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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 14,332 posts (15,131 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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magnuskn wrote:
. Admittedly, Sunspot and Manifold have kinda kept to the background, although that seems to be changing with the new storyline, where all sorts of weird stuff is going, including a time-jump of several months. We may be heading towards some sort of reset, I fear.

Possibly, though I suspect it'll be limited to that particular Avengers storyline, since I haven't seen a lot of crossover outside it.

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Freehold DM wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
I can only say that's a schtick that is kept in x-comics, not something you see much outside of it. Which is the problem, really. Also, it's no longer the 70's, which is a bigger problem- the comics you remember are not the comics that are being read now, and marvel has noticably backslid. What worked as diversity in 1978 doesn't work in 2014.
This is entirely devoid of fact checking. Marvel has most assuredly not "backslid" on their integration of ethnicities and gender orientated characters.

And when was the last time you saw any of the characters you mentioned hanging with Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Spidey and Wolverine in a book that wasn't being put out to make Marvel side cash but was actually paying the bills- mainstream Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Thor?

Not recently beyond a cameo, I'll bet.

Yeah, well. New characters by definition need to establish themselves. In the current Avengers line-up (across all major teams), there are Roberto DaCosta (Sunspot), Nightmask, White Tiger (Ava Ayala), Sunfire (Shiro Yoshina), Shang Chi, Manifold (Eden Fesi), Luke Cage, Blue Marvel (Adam Brashear), Power Man (Victor Alvarez) and, oh, yeah, Sam Wilson, the current Captain America.
Loved some of new avengers stuff, will read more. Note that you stated this is *across* the major teams, still a very good chance these characters are in the background saving civilians while the forerunners get full page splashes as they punch villain du jour in the face.

Of course, that's not really backsliding. That's how it was back in the day too. In fact, those are the same big name characters you want them hanging out with now as they were back then.

You're also moving the goalposts. Those new characters may not be the mainline characters paying the bills, but neither are new male white characters. They definitely are, as you requested, hanging with those headline characters in the mainstream books.

It's a chicken or egg question. Has Marvel spent decades putting up minorities as niche characters and deliberately keeping them in those niches (or at least not pushing to make them breakthrough bills-paying characters), or have they kept trying and failing to make minority characters into those breakthroughs, but found it hard to do. Maybe even harder than turning a new white male hero into a breakthrough.

What are their recent successes at pushing anyone up into those leagues? Of the 5 you listed Wolverine was the most recent and he debuted in 1974.

Muad'Dib wrote:
Hama wrote:
Mechanics aren't art. They are mechanics.
Duchamp might argue otherwise. Or maybe he was just trolling the art world with the fountain.

I think I'd agree that mechanics aren't art. Any more than the rules of a sonnet or a haiku are art.

The games we make using those rules can be art.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Ideally, I'd think you'd want the game mechanics to inexorably lead to the types of stories you're trying to tell. The old Victory Games "James Bond 007" game did this perfectly -- some of the mechanics were incredibly wonky, but if you actually followed the rules, you pretty much always ended up with an experience that seemed like it came right out of a James Bond movie. In that case, the mechanics meshed seamlessly with the flavor.

In the case of Pathfinder, the mechanics don't really lead to the stories that the APs describe, and so on; you often end up having to work against them to get the story to work. That's not Paizo's fault by a long shot -- I love their adventures, I just feel that starting with 3.5 edition wasn't the best mechanical chassis to tell them with, because it too often leads places where the APs don't go.

In a perfect world, the mechanics would work with the precision and power of a mechanical bull, with no part out of place and no malfunctions and no O&M needed, and the flavor over them would be so seemless that you'd think you were looking at a real animal. Unfortunately, no such high-fantasy RPG has ever been designed that I know of.

Also, the more you do that, the more limited and focused the kinds of games you could play with that system would be. People play APs and even more railroaded campaigns with PF. People also play wide open sandbox campaigns with PF. Along with everything in between and some others off in strange directions.

That's a feature and it's part of the broad appeal. The other approach is also a feature, but it does get you a narrower appeal.

M'Ress wrote:

Elves, and Dwarves: Both of these races are much LONGER lived than humans and yet both are supposedly rarer than humans, Which at FIRST would seem to be counter-intuitive. IF a matted pair of elves, or dwarves, is capable of one offspring every... 10 to 12 months for any real percentage of there lifespan? The elves should be overrunning your game world… and they aren't. and neither are the Dwarves nor the Hobbits. So the answer must be one of the two elements above. Either elves have a vary narrow window of fertility. (Say 12ish years following puberty?) Or go for extended periods between fertility cycles (A child once every two to three hundreds of years?) The only alternative to this set of possibilities may be an incredibly high rate of infant mortality within the race (80 plus percent?). And when you think about this 3rd alternative this, has the potential to make elves the most tragic of all the races available for the PCs

If the longer lived races don't reach reproductive age at the same rate as humans do, then however long they spend reproducing won't begin to keep up with the geometric growth of the shorter lived races.

