Rogue 1.5

Having seen the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, I think we can all agree it was better than the lackluster rehash that was The Force Awakens, and vastly superior to execrable prequels. Having said that, viewing it in the larger context of the Star Wars whole does complicate matters. Rather than a by the numbers review, I thought I would address these points by adding on a post credits sequence that I think would have really cleared things up.

Oh, EXTREME SPOILERS for Rogue One, by the way.

I’m not even kidding. Here there be spoilers.

Spoilers, yo!

Ok, you were warned enough. Here we go.

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INT – PALPATINE’S THRONE ROOM

Emperor Palpatine is seated on his throne. Beside him is Darth Vader, breathing like an asthmatic trying to do chin ups. In front of them stands an Imperial actuary in a smart uniform with a clipboard.

ACTUARY
And so you can see, we achieved a 300% increase in combat effectiveness with the use of simple hand grenades…

PALPATINE
No grenades.

ACTUARY
Why no grenades? Literally every main character, er, rebel agent of any import was killed by a grenade or an explosion of some sort during that last skirmish.

PALPATINE
I don’t like them. I have already gotten the rebels to agree to no grenades. No grenades.

ACTUARY
If you will forgive me, your highness, they were very effective. Ridiculously, stupidly effective. The rebels probably can’t even afford that many grenades, which is why they’d be eager to agree to such terms. Meanwhile we’ve been blowing our budget on ineffective plastic armor for the Stormtroopers.

PALPATINE
I am done talking about this.

ACTUARY
Very well. That brings us to the matter of Galen Erso. I understand we murdered his wife in front of him.

PALPATINE laughing darkly
Yesssssssssss.

ACTUARY
Was anyone at all concerned about this? How it might affect the quality of his work?

PALPATINE
Not really.

ACTUARY
Do we have something on this guy? Are we blackmailing him with information that would ensure compliance? Like… Does he eat people? Because that would be great to know. He really wouldn’t want that getting out. Being a cannibal.

PALPATINE
No. That is a completely different show.

ACTUARY
Did we at least have people peer review what he was doing? Any oversight on his transmissions?

PALPATINE
No. You have to trust your people, you know. It is what good leaders do. Delegate.

ACTUARY
Look, there is delegation, then their abdicating your responsibility to ensure the safety and security of…

Vader begins force choking the Actuary.  The Actuary gags and gasps until Emperor Palpatine waves his hand and releases the man.

PALPATINE
How did you like that, eh?

ACTUARY
I… I didn’t.

PALPATINE
I bet not. We’ve got more where that came from, you know.

ACTUARY
Can I just… Is that like a sexual thing for you guys? Does it turn you on?

VADER, defensively
No! I just choke people. And then my heart rate increases and my breathing gets faster and my blood pressure goes up.

ACTUARY
You are describing arousal…

VADER
And then little Vader gets excited and stands up to look around and see what is going on…

ACTUARY
Still describing arousal…

PALPATINE
Enough of this. Did you have further questions, or must you insist on wasting the time of this august body?

ACTUARY
Of course. My apologies.I’d like to talk about Eadu if we may.

PALPATINE
Of course.

ACTUARY
Am I to understand we had a shield that covered the entire planet and made it immune to penetration by both weapons systems and ships?

PALPATINE
Yes. It is an impressive piece of technology and we did not steal the idea from the movie Space Balls.

ACTUARY
Of course not. And are we putting this same shield on your… Death Star?

PALPATINE
No.

ACTUARY
Can I ask why not? It seems like that would be an excellent precautionary measure.

PALPATINE
That shit won’t work.

ACTUARY
But why? It…

Vader begins force choking the Actuary again. The Actuary gags and chokes, falling to his knees.

PALPATINE
Oh my God! You were right! He totally has an erection right now!

Vader loses his concentration, dropping the force choke. The Actuary stands back up.

VADER
Wait, what?

PALPATINE
Oh, when I was rebuilding you I had them put in a bunch of sensors so I could monitor your… you know what? Never mind.

Pause.

ACTUARY
Awkward… Moving along. Now the data the rebels stole. I understand they transmitted from the surface using an imperial dish. Do we know what they transmitted?

PALPATINE
Not a clue.

ACTUARY
None of ships picked up the blast of data from the planet’s surface…

PALPATINE
Our shit didn’t work.

ACTUARY
You know, our technology seems incredibly fickle, like it only works in a very specific set of circumstances that… Whatever. Fine. I understand Tarkin gave the order to fire on the facility. Is that correct?

PALPATINE
Correct.

ACTUARY
And he did this despite the fact that the rebels were fleeing and we could have examined the missing drive to determine what was transmitted, or reviewed the outbound logs for the planet, which Director Krennic alluded to them keeping, to determine what was sent?

PALPATINE
I mean, I guess so.

ACTUARY
Do you have any idea how damaging it is to troop morale to fire on your own people? Please tell me you fired him.

PALPATINE
No. I put him in charge of the Death Star. Forever.

