Press "Enter" to skip to content

Population: One

Fast, furious, fragmented

John Tynes just released Meta Action, an incomplete set of rules for running modern action with the D20 ruleset. At first glance it looks interesting enough. It retains hit points, since it’s intended to simulate action movies and thus can be less realistic, but more or less does away with classes. Your Charisma bonus is added to every roll, since action heros are good looking.

Without revamping the combat system, though, I’m not sure the ruleset works. PCs are going to get hit all the time, particularly since you can pump skill points into your ranged or melee attack bonuses. A level 1 character with a 14 Charisma (say) can easily have a total of +7 to hit right off the bat. Even level 0 NPCs can be fairly deadly. Three goons with shotguns are terrifying.

The Dog Squad is neat, though. It’s a cool little campaign concept that goes with the Meta Action rules. There’s enough there to work with.

My feelings are valid too

I have happily validated my RSS feeds; sing hooray! Yeah, pretty geeky. Movable Type users should note that the instructions for fixing old Movable Type feeds assume that you want to replace your RSS .9x feed with an RSS 2.0 feed, which may or may not be the case — some aggregators will still choke on RSS 2.0 and there are no perl modules to handle RSS 2.0 feeds as far as I know. So you may want to proceed with a bit more caution there. If anyone wants to know how I fixed my .91 feed, drop me a comment.

Speak and be courted

Eugene Volokh has some interesting discussion about the limits of free speech. The Supreme Court commented this morning on the question of free speech as it applies to explanations of how to commit a crime. In short, they refused to hear an appeal of a decision in which a lower court essentially claimed such explanations were protected. However, the Supreme Court also explicitly stated that they were not agreeing with the lower court in that decision.

A brief guide to home field advantage

If you’re a New England sports fan, there are certain rules:

In basketball, detest the Lakers above all others. Also, cheer against Philadelphia, because they’re the only other team to pose a significant threat to the Celtics in the 80s and there was that whole Wilt Chamberlain thing as well. It’s also good to hate any team that features a player who’s been called “better than Larry Bird,” but only while that player is active. No point hating the Chicago Bulls at this point, for example.

In baseball, the Yankees are the spawn of Satan. Everything else is inconsequential, although you must always root against the Mets in retribution for 1986. If the Yankees and the Mets meet in the World Series, then you must explain that baseball is a shadow of its former self.

In football, mostly hate other AFC East teams. Miami and the Jets are the prime targets. Also, hate the Oakland Raiders, because there was some sort of disputed call a century or so ago and the Raiders won the game as a result. Any disputed calls in Raiders/Patriots games that go for the Patriots are merely karma. Karma should continue pounding the Raiders forever.

In hockey, it’s really only worth hating the Original Eight. Any other team is basically an expansion team and beneath your notice. This attitude may explain why the Bruins haven’t gotten very deep into the playoffs for a while. Hate Montreal in particular, because they don’t speak English, the freaks. Don’t bother hating Hartford anymore. It was wrong of them to invade New England, but they have since moved and you’ve forgotten what their new name is.

When trying to figure out who to hate in a playoff game that doesn’t involve a New England team, the above rules take precedence. Also, hate any team from LA on general principles. General principles involve the Lakers, whose miasma of evil infects all teams in the vicinity. Besides, LA thinks it’s such a great city. (Note that this is an additional reason to hate the Raiders — they went to LA on purpose. How dorky.)

The same sort of thing goes for New York teams, which are all infected by the Yankees. And New York thinks it’s a great city too. What do they know? It’s hard to say which city should be more hated. If the Knicks play the Lakers, cheer for the Knicks. If the Yankees play the Angels, cheer for the Angels.

Come to think of it, any city which thinks it has an edge on Boston needs some stern boos, unless it’s a cute little city, in which case treat it like your adored pet terrier. Nobody would ever mistake any city in Texas for a great city, for example, so it’s just cute when the Mavericks do well. But Chicago, there’s a city that gets too big for its britches.

This guide has been brought to you by the Major League Soccer championship game, in which (on my TiVo) the New England Revolution and the LA Galaxy are tied 0-0 with ten minutes to go in regulation. The announcers have made approximately fifty comments to the effect that the Galaxy are glamorous and the Revolution has a blue collar team-oriented approach. This is, I believe, obligatory any time you have an LA team and a New England team playing.

That worked out well

The US is now floating a compromise resolution in the UN, which would not mandate military action if inspections fail. It would leave the door open for an invasion, but it wouldn’t explicitly link the two.

This comes after strong criticism from most of the world in open UN debate. You’d expect Middle Eastern countries to be edgy about the whole thing, but even Australia recommended against linking military action to failed inspections. I should perhaps be more confident in the system.

The news becomes more interesting to me in that some right wing pundits had predicted disaster arising from anything short of Bush’s original resolution. At this point, it looks like the original resolution won’t happen. So what happens if there’s no disaster?

By the same token, left-wing pundits who called for Bush to follow the UN’s guidance on this need to accept it if this path leads to war. And it might. It probably will, and it probably should: while I’m still suspicious that we’re distracting ourselves from Al Qaeda by attacking Iraq, the UN isn’t at war with Al Qaeda. The UN does have an ongoing problem with Iraq’s refusal to abide by UN resolutions. If the US is willing to sacrifice its own interests to help the UN out, well, I can’t really argue that the UN should decline our gracious assistance.

Hopefully we’ll remember to deal with that nagging Osama bin Laden problem at some point.

Frankenstein indeed

Aimee Mann will be appearing on Buffy later this fall. For the obsessive Mann fans like myself, this will mark the second time Aimee Mann’s music has been featured alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar. “You Could Make a Killing” showed up in Cruel Intentions, a sadly underrated… well, OK, not so underrated. I kind of enjoyed it, in a sleazy Wild Things kind of a way. And the director says charming things about Aimee Mann on the DVD commentary track.