One long-lived couple having children regularly for hundreds of years, but starting around 100 falls far behind the number of great-grandchildren a human could have by the time she reaches 100.

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BigDTBone wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:

Yeah, rules-lawyering has always been the GM's label to apply. And it's usually much more extensive than two sentences of back-and-forth.

That said, none of my games have ever had restrictions against rules-lawyering. Even as kids we could sense when debates got tedious and the other players wanted to move on. And we'd just move on.

I think more than anything I hate the idea of someone "banning rules lawyers" because if you are having problems with rules lawyers it's almost certainly because you are having problems with the rules. In my experience, DM's who bend rules for story reasons every once in a while don't even get challenged on the calls (even by people whom other GM's have labeled rules-lawyers) and even if someone says "how did they do that?" The GM need only say "they can do that." If you find yourself having rules arguments that are longer/worse than that then you should take a deep look at (1) your system mastery, (2) the kind of game you are running.

Most of the rules lawyering I've seen or heard about is a player trying to get away with something, not the GM having problems with the rules.

Now, if you keep running into a lot of different rules lawyers arguing with your rulings, it might be your problem, but if it's one guy who always argues, it's probably him.

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phantom1592 wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Coming back to this thread, I must admit that I am somewhat offended by the title, on behalf of Marvel Comics (although my only association is as a fan with a 25+ year history of reading their comics).

Especially in the last 15 years since I returned to Germany from my seven year stay in Paraguay, it has been quite noticeable that Marvel has taken care to diversify their roster of new characters, both in the aspects gender, race and sexual orientation. In about every new team of young characters (Young Avengers, New X-Men, Runaways, New Warriors, Avengers Academy, Avengers: The Initiative, the guys with Cyclops revolution team currently) the cast is very diverse in all of those aspects. Hell, Marvel has included lots characters of various nationalities and ethnicities since at least the seventies. Just look at the rosters of the New Mutants, Generation X and other X-Teams. Marvel is also rolling out new ethnically diverse solo characters all the time, like the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan or in the past Anya Corazón, Araña.

So, yeah. The title could have been chosen quite better.

I was just thinking the other day that 'Giant Sized X-men' cast of the 70's was pretty culturally diverse. German, Russian, irish, Canadian, African, White, Black, men, women, the whole she-bang. First member added next, Jewish girl...

Arguably the most popular X-team ever, and the well they always run back to.

So yeah, nothing new.

Pretty diverse: 1 woman. 1 black (same as the woman. That's a Two-fer). 1 Asian (who leaves in the next issue.) 1 Native American (Who dies 2 issues later.) 4 white males, admittedly of different European ancestry.

Jean comes back and hangs around off and on, leaving them with 1 or 2 women to 5 or more men most of the time.

Which was actually good for comics at the time and the X-men did get even better over time, but let's not idealize it.

Rynjin wrote:

There's no point to a game without good mechanics. If you put all your effort into the story, and neglect the gameplay, you have made a poor game, despite how amazing the story may be.

Which is why I consider game design to be harder (but more fun!) than directing a movie, writing a novel, and so forth...but maybe I'm just biased. =)

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
@Rynjin: I'm dying to know what you consider free-form RP then.

Cooperative storytelling.

Fun, but not a game.

It's basically the fine distinction between a game, and "play". It's very hard to concretely distinguish between them, but the distinctions are there.

The main principle is that a game has rules, play does not.

EX: When you played with action figures as a child, and made up stories, and fought battles, and all that. That was play.

When you play with action figures as an adult, make up stories, have concrete limitations to what can and cannot be done, and roll dice to determine outcomes of actions, that is a game.

I've never played any completely free-from RPGs, but I've played some pretty rules-light ones and I didn't find them at all like cooperative storytelling. The games I've seen that come closest to cooperative storytelling have narrative mechanics to drive that. Not really free form at all. Or even rules-light, in some cases.

I've certainly, even within older D&D frameworks, spent entire sessions in roleplay without any dice rolled or mechanics used. In some cases those sessions and the roleplayed interaction was as crucial to the campaign as any mechanics heavy combat.

I would much rather ditch mechanics and play a campaign out free-form, than ditch the story and all the fluff and just play straight mechanics. That may be too reductive to be meaningful though.

If you define game as rules set, then yes the game is the mechanics. Thus it makes sense to only say you're playing PF if you're using the PF rules. (Which does raise the question: Is today's game of PF with all the splat books and everything the same game as a 2009 CRB game?)

OTOH, I know of people who've played the same game over multiple versions of D&D, with continuous characters and setting throughout. Different mechanics, but not different games - with a different sense of the word game.

Cyrad wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
5e offers more in-game options. To me, that's infinitely preferable.
How so? What do you mean by "in-game options?" 5th Edition gives you VERY few options on a per-level basis. After 4th level, you don't have much agency in how your character grows aside from multiclassing.

