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Musings on marine martial arts
30th Mar, 2008

Image if you will, a marine is in combat without weapons against a skilled unarmed opponent. The closest target area in relation to the arms is the opponent’s guard. The Marine ignores the head an body and grabs the guard. In this case the opponent’s arms (it could be a spear etc. or any hand weapon held in a guard that is outstretched to the front).

The marine grabs the opponent’s arm (snatch, slightly circular punch with open hand), and while most skilled opponent shouldn’t have any trouble getting out of a grab, this poor fellow finds the marine is too strong (plus the armoured gauntlets) and they can’t twist out of it, the marine’s thumb is not weak point in their grip, and the opponent is held fast. (a regular human can use the same tactic but they have to move in while their opponent is defeating their grab, as most human aren’t strong enough to maintain an outstretched grab hold around the arm)

The marine crushes the arm in the grab, snapping bones and pulls the (out of range (head/ body)) opponent towards them for a finisher. The marine isn’t chasing after their opponents, instead the marines snatch what comes close and drags their opponent to them.

In comparison to a striking style, and in single combat, this is no more difficult than punching at a guard (the most commonly known use I imagine is boxing). Swap the punch impact for an open hand grab. A quick snatch.

When the marine is facing  multiple combatants, the same thing applies; snatch and pull. The marine draws people to them to be destroyed. This also deals with over-commitment problem as the arm is much faster and quicker to recover than the whole body – a fast deadly opponent (Eldar/ Nid) is going to find it harder to catch the marine over-balanced. I think marines are very good at retaining their balance (for their size they know it would be a weakness) and rarely overreach or chase their opponents.

As to other techniques used to speed up the butchery, a marine could literally grab the arm, force the person down and knee them in the face or body (about the right (optimal) height considering the difference in size). A bit comical imagining them ‘marching’ through a crowd like this, but considering their armour it wouldn’t be a problem. Using one arm means they can still hold their weapon.

This grab and pull would, as I mentioned earlier, defeat many conventional hand weapons; from two handed swords (with guards such of the plough or ox) and spears, to single handed weapons and shields. It is the marines grip that is deadly, and just like a medieval gauntlet they can grab a ‘live’ blade with their power gauntlets and not care. They can use one arm to deflect high one handed mace blows and the other to grab their shield and pull the bearer down (the Bolter is heavily armoured and could act as a shield of a sorts). Marines are hand grapple fighters, and this is how I imagine the Techno-Barbarians (makes me think of techno music and barbarians all freaking out at a rave!) of ancient Terra used to fight with their powered torsos – the forerunner of the Mark 1 ‘Thunder Armour’ used by the first marines. A legacy I image would carry over to current marine close combat systems.

In general terms the snatch and grab means no second chances for the opponent to recover. I see marines as being all about the business and they wouldn’t waste their strength advantage in combat. It also allows them to grab weapons and turn them on the bearer, in many ways the marines do not need to carry hand weapons into combat because the enemy will supply the levers (weapon) of their own destruction. A weapon is just a way for a marine to get to a person quicker (if the opponent is stupid enough to hang on). Kinda like combat fishing.

I think it is very interesting inventing combat arts for the marine. I believe it’s a good idea to draw inspiration from many of the current arts, but not limited by them: think of the possibilities!

Updating website
28th Mar, 2008

I’ve been a little distracted updating my website in my spare time. It has been long overdue, and was becoming quite a mess. I hope the new site will be easier to get around, and allow me to expand on some of the concepts on the site. One area I really want to tackle more is the Adeptus Mechanicus. I find the idea of exploring super advanced technology yet retaining the feel of 40K and the religious feel is great fun.

Adeptus Mechanicus

My theory on the Adeptus-Mechanicus ‘religious’ practices is that is may be more like Buddhist chanting to induce a meditative state that allows the priests to access their electrografts (knowledge implants). This gives a good reason for their carry on, and in a way makes it seem like a region to untrained eyes (like Buddhist is more philosophy than religion, but often taken as a religion like Christianity or Islam). Even their incense may have meditative enhancement qualities (drugs). There chants may also be voice activated passwords, and the interface screen may be in their heads hidden from view. The Implants building a monitor screen in the Tech-Priests imagination. They may even be linked via wi-fi.

