Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tech Tuesday: Technology and Traditional Gaming.

Not doing my usual Tuesday linkdump, although I'm overdue for one.

I've discussed a bit on how things like Roll20 with their character Field of View settings make a lot of interesting things possible to increase immersion and blur the line between traditional gaming and video gaming. I can't help but predict that things like the Occulus Rift, combined with easy digital modelling software like Google Sketchup, will lead to a further blurring of these lines, for GMs who are so inclined.

Just got a Logitech G35 headset as a slightly late Christmas present. One of the features it comes with is built in voice change software. Voice changing software is something I've been looking at for a while for GMing and playing characters. Why? Because there's something that bugs me about playing a woman with not-quite-James-Earl-Jones voice. Fantastic for comedy, but doesn't work so well and breaks immersion in more serious stuff. I haven't had the chance to play around with voice changers in a long time, they've come a LONG ways since where the ones I had as a kid.

Am I the only one who goes into this much depth to get my characters to be differentiated from just me talking? I can do, and maintain, an accent for a whole session as needed (or 5, or 10, if GMing. I've had several campaigns where the players couldn't remember which NPC was what, but could keep track of them based on the accents they'd had)

Monday, December 29, 2014


Something in intermediate caliber pistol with a wrist brace was on my list of things to buy. The ATF has figured out that if you let people have a really easily available loophole around a stupid, bullshit law, they're going to take it, and have moved said wristbraces into weird legal territory of "perfectly legal unless you do things with it in which case it becomes Super Illegal Forever" because once something gets classed as an SBR it is an SBR forever because that makes perfect sense.

Don't get me wrong, I still plan to get my .300 BLK and/or 5.45x39 pistols because along with SMGs, intermediate caliber pistols are something I have an unabashed, unreasonable love for (also, because They say you should use a pistol for home defense, right? It's technically a pistol, it counts!)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Travel bleh

Going to Florida in a bit. Florida doesn't honor WI concealed carry permits. I don't believe I can get this corrected in time. I've never traveled with a gun anyway, so I guess I can kick that can down the way a bit.

On the plus side, FL knife laws are pretty lenient, although the bit of looking I'm doing indicates my ludicrous pocket-kukri is right on the borderline of questionable (the retention shaping and sheer size make it questionable). On the other hand, the good old fashioned Ti-Lite should be pretty much perfectly legal.

Maybe I'll bring my dive knife as well, because nothing says "I'm here to have a good time but don't screw with me" like a string bikini and a dive knife. Open Carry of whatever is good to go.

Headlines; What they say vs. what really happened.


Screech from Saved by the Bell got arrested up here right near my town. The headline that shows up all around the social media says it's because of the switchblade he had.

What they DON'T mention until you actually click through for more, is the fact that he stabbed someone in a barfight and fled the scene. Quite a world of difference between assault and "You had something we said not to have".

For reference, carriage of arms without a license (anything, even a 1.75" blade pocketknife, can still be counted as a concealed weapon if the police decide they don't like you) is a misdemeanor, and I believe that so is possession of a switchblade, because WI is still stuck in the 50s where only gangsters and greasers have switchblades and banning them turns them into harmless law abiding citizens.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A very merry stuffsgiving to you all

Merry Christmas or whatever you practice. May you give and receive many heartfelt things and have a good time with family or not, as is your preference.

Be of good cheer damn you!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Motor Monday: Concept Supertires, Why American motorcycles kinda suck, and Pretty Bikes

Not quite Rollcages, but I'd happily have a go in one of those things.

Anyway, on to bikes

Motorcycles are dangerous. It's inherent to the design, asking less surface area to do more, the fact that cars can't fall over (and don't try to do so if you attempt to slow down while turning, because they aren't leaned halfway over using the lean to keep from falling completely over). But there's a fair bit of distance between the inherent danger of motorcycles and how many people manage to get killed or kill themselves with them. Why?
Because of how they've been marketed in the States. Other countries with colossal motorcycle ridership don't have anywhere near the death rate from them we do. They also don't have motorcycles where "Enough horsepower to smear your remains across FOUR COUNTIES!" is a selling point.