Options while you're actually playing the game, rather than options while you're building a character.

Example: Finesse is a weapon property, not a build option. Not having it linked to a Weapon Finesse feat reduces your build choices, but increases the available options in game.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

So it puts you in the position of saying, "Sorry party, no haste for you, I am going to fly so I can be complete safe myself, while doing less damage than you from the sky."

Sounds fun.

Yup. Tradeoffs instead of God-Wizard

You can give them Haste or shut the monsters down or protect yourself, you just can't do everything.

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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

My major issue with the caster changes from 5e is that much of it seems focused on damage dealing and less on bf control. Why would you ever be a wizard to do damage, that's the barbarian's job. There's zero fun in being a caster unless you do something different and better than other classes, traditionally that's battlefield control. I don't want a class that is essentially sapped of its flexibility and it's most useful features because I can buff and evade.

I'd rather lose fireball than stinking cloud every single time.

"Traditionally" in 3.x.

Blasting was normal in earlier versions. I think 5th may be returning closer to that balance. Drop a major buff or battlefield control concentration spell and then blast away.

Jaelithe wrote:
He seems to have transformed Odin's personality, too: Once upon a time, both in Marvel and mythology, Odin's mind was subtle and his stratagems layered. Now they seem to have recreated him as the quintessential moody broody Viking, who disregards his wife despite her obvious wisdom and berates his son when the boy needs him most.

Odin has often had that problem. He has the basic mentor problem: He's capable of solving most of the problems the protagonist faces with a wave of his hand. Therefore he often has to be either removed from the picture or, despite his vaunted wisdom, turned into an obstacle, so that Thor can shine.

He's spent decades over the span of Marvel history berating Thor or punishing him or banishing him, flying into rages at minor provocations. Much of this, along with his varying power levels and his more foolish schemes, have from time to time been retconned in subtle stratagems aimed at some problem the rest of the Asgardians (and the readers and the writers) didn't see at the time.

Because, if he's not going to be Deus Ex Machina, he's got to incapacitated or blind or a part of the problem himself.

Mind you, I loved Simonson's run, and he managed to mostly avoid the worst problems with Odin, but that was only a couple of years in a 50 year history.

Aranna wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:
Pray tell.

** spoiler omitted **

I like it. It would be awesome.

I don't believe for a minute Marvel would do it.

sunshadow21 wrote:
Aranna wrote:
In the author's defense he said Thor is a story about transformation, that has been his story from the start so his fans seem a fair bit fickle when they turn on him just because he dared let a woman wield the hammer, especially since other characters than Thor himself have done so and without the fan backlash.

The problem is that his story of Thor has been about transformation, but the story of Thor overall, in both the original myths and the comic book history, hasn't been. Even fans that liked his story up to this point and suddenly turned have good reason to be a bit peeved. At least before, Thor was still Thor. A transformation story is fine, but you can't completely gut the original character concept and not expect a major backlash. I know he claims he hasn't, but really, he has. What was once a story about a tough Norse god of thunder that kicked butt is now a mystery novel and teenage coming of age story mashed together. Now, not only is there a second "Thor" running around complicating things, but the original Thor is essentially the same teenage angst ridden mental case that a great many, if not a majority, of Marvel superheroes already are. All the things that made Thor Thor are largely gone; his original personality is gone; his hammer is gone; his place in Asgard is gone; heck, even his name has been taken over by someone else.

It would have been a perfectly fine story for the alternate universe, but for the main universe, it's going to be a wash at best. All the new interesting bits are going to be matched by the old interesting stuff lost. People who like the angsty, mystery driven story line already have most of the rest of the Marvel universe to read, and people who liked the former kickass god of thunder have completely lost the original reason they had for reading it. The idea isn't bad, but in this case, it's going to take a lot of really, really, really good storytelling to make the effort worth it in the long run. Thor will eventually have to get his hammer...

I don't know. Thor's always been pretty angsty, along with the kicking butt. At least the classic Thor, I don't know so much about the recent years.

Always fighting with his father. Always being torn between Earth and Asgard. All the usual woman trouble, whether it's a mortal not being good enough for dad or Sif not wanting to stay on Midgard.

Has his personality really changed? Other than the whole thing about being unworthy, there's no mysterious persona change right? He's just troubled and upset.

Lord Snow wrote:
Simon Legrande wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Been a while since I had access to the internet, but I have not been idle. Finished rereading EYE OF THE WORLD (WHEEL OF TIME #1), read HOSTS (REPAIRMAN JACK #5) to rest myself a bit, and dove back into WoT with the second book, THE GREAT HUNT, which I am currently reading.

