Saturday 28 April 2012

Dark Points of Interference

This struck me. I immediately applied this to every thinker I dislike. Typing it out, I realised he was talking about me.

Much greater is the evil which lies in the pompous retinue of technical terms – scientific expressions and metaphors, which these systems carry in their train, and which like a rabble – like the baggage of an army broken away from it's chief – hang about in all directions. Any critic who has not adopted a system, either because he has not found one to please him, or because he has not yet been able to make himself master of one, will at least occasionally make use of one, as one would use a ruler, to show the blunders committed by a general.

The most of them are incapable of reasoning without using as a help here and there some shreds of scientific military theory. The smallest of these fragments, consisting in mere scientific words and metaphors, are often nothing more than ornamental flourishes of critical narration.

Now it is the nature of things that all technical and scientific expressions which belong to a system lose their property, if they ever had any, as soon as they are distorted, and used as general axioms, or as small crystalline talismans, which have more power of demonstration than simple speech.

Thus it has come to pass that our theoretical and critical books, instead of being straightforward, intelligible dissertations, in which the author always knows at leas what he says and the reader what he reads, are brimful of these technical terms, which form dark points of interference where author and reader part company.
But frequently they are something worse, being nothing but hollow shells without any kernel. The author himself has no clear perception of what he means, contents himself with vague ideas, which if expressed in plain language would be unsatisfactory even to himself.”

Carl von Clausewitz

On War, book two

(paragraph gaps added by me, dude was German, he liked density)

Friday 27 April 2012

Senor de la Horda

A few weeks ago some friends and I were hanging around waiting to play Microscope. We spotted some 40K products in the corner and, driven by my buried adolescent self, I went to have a look. 

The most important thing I discovered is that almost every language in the world describes the agents of the dark Future where there are No Hugs better than English. Each box of deathtoys has a translation of the contents in several languages and every single language in the world sounds cooler than mine.

It's payday and I just picked up the latest issue of White Dwarf, which is now a slightly dull corporatised magazine with nice photos. But there is still gold in the margins if you look for it.

Empire Witch Hunter - Hexenjager des Imperiums
       OR!             Cazador de Brujas

Empire Master Engineer - Maestro Ingeniero

Orcs & Goblins Mangler Squig - Garrapato Despachurrador

The Swarmlord - Senor de la Horda

Spacewolves Thunderwolf Cavalry - Caballeria Lobo de Trueno

Beastmen Ghorgon - Ecatombe degli Uominbestia

Sunday 15 April 2012

Old Snow

I don't know if my memory has always been poor but the everyday things sleet through my hand like old snow. Perhaps because of this, I have an obsession with memory and with the history of thinking about memory.

(blah blah blah, it's long, fair warning)

Thursday 5 April 2012


This may be somewhat useful for people.

Playing Ghost/Echo I gave players ten syllables each to equip their characters.

So you can have a sword – 1 syllable, or a Kendachi Monoblade – 6 syllables.

For D&D type games this could be linked to Charisma, with each point giving you another syllable of description. This is in the long tradition of making-charisma-useful.

Would probably work better with story-games and/or chilled out players. Though if combined with a LOTFP simple encumbrance rule and with banning magical items I think it could function quite well.

I'm pretty sure I half-stole this idea from someone in the OSR, it's a bit like Zack S's syllables-for-price idea. Or someone trading character points for syllables of description during char-gen. Anyway, if its you I stole it from, sorry.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

'I burn down the space elevator'

AP reports are usually utterly boring to anyone who wasn't there so the rest of this is behind a break.

Everyone else has already made intelligent comments about the system we used, Ghost/Echo.

I wrote this as a standard relation of events but it was too long and too dull. Instead, here are a series of history fragments from 'To The Stars'