Another problem with the motorcycling crowd is the resistance to safety gear, or insufficient safety gear. With the right gear, life is a hell of a lot safer.
http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-motorcycle-sa-1596858706 The things people can and have walked away from after motorcycle crashes are frankly astonishing. Combined with above (driving things back towards bikes that aren't 40 billion tons and marketed as ludicrously expensive toys that will kill you), it would seem quite reasonable to assume that a good full suit of motorcycle armor should just be factored in as part of the price of the bike.

Also, a lot of them make you look like a damn space marine. I've yet to figure out why people don't like the idea of the protective gear. I'd go around dressed like a space marine all the time if I could get away with it.

And now, a few pretty bikes. Have some Futuristic Streamliner and Art Deco.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GURPS: Improved Character Sheet

Specifically for GURPS Metro, but I plan to make it useful for all games for people who find the standard character sheets to be lacking. In my experience with the system, I've met very few people who didn't have problems with the default sheets, or even some of the attempts by other people available online.

So, I'm taking a crack at it. It's going to be built in a spreadsheet, and offered as both spreadsheet with a lot of auto-calculating and a .pdf. I'd like some feedback from other people familiar with GURPS for further ideas. This is for 4e, specifically, although adding a slot for Passive Defense out of 3e wouldn't be too hard.

What I've got so far;

ST, Lifting ST, Striking ST, Current HP/ Max HP
DX, Arm DX, Hand DX (these are questionable, thinking I may leave them out because if I include them, I'll need to include arm ST and such)
IQ, Will, Per, Current Morale/Max Morale
HT, Current FP/Max FP, Current magic FP/Max magic FP
Other resource pools (temporary HP, resources for characters with a separate thing than HP/FP, etc)

Advantages and disadvantages, with all the stuff for point cost, level, and a brief note for how it works or reference to sheet that has it. An extra section somewhere will be provided for descriptions of things too long to fit in one line for easy reference.

Quirks, perks, and habits
Quirks and Perks are pretty standard, other than including room for notes. Habits is something that I'm adding, and functions as an extra 10 slots of minor quirks (primarily likes/dislikes). 5 are to be chosen at character generation, with a further 5 to be determined in play (example, a character is relaxing at the bar and decides to try shooting some darts. A few lucky rolls, and the player decides he takes a liking to the game of darts, and all things being equal, will play darts for relaxation over other bar games, and it goes on the list for ease of remembering in a game that may not meet for a while between sessions).

Skills, with a spot for name, skill difficulty, level, points spent, and maybe a brief notes section similar to advantages and disadvantages for skills that have special applications or rules. Techniques are listed slightly indented below the base skill they function on.

And here's where things go really different. The biggest problem I've had with GURPS is the equipment.

Character portrait, hit locations, and items carried. rather than a list, there's room for a fairly large character portrait, with a series of boxes connected to each of the body parts. Each box has that body part's stats if different from the rest, slots for individual wounds, current/max HP, and a slot for armor worn and all relevant information to that. Locations within the greater hit locations use approximately the rules from Low Tech, (example; a hit to the arm, roll 1d6. 1-2 is forearm, 3 is elbow, 4-5 is upper arm, and 6 is shoulder. The size of a given hit location determines the odds of an attack striking that round hitting other equipment carried there). Equipment such as backpacks take up the entire back slot, and include a checkbox for whether they are presently being carried or not. Holsters, slung weapons, and so on have their stats listed elsewhere, but for inventory purposes list weight, and checkboxes for if they are presently slung/holstered. The weapon stats themselves include slung/holstered, in hand, and off character. All equipment listings will have room for listing DR/HP for campaigns of the sort where it's relevant.

