Aft-Firing Weaponry and Canon @StarTrek @starwars @kesseljunkie #StarTrek #StarWars

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My favorite episode of Star Trek, any series, is Balance of Terror from the original series. It has absolutely everything that a Star Trek episode should have, and it, along with my favorite Star Trek movie, the Wrath of Khan, inspired the best episode of Strange New Worlds to date, Memento Mori. For some reason, Balance of Terror keeps coming up in my social media streams. Several people keep saying something that prompts me to volunteer this information.

Or posting a silly meme.

But this post isn’t about Star Trek.

I set my mind to rewatch the episode but kept procrastinating. Yesterday, I was watching the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I love both of those movies. It occurred to me that none of the X-Wings, Tie-Fighters, etc. had any aft-firing weaponry. That would have been quite useful when being chased during the attacks on either Death Star. The Millennium Falcon sort of did, but only if there was at least one other person on the ship available to mad that blaster. (If I’m wrong, I’m sure Kessel Junkie will correct me.)

But wait! This post is about Star Trek!

This led me to finally re-watch Balance of Terror (re-watching Memento Mori will follow soon) in which I thought there was some background chatter stating that the aft-firing torpedoes are ready. (Note: I may have been mistaken, but there were mentions to aft-firing weapons in the background charter of several episodes, most clearly at 17:02 of Arena.) It also led to a cascade of thoughts regarding the hubbub about violating canon. I love the FASA Star Trek RPG, and it annoyed me that the Constitution Class starships didn’t have aft-firing weaponry. In fact, they made a big deal out of it. It was a glaring weakness in most Federation ships, and a big deal when some did. But it’s not all about an RPG. Star Trek the Motion Picture also suggested that the Klingon ship (also captained by Mark Lenard) having an aft-firing torpedo was a big deal. He thought it would surprise his enemy.

Right emotion; wrong guy.

And then there are those star dates that were completely made up, and the fact that the Romulan ship in Balance of Terror wasn’t capable of warp travel (22:10) yet traveled in interstellar space. In the two episodes I mentioned, there was an inconsistency. In Arena, Kirk comments that diamonds are “perhaps the hardest substance known in the universe” (30:10), and Spock confirms this by stating, “diamonds, the hardest known substance” (41:32), yet Spock points out only four episodes earlier in Balance of Terror that “cast rodinium . . . is the hardest substance known to our science” (21:26). Canon is shit. That’s unfortunate in most (not all) cases, but it’s true. You can’t rely on it. However, one theory says that there’s no such thing as a canon violation because Star Trek First Contact rebooted the franchise, rendering “canon” a nonsense concept.

I love to see Strange New Worlds show aft-firing phasers, see everyone lose their shit for the canon violation, and then lay into them for their ignorance. If everyone now realizes that the Enterprise has aft-firing weapons, that’s fine too. It gives us one more reason to say Star Trek ships are better than Star Wars ships.

Just roll with it and be happy when stories are well-written.

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Even More Gems Dug up While Unpacking @Luddite_Vic @Erik_Nowak @atomicovermind @Digitalculture0 #DnD #RPG #4e #1e #ADnD #TTRPG #StarWars #Rokugan #FateRPG #LFR #DARPG #WotC

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A couple of days ago, I posted about some things I found while continuing to unpack. One thing I found deserves its own post: the program for our first synDCon gaming convention (2010). When we decided we were going to put on a convention, we had a meeting of at least 20 people at the Cracker Barrel in Chantilly, Virginia. This took place after one of our Living Forgotten Realms game days at the now defunct Game Parlor. Only seven people decided to come on board as owners, with two quickly moving to Arizona before we could even get started, and then two others flaking out. It was basically Vic, Cassandra, and I doing everything.

Front Cover

The cover art and Gamers’ Syndicate logo were both designed and illustrated by Erik_Nowak, and he also designed this program.

Welcome Statement

I remember a meeting when there were just five of us. We had to decide who would be the number one person: the Convention Coordinator. I didn’t volunteer because I didn’t want to be too pushy, but no one else wanted to do it. This was typically unnecessary nerd angst on all our parts, because in the end it didn’t matter. Everyone had to work hard (until they flaked out), and no one was really the boss among us.

Pages 2 and 3

I’m proud of two things. First, look at that first page, and continue to examine the ones that follow. Even when we had seven planned owners, everyone was almost exclusively a 4th Edition D&D player. Nevertheless, our relatively small convention had a ton of variety in what was run. There were card games, board games, RPGs, and miniature war games. Within the RPGs, we had a ton of variety as well, and there were games run specifically for beginners. We also had a “synDCon special,” which was written by Erik and D. Hunter Phillips.