ACTUARY
Of course you did. Great. That’s great. And that brings us to you, Lord Vader. I understand you chased the rebel holding the plans at a brisk walk.

VADER
Correct.

ACTUARY
And cornered said rebel, who slid the plans through the door.

VADER
Correct.

ACTUARY
And at no point did it occur to you to rip the plans from his hand with your force powers, even though we saw you do that seconds before with the rebels’ blaster weapons, or to throw your lightsaber, or force choke him into submission, or anything?

VADER
Uh… I forgot.

ACTUARY
You forgot.

VADER
I forgot I could do that stuff. Yes.

ACTUARY
And where are Tarkin and this Death Star headed now?

PALPATINE
Alderaan.

ACTUARY
And why are they going to Alderaan?

PALPATINE
So that when we capture Princess Leia we can demonstrate the power of this fully armed and operation battlestation!

ACTUARY
Right. And you need to demonstrate this to her despite the fact she watched you use your super weapon on Eadu and will would likely mention something to that effect?

PALPATINE
Oh, she won’t do that.

ACTUARY
Really? Because that seems kind of important. Like she’d at least bring that up…

PALPATINE
Won’t happen.

ACTUARY
You know what? Fine. Final question. Given that you are seemingly unconcerned with collateral damage or the damage to morale caused by firing on your own troops, can you explain why you had to go through this convoluted effort to build not one, but two secret armies to wage war against each other so you could destroy the Jedi and take over the republic when you could have just as easily waited to finish building the Death Star and fired directly on the Jedi Temple, killing them all in one go? I mean, it is not like they’d have seen it coming given they were standing right next to you multiple times and could not tell you are a Sith lord.

PALPATINE
Well, I, that is… actually a way better plan.

Palpatine begins using force lighnting the Actuary. The man writhes and screams as bolts of blue electricity arc through his body

PALPATINE
Oh my God! I have the biggest boner right now!

END SCENE

Gamma World 4e

Gamma World Returns!

The update no one demanded. I forgot my notes, which turned out to be slightly less of a problem for reasons we will get into later. We leveled up to level 3, taking a new utility power and some extra hit points. This installment finds our intrepid heroes delving into the ruins of ASU. Only they are not really ruins. Surprisingly well maintained, actually. Robot servitors keeping the grounds and the Science and Technology Department in near perfect shape, save for an ominous Omega symbol spray painted on the front.

Sports Authority, Krunk Mayhem, and Mae Lyn entered the building, making their way to the lab. There they found a young man in a lab coat going by the name of AlBro-t Einstein. He explained his theory of Broletivity and introduced them to his peer: Erwin Broedinger, who told them about his box that contained a cat. If the cat was alive, you had to take a drink. If the cat was dead, you had to take two drinks. Opening the box the cat was very dead, leading Broedinger to lament a lack of airholes. Moving on, they met ABroham Lincoln and Broseph Stalin. Then on to the special projects division, where Robert Broppenheimer and Neils Bro-hr were working on their doomsday weapon: the Jager Bomb. Explaining their need for nuclear material to arm the devices, they lamented all of that was taken by “the nerds” who they had stolen the building from. They also mentioned having broken the nerds’ robot EVA by hitting it with a whiskey bottle, instilling the robot with a hatred of humanity and sending it out into the wastes.

Things got a little meta at this point, and the conversation veered several times. Eventually the trio agreed to go look for the nerds and return the nuclear material. Setting out for South Mountain, they took a detour to scope out the Fry’s Electronics. Inside of Fry’s, they found a quartet of cyber zombies, dead humans merged with the technology they used to sell. They were only marginally less apathetic and useless than living Fry’s employees, though they did hunger for human flesh. Wielding keyboards, they attacked our “heroes”. The fight started rather by the numbers, with zombies swinging and missing, and the player’s connecting some solid hits. A zombie made a wild swing, but rolled a 1 and instead performed a dainty pirouette, followed by a gentlemanly bow at the end. Combat continued. Then one of the zombies dropped. This triggered an electric reaction from one of the survivors, who let loose with force lightning on Sports Authority and dealt a massive amount of damage. Some handy Omega tech blunted to worst of it, but it was clear things were going to get worse. Shortly after, Krunk Mayhem got flanked by a pair of zombies. Two big hits landed, the first zombie smashing him in the face, right into a savage blow from behind by the second. From full hit points to one hit point in the space of two attacks. A new utility power was used, teleporting everyone out of harms way and allowing the players to regroup.

It was much more by the numbers from this point onward, with the player’s eventually triumphing, and scouring the ruins. Mae Lyn and Sports Authority found omega tech. Krunk Mayhem found a vacuum cleaner and a returns desk. Krunk returned a piece of omega tech he was not using for a new card. Everyone seemed satisfied. On to South Mountain!

