28 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #8 - Commentary

Please go read the issue before continuing.

First off, the title.  "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign," is part of the lyrics to "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band.  It has some relevance, but not much.  I think I chose it because everyone was signing papers all over.  Action packed paper signing!

Nasty gets to school, late, because of what happened in issue 7.  This is where what Nasty perceives as reality and actual reality start separating.  Little Jimmy's school called ahead to let Seward know to expect Nasty late.  Nasty is expecting the worst of the school, a lecture on the merits of being late without further punishment.  Oddly, that is working on Nasty, just not the way the school expects.  Nasty just wants to avoid lectures, so she'll toe the line.  And, yes, she's been late before without an excuse, so she is well aware of the lecture she's expecting.

Seward also uses praise as part of maintaining discipline.  Do something wrong, like be late, get lectured.  Go above and beyond, even if it means being late and risking a lecture, get praised.  Nasty just doesn't expect the carrot, being used to the stick part of the equation.  So, when she's praised by authority, she's a little out of her depth.  The reality of Nasty's school is different from her perception of it.

The next scene puts the focus on Maria, with her reaction to everything that has happened in the previous issues.  She and Nasty don't get along, not under the same roof.  Part of the reason is the bombshell Maria drops; she is twice the age of her daughter.  Maria wasn't emotionally ready to have a child when Nasty was born.  Worse, she got a kid who was just like her.  Her last line shows that Nasty keeps a few secrets from her; a selfish person doesn't stop a kid from being bullied.

The final scene is the big one.  The last few issues have been building up to this moment, when the Consortium strikes.  The commentary for issue 7 explains why the Treasury Department.  Nasty suspects something's wrong, especially with Agent Walsh.  The agents also manage to upset Nasty enough to trigger her power punch, then warn her about hurting others, even by accident.  Then Nasty's world spins and fades to black.

Dun dun DUN!

Subject 13 Issue 9 will be up Friday evening.  Over at Fan To Pro, Lost in Translation will look at superhero universes and adaptations.  I may have other posts here over the coming week, too.

26 Feb 2013

Fun with Traveller - The Imperial Lawyer

Sometime back, I posted the character sheet and interpretation of Hfyustiykoarl, the Aslan mercenary who is best treated as dumb rocket.  Dumbass seemed to generate interest, so I'm continuing this intermittant series.  This time, I head to the other side of the IQ bell curve.

The original concept I had for this character was that she was not quite a noble, or, if she was, she wasn't as high up in the social strata as her peers at school.  To help with the idea, she couldn't come from a frontier sector like the Spinward Marches.  Instead, I made Sylea - the Imperial capital, home of the Emperor - her homeworld.  In rolling her stats, I managed to get a 10, perfect for her Social Status.  (To be a titled noble, a PC needs at least an 11 in Social Status.)
Name: Philomena Ashazu Gikdirkishkiga
Age: 34
Species: Human
Homeworld: Capital/Core (0508 A86A98A-F Hi Ht Wa)
Rank: Supervisor (2)
  Str 7/+0
  Dex 8/+0
  End 6/+0
  Int 8/+0
  Edu 9/+1
  Soc A/+1
Her base stats, after character generation.  Her full name reflects a mix of Solomani (what we Terrans call ourselves in 3600 years) and Vilani (a variant human species, originally from Vland).  Sylea, aka Capital, is a High Tech, High Population, Water World.  Other than her Social Status, physically, Philomena is average, but a little smarter than the norm with a good educational background.

A quick explanation of the world code: Capital is an Earth-sized world, with a standard oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere covered completely in water.  Capital has a population equivalent to modern Earth's, is ruled by a civil service bureaucracy, and has very restrictive laws.  Technologically, Capital has the very best of the Imperium.

Now that Philomena is ready to go off into the galaxy, she realizes that she's not going to be able to shine compared to the noble offspring around.  Philomena heads over to the Imperial Naval Recruiting Office and enlists.
Career - Navy-Line/Crew
Term 1: Mishap: during battle, achieved victory at the guns; honourably discharged
Philomena's naval career ends abruptly with a mishap.  In a turn of good luck, she's not drummed out.  Instead, she proves her worth in a battle, manning a laser turret.  She probably should have received a medal; that'll be up to me to discuss with the GM if I play her.  This result also allows her to keep her benefit roll from this term.