** spoiler omitted **...

I'll give you my response to your WoT thoughts. The women are still separate from the men because they want to be separate. They take "women's" jobs because they firmly believe that the men will royally foul things up and destroy things again. The women let the men believe they are in charge because it gives them (the women) that much more control. They work to not destroy the fragile male ego because they've seen what happens when they do. Far from being second class citizens, they are more like the Illuminati of the world, controlling everything from behind the scenes with a light touch.

I think there's some truth in it, though I wouldn't go quite so far.

The Aes Sedai wield a good deal of power both beyond the scenes and blatantly. That much is clear.

Even within the rest of society or in the microscales of villages and households, I don't see women as secretly ruling behind the scenes or as repressed, or as equal. More that the sexes tend to have their own spheres and then influence the others through personal relationships. Some traditional societies had similar divisions.

Though I'm not fond of Jordan's portrayal of gender divisions in general, there were some interesting things. The parallel between the ways the main characters of each gender dismissed and condescended to each other and the way they, very slowly, came to actually respect each other.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

I like to fool around with the names of (traditionally nameless) mooks, instead of, say, 'mook #1'.

Bob & Weave.

Ace, Deuce & Trey.

Cough & Drop.

Meaty, Beefy, Big & Bouncy.

If anyone's got any more ideas...? : )

I use names of old pairs or groups from various media -

Mutt & Jeff
Tom & Jerry
Larry, Moe & Curly


So, has anybody actually read this? What do you think?

Painlord wrote:
GMs would be better served with the following statement: "I expect you to post as often as is needed, adjusting to the pace of the group. And when you do post, I expect you to push the action/story or leave/pick up RP hooks when you do. I plan on posting at least once a day."

On occasion, it's important to post "I've got nothing to add right now". So that everyone knows the difference between "has nothing to add" and "hasn't had a chance to check in yet" and thus the game isn't waiting on someone who's actually ready.

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Kthulhu wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:
Pan wrote:
Charlie D. wrote:
(like, RAW can my character breath--I'm not making it up).
Oh man that's funny. Did someone counter with "RAW doesn't say you have to breath!"?
That response seemed obvious. What is scary is how much debate and how many pages those posts go on for. I honestly can't tell who is serious and who is trolling and who is laughing. It's way too trippy for me.

Bah. I've seen comparable threads here

"Nothing says you can't take actions when you're dead!"

Freehold DM wrote:
What would inverted even mean?

It's an old (late 19th/early 20th century) term for homosexuality.

Your preferences were "inverted", turned upside down from what they were supposed to be.

That's where the token characters come from maybe, but I've also heard many black (or female or LGTBQ) people lamenting the lack of characters like them or happy when one does show up.

Freehold DM wrote:
token characters are a hard thing to pin down sometimes. It depends on the writer almost as much as the company.

I've also reluctantly come to the conclusion that tokens are a necessary stage. They suck and they're offensive, but it seems like a stage you have to go through to reach mainstream acceptance.

1) No or only stereotyped representation. Black heavy or servants
2) tokens "Look we've got a black guy on the show"
3) stories about the problems the minority faces. Like AIDS movies back in the late 80s, early 90s.
finally) Actual equality

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Caedwyr wrote:

Does technology not work in Golarion/Pathfinder though? Why, with civilizations as old as they have been presented in Pathfinder, has there been so little development? The exclusive/limited list argument works for magic, but not for the setting's development in other areas. In fact, the exculsiveness of magic to a small portion of the population would seem to encourage the non-magical to find alternate paths of development even more.

It also ignores that the demographics/examples as shown in the modules and adventure paths tends to make magic a lot more prevalent than is indicated in many of these discussions.

Because for any problem you have, there's already a better solution and that solution is magic.

That sets the direction of thinking.
Most tech starts out as toys or weapons for the rich and powerful and only slowly filters down to the masses, but the rich already get much cooler stuff with magic, so they don't bother.
Why develop a windmill or a waterwheel or some such, when it's easier to get it done the first time with magic. In the long run they'd be cheaper and easier, but the development is harder.

Most of the smartest thinkers probably take up wizardry instead of engineering anyway.

Ser Clay wrote:

Wayfinder is an option for sure. If I played in games where there was a 1 post per day ca[ I could see myself losing interest quite quickly. All people are different. It's best to look for games where posting is more your speed for sure.

Having the GM or other players NPC you when needed, giving them instructions on how your character behaves etc. Play by posts take time and people (PFS) tie characters to those games which makes them unavailable until is complete.

Another option is be the GM. Especially if you are upset that group mates are doing things too fast for you. Being the GM allows you to set the pace.

Restricting the majority to please the minority just seems unrealistic. If someone poses a question to my character or something happens that directly influences my character expect me to react, and quickly.

F5 ;)

That's great until you realize you're in a different time zone than the GM and nothing happens while you could make a dozen posts and then the game makes a huge narrative jump while you're asleep.

In combat, it's not so bad, since you pretty much wait until everyone takes their action: This can be a huge delay or it can go pretty quick.