Advanced technology may not look like our modern technology. It may look like magic, but it’s not. It’s use may give us an impression of religion, but it’s not. The science of 40k may look to us the same way western science looked to tribes in the Amazon.

As to how it become so advanced I think that depends how you imagine it all. Information of the Dark Age is scare. I think what the Dark Age brought fourth is a technology so advanced and mind bending that humans would never understand it without help (implants). The machines invented devices that humans couldn’t. So the loss of the machines is not so much the loss of all technology, but the loss of all the really high tech technology that humans couldn’t have made anyway. I image 40K advanced tech to be so advanced that even we would look at it with a quizzical expression.

Phoenix Rising
27th Feb, 2008

Seems the Dark Heresy is rising from the ashes via Fantasy Flight Games, which is great news. It’s still not POD (which I will continue to jump up and down about), but it’s great to hear it will continue to be available.

It will be interesting to see how things develop game and background wise, and what the lads and lasses at FFG come up with. The BI team created Dark Heresy in the bosom of GW, 40K vets with access to the studio, and I wonder how development will be handled in the future.

FFG have a forum, and I wonder if all the RPG fans will jump over? The fans often like both the novels and the games, and I see them as tightly linked, so splinting the fan base across two official forums could prove difficult in a ‘business sense’ – in that BL banned wargame discussion on the BL forum as they do not deal with the wargame rules (different department), so will they ban RPG discussion? I wonder if there will there be a similar policy on the FFG forums about BL fiction (seeing as BL fiction is not their company)?

Anyway, it’s good to see it will not die out, and I wish FFG the best of luck ;)

Philip

Fantasy Flight Games

Edit [6 Mar 08]: yep, the BL has shut the boards. All jump to the new FFG 40K Forum.

The Knife
27th Feb, 2008

I am so easily distracted at times…

My mind is an altered state naturally, so this seems perfectly normal;

Link: https://youtu.be/xKAvv-UnWhk

And yes: I love it!

While I’m at it, you can’t top this;

dead link: http://www.youtube.com/v/skBlEbsM0jM&hl=en&fs=1

OK: shows over, it’s really just an excuse to try out the embedding of videos using wordpress :P

Philip

Marine Mind
21st Feb, 2008

I quite like the idea that the only reason marines are given, or allowed to retain, a mind that can think like a regular human is so they can beat them!

I imagine their ‘human’ side as a personality matrix, a sub-routine which is no more than an artificial implant. This implant is a mixture of Electrograft with neuropath reorganisation and restructuring, and patterning with psycho-indoctrination.

In the books and novels produced by BL, I image that the side you hear is this ‘implant’, not the actual mind of the marine. The personality matrix is a stand in, a charismatic ‘father figure’ generated by the implant’s control of facial features and body gesture. All orchestrated to engender a feeling authority and trust.

The marine’s mind in ‘reality’ is totally alien to a regular human and thinks in very strange ways (like Confucius on steroids). It is constantly working behind the mask, musing on strategy and simulations in conjunction with the machine spirit of the implant. While in communication with a human it’s mind is silent (apart from the personality matrix twittering on). The marine, even in conversation is not distracted, instead it is watching your every move, it (he) anticipates the sudden attack, it is constantly scanning it’s surroundings, it is using it suit’s enhanced sensor to scan, to check for concealed bombs. It is uploading imagines of those about it for logs and recognition matrices in the ether of the machine spirit, it is always watching, it never stops, it wants to kill you, and it will as soon as you give it an excuse.

To emphasize the point, a marine could be friendly and civil to you for 20 years, you could even consider the marine a friend, but if you were to say something heretical or say a word on its watch list you would be dead before you finished the sentence.

These marines have more in common with the terminator than a human, that’s why I refer to them as ‘it’ not ‘he’. There are no more than machines of flesh. All very Rogue Trader era in flavour.

Philip

Noise Marines
19th Feb, 2008

Noise Marine obviously use ‘sonic weapons’ so you probably think they require air (atmosphere) to propagate the sound wave right?

Wrong! Noise Marines use ‘soul scream’ technology, a bastardised version of Eldar technologies derived from ancient Slann devices, tweaked by the power of chaos and amped up with the raw energies of the warp!

