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Project Zabriska -- Weird Phenomena

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Short Stories

Red Alert!
A Cylinder on Syrtis Common
Pierce Your Brain.

The Silent Knight
The Doom That Came to Necropolis

Lensman's Log


Hard Magic With Dice

Having enjoyed Larry Correia's Hard Magic series, I've started an online roleplaying game in the Grimnoir universe! The characters are here, the setting information is here, and the turn-by-turn action will go here when there is some.

Hard Copy

Made new covers for Keep of Glass and General's Green. Now working on Gene Pirates of the Red Star Empire's cover.

Up In Smoke!

Volume 1 of what may be quite a long series starring Flak-Jack, amateur superhero, is finished! I took a lot of inspiration, and not a few entire characters, from the Mystery Men campaign, especially the first one. Check it out!


Mystery Men is Back!

After a pleasant reminiscence at our Christmas party this year, we decided to play Mystery Men again. As before, it's an online turn-based game of amateur superheroes, based on the movie Mystery Men with rules originally written by Rick Wynn. Check out the first turn!


So we playtested my Starship Troopers minis game at school today. Maybe too much firepower on both sides (a common error of mine) but not too shabby on the play balance! In the boardgame, I could never win with the Bugs, so I may have made them too strong in this version. We'll try again, which is of course an excuse to play it again!

Lessons Learned:

1. Some kind of grid co-ordinates on the big map, so the Bug player can find where all his explosives and holes are

2. Bug reinforcements eventually overwhelm the humans. Maybe the Bugs don't get any reinforcements.

3. Bug mobility on the surface is too great. With lots of tunnels, they can reach any spot on the map in one turn. Maybe cut the Bug surface movement to 2, or even 1, as it was in the boardgame.

4. Rules for underground movement; Bugs have infinite movement UNTIL THEY COME INTO SIGHT OF A HUMAN, then they move their usual allowance. This seemed to work OK.

-- 29 November 2011

So about this Starship Troopers miniatures game: it's based on the Avalon Hill boardgame. Each mini is one trooper or one Bug. I'm using HaloClix for the troopers and Micro Machines for the Bugs. Thing is, they don't make the Micro Machines any more, and I want LOTS of Bugs. So I bought some mold-making rubber and made my own! Yep, I took a mold from one of the Micro Machine plastic figures and made some lead copies. They're not quite as smooth as the originals, but the Bugs look good being a little rough-surfaced. I painted up 15 Tiger Bugs (a variation from the SST miniatures game) and 12 Warrior Bugs. Next I might do forest camouflage, urban, desert ... lotsa fun and hard to stop.

The map is based on the Mars Station maps from WorldWorks Games -- it looks like Mars. I added 3D terrain features/; some are styrofoam cutouts painted orange, and some are aquarium furnishings that look like weird Southwestern rock formations.

The intent is for the terrain to be cut up into a lot of blocks, so that long-range shots are hard to achieve. Thus the Bugs can try and isolate one group of humans and overwhelm them. But there are some open areas, where the Mobile Infantry's heavy weapons should prove devastating.

Usually when I run these games, I make the fire weapons too powerful, and the Bugs have zippy chance of winning. So I'm using the dice I used for Black Hawk Down: one two, two ones, three zeroes. You roll and hit that many Bugs. Cap troopers get two dice of firepower, heavy weapons four, unarmored engineers one. So the most a trooper can kill is four bugs, and the average is more like one. Bugs have tremendous close-combat strength (3 dice) but have to move into contact. Which, if I recall correctly, is the same ratio as in Space Hulk, a game which seemed to favor neither side.

The Bugs have massive mobility; there's an underground tunnel system which allows infinite movement. Once they come up, though, they're slower than the armored MI. I made the tunnel out of one-foot-square maps, which are inverted until the humans come down into the tunnels. The Bugs have a mini-map which reminds them where everything is.

The tunnels don't cover the whole map. If the Bugs want to attack an area with no tunnel nearby, they've got to hike. OR they can seed that area with land mines, which blow up whenever the Bug wants them to. Some are nuclear, and take out large sections at once.

The humans have nuclear rockets (sergeants and above), regular rockets, sniper rifles, and a few specials like flamethrowers. The Combat Engineers (unarmored infantry/; I'm using the models from the Starship Troopers movie) have seriously heavy weapons like nuclear tunneling charges, poison gas, etc. But they have to soft-land in aircraft, which the Bugs will be trying to shoot down.