A second section for equipment is provided, for listing things like houses and vehicles, equipment stored in them. Depending on space, room for a tiny diagram may be provided, should it become important to know layouts/setups. My handy dandy reference to all the commonly desired-but-not-remembered rules will be included as an extra page or two, and include a few things off the GM screen, tables from the back of the book, and other such things

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I got nothin'

Spent about 12 hours of the past weekend doing free speed doodles for people to get my art to happen faster than a geological timescale, did a bit of work, and slept a lot. Also lifting things.

Art related, you have a character you want drawn, I'll totally do that because I enjoy drawing RPG characters and stuff. Send me a character sheet and a brief description and I'll see what I can do. An example of my 5e test session Dwarven fighter, who rolled up max Str, Max Height, Min Weight, and wielded a combat sledgehammer. He wore scale mail, and had a handaxe instead of a dagger/knife, a belt pouch for carrying miscellaneous things, and his trusty tankard.

 I'll post up some more examples once I've drawn up my entire crew for GURPS Metro.

Lines and pencil shading are available digital or traditional
$2 gets you a 1 hour speedsketch, another buck gets it sketchshaded
$4 gets actual high quality lines, another $2 gets it shaded (pencil or airbrushed (digital only)), and $2 gets color.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Your normally scheduled ramblings will return shortly

Brownells has a new buffer retainer in the mail to replace the one that didn't come with the kit that was supposed to. Sweet.

Now I just need some mags and ammo, since I didn't get either of those yet.

Leaning towards a stack of Magpul 40 rounders, wish they had the round count window available.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Kind of. All the AR-15 parts are here, except for the Buffer Retainer that they missed sticking in the parts kit. The Upper has been in town a while, apparently, somewhere my apartment number got missed, and the "Hey, pick this up or we're sending it back" message didn't arrive until today, the day it was scheduled to ship out. It is safely with me now, and very, very nice. Can't wait to have that one missing pin so I can put the rest of it together (Other than that retainer, everything is together and ready for assembly. Unfortunately I live somewhere where nobody anywhere has AR-15 parts that I can just go buy, so I have to either see if I can get Brownells to send me one, or order one.)

I also got 5 posters and a hat out of all the various parts I ordered, and quite a few stickers that I have no idea where I'll put because I never use stickers.

Monday, December 8, 2014


AR-15 lower and bits have arrived. Now to figure out how to get this darn thing together. Going alright, other than a few bits that don't want to play along. Whenever the upper arrives, there will be pictures.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

GURPS Metro: Vehicles

One of the party members bought a railcart, so I had to work out stats, might as well start the post here for tracking a few standard vehicles. Metro Vehicles tend to be built of scavenged parts, such as from reclaimed subway trains. Transportation was touched on in Life in the Metro, but here I'll go into depth.

The Rails
Small outposts exist throughout the rail system. Some are simple standalone outposts, heavily reinforced to protect their few occupants, others the starting point for frontier stations. Either way, they are the manual control posts for the connections between the rail routes, and they're vital to the function of what's left of the rail system. Many larger rail routes almost never change from their standard settings, but these switching stations allow for smaller, faster traffic to get by, or to switch onto smaller routes, access tunnels, and other such things. Most rail traffic uses small radio to call in their route if they need tracks switched, because they can do so without needing to stop.

The Powertrain
Human power is common, either by pedal or handcar lever. However, the same recirculating steam engines used before the calamity can be salvaged or occasionally built new. Regardless of how you get them, the value is about the same. Very small has 50HP, Small has 100 HP, Medium ones 200HP, and large ones 300HP. Also used to make power generators, etc. All are developed using the portable steam generator as a base and scaled some, along with stats from other recirculating steam engines both present and historical.