RP stuff can easily go a long way with just the GM and a couple players online going back and forth - even when other characters would have jumped in if the players had been available. Or it can get stuck waiting for someone who's around, but just doesn't have any input at the moment. A hard balance to strike.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

I mean, it's cool if you want your speculative fiction and games to be escapist fun. But if that escapism means erasing or ignoring the parts of history where white imperialism destroyed, exploited, and stole from other people around the world, then that's not something that I'm interested in.
Yes, I did so enjoy the section of Lord of the Rings where Frodo dies of dysentery, or where the cut on Sam's head from the orc fight gets infected.

Well, they did mostly skip the disease, but there was a section in the Appendices talking about the Numenoreans returning to Middle-Earth and setting themselves up as kings over the men living there.

Orthos wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:
I mean, it's cool if you want your speculative fiction and games to be escapist fun. But if that escapism means erasing or ignoring the parts of history where white imperialism destroyed, exploited, and stole from other people around the world, then that's not something that I'm interested in.
Well pardon us for wanting our fantasy worlds to be less s*#!ty than reality.

It's actually possible to do both: Alternate settings in which colonialism failed due to the natives having stronger magic to hold off the more technological Europeans, for example.

Doesn't ignore the problems, but also can make for a nicer world.

I don't really see a way to have a classic mythologized Wild West setting without having the Native Americans present and treated badly though. They're too integral a part of the setting and yet they have to be displaced to let all the cowboys in.

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LazarX wrote:
Orthos wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I just don't think "serious science" is a hard requirement for science fiction.
Then the real question is how much can an author blatantly ignore, contradict, or otherwise abuse science before you no longer consider the story on a science-fiction basis? Admittedly as I've stated before, the lines between Fantasy and Science Fiction have become all but erased in modern usage.

And yet 90% of the reading population seems to have no problem with this or with assigning the vast majority of books to one or the other (along with a few explicitly cross genre books).

You, on the other hand, want to cram the vast majority of science fiction into fantasy.

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yellowdingo wrote:
Definatly single use thirty day habitats. Nurses and doctors will need to be cycled out through a thirty day quarantine single user/single use hab.

You can use shipping containers for those habitats!

BigNorseWolf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
well, when you're handling... stuff.... stuff happens. Its simply a fact of life that no matter what procedures you implement they're not really possible to follow 100% of the time by 100% of the people: people are .. well, human.
There are ways to improve that though. You're right, perfection is impossible, but human error can be minimized.

You're assuming that it already hasn't been.

They can (and probably should) add a decontamination shower. past that , short of inventing a robot nurse or leaving the guy in a plastic room that hoses itself out, this is simply going to be a risk.

MSF has had 2 cases of infection in months of work under much worse conditions in Liberia. The Dallas hospital had 2 cases with their first patient. From what the nurses have said, they were very slow to put Duncan into isolation, even when he came back the second time after having been sent home once. Even after he was in isolation management didn't properly equip the attending staff right away. They slowly ramped up to something close to the full CDC recommendations. The changing approach is itself a danger, since it means a lack of training in whatever the standard happens to be today.

The CDC protocols may well minimize human error theoretically, but if the hospital administration isn't implementing them, it won't help. There will always be risk involved. We can do far better than Dallas did.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

well, when you're handling... stuff.... stuff happens. Its simply a fact of life that no matter what procedures you implement they're not really possible to follow 100% of the time by 100% of the people: people are .. well, human.

There are ways to improve that though. You're right, perfection is impossible, but human error can be minimized.

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Yes she did and although they'll be contacted and monitored just to be sure, none of them are going to be infected. That's not how the disease gets transmitted.
Transmission through casual contact with patients in the early stages is incredibly rare.

We definitely need better training and better compliance with the protocols for treating late stage patients. Avoiding any contact while treating/cleaning a patient suffering projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea is both critical and very difficult.
We might also need stricter protocols and better protective gear, but that's less clear at this point.

Massive quarantines of everyone treating patients is not productive. Not good for staff morale. Not good for finding people willing to do the treatment. And not necessary or even useful to stop the spread of the disease.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Orthos wrote:
I think the funniest revelation in this entire conversation is that, at least according to Elter and Aubrey's definitions, I'm apparently not a sci-fi fan at all, or at least a very minimal one. Everything I enjoy about sci-fi apparently falls better under sci-fantasy or futuristic fantasy genres. I guess that means I learned something today?
By your own admission you said you don't know much about science (pretty obvious, since LazarX's comments are actually schoolboy physics, not treknobabble - the Heisenberg principle is one of the prime objections to teleportation a la the energisers). You like the trappings of science fiction, but you don't have the background to recognise what is and isn't. Like 90% of the readers, probably, to be fair. I don't think it's a problem either. But rather than get annoyed, you might consider this an opportunity to consider the genre a bit more deeply, rather than just go, "Cool! A ray gun!" If you feel so inclined.