I am building a custom table out of shelving units. It's 36 inches high, and halfway between the top and the floor is another level. The tunnels go in there. So when you go down in the tunnel, your model literally goes down in the tunnel! And to move your model, you have to bend over and squeeze between the tables, which nicely models how it would feel. Why just SAY "claustrophobia" when you can make it happen for real?

As you can tell, I'm excited about this one. Gonna do three scenarios:

Operation Bughouse The MI have to capture half the surface and hold it so reinforcements can land. The Bugs have to drive them off the surface. I don't think there's much reason for the MI to go down in the tunnels on this one, although as always, if they kill a Brain Bug, the Bug platoon he's in charge of all fall over dead.

Operation Royalty The objective is to capture a Brain or Queen alive. So you kinda HAVE to go down in the tunnels on this one!

Operation Colditz Rescue human prisoners held on Klendathu, the Bug home planet. Get them out, pick them up and lift them off the planet. This is going to require securing an LZ on the surface so the Bugs can't just shoot down the rescue ships.

I figure one whole day of Historicon devoted to Starship Troopers. With nine months to work on it, maybe I"ll get my picture on the site this year!

-- 12 November 2011

Historicon 2012 will be in Fredericksburg, three miles from my house! So yeah, I'll be going to this one. Thought I'd bring my new Starship Troopers build, perhaps Star Wars Ogre, and maybe even something historical if the mood strikes.

Some of my fiction which was posted on the old site is no longer available. I'm teaching high school now, and as such have an obligation to shield my students from adult material without their parents' consent. Much of my fiction isn't very adult, to be generous, but the parts that are, I'm taking down for now.

Also, the art for the Lensmen and Legionnaires pages has been damaged somehow. I'll have to rebuild those pages. The text is all there, fortunately.

-- Nov 11 2011

The site's back up, following downtime no doubt caused by a Boskone cyberattack. Not all links work yet -- be patient, I'll get them up soonest.

-- November 10 2011


Historicon 2003 was a little calmer than previous cons for me, possibly because there was less material to carry around -- I've started using wooden terrain boards instead of the thicker styrofoam ones and several games shared the same terrain. Ask Rick about the time I tried to host six games with six different maps -- yeesh!

Friday was all World War One. At noon, the Germans attacked a British/French trench line. They staked everything on a narrow, furious artillery preparation to break the wire and created a pretty good-sized gap. Then they proceeded to pour troops through said wire, in a column about twelve men wide and twelve men deep. Every turn was the same: 144 more Germans march through the wire. Allied artillery and machine guns blow 144 Germans away. Germans line up some more. ONE FOOT of the twelve-foot front was being contested by the Germans with the other 11 feet ignored. Admittedly, those other 11 feet had wire belts that would have badly slowed any advance, but when the game ended with a German failure, it wasn't hard to conclude they'd earned their defeat.

At dinnertime, the Allies had their turn to attack. A truly massive Anglo-Franco-American host (1300 figures, plus a few tanks!) attacked all along the German line and made painful gains in a few places. Once those salients were in place, the Allies rushed light machine guns into them and started raking the German trenches with machine gun fire and about 100 rifles. Allied artillery had concentrated on the German trench line, and a couple of lucky hits weakened the central sector so that the Americans got into it. The Germans threw them back, but lost heavily in the process, which made it hard to stem the repeated Allied eruptions on other parts of the flank. For the last two hours, the Germans were frantically rushing around to put out fires, with never enough troops to do everything, but they skillfully chose between what HAD to be done and what merely needed VERY BADLY to be done, and managed to last out the game's four-hour time limit. In both games the attacker lost, but in the first game the attacker lost because of his errors, while in the second he lost because of the defender's tenacity and cleverness.

Saturday was "Kids Day": Godzilla and Starship Troopers. We got through several games of Godzilla, which was of course based on Ogre. Odd results: it was four monsters trying to cross the city and smash the CP, I mean the City Hall. But what actually happened was the monsters walked about a third of the way across the map, then just stood there fighting it out with the army and the good monster defending the city. I learned that my current rules allow monsters to go down WAY too easily; I need to give them twice the hit points they currently have, or else reduce the defenders' strength proportionally. But because the players (kids, of course) didn't do as in Ogre and keep relentlessly grinding forward, it's hard to say how broken the rules are.

