the exception of law enforcement and military agencies. It works heavily with FEMA, the CDC, and city or state authorities when they request emergency assistance.
Meta-human agents in Bureau 3 do not have law enforcement powers but may still work with a city's defense team. They are typically trained in First-Aid  and serve the role of first responders and help out with disaster relief, depending on their abilities.

Bureau 4

The research arm of MASK. Originally responsible for researching the sources of powers and how to deal with them but now work on a variety of subjects. Inventions are owned by the Bureau, which has an expedited and confidential patent process but the inventor (team or individual) get a cut on proceeds.  This is 10% in the beginning and 25% after research and development costs have been covered. Companies pay fees to lease technologies from MASK which in turn helps defray overall operating costs.

Bureau 5

Responsible for national defense and security this Bureau trains and maintain elite teams of combat ready meta-humans. Bureau 5 is effectively a special ops unit and has handled everything from rescue missions in foreign countries to surgical strikes but its primary mission is to protect the country from foreign super teams.

Bureau 6

Maintains the meta-human prison system.

Equipment List

Terror, Inc


Formed by 3 brothers from a wealthy Greek family of shipping magnates in the mid 80's.
They decided to use their connections, powers and wealth to form a criminal empire that would supply mercenaries and other resources to governments and other criminal organizations, including individual super villains. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, they scooped up a lot of ex KGB, Stazi and other former government black ops people.

Current Status

Today Terror, Inc is a poorly kept secret with a private island (New Olympus) for a base and a decent sized military, including stolen ICBMs as well as a small army of super powered individuals.
They are incredibly wealthy and use numerous shell companies to maintain cash flow.
Internationally recognized as their own country they have been left alone and governments actually work to keep a lot of their activities secret to keep the public from demanding action.
It is said Terror, Inc maintains extensive files on most major figures for blackmail and extortion but their formidable military and the powers of the leadership are what really protects them.  Also everyone is pretty sure those are working nuclear weapons...

The Brothers

The brothers all gained their powers at the same time and they are based on the energy shell type. They seemed to have created patterns based on stories of ancient Greek gods,


The oldest and the political leader of the group. He has extremely powerful electromagnetic powers and has been able to disable electronics on fighter aircraft several miles away. He can also project powerful lightning and fly.


The youngest brother is a powerful hydrokinetic and able to manipulate water on a large scale. This allows him to swamp ships, create tidal waves and even spin up waterspouts and hurricanes.


The middle brother is reputed to be a financial genius and has the ability to create energy clones which he calls ghosts. Not only can they exist on their own but he can use them to animate statues. He uses his powers in less obvious ways, so the true extent and nature of his power is unknown.


New Olympus is the official name of the country with Terror, Inc its unofficial but primary industry.
Government postings have titles based on Greek and Roman mythology and are appointed positions by the 3 brothers. They can be removed and replaced at any time, usually they do not survive replacement.
  • Ares: The leader of the military
  • Hephaestus: In charge of weapons manufacturing.
  • Hera: First Lady and Queen. This is whomever is currently favored and the consort of Zeus and is a powerful but umm unstable position. 
  • Mars: 2nd in command of the military