Happy to have survived, Philomena still needs a job.  Realizing now that the Navy is a dangerous place to be in, especially for a young Spacehand fresh out of basic training, Philomena heads into the safety of world administration.  Being so highly placed, she automatically enters the Noble career, and becomes an administrator.  At this point, I should just choose a world, but I want to work with the GM on that.  Ideally, Philomena is now in the Spinward Marches or whichever sector the campaign is happening in, so she can meet the other PCs.
Career - Noble-Administrator
Term 2: Time as ruler gives me wide range of experience; promoted
Hey, not bad.  Much safer, both feet on the ground.  A chance to shine.  Even got a promotion, something she never received in the Navy.  (To be fair, she received an honourable discharge before she could come up for promotion.)  Philomena breathes a happy sigh of contentment as she lives the life of an advisor to a minor noble.
Term 3: Reign acclaimed by all as fair and wise except for one unhappy person
This is going to take some explaining.  As mentioned for the second term, I see Philomena as an advisor, not a ruler, especially given her Social Status.  So, here, I have to somehow explain how an advisor gets the hate from one person.  My take: Philomena took a look at a development and realized that the area to be redeveloped included a park much beloved by the people of the world.  She advised the noble to reconsider and he or she did.  That decision, though, got her on the wrong side of a developer.
Term 4: Mishap: Political maneuverings usurps my position
Obviously, the maneuverings were orchestrated by the unhappy person in the last term.  Philomena leaves her second career, and decides that a new world or even working on a starship might grant her a new view on her life.
Cr 50 000
Medical Expenses:
Ship Shares: 4 or: 2 plus Ship's Boat
Enemies: Unhappy subject
Rivals: Political
TAS Membership
This is the result of mustering out of both the Navy and her noble service.  The one roll she got from being honourably discharged got her the choice of four ship shares or two shares and a ship's boat (small craft, usually carried by starships as both a lifeboat and as a shuttle from orbit to surface).  If something happens to my PC in the game I'm currently in, I'll opt for the ship's boat, to donate it to an in-game fledgeling casino partially owned by the PCs.  Otherwise, it'd depend on what the PCs as a group need; including using the ship's boat to reduce the cost of a starship.

The unhappy subject is, of course, the developer whose plans Philomena thwarted.  The political rivals are in his pocket, doing his bidding, naturally.  But, thanks to her selfless work as an advisors, the noble she worked for enrolled Philomena into the Travellers' Aid Society, an organization who provides various benefits for those who travel throughout the Imperium, including travel fare and lodgings.  This is a huge boon for Philomena; normally, membership costs one million credits.  (See how much Philomena has?  That's a little on the low side for a PC but close to average for a new character.)  The foil is the weapon; Philomena keeps in shape by fencing.  (I didn't know she did until she got the foil.)
 Advocate 2
 Admin 1
 Art 0
  Writing 1
 Carouse 1
 Computers 0
 Diplomat 1
 Gun Combat 0
 Gunner 0
 Mechanic 0
 Melee 0
  Blade 1
 Persuade 1
 Pilot 0
 Seafarer 0
 Streetwise 0
 Vacc Suit 0
 Zero-G 0
Philomena's skill list.  If you take a look at Dumbass, he had skills reaching level 3 with several at level 2.  Philomena, though, has her best skill, Advocate, at level 2.  Part of this comes from the change in careers.  Philomena's careers have different focuses.  The other part is the lack of promotions.  Dumbass received four promotions, thus four extra skill rolls.  As a result, he doesn't have many at the minimum level.  Philomena, though, has a wide spread of skills, but mostly at the just-trained level.  That said, she should have an easier time getting a position on a vessel, even if it's just back-up gunner.  She knows how to get around a ship, thanks to her naval training.  So, why did I call her a lawyer in this entry's title?  Advocate 2, Writing 1, Persuade 1.  She knows the law, can write depositions, and can be persuasive in a court of law.  Add in Diplomat, and she's most likely a civil lawyer, able to get favourable settlements without having to enter a courtroom at all.