Starship Troopers worked awfully well, though. There were a lot of signups and many spectators, including the guy who runs Fall In!, the November game convention. He asked me to be sure and bring Starship Troopers to that con, which I might well do if I end up going. I played the Bugs and started to really get the hang of the subterranean close-combat tactics I had to use to beat the Mobile Infantry. I didn't beat the Mobile Infantry, of course, but they knew they'd been in a scrap.

Didn't buy anything except some half-price and apparently new Aubrey-Maturin novels, and some modern 25mm figures from a new outfit called Devil Dog.

December 2002

December 30

Here's a comment from

I want a new Trek movie! No more Captains, no more First Officers, no more betazeds! I want a whole new Trek Paradigm!

Here's what I want: I want Star Fleet Marines. I want the people who -aren't- nice, who don't speak in technobabble, who solve problems with the business end of a phaser rifle. I want crusty Gunnery Sergeants (who -will- be called 'Gunny'), who still think the Klingons are a bunch of long-hair wussies, and who smoke. Smoke -constantly-. I want to hear 'Smoke 'em if you got 'em', and I want to see more than half of the troops light up. I want to see alien Marines, female Marines, I want to see brutal hand-to-hand combat, I want to hear 'Boarders away!' when they transport. I want to have casualties, with blood, and screaming. I want people to die, heroically, and for no good reason. I want to have the writers strapped down and forced to watch 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Blackhawk Down', 'We Were Soldiers', 'Aliens', over and over again, while I whisper 'Trek, Trek' in their ears. I want the hundreds of deaths we see in Trek movies (go and estimate them, sometime, you'll be shocked) to -mean- something. I want too see grief and rage and despair, I want to see pride and honor and determination. I want to see bar fights and people in the brig. I want to see innovation and creativity, that don't involve making up new words on the spur of the moment. I want to see Marines pinned down planetside, and I want to hear them call in orbtial support from their starship - and I want to see that support -delivered-. I want fire from the heavens raining down on the enemies of the Federation. I want to see assault shuttles landing in hot LZs, I want to see dogfights that go from dancing in the treetops up to furballs in space. I want to see zero-g combat, I want to see ships venting sections to space. I want the full, awesome, terrible panoply of war in the Trek universe.

Is this too much to ask?

Posted by: Noah D. on December 30, 2002 03:35 PM

Well, so do I, but yes, it is too much to ask -- from Star Trek. For all that the original Trek was this close to being a World War Two naval epic in space, the later Trek series are as wussy as Hollywood gets. Ships spill open and explode left and right in the background -- ooh, pretty, but the casualties don't mean zip to the actors, or the writers. Bah.

War movies are hard enough to get right, what with most Hollywood types temperamentally opposed to thinking about war at all seriously. War TELEVISION just never works, with the exception of Babylon 5.

December 23

Now THIS is just too cool! Seems some Midwestern fellows decided to film a complete episode of the original Star Trek, set on the USS Exeter (the one which was depopulated by the water-removing Omega virus in "The Omega Glory"), and put it up on the web! It took them seven years, apparently. What am I doing wasting my time on wargames -- there's TREK to be made!

I can't seem to make the Quicktime movies work on my desktop, but that may have something to do with the fact that I don't have Quicktime installed. Or it might be sunspots. Yeah, sunspots.


Speaking of fannish indifference to copyright, the Mystery Men rules continue to slowly change (I'd say "evolve" if there were evidence they were improving, but each change is a leap into the unknown. Which is kinda how evolution works, too ...)

December 20

Right now, a bunch of protesters are outside INS headquarters protesting the mass arrests in California I mentioned yesterday. One had a signed saying "Muslim Registration equals McCarthyism" or near enough. He's an idiot; we aren't registering Muslims, we're registering people from potentially threatening states. Another guy's sign read "And then they came 4 me", which is a reference to Martin Niemoller's comment about Germany under the Nazis: "First they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists ... and when they came for me, there was no one left to speak up."

That guy is not an idiot. He argues that if the government can abuse its police powers against some groups hated and feared by the public, they can do it to others, perhaps less feared, because people get used to the government taking people away.