Pages 4 and 5

The second thing of which I’m proud was my idea (<patting myself on the back>). We had staggered slots. Instead of the typical 8am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, 7pm-11pm schedule for RPG games, we added in slots at 10am-2pm and 3pm-7pm as well. Again, for a small con, the fact that this worked out so well was remarkable. Many people took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in, try our Dungeon Delves for a couple of hours, sit in on a seminar or author book reading, or try new systems at the beginners’ tables. Another great idea of mine was to allow only 5 seats per game in presale despite tables seating 6 players. This made it far easier to sit players that didn’t preregister or wanted to change tables. No one had a problem with it, but a lot of people appreciated the flexibility.

Venue Map

This was a nice hotel, and it was conveniently located near a Metro stop (our public rail transportation system). And being who I am, I especially wanted a site in Maryland so that we could register for a federal trademark if it ever came to that. 🙂

Pages 8 and 9

Okay, yes, we definitely emphasized Living Forgotten Realms, but I’m still happy with how much Heroes and Rokugan and Pathfinder Society we had (these are living campaigns for the RPGs Legend of the Five Rings and Pathfinder respectively).

Pages 10 and 11

Note well, though, that there was more going on than the program states. We had a board game room, and open play for both card games and miniature war games. Saturday night, my cousin and I, a.k.a., Wet Paint, performed for a crowd of beer-drinking gamers some hits of the 80s and 90s. That’s when we played together, so our song set came from those decades.

Only Mike and I are Wet Paint. Matt James was an interloper. He’s considered a member of “Trail Mix,” which is anyone that’s ever played with us.

Seriously, for a small, first-time convention, look at how much variety we had. I loved it, and I never saw it with conventions this small. We also had seminars featuring authors and game designers. Being in the DC area, we actually knew a lot of those people, so it was relatively easy to get them here. This, in turn, allowed us to do this . . . .

Pages 12 and 13

We received a small amount of support from most of these companies, and others were actually present. Our prize for the first person to buy a convention badge was a ticket to GenCon. GenCon gave those away to conventions all the time; no inside track was necessary. However, we also had, for example, a member of Green Ronin participate in a seminar and run the (then-new) Dragon Age RPG, and Rob Hobart (AEG), the head of Heroes of Rokugan, ran a seminar and (I think) a few games.

I touched up this image of the back cover to delete some handwriting. Pay no attention to the fields of ecru.

We chose a great venue, and synDCon 2010 was a four-day convention. Yep, four days. Just like the big guys. Monday was a holiday, and adding that day to the schedule didn’t increase our costs noticeably. Of course, by cost I mean financial cost. My feet were sore (which is why I was sitting for the Wet Paint performance), and I ran, at best, on four hours of sleep a night, with only two on performance night. I’d say it was a success considering that we got hit with a snowstorm right before the convention, scaring off a lot of people.

The following year, we moved synDCon 2011 to mid-April to make sure we’d have better weather, but we had late snow that year. It wasn’t as bad as the previous year, but it still affected attendance. Infuriating. However, synDCon 2011 was an official convention within the circuit of competitive Munchkin published by Steve Jackson Games. In fact, we may have done that for synDCon 2010. I really don’t remember at this point. I just know we had a great time both years. Unfortunately, it’s too hard a thing to run with, for all practical purposes, two people running the entire show and Mother Nature chasing us around with snowstorms. This isn’t to say that there weren’t a lot of other people that did a lot of work. We had a lot of help, with a few people being organizers for Living Forgotten Realms, Pathfinder Society, and Heroes of Rokugan, and we still had decent numbers. However, in the end it falls on the organizers, and there were only two of us. Both Vic and I would rather not have a convention than do one half-assed, so we didn’t have a third one.

Would I like to bring it back? Yes. Do we have the financial means to do so? Probably. Do I see enough people getting on board to make the workload manageable? No. There are very few people I could trust to see it through, and I’m not getting any younger.

I’m proud of what we did.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Just Like the Prequels . . . #StarWars #PottyHumor

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s both. Just like in the prequels, we’re constantly learning about the extent of R2-D2’s utility.

I swear I like Star Wars, but . . .

Star Trek >> Star Wars.

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What’s Wrong with the Book of Boba Fett? #StarWars #BobaFett

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Short answer: The whiny fan base.

Ahhhhhh, back to controversy.

Episode 3 of The Book of Boba Fett (“TBoBF“) touched off a storm of discussion on social media, and it’s continued through episode 4. I’ve engaged in that discussion quite a bit but am collecting my thoughts here.