Soul Scream technology uses border-space to propagate the ‘reality waves’, think of them a concussive wave form of power-field energy riding the ether. They are tuned to disrupt the link between a human and their warp image, to directly interfere with the psyker umbilical link to our dreams, to rend our very soul. Being overwhelmed by these waves can induce madness, and in so doing the link can become stronger and the person consumed with base desired and over emotion. Such a person who falls, become craven and demonic, adoring fans of the noise marines. They are know as the fallen, the groupie of the Noise Marines.

When a Noise Marine strums out stairway to heaven on their sonic guitars, the high notes shed your sanity with volume that should by all rights burst your eardrums, the middle notes distort your soul, and their bass plunking really hit home to the bone, and may even shatter and inflict injuries.

Many think they can resist the power of a Noise Marine, but burst eardrums will not save you, neither will armour or psyker powers. All who hear shall fall, and cavort and writhe to the music of the warp. Such is the art of the Noise Marines, first Adorations of Slaanesh, idolic champions of pain and pleasure.

Philip

Daggers and Reach
18th Feb, 2008

I was reading through my copy Dark Heresy and noticed that the conventional wisdom of RPGs continues in that there are no reach rules for weapons, and that daggers have once again been knobbled to the point of ridiculousness. In this case 1D5 (Rending), which doesn’t mean much unless you have the book, but it’s the same as a shield.

Daggers are lethal: a stab to the eye will kill, even a 4” blade can slit a throat with ease, and a mere 2” stab to the solar-plexus will take away the victim’s breath, incapacitate them and kill them as every Roman knew back in the old days.

A dagger thrust into a person’s body will hit as hard as a sword thrust or a one hand spear thrust. There is no leverage. When a person hews (swings) with a weapon like a sword, the length of the weapon adds leverage to the swing and this increases speed and enhances power of the impact, but a thrust is as hard as a person can push, and a long weapon does not make you push any harder.

The only limit to the dagger, the only thing that relegates them to the role of backup weapon and not a primary weapon is the fact that they are short. That’s it. As a backup weapon they excel: in a grapple the dagger is king. It is short enough to be used up close and personal, they are the only effective weapon when two combatants are rolling around in a death grip. The dagger is the last line of weaponised defence, even knights used them and they were the lords of combat, they totally ruled combat.

Knights carried daggers, because that is often how you finish off an enemy. Longswords are great for mowing down the peasants but against another knight they are pretty poor, and a knight had to resort to half-swording and morte striking. However, his opponent was more often than not just as skilled, and many a contest went strait to a stalemate bind, followed by a bit of grappling at the sword before the pair are rolling about in the dirt.

This is where the trusty backup comes in handy. A dagger, often no more than a narrow spike (or stiletto), has not problem fitting between the gaps in a knights visor. This allows the wielder to jab it though the slit, into the soft eye and right into the brain with virtually no resistance. The dagger can also avoid tough plate armour in general by fitting through the gaps between the plates. A stab under the arm, into the arm pit, is another easy to find spot that takes the air and kills. The dagger is lethal, and chainmail offers no resistance, even the layers of canvas backing offer no help, and a dagger will go straight through.

In comparison to a shield the dagger is far more dangerous, and up close far better at killing.

When are RPGs going to take dagger seriously? Warriors carry these weapons with damn good reason, the reason is that if you encounter a warrior of similar skill and they fight you to a draw the dagger is the one thing that could save you, and you can bet your adversary is carrying one.

I think daggers should have a special rule ‘find weakness’ and if a PC wins a grapple, they can stab their opponent in a weak spot, avoiding armour and this results in an auto kill (or auto critical).

I also think there should be better rules for a bind, any successful parry can be converted into a bind, and a bind allows for a grapple. Basically this is like step one of the grapple rules on page 197. Once grappled, whip out the dagger and finish them.

Lock and dagger.

No messing about.

Philip

Politico
16th Feb, 2008

I like to keep up with current events, and as such I’ve had a quick glance at the US party nomination campaigns. Then I had another glance for a bit longer, a bit of a read and thought I was done. Then I was back again. Normally I can’t stand politicians; I look at Gordon Brown and feel a wave of lethargy wash over me, the only sight that tops that is David Cameron blathering on about something he hasn’t got a clue about. If I watch him for too long it’s a ‘code blue’ and someone has to restart my heart with a defibrillator! My next vote in a general election will be spoiled ballot with ‘none of the above’ penned in by my own hand. The Queen rakes in enough money, give her a go, she can’t be any worse that these lot (Oliver Cromwell would be spinning in his grave!)