Why? I'm a computer geek with a physics background. I'm perfectly capable of recognizing and laughing at much of the bad science and technobabble. I still think it's science fiction and enjoy it for what it is without demanding strict scientific accuracy. It's fiction. Story is the important part.

And LazarX used "treknobabble" to describe Trek's use of "science".
That's what Orthos was referencing.

Laurefindel wrote:
Orthos wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Granted, that still doesn't stop most bookstores and libraries from stocking those books in a sci-fi section.
Though most bookstores and libraries don't actually have separate science fiction and fantasy sections anyway, so hard sf winds up next to swords and sorcery.
Really? Man, I've been living in the odd place out all my life, then. Almost every bookstore I can recall had a separate section for fantasy and for sci-fi, with different signs for each.

They are more and more recognized and cataloged as different, but they were (are) equally snob-ed by the literary community for a long time and thrown in the same basket. Many libraries have a bigger spirituality/esoterism section than sci-fi/fantasy combined.

Writers of fantasy and sci-fi are still under the same association if I'm not mistaken.

Which is fair since the writers often write both and readers are often interested in both. Practically it usually works out.

Orthos wrote:

I think the funniest revelation in this entire conversation is that, at least according to Elter and Aubrey's definitions, I'm apparently not a sci-fi fan at all, or at least a very minimal one. Everything I enjoy about sci-fi apparently falls better under sci-fantasy or futuristic fantasy genres. I guess that means I learned something today?

Granted, that still doesn't stop most bookstores and libraries from stocking those books in a sci-fi section.

Though most bookstores and libraries don't actually have separate science fiction and fantasy sections anyway, so hard sf winds up next to swords and sorcery.

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LazarX wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:

@ElterAgo: So.... You're fine with magic, but not scifi then.

Because Sci-Fi isn't magic. It's, vast majority of it (Star Trek, Battlestar from what I heard, etc), simply technology. The reason they "work logically" is because 1) it takes place in the future, and 2) new elements, physics, and so forth are typically introduced to hand-waive the illogic.

When Sci-Fi blatantly ignores physics as Star Trek, and most of the others frequently do, it becomes magic.

If anyone ever tries to argue that Trek is serious science, I will simply reply with the two words "Heisenberg Compensator", and see if they get the joke.

I'll gladly argue it's science fiction, but I'd certainly agree it's not serious science.

I just don't think "serious science" is a hard requirement for science fiction.

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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Orthos wrote:

What's always defined "sci-fi" for me or anyone I have discussed the subject with is "fiction with modern or futuristic setting". If it has computers and robots, it's probably sci-fi, unless there's blatantly magic or other supernatural stuff, in which case it's sci-fantasy.

Beyond that is just the sliding scale of hardness. Hard sci-fi is the more realistic, the more complex, and the more rules-intensive; soft sci-fi is the "it's technology, it just works, don't gotta explain jack".

That makes Star Wars science fiction, despite the notable lack of science. These are, to some extent, pseudo-academic distinctions, but I have also read science fiction authors who stated that this was their view. They aren't necessarily agreed by everyone.

You could argue that the Force is basically magic and that's what pushes it into the science fantasy category.

More generally, the basic problem lies in the distinction between Science fiction as setting and science fiction as genre.

Caineach wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

What you are talking about is bad science. But that is in no way a sole feature of steampunk. A classic example for me was in The Matrix, where humans were supposedly used as batteries to fuel the evil supercomputer through body heat. That was such garbage. The amount of energy that needed to be expended to feed the humans would be less - much less - than that generated by their body heat. The supercomputer would have been better off, y'know, with a normal battery (and it would still have to charge it). And that certainly affected my interest in the story once this Big Reveal was made in the film.

But I don't think quoting examples of shoddy understanding of some basic physics invalidates the steampunk genre. There's good and bad steampunk. I think you are mistaking crap writing for a feature of the genre. Instead, I suggest you consider reading some of the good stuff (well, better, anyway).

Original idea was that they were wired together and used as a giant supercomputer, but that got thrown out because most of the audience wouldn't understand it when it came out.

That makes far more sense to me - in a technobabbly kind of way.

Using human brain processing and storage ability still doesn't work, but it's far less blatantly stupid than body heat.

ElterAgo wrote:

I am very much a technical person. I have a degree in physics and make my living as a mechanical process engineer.

So yes, the bad science does grate on me.

Don't get me wrong, I like magic and fantasy novels, games, and movies. Magic and fantasy is where you say "Hey I don't care what the rules are. Here's what happens in this story." It can be fun and entertaining. I happen to love the Disc World series by Terry Pratchett.

It is when something claims to follow science and doesn't or worse yet set's up a new science just for that setting and immediately fails to follow it, that gets me. Things like that just jump out at me and get in the way of even noticing the story.