Unlike Hfyustiykoarl, Philomena isn't hired muscle.  She has seen combat, but her forte is the social scene.  Her role in a party is to make sure that the group gets a fair shake, and she can back up the combat types when needed.

24 Feb 2013

Sharktopus vs Battleship!

For those who aren't aware, I write Lost in Translation, a column about adaptations, reboots, and remakes in the media, mainly movies.  As a result, I watch a lot of movies.  Unfortunately, not every movie I watch is a good one, though some are still fun to watch.

Some spoilers follow, so here comes the cut!

22 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #8 - Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

[Once again, strong language ahead.  Nasty is particularly vulgar in this issue.  Reader discretion advised.]

Nasty arrived at school late.  Traffic had slowed her down, and the lights never helped.  She parked her motorcycle, then walked in through the front doors.  A teacher sat behind a small desk in the foyer, signing a late slip for another late student.  Nasty sighed.  Better get this over with.  She walked over to the teacher.

21 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #7 - Commentary

As always, go read the issue.  It makes the commentary easier to follow.

Rennie's habit of hitting snooze is one familiar to me.  I tend to keep hitting snooze until I have maybe ten minutes to wake up, get dressed, treat the cats, and dash for my bus.  Nasty's nightwear is based on a few minutes of thought - what would a tomboy who isn't confident about her looks, like Nasty, wear to bed.  And, naturally, I worked in a shower scene.  It's something that appeared in my early works; oddly, none of them are really fan-service-y.  They just followed from what was happening.

Rennie's mother, despite changing her name with every marriage (possibly number three, though I haven't delved too much into Mrs. Hayes' background yet), knows about the relationship between Nasty and Maria.  It pains her to see the two fight, though she knows why they do.  Mrs. Hayes also lets the reader in on the actual relationship, not just Nasty's view of it.

Meanwhile, the Treasure Department makes an appearance.  (Well, if you've read issue 6, you'd know who they are.)  This, if anything, dates the web series.  Remember from the intro, I mentioned writing this mainly during 2001 and 2002.  Issue 7 was written the summer of 2001.  The Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City hadn't happened; meaning, the massive reorganization and added level of bureaucracy known as the Department of Homeland Security hadn't happened.  My thinking, in that summer of 2001, was that Treasury, specifically, an off shoot of the Secret Service, would handle the tracking of metahumans.  Today, that'd be handled by Homeland Security.

While I'm on this tangent, the attack on the World Trade Centre created a problem*, for me and for writers at DC and Marvel.  A Spider-Man movie trailer had to have an image of the WTC editted out, because of raw emotions.  DC and Marvel had to figure out how, in a universe filled with heroes, could terrorists succeed at destroying two buildings and coming close to destroying a third**.  With DC, their iconic heroes lived in fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham.  Superman can't be everywhere.  Marvel, though, has most of their heroes living in New York City, including the heavy hitters of the Avengers.  And, I, although not in the same league, have to figure the same thing out.  The S13-verse (my shorthand for the setting) is based on ideas from DC and Marvel, with analogues.  So, why couldn't my Avengers-analogue prevent the destruction?  And, how real time is the story?  At some point, I may even have answers.

Back to issue 7.  Maria signed over her daughter to what she thinks is Treasury.  Nasty, meanwhile, showed that being a hero is something she can do already.  She didn't have to help little Jimmy.  She didn't have to make sure he got to school safely.  She did, though.  Many people would have stood by, thinking "kids will be kids" or not even noticing.  Being the one to act is tough; it means having to put yourself in a position of responsibility.

The last scene is there to remind people what really is going on, in case something got missed in a previous issue.  The two people are still nameless and faceless, though at this point, I know who they are.  I just couldn't think of a way to show that.  Besides, nameless, faceless people of an evil corporation?  There's a reason why it's a cliche.