Very Small Vehicle Steam Engine (TL 6+1) (4 hours per gallon of fuel) $250, 50 lbs

Small Vehicle Steam Engine (TL 6+1) (3 hours per gallon of fuel)  $500, 100 lbs

Medium Vehicle Steam Engine (TL 6+1) (2 hours per gallon of fuel) $1000, 200 lbs

Large Vehicle Steam Engine (TL 6+1) (1 hour per gallon of fuel) $1750, $350 lbs

Armored Train
A compact version of the armored trains used between WWI and WWII of our world, they are the only real safe way to travel. Found on major routes, they're slow and cramped. Passengers sit on benches along the center of the train, facing outwards. Sloped armored walls leave just enough room for passengers to sit, with room for one moderate sized suitcase or similar below the seat, and a small pack in their lap. A small view port runs all the way around the train between the wall armor and the roof, covered with chain link fencing and often having a small steel slab to seal it in case of determined attack (Passengers are encouraged to return fire in case of attack). There's always at least one rotating turret, usually armed with a Heavy SMG or some manner of high capacity shotgun, and
the vehicle often has spikes and such to further discourage wildlife. Usually main routes that will be patrolled by armored trains are pretty safe even for those on foot, by virtue of large amounts of armed and armored traffic, but occasional wildlife attacks aren't unheard of. Bandit attacks are usually halfhearted, for posturing purposes, as a successful attack is likely to draw the ire of a large number of people. Most armored trains have 1-2 doors per side, with a spot at the end for the driver, and the engine at the back. Trains are generally about 5 yards long, and can fit up to 20 people. Tickets are about $10/mile traveled, and gets you about 250 lbs total of stuff. Armor is 1/2" thick sloped mild steel plating on the sides (18 sq yards total), 1/4" plating on top (4 sq yds). Large vehicle engine.

Driving (Locomotive)
TL   ST/HP   Hnd/SR   HT   Move   LWt.   Load  SM   Occ.   DR   Range   Cost   Locations
6+1    50          -2/6        11   1/8        6.5      2.5    +4    1+1     42      200      $35k      8W

A drasine is a powered vehicle, often a car with the regular wheels switched for rail-riding wheels. Armored drasines are used by Militias and the Reclaimer's Guild to keep the tracks clear and usable. Semi-common on major lines, but they'll often make a run every so often through smaller or less used lines to clear out bandit or wildlife infestations that may have cropped up. Generally made from a pickup truck or similar with a lot of armor bolted to it. Switch the wheels back to normal and it's usable without rails, although they tend to be slow due to sheer mass. Armor can be any thickness, with medium being a light armored drasine, heavy being standard, and very heavy being a railtank. Roof armor is usually but not necessarily thinner, and on occasion may be completely open/unarmored. The listed Drasine is unarmored. Powered by a medium or large engine.

Driving (Railcart)
TL   ST/HP   Hnd/SR   HT   Move   LWt.   Load  SM   Occ.   DR   Range   Cost   Locations
6+1   55      0/4     11f  3/50   2.2    .85   +3    2      5    500     20k      G4W

Railbikes and pedalcarts
One of the go-to means of conveyance for those who need to get around on their own. Traveling merchants, package runners, and railtaxis all use them. They're usually built of one or two TL6 bicycles with wheels switched for rail compatibility, but are often equipped with a small or very small engine depending on size and cargo load. Usually lightly armored, if at all. They tend to be much faster, and use speed and operator knowledge of the rails stay out of trouble. They usually have more gears than a typical TL6 bicycle to allow higher top speeds. Cargo version trades top speed for weight. Generally relatively light, between 100 and 300 lbs unloaded, and easily moved from rail to rail if needed. The bicycle parts give Enhanced Ground Move 1, .5 for cargo, and stack per seat (A pedalcart with two seats can have Enhanced Move 1.5 with two riders, or Enhanced Move 1 for a cargo variant. Use average of the Moves of the riders). Capacity is 400 for a regular single railbike, 600 for a cargo variant. Weight is 75 per bike for regular, 100 for cargo. In the order of single, single cargo, double, double cargo, in the form of acceleration/top speed; With a very small engine, speeds are 4/25, 3/20, 2/15, and 1/10; With a small engine, those climb to 6/40, 5/35, 4/30, and 3/25. Most railbikes and pedalcarts can be converted to work on the surface with a wheel swap. HnD/SR is +1/3. Locations varies based on specific cart setup, typically Exposed (E) or Open Cabin (O), with 3-4 wheels.