So what’s this got to do with the price of fish?

Yeah, yeah, I know this is supposed to be a sci-fi site, but this is my blog so shut it with the complaints! It has nothing to do with anything, other than I wish we had some more interesting politicians. The two over in the US who have grabbed my attention are Ron Paul and Barrack Obama. One is a libertarian republican, and the other is a liberal democrat. Now it seems to my uninformed, doesn’t know the first thing about American politics other than it sucks (much like ours) mind, is that both want to ‘change’ things as they all do, but these two seem to really want to change things – but in two different ways.

Barack Obama wants to reach across the isle and form a coalition with the republications and independents to actually get something done that will benefit someone other that corporations. He spends a lot of time speaking about why Americans should do this (I think he has to spend a lot of time on it, because it’s like asking to gangs to kiss and make up – it’s going to be hard, but he seems to be doing it). I have even read through this plans, they make a lot of sense in a ‘liberal’ type of way, but they don’t address the fundamentals. And this is where Ron Paul comes in.

Ron Paul actually worried me the first time I heard him talk, but that’s more down to my lack of understanding of the American system. I didn’t know the difference between federal and state government in relation to his arguments, and most of the dumping of social security just means shifting it to the state level. After reading a shit load of stuff and watching many a You Tube video, I can honestly say I have a lot of respect for Ron Paul, because he really doesn’t pull his punches. The biggie is the removal of the Federal Reserve and dumping income tax.

Handshake: So, how do I reconcile these two… well Ron Paul is a libertarian, and it turns out a lot of his views aren’t that abhorrent to the democrats. Some democrats have even run for office using Ron Paul material – and won! Considering Barrack wants to reach across the isle, and Ron Paul is pretty much at odds with the higher echelons within the current Republican party – is there are chance of a handshake?

I think Barrack may win the democrat’s nomination, thought it’s not certain, and I can’t think of a more powerful symbol of cross party cooperation that a Obama – Paul ticket (though Hillary would go ballistic). Perhaps if he doesn’t win the nomination due to the super-delegates acting an ass, I think an Obama – Ron Paul on an independent ticket would really shake things up. Besides if Ron Paul is in charge of the economy, the US may actually be able to pay for Barack’s plans, or any plan for that matter. A combination of unifying and inspirational people management with sound economic policy… (this isn’t going to happen is it? Anything that make that much sense is doomed to not come about)

All sounds like great fun, and they are both fun to watch, that’s if you have the net considering the big media censorship of Ron Paul (this may be the first time you heard of him). Go to you tube and have a look. If Barrack Obama becomes the president and Ron Paul the Vice-President I may actually up sticks and move to the USA – for a month! :p what can I say, I’m British and love Britain. I just find our politicians to be incredibly dull and unimaginative.

Mug: Hmm, I think the problem with British politics, as proved by the surge in support for both Obama and Ron Paul among young people, is not that people are apathetic; it’s just that they don’t like what is on offer. It’s like asking a person which mugger would they like to rob them – obviously they say neither, but some else who isn’t going to get robbed gets to vote too, and that’s where the problem is. Our last general election, only 61% of people came out to vote, and of those put labour rose to power on 35% of that, or 21 (21.59%) of the registered electorate. That’s one fifth of the population imposing their will on four fifths.

Block ’em: I think we should have a ‘blocking vote’. If the blocking vote wins an election for an MP, no MP is elected to parliament, instead the people are represented with a ‘blocker’ that always casts a ‘block’ vote in parliament (they can put a wooden dummy in the seat to represent the blocker – no one would notice the difference) A block vote is not a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, it’s a ‘block’, The ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote has to be higher than the blocking vote to win. If the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote is lower than the blocking vote the bill is ‘blocked’, it’s not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but a ‘try again’, and I see no reason to limit the number of tries as long as changes are being made. Nice and simple. I bet if we had a system like that we would get better politicians who actually wanted to find out what people thought.