Tomorrow, Subject 13 #8, "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign", will be up.
Saturday, over at Fan To Pro, Lost in Translation takes a look at the nature of remakes, as I get ready for the penultimate and ultimate parts of The Avengers Adaptation.
Coming soon here, why Sharktopus was a better movie than Battleship.

* Not to trivialize the loss of family and friends who were working at or just visiting the World Trade Centre.  The destruction of the WTC is a major event in American history, from the attack happening to the reaction by the American people and the American government.
** I.e, the Pentagon.

15 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #7 - Morning Ride

Nasty woke up in the morning with a start.  The alarm sounded wrong, and the bed was uncomfortable.  She sat up, then realized where she was.  I'm in Rennie's room.  No need to panic.  Nasty looked around.  Rennie turned over in her bed, her dark hair a tangled mess.

"Stupid alarm," Rennie grumbled.  She smacked it, turning it off.  "What time is it?"

"Seven," Nasty answered.  "Why so early?"

"So I can hit snooze for another half hour."  Rennie flipped over on her stomach and was soon asleep again.

Nasty considered doing the same thing, but instead got out of her cot.  She stretched, working out the kinks the cot left her.  As quietly as she could, she gathered her school uniform and underwear, then left her friend's room.  She tiptoed to the bathroom, where she ran the water for a shower.  Making sure the water was hot enough for her, Nasty stripped out of her T-shirt and sweatpants, and stepped in.

The shower worked out Nasty's muscle aches, and she stepped out of the shower a few minutes later feeling refreshed.  She dressed, then walked downstairs into the kitchen.  Rennie's mother sat at the table, reading the newspaper.  She looked up as Nasty entered.

"Hi, Ms, um, Hayes," Nasty said.

"'Morning, Natasha.  It's 'Mrs.' now," Mrs. Hayes said.  "Sleep well?"

"I guess."

"Rennie still asleep?"

"She hit snooze."

"I see.  You know where the cereal is?"

"Think so."  Nasty opened a cupboard and looked over the choice of cereals.  She grabbed the box of rice crispies, then found a clean bowl.

"Another fight with your mom?" Mrs. Hayes asked as Nasty sat down at the table.

Gee, how'd you guess?  "Yeah, another," Nasty answered.  She poured milk on her cereal.  "It's getting bad between us.  I just want to move out."

"So she doesn't know you're here?"

"We weren't exactly speaking to each other."

"You should really try to get along with your mother, Natasha.  It's a shame, really, about you two."

"I can't live with her anymore," Nasty said, keeping her voice level.  "As soon as I'm in college, I'm out of there."

"Your mom's just looking out for you."

"She's got a funny way of showing it."  Nasty finished her breakfast.  "I'll see if Rennie's up."  She stood up, then left the kitchen.  Returning to her friend's room, she knocked softly.  Nasty heard soft grumbling from inside.  She entered.

"Up already?" Rennie asked as she turned over in her bed.

"I'm going to head off," Nasty said.  "I'll see you tonight."

"School?"  Rennie scrambled out of bed.  "Why don't you skip class today and spend it with me?"

"Can't.  The school'd call Mom, and then she'll storm in.  I just don't want a major scene."


Maria Giuliano woke at the sound of hammering.  She rolled off the couch, knocking over a couple of beer bottles.  "Alright already!" she grumbled.  Clutching her head, she shambled to the door.  She looked through the peephole and saw a blond man and a dark-haired woman, wearing similar suits.  Maria opened the door.  "Yeah?" she said.

"Ms Giuliano?" the woman asked.  "Maria Giuliano?"

Maria smoothed her clothes.  "That's me."

"May we speak to you about your daughter?" the man asked.

"What has that girl done now?" Maria said.  She turned, then yelled, "Natasha Teresa!  Get out here right now."

"May we come in, please?" the woman said, stepping into the doorway.

Maria turned back to the pair.  "Who are you?  The police?"

The man pulled out a badge and identification.  "Adam McArthur, Karen Walsh," he said.  "We're from the Treasury Department."

"Treasury?  Is this about the altie around here?  Shouldn't you be talking to the FBI?"

"The Secret Service takes over when a metahuman has been identified," Walsh said.  "Please, ma'am, may we come in?"