I'd argue it doesn't have a lot of relevance here, though, because we're arresting people whom we suspect of breaking existing laws regarding visas, immigration and so on. Do the protesters want us to NOT arrest people suspectedof breaking the law?

Two answers, both stupid:

1. Yes, they don't want these people arrested, because for years now INS has not arrested very many people accused of overstaying their visas or entering the US illegally. It just hasn't been a high priority, especially with a President who is, to be blunt, soft on illegal immigration. (Actually, so am I, but nobody takes their enforcement cues from me, thank God.) They'd like the immigration laws to continue to be enforced as vigorously as the 55 mile an hour speed limit.

2. Yes, they don't want these people arrested, because they're Muslims, therefore they are a victim group, and victim groups don't have to pay for their crimes. Their argument goes, "You've picked on these people enough -- go pick on rich white men for a change!"

Fair enough. But the INS has limited resources, and I'd much rather they were used to catch people who might be terrorists than Mexican illegals who, though technically lawbreakers, aren't going to kill us in skyscraper-loads.

These protesters have every right to express their opinion peacefully, as they are doing. And I have every right to express mine about them: they're aiding our enemies' cause.

We added Saudi Arabia to the list of "countries of concern" last Wednesday. Think it's a coincidence there are protesters outside today? The Saudis have money and they know how to work our media. Look for me on the evening news, flipping these "useful idiots" a double bird as I walk into the building.

December 19

The microwave "pain ray" is evidently ready for prime time:

The U.S. Marine Corps publicly released information on a crowd control HPM device that look like a truck mounted radar. But the radar "dish" sent out microwave energy tuned to penetrate about half a millimeter of human skin and make the plentiful nerves there send an intense pain message to
the brain. No physical damage is done, but the victim tends to lose any interest in what he is doing, and flee the area. The device was originally designed as an easier way to clear enemy troops out of bunkers or other hidden positions. It can still do that as well. Just the thing for dealing with snipers in downtown Baghdad. 

Reuters continues to suck. Here's an article on the roundup of men from certain Arab countries who were required to register with the INS. Some of them came in to register and were arrested, because they'd overstayed their visas or were suspects in other crimes. But Reuters doesn't tell you that every single one of these guys is a criminal suspect until the fourteenth paragraph. This is the news service, you may recall, that puts quote marks around the words "terrorist" as applied to the guys who flew planes into the WTC.

But at least we're starting to wake up: the original list of countries from which visitors had to register with the INS included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan. Fair enough. Later other countries, including North Korea and (I believe) Yemen were added. Finally, however, we have added two freaking obvious ones: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the two biggest pillars of Al-Qaeda. This comes from the New York Times.

Play-By-Mail Games More Reactive Than Active

I've realized that PBEM roleplaying tends to be less interactive than face-to-face. PBEM players tend, more than other groups, to react, to wait for the referee to say something startling and form a dramatic, instantaneous response. It's more call-and-response than chesslike or improv-like.

Why is that? Well, mostly, I think, because we're doing this from work. In other words, there's something else going on in the background, from which we steal moments to play the game. There isn't time, especially continuous time, to work up long speeches, rants, riffs and plans. Which can wear out referees, who have to be returning serves constantly. In face-to-face games, there are often times when the players talk, either to decide what to do next or just riff on the characters and elements a rich game background provides. I have never seen an extended sequence like that online. Quips, yes, in plenitude. Conversations without referee input, no. 

On the other hand, it's easier to put together a series of carefully dropped clues and hints when all the messages are laid out for inspection. As I particularly like the slowly-building-in-the-background-menace plot (Buffy and B5 are my favorite shows for precisely this reason, and X-Files and Twin Peaks my greatest peeves because they pretended to be doing this but weren't), the PBEM format has some definite advantages. Perhaps the most successful use of this clue-adhesive phenomenon (clue-glue?) was in Mystery MenI and III, in which several players worked hard (and publically, and hilariously in character) to figure out what was Going On and what to do about it. Heck, in MM III, they figured it out so fast they busted the bad guys a full turn before the game was scheduled to end!