The Matrix example and a bunch of stuff in Star Wars are like that. It just got in the way of me enjoying those movies. Star Trek isn't perfect, but it is better. It at least mostly follows the new rules that it created for it's own universe. No, it doesn't match our RL universe. But it does a pretty good job of staying consistent within itself.

The Honor Harrington series of novels by David Weber are very good hard sci-fi. There is very little within it that doesn't appear to follow it's own rules. And even the few things I've noticed are at the level of I'm not quite sure if it's following its own rules. So that's pretty damn good in my opinion. I would recommend the series to nearly anyone. It is one of my favorites.

But steampunk has to follow real-world rules instead of its own?

I've read very little steampunk that really pretends to be "hard science, this would all really work".

I'm a computer geek and I can read cyberpunk without spending my whole time going "But it doesn't work like that!!"

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Orthos wrote:

Speaking for myself, I'm pretty much the opposite of you and Aubrey, Elter. I don't care for hard sci-fi. I don't really enjoy fiction that goes out of its way to "get the science right", because I feel it distracts from the story and challenges my suspension of disbelief. I'm a much bigger fan of the softer ends of the sci-fi scale, where there's a little pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo for flavor purposes but the author doesn't step away from the story from time to time, or worse puppet through one of the characters, to explain the number-crunching that makes everything tick.

That doesn't make it any less sci-fi - it's still got the scientific backdrop and lacks the blatantly supernatural effects that are associated with the fantasy genre. It's just far toward the softer end of the hardness scale.

And then there's sci-fantasy, which deliberately blends the two, combining open supernatural/magical properties with technology, either working together a la Magitek or as competing or cooperative forces side-by-side. This is probably closer to where Star Wars fits, along with things like Final Fantasy games.

It probably helps that I'm not scientifically-literate enough to catch when something doesn't make sense. For example, Aubrey's complaint about The Matrix never even phased me.

That's debatable. Star Wars was mentioned above in this context. Star Wars is often classed as techno-fantasy, because although it has the trappings of science fiction it's really unscientific mumo-jumbo. Personally I wouldn't class it as science fiction. Science fiction isn't about people showing off, nor does it require a profound understanding of particle physics. What science fiction does is take some real world scenario and extrapolate it. A good illustration would be Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison (made into the film Soylent Green) which projected fears about overpopulation in the 1970s (when it was written) and extrapolate a what-if. So the "scientific issue" doesn't have to be...

And a lot of stuff (particularly older stuff) that was hard sf when it was published has shifted over to "bad science" by now.

That section defining "Communications" just specifies what media they're requesting. Elsewhere, they specify which communications they want.
The only part that seems at all problematic to me is


12. All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor

Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.

And only the sections on "homosexuality, or gender identity".

I'd imagine that's an attempt to see how closely they were skirting the laws regarding churches direct involvement in petition drives.
Mind you, I have no idea what the local laws are, but it does seem to me that if they have a right to ask for any of this, that's not too broad.

I mean, is an hour long sermon about how trans people are evil sinners, followed by another person passing around the Petition, really any different from the Sermon mentioning the Petition directly?

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

What you are talking about is bad science. But that is in no way a sole feature of steampunk. A classic example for me was in The Matrix, where humans were supposedly used as batteries to fuel the evil supercomputer through body heat. That was such garbage. The amount of energy that needed to be expended to feed the humans would be less - much less - than that generated by their body heat. The supercomputer would have been better off, y'know, with a normal battery (and it would still have to charge it). And that certainly affected my interest in the story once this Big Reveal was made in the film.

But I don't think quoting examples of shoddy understanding of some basic physics invalidates the steampunk genre. There's good and bad steam punk. I think you are mistaking crap writing for a feature of the genre. Instead, i suggest you consider reading some of the good stuff (well, better, anyway).

Or it's steampunk that isn't taking the science seriously. It's using it as backdrop rather than focus, which is fine.

BigDTBone wrote:

She could definitely get out if the contract as it could reasonably be argued there was no meeting of the minds. I also find it very difficult to believe the contract is legal in the first place as it allows enforcement after an involuntary termination.

She could also look at collecting damages as Subway delivered legal documents to her new place of business which caused her to lose that job. All subway would have been eligible to sue for would have been lost business due to her competition. They would have to prove that their business suffered from her absence. As plaintiffs they would also have the obligation to mitigate damages; which they would be unable to do because the termination was involuntary. Basically, Subway has no legal ground to stand on beyond their gigantic pocket book. Someone should take her case on contingency and slap subway with a multimillion dollar suit seeking punitive damages for flagrant violation of contract law and disrupting private business practices of a competitor.

As I said, state law rules here.

I don't know what punitive damages would be allowed. The actual damages aren't going to be that large.

And that gigantic pocketbook is really good legal grounds to stand on, sadly.