Maria stepped to the side to let the agents in.  She picked up the empty beer bottles around the couch.  "Please, have a seat.  I'll go get Natasha."  She left the living room to go check her daughter's bedroom.  "Natasha, I called you once.  Get out of bed, now."  The door to Nasty's bedroom was open.  Maria looked in the room, puzzled over why the door was open.  "Natasha?"  She looked around the room from the doorway.  Her daughter was nowhere to be seen.  Did she even come home last night?  Hell with her.  I've had enough.  She returned to the living room, where the agents sat on the couch.  "My daughter isn't home," Maria said.

"That's okay, Ms Giuliano," Walsh said.

"We just need you to sign some papers," McArthur said.  "Natasha is still a minor, so her parent or guardian has to sign the authority for her."


"Ms Giuliano," Walsh said, "your daughter turned herself in last night.  We're not pressing any charges against her, but we would like to get her into a proper training program so she can control her power."

"What about her school?" Maria asked.

McArthur removed papers from his suit pocket.  "We can take care of the school's paperwork, too, Ms Giuliano.  All you need to do is sign these, and your daughter will get the best care for metahumans."

Maria took the papers.  She unfolded them and read them over.  "I suppose.  Do you have a pen?"


Nasty mounted her motorcycle and left her friend waving to her.  Her jacket blocked the morning chill in the air, and she easily slipped through traffic.  Away.  I need to get away from here.  Maybe Rennie is up for a road trip.  A crowd on the sidewalk caught Nasty's attention.  Several girls and boys stood around a smaller boy.  None looked to be older than eleven years old.  Nasty pulled over to the curb to watch, taking off her helmet.  The gang pushed the smaller boy around, causing him to fall.  Nasty dismounted, took off her helmet, and walked over.

"Leave him alone," Nasty ordered, looming over the children.

"We're just playin'," a girl said.

"Yeah.  Tell her, Jimmy," a boy added.

"We're just playin'," Jimmy, the boy on the ground, snuffled.

"See?" the first girl said.

Nasty glared at the children.  A younger boy fidgeted under Nasty's gaze, then slowly began to back up.  "Leave him alone," Nasty repeated.  "Don't you have school to go to?"

The children slowly walked away, warily watching Nasty.  She bent down beside Jimmy, who inched away from her.  Nasty smiled, trying to reassure the boy.  "Are you okay?" she asked.

"I guess."

"Do you live around here?  Where are your parents?"

"I shouldn't talk to strangers."

Nasty held out a hand to Jimmy.  "Let me help you up."

Jimmy got back to his feet on his own.  "I hafta go to school."  He ran off.

Nasty returned to her motorcycle.  They're gonna wait for him.  She checked her watch.  If I'm late, I'm late.  She started the engine, and followed little Jimmy.  Nasty saw the group of children several times, waiting.  A rev of her engine sent the kids scurrying away each time.  Jimmy reached his school and found his friends on the playground.  Nasty kept an eye on him for a few minutes before turning off her bike.  She saw the gang of tormentors still around, watching Jimmy.

They're not going to leave him alone today, Nasty thought.  She spotted a teacher in the yard.  Nasty took off her helmet and jacket as she dismounted her motorcycle.  She walked to the edge of the playground, then waved to get the teacher's attention.

"This is school property, young lady," the teacher, a middle-aged woman said.  "You'll have to leave."

"There was a problem with one of the kids," Nasty said.  "Some older kids were picking on him, pushing him around."  She pointed at the pack.  "Over there.  They kept trying to ambush Jimmy."

"I'll make sure the issue is dealt with," the teacher said.

"Can you keep an eye on Jimmy?  I think they'll still go after him after school."

"I'll keep an eye on him and call his parents."  The teacher looked over Nasty.  "Seward?  You're a little out of your way.  How long have you been watching Jimmy?"

"A few blocks."

"Are you going to be late?"

Nasty shrugged.  "School isn't as important as a kid's right to left alone by bullies.  I just don't like seeing a gang preying on someone."

"I'll look after Jimmy.  You should get going, too, um, I'm sorry, I never caught your name."