Maybe turn-based games like MM are better for producing that sort of fact-rich group interaction than turnless games like Tekumel. But I like my intricate slowly-emerging Tekumel plot, dammit. Perhaps it could be changed to a turn-based game ... but how? Although if I do, it will remove the artificial tendency of player-characters to clump together all the time. In Babylon 5, heroes have to go off on private missions all the time, and in Justice League, Superman and Batman have their own personal adventure-lives in addition to their JLA duties. That sort of thing makes for very history-rich encounters as everyone brings his own adventures to the table, but is almost impossible to do in a face-to-face game, in which everyone sits there while Sir Roland does his solo adventure. Hmm ... maybe this is the way to do Pendragon, in which the Knights of the Round Table have adventures and then tell each other about them. It certainly works for Mystery Men.

--Wednesday, 25 September 2002

Upcoming Wargames

I'm thinking of hosting a day of games up at the Game World in Aquia some Saturday soon. I'll have to check the dates, but among the games I would like to play are HeroClix (a superhero miniatures game), MechWarrior, and of course, Rollerball.

Plus I have a D-Day game at 3 pm on Saturday, October 5 at Game World. Everyone is welcome -- there should be plenty of player positions to go round.

--Wednesday, 18 September 2002

Historicon report, short form:

I won an award for my Pantographic War of the Worlds game, pitting Martian tripods against redcoats and cavalry. As is usual in Ogre-based games at a con, the Martians won, but it was very, very close. The British quickly learned how to use cavalry: dart in from six different directions, attack with grenades, dart out. Yes, the Martians can pursue you and heat-ray you down, but they can only do in one direction, not six.

The Martians were played by young fellows about 12 years old, and they set fire to lots of buildings just because it was cool. When the rep from the convention organizers came by, therefore, half the map was in flames with the burnished silver Tripods looming out of the smoke. VERY cinematic.

Also did three OTHER Ogre games: Borg Attack, Sheffield Ogre Works, and Technicolor War of the Worlds (the 1950s movie). The Ogres won most of them, except the actual Ogre scenario, in which the Pannies got stopped butt-cold AGAIN! I even reduced the Anglo-American defending force substantially, but no dice.

Of course, the attackers had a tough planning job. They had three Ogres (slow and tough) and 20 GEV hovercraft (fast and fragile). So while the Ogres are grinding forward, the GEVs rush into the defenses and get shot to bits. Oops. It's a hazard in multi-player convention games, which really shouldn't have such vast differences in unit ability. I had the same problem in Technicolor WotW, in which the Sabrejets flew to engage the Martians first, while the Army was still trying to catch up. Big, big mistake. The Martians got to fight one-fifth of the Human force with the entire Martian force. Then the tanks, which were faster than the artillery, came in and did it AGAIN, pitting another fifth of the Human force against the entire Martian force. "Defeat in detail" isn't just a river in Egypt, dude. Tactics MATTER.

So anyway, how to fix Sheffield? I think it's not so much that the defenders have too much firepower, it's that they have too many units. They can, and did, form a solid line across the entire board, backed up with artillery. Attackers have trouble punching a hole because you can't stack and you can't overrun.

A longtime Ogre player of my acquaintance and I tried to show it could be done. We used our Ogres to kill defending units, punching a big hole for the GEVs to swarm through. Yes, many of us died. Yes, our Ogres were pummeled by the defense's bigger, better Ogres. So what? Some of our GEVs scooted through the hole and shot up the command post, and in Ogre, if you get the CP, it doesn't matter what casualties you had -- you WIN.

But if I can conquer the "I painted it -- I'm gonna USE it!" tendency, the solution is obvious: remove one-third to one-half of BOTH forces, opening up the board to positional rather than attritional play.

--Monday, 19 August 2002

Two more game ideas: Man, Myth and Magic, a very old roleplaying game in which the players start as Ice Age cavemen, adventure, die, and are reincarnated as Egyptians, then Chinese, Greeks, Romans, etc., encountering different facets of a universal mystery along the way. The game designer, an evident sadist, did not specify WHAT THE BIG SECRET WAS in the initial release, saying that it would be revealed in later expansions which, so far as I can determine, were never published. Bastard.

But I can make up a universal overarching myth-theme as well as any goofball, so that's not a big lack. And the idea of continually-resurrected characters is pretty damn cool.