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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote: "When the Guy Making Your Sandwich Has a Noncompete Clause"

Way to go, Jimmy Johns. I guess hunting endangered & threatened wildlife is getting boring, so The Most Dangerous Game with ex-employees is next? "Woman looking for work after Subway enforces non-compete contract"
Woman takes off time for needed surgery, Subway fires her for it, then enforces its non-compete clause to sue her when she gets another crappy fast food job.

There's a good chance that wouldn't stand up in court, though that depends on how bad the state laws are, but that doesn't really matter because an unemployed fast-food manager isn't going to have the resources to sue and there aren't likely to be enough damages to attract a team of lawyers.

I assume there was something posted between the two, possibly about the moderation? There were several hours between.

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LazarX wrote:
jemstone wrote:

Having been involved in the Steampunk genre since it was still called "High Victoriana" and been playing Space 1889 and Castle Falkenstein since their inception, I can say that perhaps people attributing its creation to Gibson are missing out on Verne, Welles, Burroughs and the rest of the Turn-Of-The-Century writers who were coming out of the dim and dreary 19th Century and into the "Promise" of the 20th with stars in their eyes and the Moon in their sights.

We're talking about novels in which Martians were flung to Earth in enormous bullets and ran about the mighty British Empire in tripods, six-legged harvesters and "soundless flying machines". Novels in which angry ship captains created undersea utopias in submarines patterned after sea monsters. Men willing themselves to red, wind-swept Barsoom and fighting for the love of sapient plant-princesses while other men dug deep, deep into the bowels of Earth to fight the savages of Pellucidar.

Steampunk didn't begin with Gibson in the slightest. It just didn't have a name coined to it that people could latch on to.

What you're referring to is pulp adventure fiction. What differentiates Difference Engine is that it shares practically nothing with these other novels other than the setting itself. Cyberpunk in it's purist form is about the manipulation of society with information and information itself as something to steal and manipulate. Cyberpunk in literature does not have the emphasis on guns and flashy hardware prosthetics that Cyberpunk games do. The original expression of SteamPunk in "Difference Engine" is essentially Cybperpunk without transistors. It's a vastly different expression than Victorian pulp fiction which is where I'd classify the works you cite.

In short "Difference Engine" is steam punk. "Wild Wild West" is Victorian pulp adventure fiction. It's quite possible for a story to include elements of both.

While the term was coined for Difference Engine, it doesn't limit the genre quite that much. Modern steampunk is more about the trappings, the retro-tech, than it's about analytical engines and the manipulation of society with information.

If you stuck with that, there would really only be a few works of steampunk and we'd need another name for the rest.:)

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ElterAgo wrote:
Orthos wrote:


Here's a test that I think works well: Google the comic Girl Genius and read it, at least the first couple of chapters ... If the basic idea of the setting - that people with the innate "Spark of Genius/Madness" can make technology do things that should otherwise be impossible - is too far-fetched for you to follow, I'd say about 90% of steampunk will rub you the wrong way as well. ...

Tried it and you're right. I kept thinking that wouldn't work.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


1st, you are fine with magic, which really isn't at all how things work, but not with steampunk? I'm being facetious, of course - it is too close to your day-to-day experience that you can see the flaws, whereas no one knows how magic works... Because it doesn't. ...
Yeah guess half of my problem would be the people describing it as not magic, it's just technology applied a different way. But it isn't. Almost nothing of what they describe can possibly work.

Just like most of regular science fiction. Except the relatively small genre of near-future, hard SF.

Cyberpunk is nonsense. Basically anything with aliens and certainly anything with FTL.
It's just that it's easier to suspend disbelief when the author's postulating either unspecified future-tech or physics you haven't studied than when it's more basic engineering.

Just accept that in most steampunk settings, the laws of physics don't work quite like they do in our world. Or that the scientists of that setting are tapping into some magic-equivalent to make their stuff work. Which is pretty clearly the Girl Genius approach - they certainly don't intend you to think you could actually build any of those things and have them work. They even call it "Gas Lamp Fantasy".

Hama wrote:
MCU has nothing to do with the comic storyline. It's its own continuity.

Of course it's its own continuity. OTOH, when the article is about "bringing the Civil War storyline from Marvel’s comicbooks", it's reasonable to draw some parallels.

And to wonder how they're going to do that with only a handful of superheroes.

Even with a registration storyline, it's hard to see how it's more than "Steve and Tony make the Avengers fight among themselves".
Also, in the MCU continuity, are there any heroes the government doesn't already have tabs on? Fury recruited the Avengers, after all.

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David Neilson wrote:
That is strange behaviour, enough so that most of my characters would suspect a lust aura, or something. Since that sounds like something people would do under the influence of drugs or something similiar. You know "Wow everything is REALLY colorful, and this carpet feels AMAZING!" sort of behavior.

Sounds to me like male players who shouldn't be allowed to play female characters until they grow up - or ever if they're already adults.

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Also, do they really have enough players to do this?

It's not really "Civil War" so much as "The Avengers squabble among themselves."

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