"Natasha.  Natasha Giuliano."

"You should get going, Natasha.  Do you need a note or anything?"

"Nah, I think I can get there in time."  Nasty started to return to her motorcycle.

"Thanks for looking after Jimmy."


"Sir, Subject 6 has reported in.  The girl's mother has signed her over."

"Excellent.  They are bringing the girl in now?"

"The girl wasn't home when Subjects 6 and 11 visited.  They're going to her school to pick her up.  The girl's mother was very helpful in telling them what the school expects."

"Will we have the girl by the end of the day?"

"I have full confidence in Subjects 6 and 11."


Subject 7
Name: Elaine (Elly) Wells
Birthdate: May 16, 1979
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Sex: Female
Eyes:   Hazel
Hair:   Dark brown
Distinguishing Marks:
Hair colour changes upon the whim of Subject 7.

Mother: Isabelle Wells, nee Lopez
Father: Ernest Wells

Paranormal Abilities:
Enhanced reflexes, best estimate through testing is five times the human norm.  Strength and endurance appear to have been improved, however causality is still being investigated.

Other Notes:
See file:\\FS16735-1\Subjects\7\analysis.doc - Subject 7 will, without warning, change her mind drastically.  This has threatened at least one assignment.  It is expected that she will turn on us in the future.  When, not if but when, this happens, Subject 7 is expendable and to be eliminated.

[End Issue 7]

Next Issue:  Now that Maria has signed her daughter away, what will happen to Nasty?

14 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #6 - Commentary

As always, better read the issue before continuing.
Issue 6 wraps up the night of interviews.  The issues are short in part because this is an early writing attempt by me (summer 2000), and in part because I was at work for most of the writing and had to do this between calls (and sometimes during; still solved the caller's problem).  Nasty stormed home despite her mother using her full first and middle names.  Then, Nasty ran away from home.  Sort of.
Along comes a info mini-dump.  Basically, what Nasty knows, what she can't figure out, what happened to her shoulder (I bet people were wondering if I forgot about that).  Nasty's going through a cultural shift; her old school was up to deal with students who pushed the boundaries.  Seward goes for counselling instead; private school, wouldn't really want to lose a source of income; at the same time, the school has students there who want to learn.  Maria might be on to something.
Rennie's family is slightly complicated.  Her parents are divorced and have been for a while.  Both have new spouses, though Rennie isn't all that impressed, especially with Paula.  Rennie and Nasty understand each other, though.  Nasty's best friend her age.
And, at the end, Maria returns home finally.  And, to show how upset she is with her daughter, she unleashes the full name.  No one persists in their behaviour after their mother uses first, middle, and last name.  So, the lack of response is odd, to say the least.  And, well, Nasty picked up her language skills from someone.
Friday, look for Issue #7.  Over at Fan To Pro, I'll have Lost in Translation 52 up Saturday morning, continuing the Avengers Adaptation series.

10 Feb 2013

Introducing Rufus

Back a bit, I gushed over D&D Next's ability to allow swashbucklers right out of the box.  I even figured out three different ways to create a swashbuckler.  With the new season of D&D Encounters, I decided to put one into action.

Meet Rufus.  Rufus takes the cleric build I mentioned in the previous entry.  Jester background, cleric of a trickster god, with a switch up on the specialty to add a bit more healing oomph.  But the mechanics are just one part of any player character, a minor part at that.  This is where Rufus goes beyond the race-class combo.  You see, Rufus is loosely based on his namesake in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Some of the idea comes from being a jester.  A benefit of the background is to land performing jobs at taverns and inns in return for room and meal.  "Performing" covers a wide area, from song and dance to instrumentals to comedy.  Stand-up comedy.  Got me to thinking.  What would be the best prank to pull on an audience in a tavern that doesn't involve spiking the ale?  What if a cleric could give a sermon and not have anyone realize it yet still spread the message of his deity until the reveal at the end?