The other idea is Kult, a roleplaying game in which you learn the world is not what it seems. I'd take it in a Philip K. Dick direction, with the players unexpectedly wandering into a parallel timeline where the Axis won World War Two, as a result of either brain experiments or the artistic contradictions of a small piece of Japanese metal sculpture. It's The Man in the High Castle meets The Matrix, with Cthulhu-type investigators discovering that the world is bigger and less real than they thought. This idea grew from a Matrix game I was thinking about, in which I tried to patch the parts of the Matrix cosmology that didn't make any sense to me: using human bodies as a heat/electricity source, and the precognitive powers of the Oracle. I bridged both: the machines do not use us as a heat source, but as a source of psychic powers they cannot comprehend or duplicate artificially. The Oracle really can see the future, and others can do, well, other things. All the rest of the captive humans are held because the machines don't know why or how psychic powers emerge, so they try raising a lot of humans with a lot of different stimuli in hopes of being able to reliably create captive psychics.

One problem with this game is that players who like the "what in the hell is wrong with the universe?" mystery don't always like the "okay, we know what's wrong -- how the hell do we FIX it" stage, and vice versa. Tacticians get bored with the mystery, roleplayers get bored with the action. The trick, I think, is to have the mystery phase involve lots of danger, with fights, chases, escapes, fencing, true love, all that, and to have the action be partly physical and partly intellectual, i.e. "defeat the mummies guarding the Book of the Dead, but also answer the riddle or the book won't open."

Anyway, I may be able to do some of these before long. Say, you don't suppose the reason the MMM characters are continually resurrected is BECAUSE the Matrix machines want to test them for psychic powers ... 

Currently I am hosting a Pendragon game in person and Tekumel and Colditz games online. My ideas for my next roleplaying game (after more Pendragon, of course) include 
The X-Parchments (agents of the Praetorian Guard investigate the paranormal in imperial Rome), Torch of Justice (sons and daughters of famous superheroes step into the iconic roles of their forefathers to defend the world), a Darkwood extended road trip, and The Price of Freedom, a roleplaying game of resistance to Soviet occupation that I like, but hardly anyone else does.

My fifth, sixth and seventh novel-length efforts were General's Green, Genestealers and Starwatch. All have what might be called "third-act problems" if they didn't occur midway through the first act.

My fourth novel was Keep of Glass, an Arthurian fantasy almost bought by numerous publishers. I'll keep almost selling it until it almost fails to sell, and then I'll almost sell the sequel. Already got a title: The Land of Blood and Stone. Cheery, huh?

Today's new fiction: A Cylinder on Syrtis Common, Out of the Night, and Pierce Your Brain.

Quite a lot of new fiction up: short stories Breakdown, Dustoff, Pathbreaker, and The Doom That Came to Necropolis. More to come. 6/19/02 

Posted first three chapters of a superhero story, "Bulletproof". They are, in fact, the ONLY three chapters in existence, though I do have a complete outline. I'm going through and adding even more humorous strangeness, as the tone wobbles from serious adventure to wacky, and for this story, I like wacky better.

I'll probably never sell this novel, so this may be your only chance to read it! It features teenagers, guns, crime and drugs, so I can't imagine why the YA publishers wouldn't be interested. "Wouldn't be" rather than "aren't," because I haven't actually asked them yet.

This Star Trek story was not chosen for "Strange New Worlds," a fanfic anthology edited by a couple of people who put their own stories in the book under the chapter heading "Because We Can." Draw your own conclusions, which you can't do unless you read it.

"Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering" is a fun read and damn useful, too. His most useful point? Figure out what your players want, and give it to them. Not as hard as it sounds, once you realize that's what you're there for. My own regular party, for example, has three "Method Actors" (okay, two and a half) and no Butt-Kickers, Power Gamers or Tacticians at all. What on Earth am I doing there?

The Justice Department has arrested a U.S. citizen charged with conspiring to set off a "dirty bomb" radiation weapon in the United States. He is said to be a member of al Qaeda. Other reports suggest the target would have been Washington, which makes sense. No word yet as to whether the enemy actually had such a weapon, or the radioactive material necessary to make one. But it's not hard to find nuclear waste, especially in the former Soviet Union.

Here's one reason we might be taking so long to attack Saddam ... for the first time in a while, the United States might be trying to set up a postwar government BEFORE we conquer the enemy! Which, given that no one doubts we can defeat Iraq, and that shaky governments out that way are the norm, may well be a good idea. And getting something as complicated as a replacement regime set up ahead of time, IN SECRET, probably takes a hell of a long time if you want to do it right.