Imagine if they (the government) started talking about tough sacrifices we all have to make, and how we must rush off to war, only to see loads of blockers turn up in parliament voted in via by-elections as the bills bite, and war continues.

Now that’s real power.

Games, games and more games: Back to games. It’s fun thinking about games, and in designing games it’s possible to look at quite complex problems and see a way to ‘correct’ them in our imagination. To tweak the system. After all politics is often referred to as a game.

I think I’ll use the ‘Block vote’ as some form of Imperial version of democracy, where a full block of parliament results in the Imperium stepping in as a provisional government while the Arbites got to work rooting out corruption and destroying rejected parties.
Armchair politics :p

Philip

The Dragons
6th Feb, 2008

I was checking my site traffic, which unfortunately is one of those many nerdy things I do on a disturbingly regular basis, and I have been continually surprised at the truly global nature of my readership. I was getting a lot of hits from Russia and China these last few months; it seems the Russian like my Bolter Page, and the Chinese are curious about my home brew chapter: The Dragons.

While everyone loves Bolters (what’s not to like?), I am very pleased that the Dragons are getting around China, as they are based on Chinese Dragon mythos (and a bit of History). I wanted to include other cultures from around the world and it seems to have paid off in a small way. I immediately went off Googling to see what I could find, and I struck gold and found a few forum pages – translated them – and it seems pretty positive.

The Dragons are a bit of an experiment, as I wanted to showthe Alpha Legion’s MO (a Chaos Legion) on the one hand and how they could usurp a loyalist chapter, but on the other I didn’t want it to be certain that the Dragons really were Alpha Legion.

I like the idea that chaos is not always blatant, and by leaving it vague I hoped to provoke the emotion within us (our chaos), to let uncertainty flourish and allow the reader to jump to conclusions based on what they see. It is purposely debatable either way. Though I must say that I do like the idea that each ‘Dragon House’ is a head of a Hydra, I also like the idea that the Inquisition were up to no good (as they often are!). In truth, when writing it I image the Dragons to be loyal, and both chaos and/ or the inquisition are attempting to undermine them from both the chaos and law extremes, yet the Dragons enforce their autonomy and stand tall.

Philip

The Dragons

The death of Black Industries (RIP)
6th Feb, 2008

BI (Black Industries) is being killed of for the good of GW and to divert more resources into the novel lines: Black Industries Announcement.

In case you didn’t know, BI was part of the Publishing Division of Games Workshop known as the Black Library (thankfully BL is continuing) which was responsible for producing RPGs based on the worlds of Warhammer and they did a fantastic job.

This really was a huge shock as they had just released the drop dead gorgeous 40K RPG ‘Dark Heresy’ to whoops of delight from just about everyone; fans and press alike. It seems to have surprised everyone in the RPG community, though many of the old cynics seem to take it on the chin and pointed out ‘what did you expect from GW’ as they flounced off.

First of, I have to say I was pissed. Not so much for GW binning the RPG and me being upset to see the RPG droped, but can you imagine all the blood, tears and sweat it must have taken the BI team to crack out this product to such a high standard that rabid fans have been waiting for over 20 years for it fell in love instantly, only to have that successes and rare glory (trust me it’s really rare among Warhammer fans) and have that all ripped away within a few weeks of release?

The special edition sold out in 6 minutes, a copy sold on ebay for just over £500. Now the regular book is getting on to be rare than hen’s teeth. It’s been a huge hit.

Dave, everyone, I feel for you. This sucks lemons.

My creative fight back side kicked in, and I tried to put out some ideas to get the RPG back in play, a vain attempt to rally the troops;

= Novels and RPG link? =
= Would you buy 40K RPG as a POD? =

But obviously it was futile (I knew it was futile deep down) but I felt I had to do something as it felt so wrong. I suppose anyone who’s been through this type of thing is going to feel it when they see another go through it. I just think it was a really nasty thing to happen, and I hope GW has a very good reason for doing it (though as I say it, I suspect the suits are doing their usual business hack and slash in times of trouble, thinking selling RPGs is like flogging washing machines. Over the years I sometimes wonder is any of the top brass actually play the games or even like the fans)

Rest in peace BI, I liked the buzz and the crowd over there, a decent community full of creativity, I hope all that passion finds a new home – long live Warhammer!

Dark Heresy