Vehicle Modifications

Mild Steel Armor Plating, per 10 sq feet (~1 yd)
Light (1/8" thick) DR7, HP30 55 lb/10 sq feet
Medium (1/4" thick) DR14, HP38 102 lb/10 sq feet
Heavy (1/2" thick)  DR 28, HP47 205 lb/10 sq feet
Very Heavy (1" thick) DR 56, HP60 410 lb/10 sq feet
Angled Plate x1.5 DR, x1.5 Area/Weight, 1/2 internal space.

Headlights, bells, whistles, etc are added as anything purchased separately, and simply mounted to the vehicle. A pup tent can be mounted to the vehicle to give it a soft-top.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Metro Medicine

Medical care was remarkably advanced before the Calamity. Even after, much of the knowledge has been maintained, and the major losses in medical ability are due to problems with the manufacture of things like antibiotics, availability of clean rooms, and specialty tools that cannot be produced in the Metros.

First aid remains at TL8, due to the more accelerated medical advancement gained thanks to things like magic and alchemy. Surgery and diagnosis, however, is much harder with limited magic and next to no specialized equipment. X-rays are still available, but they're very low tech, and give a much higher radiation dose per use. Sterile environments are hard to come by, blood is somewhat hard to store (usually in enough demand that those with no skills can get a decent income supplement by selling blood).

Hospitals are more or less a thing of the past, although there's generally an infirmary. Quarantine,
either for even magically incurable diseases or in the absense of magical or psychic healing being
available, is generally managed by way of a specialized bunk bed, stretched just enough to make room for a chamberpot, and big enough to allow just a little movement. Surgery is still fairly reasonable, due to the retained knowledge from before the Calamity, and wide variety of opportunities for the budding sawbones to practice. Occasionally there are still books and something approaching a formal education, but if you want a dyed in the wool doctor, you're going to need to track down one of the longer lived races.

Anyone with magery almost always learns a few basic healing spells. Even without magery, it's not uncommon for those determined to help people to learn a healing charm (1 point perk Charm, spells is at -5 for low mana area, rolls to learn the spell are also at -5 without magery). Similarly, psychic healing (and many psychic power applications) are equally in demand. Any level of magic or psychic healing can earn a living basically anywhere in the Metros (how good of one depends on abilities and variety of them).

Thankfully, a great many drugs are still available, being derived from various plants, animals, and fungi, and possibly alchemically derived or enhanced (alchemic techniques used in conjunction with regular chemistry is often referred to as mana-reactive chemistry. Quite powerful even in low mana areas, it allows the production of chemicals that otherwise require substantially greater access to specialized equipment, extreme purity ingredients, or other such components. In game effect is TL+1, with TL+2 available at extra cost for production of chemistry based things. Requires a roll of Alchemy and a roll of Chemistry)

Several specialty drugs have either been invented or gained far more widespread use in the dangerous confines of the Metros. Most are used with disposable injectors or applied via slap patches (ie, combined with DMSO, turning them into a contact agent).