Running short on time, we skipped the planned encounters (that were with my missing notes anyway) and fast forwarded to meeting with the nerds. The players negotiated an agreement with Doctor Parker to clear the frat bros out from ASU and give them back control of the lab. They learned the professors had retreated to South Mountain after having been ousted by the frat bros to work on a doomsday weapon. A pulse wired into one of the towers that would make being stupid painful, with the idea that they could cleanse the wastes of dumb people by forcing them to commit suicide or flee. The group agreed to send the bros packing, and headed back to ASU.

At ASU they gathered the bros for a presentation, with the intent of sending them after Baws Hawg, the guy Mayor Cluck Cluck had hired them to kill to begin with. Sports Authority expended his hypnosis ray, and Krunik Mayhem rolled a natural 20. Whipping the bros into a steroid fueled frenzy, their implements of destruction hit the streets, chanting and raging. Unfortunately, no one gave them a route to take, and bros chose the quickest path to the airport, taking the bridge over Tempeh Town Lake, home of the leviathan. A massive aquatic beast arose and began slaughtering the bros, who ripped their Tap Out shirts, screamed “Come at me, bro!”, and charged the beast. They, of course, met grisly deaths. It was a gruesome blood bath, which was watched by cheering mermaids and our trio.

Thus ended Gamma World for this week. Tune in next week where we find out… whatever we find out. I have no idea what is going to happen in this game anymore. I barely understood what we were doing this session.

The SHDWSWRN Radio Hour 009 – Wraith: The O’Blivion

Wait a minute, are you still here? We didn’t alienate the shit out of you with our last episode? But we’re such assholes!

Anyway, for this episode we recruited two additional assholes to sit in. One is Ben in from his other gig on FMRPG. The other is the homie Mike who runs Wraith games. So, we’re gonna talk about Wraith. This is part of what we hope to become an ongoing thing where we talk about games other than effing Vampire.

We hope you enjoy.

There is some music on here from a band called Method Cell, and the final track is from VNV Nation. Knock yourself out kids.

Giovanni Chronicles begins again!

This will mark the second time I have played in Giovanni Chronicles. The first was one of the finest games I have ever played in and spawned my favorite character that I have ever had the opportunity to play in Enescu.

I will introduce you into the character I have created for the new game. Much like the previous Giovanni Chronicles, we have made human characters with no knowledge of what, if any, clan we would become. Without further ado, I give you Zalam!

Born as a by product of rape from a crusader and a muslim girl, Ibrahim Damascus was orphaned from birth.  Given his name by the Islamic orphanage that took him in Damascus, Syria, he grew up learning the lessons that those without power frequently learn in the most dire of situations. He was a constant victim of abuse (sexual, emotional, and physical) and racism stemming from his mixed heritage.  He was one of many such youngsters used by a corrupt head of the orphanage for various criminal acts, both committed by the children and to the children.

At the age of 11, in an instant of clarity and rage, Ibrahim stuck back against one of those who abused him, a patron of the orphanage’s “services”,  with a dull kitchen knife.  He fled the orphanage and entered the street.  At first, he struggled to survive. But gradually, his ruthlessness began to frighten those around him and he managed to carve out an existence.  By the age of fifteen, he was a hardened thug who had began to learn a criminal trade beyond thievery and murder. A quick study, he began to understand the underground world of organized crime.

But Ibrahim had not forgotten the circumstances of his youth. He was still tormented by nightmares of his past. In what ended up becoming known as a night of infamy, he snuck back into the orphanage and proceeded to silently murder the head of the orphanage.  The head’s body was discovered the morning after, tortured almost beyond recognition and various blasphemies carved into the dead flesh. For Ibrahim, that night was a transformative one. He entered the orphanage Ibrahim, the tortured young lad. He exited Zalam, birthed in the rage and pain and darkness. This transformation was more than just a change in name. For Zalam, it marked the entrance into a new world, the occult.

After the orphanage, his ties to Damascus were no more. He decided to head east and carve out a new life. He ended up in Budapest by the age of twenty. An intelligent and capable criminal, he quickly worked his way up the criminal food chain in Budapest. He now controls a large portion of the Opium in the city along with maintaining various opium dens. But Zalam had not forgotten that feeling that was with him on his night of revenge. He began to study any and all occultism around death.

Zalam also began taking opium in the desire to expand his consciousness. Further, he began to experiment with all the ready subjects around him. It did not matter if it was a ruthless gang killing or a quiet overdose in an opium den, Zalam would use those chances to attempt to connect with the feeling he had all those years ago. He is convinced that there in lies a secret to a transformation more powerful than any and all the benefits touted by any of the fake religions around him.

Description:  Zalam stands a few inches shy of 6 feet. His face has been pocked with any and all conditions that stemmed from extreme poverty.  He also has  a jagged scar that runs from his temple to his chin. This scar matches plenty of others that lie on his body. He seems raggedly thin, but upon closer inspection his body is a lot of lean muscle. The most unsettling thing about his appearance is his gaze. He does not view others as anything other than a commodity or a chance at enlightenment. His cold, blue eyes reflect that on a subconscious level. It is all to common to see a person shiver after they meet his gaze.