If true, this means Bush 43 is trying to avoid the biggest error of Bush 41, who won the war and lost the peace. And if he's trying to set up the U.S. to have an Iraqi client state in the middle of the Middle East, we can gain all sorts of benefits. With Iraqi oil taps in our hands, we can do far more than lower the price at the pump. If Russia's feeling moody, we cut Iraqi oil production, and Russia gets more per barrel for its own crude. If Saudi Arabia keeps funding terror, we bring in modern American management methods and crank Iraqi oil production through the roof, bankrupting the Saudi regime when its oil price falls through the floor. Granted, we can't do both at once ...

I'll have six games at this year's Historicon: two Red Dawn sessions, War of the Worlds 1889 (tripods vs. redcoats), War of the Worlds 1953 (flying manta-ray machines vs. the U.S. Army), Borg Attack, TimeTripper, and Ogre. The Ogre scenario is Sheffield Ogre Works, which I have played several times and has always been a close-run win for the defense. At Rick Wynn's suggestion, I am removing the infantry rocket teams which made such a hash of the Paneuropean hovercraft force last time. Will the Pannies walk away with it? We'll see..

Mystery Men

Game of amateur superheroes in the world of the movie Mystery Men. Designed by Rick Wynn as "Smashing Tales".

Rules Page City Page

The X-Scrolls 
Paranoid investigation of paranormal events in the Roman Empire. Veritas Is Out There!

Vulpius Mundar, the Believer

Charybda, the Skeptic

Gaius Spurius Vindictus, the Anti-believer

Andromeda Falco , the Patrician Heiress

Rowena, the Zealot

Vettius Zamo, the Beat Cop

Rudius, the Gladiator

Styrokles, the Greek tutot

Lydi, the student of war

The Amazing Ishkatar, street magician

The Empire Club
Miniatures society devoted to colonial wars on a fictive continent in the Indian Ocean. 

The Radiant Eyes of the Prince
Game of intrigue, exploration and war on the fantasy world of Tekumel. An online game with occasional face-to-face sessions. 

Introduction to the campaign

A Tekumel primer

The Ssu (color)
The Ssu (black and white)

GURPS Tekumel

Our Heroes:

Kialandi of the Flowers
Jadis Malesinia hiTlakotani
Vathek cwxtl-Q'or
Hakiron the N'luss
Mekelu hiMraktine
Chri the Ahoggya

Roleplaying game of a Slayer and her friends battling the evil of the Hellmouth located just outside Arkham, Massachusetts. Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Call of Cthulhu.

Episode 1: Something Fishy
Episode 2: Second Night
Episode 3: Twins
Episode 4: Walker
Episode 5: Hunters
Episode 6: The Short Reign of Excellence
Episode 7: The Shadow Over Diligence
Episode 8: The Vampire Slayer
Episode 9: Raiders of the Misfiled Ark
Episode 10: Welcome to the Hellmouth
Episode 11: There Can Be Only One
Episode 12: Full Moon Homecoming
Episode 13: Diligence is its Own Reward
Episode 14: Bad Wolf
Episode 15: Thy Father's Keeper
Episode 16: The Circle
Episode 17: The Shadow over Fells Harbor
Episode 18: Across the Sea of Dreams
Episode 19 and 20: King of the Night (short summary)
Episode 21: Visitors by Night 
Episode 22: Tunnel Rats
Episode 23: The Ladder 
Episode 24: Cat Scratch Fever
Episode 25: Trick or Treat
Episode 26: A Father's Sacrifice
Episode 27: The Faculty
Episode 28: Cthulhu Season
Episode 29: Fish Fry
Episode 30: Immortal Clay
Episode 31: Moon Hunter 
Episode 32: Shining Armor
Episode 33: Blood Rush 
Episode 34: Bad Doctor 
Episode 35: Second Thoughts
Episode 36: Unlife Tenure
Episode 37: Team Crow
Episode 38: Interlude
Episode 39: Arena Without Crowds
Episode 40: Beatification, Part I
Episode 41: Beatification, Part II
Episode 42: Twin Freaks 
Episode 43: Damn Good Coffee
Episode 44: Dismember of the Wedding
Episode 45: The Jurassic Horror

 Space Viking
PBEM build-and-bash in which Space Vikings plunder worlds at various tech levels and steal the tools to rebuild civilization. Ended prematurely when one player discovered small, but deep, hole in the rules and won game on first turn. 



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