Stabilizer: Stabilizer is technically two drugs in one; a single dose of a painkiller, and an alchemically derived healing concoction worth 1 point. It's used for its ability to stop all bleeding, including vital wounds that would otherwise require surgery. The painkiller is there as a courtesy to the injured, because if you need the stabilizer, you're probably hurting. $25

Fitemor: A combination of a painkiller, stimulant, and mild psychoactive, Fitemor is a workaround for lack of widespread magical healing. It's used in situations where having a fighter fall unconscious is essentially a death sentence. Early or improvised doses are unreliable, but those deliberately and
professionally prepared balance most of the downsides between the drugs, at least until they wear off. When used, it grants High Pain Threshhold, Unfazeable, +1d temporary FP, Doesn't Sleep, Overconfidence (12) (15 if experienced), and some effects of Berserk (Does not fall unconscious, no loss of move, +4 on rolls to not die). When taking it, the user makes HT-8 roll to resist, and if that fails a will roll (will+2 if experienced with the drug) to resist going into a modified berserk (usual effects of All Out Attacks, but you may make a will+3 roll to function normally for purposes of reloading, etc, still performed in an all-out fashion). The drug lasts for (60-HT minutes), and if the user is still alive at that time, loses double the FP gained by taking it and takes 2d6 of damage (a successful HT roll halves damage). There are some times when a man must walk off a battlefield with two broken legs. Further doses prolong the effect, but damage stacks multiplicatively. $25

Gofast: Gofast is an alchemical drug (based partially on alchemic Speed, Magic p. 214). Created from a psychostimulant, a regular stimulant, and a shot of adrenaline being alchemically modified, it gives +1 Basic Speed and +1 move. A second dose stacks, and additionally grants Combat Reflexes. Third dose stacks, and grants Enhanced Time Perception. A fourth dose can be taken, stacks, and grants Altered Time Rate 1. Lasts for (10-HT) minutes, minimum 1 minute. Possessing the advantages granted steps you further along the path with less doses taken. Gofast burns 1 FP per dose in effect per 30 seconds, and deals 1 HP of damage per 10 seconds of double speed used when it induces Altered Time Rate in a being not designed to perform at that level. Addictive as per regular stimulants, sometimes blended with regular stims to provide sufficient energy to make use of the boost. $35

ROIDZ: A combination of psychoactives, adrenaline, and alchemic magic. Triggers Berserk (with a successful Will-2 roll per turn, you may act normally) and +4 ST. Addictive, if you use it too often (and somehow survive). A second dose will give a further +2 to ST and -3 to Will to resist berserk, and a third will grant another +1, and -4 to will vs berserk. Lasts 30-HT/2 minutes. $15

Last Hurrah: This drug will kill you. There are essentially no exceptions. But you will sing the most beautiful of swan songs. It is a tailored combination of Fitemor, 4x doses of GoFast, and 3x doses of
ROIDZ. The combination of drugs grants Unkillable 1 (only die at -10X HP, no rolls to resist death), DR2, and Numb, in addition to the usual effects. The user makes a roll every HT minutes starting at 2X HT, at -1 per roll until failure. On failure, the user dies immediately of severe chemical overload. Should the user somehow flush the drugs from their system before it kills them, they are likely to suffer severe consequences even from the brief exposure. $225

Purge: Copious amounts of poisons, toxins, and drugs can wind up in your system in the Metros. Sometimes you need them out of said system as fast as possible, whether it's a wild party crashed by some murderous wildlife, or having to take some combat drugs to stay alive, but the fix might just kill you if you don't flush it from your system. A single dose of Purge gives a flat +2 to HT rolls vs. damn near any chemical or similar that can induce them. A second dose is likely to cause an upset stomach (roll vs. unmodified HT or begin Retching), but will deal with a single dose of each chemical in the system, and gives +5 to HT rolls vs. the rest. Three doses of Purge and you will most likely begin venting from all available ends (Roll vs. HT-5), but it will flush any and all things from your system in 3D6+6 seconds from when it kicks in. In any dosage, it takes 15 minutes if ingested, or about 30 seconds if injected or slap-patched. $40