Rufus owes a lot to George Carlin, not only for the name, but for the approach to sermonizing.  Carlin knew the best way to get people thinking is to get them laughing.  That's the approach my Rufus is taking.  His message, representing his deity's, is "Be excellent to each other."  A simple, yet powerful message, meant to crossover societal levels.  To introduce it to the masses as a stand-up routine?  Best prank ever.

The world this season of Encounters is in isn't as fleshed out as Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms.  The gods are so-far unnamed, with a lawful/chaos dichotomy going.  Trickster gods tend to slide to the chaotic side of the chart.  The town guard trends towards lawful.  There will be a bit of conflict there, though Rufus is set to talk himself out of trouble if needed.  However, as part of an adventuring party, his role will be to tend to the wounded.  He just happens to be able to tend to the morale of the party, too.

So, I am looking forward to seeing how Rufus as a PC does when he encounters the plot.  D&D Encounters tended to focus on combat encounters, but that was a product of D&D 4th Edition[link].  D&D Next feels more organic, less designed for set pieces.  This season of Encounters was designed for both versions (locally, there'll be at least one table of each version).

I'll end this by letting Rufus get the last words.  "Three things to remember.  First, tip your waitress.  Really, they work hard getting you ale.  Second, be excellent to each other.  And, third, party on, dudes!"

8 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #6 - Fall Out

[Once again, a reminder that Subject 13 contains coarse language.  The rest of the story is below the cut.]

"Natasha!  Natasha, where are you?"

Nasty stared at her right hand as it glowed purple.  C'mon, stop already!

7 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #5 - Commentary

Again, go read the issue before continuing.

The past three issues have built up the setting, expanded the cast, and introduced plot elements.  A slow build up, but, like winter, a payoff is coming.

Issue #5 starts off with the Consortium, and sets out their plan.  And the title of the series should now make sense, even if it took five issues to get to the call out.  The Consortium has people who understand bureaucracy, too.  Bureaumancy isn't a superpower.

Nasty and her mother really do have problems.  Again, the view of their relationship has been one-sided, so the truth could be something else.  And, yes, Nasty has a potty-mouth.  I may have mentioned that I created the character while working as phone firewall for an ISP.  She got to say things I wasn't allowed to, especially to people who I really wanted to say it to.*

The big thing is Nasty's mother finally got a name!  Maria!  Nothing special about the name; I just figured an Italian Catholic would name her eldest daughter that.  Nothing special about the teacher's name, other than Nordberg comes from Police Squad and the subsequent Naked Gun movies.  Sometimes I can find a decent name; other times, I have to reach.  Nordberg was a character needed for the role of "English teacher" and not necessarily a major persona outside of allowing me to show off Nasty and Maria.  I could probably do an entire entry on how I go about naming characters at some point.

Nasty also does some flip-flopping.  To be fair, she had her reasons that seemed important at the time but now she wants to go back on them.  The confidence Nasty exudes is somewhat superficial at times, especially when she's out of her element.  Nasty can also be a little vindictive.  She's not a perfect person by any stretch.  She has a mean streak and will find ways to take it out on others.  Room for character growth, though.  Something that a serial drama needs.

Tia is a new character, at least for the series.  She was planned in advance, one part foil, one part, well, that comes out much, much later.  Eric returns, mainly because mushy!Nasty was fun to write.  Here, though, more depth.  Did I say Tia was a foil?  More rival, really, at least here.  Eric gets to be the apex of a love triangle and he's probably completely oblivious to it all.  And, with Nasty's emotions running hot already, what better time to ramp up the problem and have her fist flare?  (Hence, the title, partially.)

Tomorrow, Issue #6 hits the blog.  Saturday, look for my post at Fan To Pro as Lost in Translation looks at the upcoming Superman reboot and his origins, along with superhero origins in general.

 * She also got to hit people without getting into trouble, but that's out of scope for this issue.

1 Feb 2013

Subject 13 #5 - Flare Out

Once again, Nasty uses strong language.  Reader discretion advised.

"Sir, Subjects 4 and 7 have checked in.  The Giuliano girl was the metahuman behind the attack.  Subject 4 confirmed that with a scan of her mind.  The girl's mother knows about her ability, too.  The power manifested recently."

"Your hunch paid off again."