First off, you can hate TBoBF. This post isn’t saying otherwise, which would be really stupid. You like what you like, and you can’t help that any more than I can help that I liked the Green Lantern movie. You can explain why you hate it, but that explanation might serve as the reason I like it. Different strokes and all that. I also don’t see anything wrong with expressing your opinion. Expressing hate is no or less moral than expressing like or love. It’s just your opinion, and if I open the door to hearing it, I shouldn’t shut it because I don’t agree. Frylock’s Gaming & Geekery is bubble-free.

But if you can state your opinion, I can state mine.

Here’s what I don’t get: Boba Fett isn’t a character. If this were a copyright suit, and I were the judge, I’d throw you in jail (even without the power to do so) just for suggesting otherwise. He has four lines of dialogue, six minutes of airtime, and a really cool-looking suit. Okay, maybe five lines if you count a childish scream.

“Presenting the most overrated character // anyone ever saw // with five lines in the trilogy // and one of them was AAAAAHHHHH!!!!”

Of all of that, his suit is the sole reason we liked him as kids. In copyright terms, he’s not a character; he’s a sculpture.

So in what way does this show “ruin” the character of Boba Fett?

It doesn’t. There’s nothing to ruin except the suit, but the suit’s still there. What it ruins is the head canon that you’ve created, representing your assignment of various traits to him, most of which contradict the few traits we see in him. For example, the one time we see him in combat in Return of the Jedi, he gets his ass kicked. He’s not the bad ass your mind extrapolated in childhood. To a child, no one in such a cool suit could possibly be so pathetic, but as an adult, you should know better.

QED, bitches.

This doesn’t mean that it would have been wrong to make him something other than a conflicted anti-hero. He could have been written as a straight-up villain, and even I’m getting a bit annoyed with Hollywood’s obsession with the anti-hero. There are so many of them that they collectively paint the cinematic world as a place with no heroes. That’s too close to reality. But Disney doesn’t give a shit what you’ve extrapolated onto the character. They can’t. There are too many of you, and you all have different extrapolations, ranging from subtle to monumental differences of opinion. They have to do their own thing, and so far there’s nothing inconsistent about the character because there isn’t enough “character” to contradict.

Now, if you want at least some character development, you could go to the prequels. Did you want this to be about Boba Fett as a child? Because that’s how you get a series about Boba Fett as a child. (Actually, some of you nerds would probably like that. Freaking nerds and your child protagonists.) I’m also aware that he appeared in one or more of the animated series, none of which I’ve watched. I can’t comment on that, but neither I nor (apparently) Disney care. My only concern is live-action media. In light of that, everything I said above stands.

The bottom line is that Disney has created an interesting character and story, and some (not all) of you could appreciate that if you didn’t place your head canon above all else and instead could just enjoy the ride. I appreciate that many of you would still not enjoy it. Well . . .

The world doesn’t revolve around you. If you don’t like it, you’ll just have to watch something else. I am, and I’m not angry at Paramount for it.

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Nice Story; Funny Reply #Keanu #JohnWick #Matrix

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s both. Here’s a nice story about Keanu Reeves. You’ve probably heard the story before, but you should read it again. It helps the punchline land.

This was in my Facebook stream, so that’s me that gave it a laugh reaction.

Star Trek >> The Matrix.

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Christmas Leftovers #StarWars #Christmas

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a meme appropriate to the aftermath of Christmas.

Okay, I take that back. There’s nothing “appropriate” about this meme.

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I Watched Star Wars Again @kesseljunkie #StarWars

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s some Star Wars memes (though mixed with a tiny bit of original content). Why? Because TNT was playing the Star Wars films in in-universe chronological order, and while I was organizing myself for my upcoming move, I had the movies playing in the background. I saw the tail end of Revenge of the Sith (from the point where Anakin tells Padme he’s headed to Mustafar), all of Solo: A Star Wars Story (see tweet below), Rogue One (my favorite Star Wars movie), A New Hope (for the first time in more time than I can remember), and Empire Strikes Back. After that, I had to go to bed.

To all you Star Wars lovers, don’t give me too much shit for the negativity. That’s always for Kessel Junkie’s benefit. Besides . . .

Anyway, here are some memes presented, appropriately I think, in in-universe chronological order.

Suck it, Star Wars fans that are prequel haters.
I wouldn’t be gsllc if I didn’t put one of these in there.
I should have stayed up later to watch Return of the Jedi.
I’m actually quite happy at work.
“Don’t bury yourself in the part.” — Dr. Leonard McCoy

McCoy aside, I hope that quote is accurate.

Probably not considering his dismissal of Vader’s “religion.”

I just can’t stop.

Kessel Junkie and I live to give each other shit.

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