Regen: Despite all the problems in the Metros, a few good things have come of it. Not long after the Calamity, one of the various weeds (now known as Healroot) was found to, when properly prepared, boost natural healing. It's brewed into a tea, which is distilled, aged, and then re-brewed with some fresh plant. Ready-to-brew single packets can be purchased. Using it gives +1 to HT for most purposes, and the effects of Very Rapid Healing for 24 hours, and Rapid healing that lasts for 48. Roll vs. HT when you take it, on a failure you become drowsy and lethargic. Prolonged regular use can make the +1 HT permanent, but your system becomes dependent on it to heal, -2 to HT without it. Treat as a -1 point addiction. $5/dose

Recreational drugs
The Metro tends to be somewhat lacking in subtlety of law enforcement. Minor crimes will get you beaten, flogged, or just ostracized, while major crimes get you punted out the door without equipment or maybe just a round to the back of the head. People who aren't trying to at least do SOMETHING useful aren't really put up with, but so long as you aren't committing crimes to fund the habit and aren't being a burden, you can smoke, snort, or shoot up with damn near anything you like and can find.

Most regular drugs that do not require large amounts of land to produce, or some analogue thereof, can still be found in varying quantities.

Shrooms: Some of the other drugs are made from these. Different shrooms can have different effects,
although it's unreliable. Roll a d6 to see what you get if you don't have relevant skills to make the identification and are purchasing from an unreliable source or foraging for them yourself. (1-2 gets hallucinogens, 3-4 gets stims, and 5-6 gets you the equivalent of sleeping pills).

Painkillers: Painkillers have been available since the 1800s, and are quite prevalent in the Metros thanks to the variety of ways to get hurt.

Animal derived drugs: Even trippier than before the Calamity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

That's not a knife

THIS is a knife!

The old EDC on the left, the new on the right

Knives, really. My old EDC Ti-Lite, my new Spartan, and my GI Tanto for my proper fightin' knife. All from Cold Steel. Had good luck with everything I've gotten from them thus far, the Ti-Lite being the first and a couple Kudu's for gifts. Spartan and GI Tanto first impressions, Ti Lite longterm review.
Ti-Lite Grivory handle, Spartan, GI Tanto

So, review time.

First thoughts on the Spartan, which I've had for about a week. Thought one; Good cripes is this thing massive. I knew it was heftier than the ti-lite, but I'm pretty sure I could bludgeon an elephant to death with this thing. Even folded, it's slightly enormous.

On the plus side, the pocket catch is far superior. The ones on the ti-lite are finicky about actually deploying the blade, and have a nasty habit of attempting to shred your leg; they're SHARP. They also get in the way of several knife grips.

Big blade. This is a pocketknife you can legitimately fight with. 
Feels good in the hand, great to hang onto.
Retention, that grip keeps it where you want it, in hand. Also a con, more on this later.
Modest price. Shelled out about $60 for this on Amazon, thus far it seems to be worth it.
Curve actually makes it fit in the pocket, even the smallest pockets I have (on garments with vaguely functional pockets, anyway. It will not fit in Imitation Pockets). It even fits with the copious amount of other things I carry.
Ambidextrous, comes with a spare pocket clip so you can put one on the other side.
Razor sharp out of the box.

WI law treats ANY knife of any size as a weapon, but by and large all but the worst whimpering ninnies will buy "It's not a weapon, it's a knife, purchased because it actually fits my hand so I can use it safely because I can hold it. It's also nearly identical dimensions to a butter or steak knife." This thing? Can't possibly claim this thing isn't a weapon. On the plus side, I avoid Wimp Zones as much as I possibly can.
Weight. It's not light by any stretch of the imagination
Size. It'll fit pockets, but if you've got borderline functionality pockets, this'll fill them up pretty well.
Has a spring to keep it shut, if you aren't careful when trying to close it it'll bite you (Applicable based on difference in closing mechanism as compared to the Ti-Lite.)
Opening the thing without using the pocket catch is kind of a pain. It's SO wide, you almost can't reach with your thumb to flip it one-handed without a LOT of wrist action to provide the momentum to get past the spring.
Risky to close one-handed.
The grip things that keep it so nicely in your hand make it substantially more difficult to reverse your grip one-handed. I've practiced this with a great many blades, and can do so easy as breathing, but I have to really work at it to pull it off with the Spartan.

On to the GI Tanto
It's a cheap ($20) fighting knife. Balances real nice, because it's made to be throwable, and it's fairly light, which is good or bad depending on your needs and purposes. Came moderately sharp, needs some TLC to get a really nice edge on it. Grip is small, good for smaller hands, but if you wear size large unisex gloves, it'll probably feel too small to hold comfortably in all but a few grips. Even still, the grip is decent, it's just not the "OooOoh, that's niiiice" of a few things I've held. 

And now, the Ti-Lite
This is a fantastic value for money. The quilons allow the blade to be deployed as fast as you can pull it out of the pocket, and the lack of a (strong) spring and narrow size makes it easy to deploy one-handed. Similarly easy to close, as the quilon stops the blade from closing past 90 degrees while your thumb is in the way of the blade. I can and have pulled the blade out of pocket, opened it without using the pocket catch, made the cut I needed to, and snapped the blade shut again and back into the pocket in barely a second. Downside of the lack of spring, combined with the pocket catch, is the blade can get snapped slightly open, just enough to poke you in the hand.
The counterpoint has almost identical blade, but has the lock on the back of the knife in a similar manner to the Spartan, and a spring to keep the blade shut. It lacks the pocket catch, and the thumbknob to deploy the blade is slightly more annoying to get at (easily fixed by a few seconds with a Dremel tool)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tech tuesday: Raincheck and thoughts on technology in gaming

Ever since finding Pocket, it's been super easy to save tabs for later. I have copious amounts, enough that I might just use some (themed days) at a time to set some aside for slow weeks.

However, on the technology based theme, some thoughts I've had on tabletop gaming.

Did a one-shot of Shadowrun (Was supposed to be a full campaign, then things came up, as happens sometimes).

In this age of technology that has very nearly met up with the technology of science fiction, it makes it easier to truly utilize it. In that brief one-shot, it was perhaps the first game I've ever played, even of shadowrun, in which the technology was treated as simply a part of life, and utilized fully; in my past experiences, it has usually been "HEY, LOOOK, Looooook, crazy technology, SURE IS FUTURISTIC EH?".

For example, I was undercover (switching from my Shadowrunner identity of Biker to my Law Abiding Citizen, complete with a REAL SIN) so I could mingle at a party with friends from my old hometown in peace, and saw a bunch of gangers meeting up outside. Casually as you like, I used my trode-net Direct Neural Interface to send a text to the party (who don't know my real identity) that there was trouble brewing.

Casual as you like, the vehicle rigger pops into his car to take a look around with the sensors covertly, pops a minidrone over to take a listen and see if it's worth dealing with.

In previous games, even remembering "Wait, I have a commlink, I can just call/text/whatever people" has been a major ordeal (to be fair, in the last Shadowrun game I played, I had Gremlins 3, no skill in technology, and a default roll of 3. Basically, if I rolled a single 1, things went horribly wrong. I DID successfully argue that my Future AK was sufficiently idiotproof to be exempt from Gremlins, because freaking future AK)

Still, I have this feeling that as tech has become more integrated into our lives, and so close to what we always thing of as the future, it makes it easier to envision and casually use it in games.

Good/bad influence

Showed my dad the glock 26 and mentioned that it still might be on special. He finally got the paperwork finished for his permit and placed the order.

Now I get to help him find a holster. Joy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Motor Monday: Gotta go fast

http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/infiniti-synaptiq-la-motor-show-design-challenge-2014-11-24 multipurpose race.... thing. I shall call it the Omniracer. Kind of reminds me of a Rollcage.

I swear I had more vehicle related things open. Some of them seem to have disappeared. Perhaps next time.