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7906  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 16, 2009, 04:37:36 AM
Well that's part of the problem -- to the average person, comics and superheroes are essentially the same thing because that's essentially what the mainstream industry in America publishes to the exclusion of most else for newstand distribution. The only non-Supers book I've ever seen in that market with any sort of regularity are comedy books -- mostly The Simpsons -- and occasionally some of the Dark Horse Star Wars books. Thanks to the depredations of mid 20th Century censorship, the horror and pulp comics that used to be the industry's mainstay are long gone, and the war comics boom was mostly a WWII propaganda phenomena that was quickly killed off.

It's only when you go to a specialty comics store that you realise the true diversity of the medium -- mostly because comic shops are the only place to easily access the indy publishers, which frankly includes the mature-readers targeted Vertigo books -- and even then superheroics still massively predominates (not surprising given it's essentially physically idealised people nude bouncing around the pages (largely) without the actual nudity to get in the way of things.

And honestly I wouldn't touch most manga because while there are some great dynamic story telling techniques, the art is all too often hideously alien -- sure superheroines might have perfectly spherical breasts the size of their head, but they have faces the dimensions of which are obviously humanly normal, unlike far far too much manga where the women have the absurd breasts AND faces that look they belong to the evolutionary ancestors of the grey aliens. You'll notice that those manga-based animes that have really hit it off here have had phenomenal story telling AND recognisably western-styled art, though the current generation who have been raised with anime are far more accepting of it because it's been made normal to them.
7907  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Origins on: January 15, 2009, 09:34:01 PM
The final fight in P1 shows their natural IR sight to be fairly poor and flaring crazily -- once Dutch gets more than a few yards ahead of him, he basically has to track him by sound (and likely scent -- the inside of those mandible flaps probably work in a manner identical to a snake's tongue). The helmet not only increases their natural visual range but also filters it like crazy for them.

The fact they have natural IR vision at all suggests that they should actually come from a cold planet because IR in a hot enviroment is actually a massive hinderance and hunting in hot conditions is probably something of a display of machismo rather than them being cry babies about Earth being a little on the nippy side (and AVP did show them happily running around in their usual armoured lingerie in the Antartic). but most of the EU stuff has stupidly run in the opposite direction (as does AVP2)
7908  Community / Off-Topic / Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 15, 2009, 09:25:06 PM
A good place to start is scans_daily on live journal and follow the Batman tag -- in particular the Rumble in Gotham posts. At the moment someone's recapping the massive Cataclysm crossover (see below).

The Batman events over the 90s start with Knightfall (Batman is outwitted and outmatched by new character Bane, who eventually snaps Batman's back like a twig in front of most of the GCPD) followed by Knight Quest (Bruce searches the world for a magical cure for his Christopher Reeve status while his annointed successor -- deprogrammed cult supersoldier Azrael -- proceeds to beat Bane and go insane   as a parable explaining why the whole 90s extreme!!!!! character trend didn't belong in the bat books) and Knight's End (Bruce retrains as Batman in order to take down AzBat).
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The next event -- in scale something of a lull between what came before and what is to follow -- is Contagion and its followup Legacy, where Gotham (amongst other cities) is struck by a massively virulent disease. After saving the city, the BAt clan track down the culprit
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Following that is Cataclysm, where Gotham's hit by this massive freak earthquake, and left utterly devastated. BGeing the forward thinker that he is, all Wayne buildings are quakeproof -- except for the manor, which collapses into the Batcave. Effectively a changing of the guard period as the then current writers were given a chance to wrap things up before they were all replaced with new blood.

This immediately segues into No Man's Land, where the sheer scale of devasation sees Gotham evacuated of all who are willing to leave then just fenced off from the rest of the country and declared to no longer be part of America (so imagine New Orleans after Katrina as the result of actual policy rather than simple ineptitude). Gotham basically breaks down into a massive turf war, with Gordon's cops as one of the gangs, with surprisingly a mysterious new Batgirl and a redeemed (but still mad) Two-Face stepping up as Gotham's protectors. Batman, realising that only Bruce Wayne can put things to rights is essentially exiled from his beloved city for a good half of the story line but eventually returns to spearhead the reclaiming of the Gotham.
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Bruce Wayne: Murderer followed by Bruce Wayne: Fugitive (as mentioned earlier in the thread -- Bruce along with his new unwanted bodyguard Sasha Bordeaux are framed for the murder of long time casual girlfriend Vesper Fairchild; Sasha would go on to become a member and then leader of the US covert agency Checkmate).
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The next couple of years are quiet in the Batbooks, but feature the month-long Officer Down storyline where Gordon is shot and decides to retire. Also significant during this period is the relaunch of the Catwoman title responsible for the character's somewhat Emma Peelish looking new look (a vast improvement over her 90s purple body stocking) and return to more street-level escapades. During the run of her new series, Selina is eventually forced to murder Batvillain Black Mask in order to protect her family and friends, as well as past crimes against them. During the whole One Year Later plot forced on DC by the events of Infinite Crisis, Selina is replaced as Catwoman for a while by her friend Holly when she winds up pregnant with a baby girl -- named Helena as an attempt to invoke the pre-Crisis era as part of the mystery surrounding her parentage -- whom she is eventually forced to give up for adoption once her old enemies start targetting her child.

Also during this time we get the JLA mini series Identity Crisis. It's baaaad. It involves rape, murder, fridging and insanity. The salient details is that years ago a villain learns a bunch of secret IDs and in order to safeguard their loved ones a majority of the JLA decide to have Zatanna mindwipe him. Batman -- of whom I once saw a ridiculously long list of people who know his -- in yet another stunning display of inexplicable Batdickery, for some reason violently objects to this (I guess because letting it go ahead  makes him look like a monumental jerk for not simply brain wiping the Joker into not murdering thousands of people?) so has his memory of the incident erased too. When he finds out what was done, he builds an AI satellite to track all super human activity on the planet. This sattelite is later subverted by Maxwell Lord and alternate reality Luthor to create the unwitting killer borgs mentioned by 3, culminating in the events of Infinite Crisis and yet another brutalisation of the Amazons and the character assassination of Wonder Woman (Max Lord, using a mind controlled Superman to murder Batman, tells Wonder Woman while bound by her lasso that the only to save Batman and stop Superman murdering countless more heroes is to kill Max himself. So she breaks his neck, saving the day. The AI however simply posts the image of her killing Lord all over the world and instead of supporting her to the world, Bruce and Clark bitch and moan at her in private for somehow betraying them. The clearly antagonistic world court treats her more fairly than her friends and publically exhonerates her.

Then we come to the anvilicious introduction of a new Batvillain named Hush. Though an attempt is made to to keep the character's true identity a mystery to be solved
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Aware of Bruce's dual identity, his plan is to replace Bruce after having self-administed plastic surgery to make him look like him. Is fleshed out somewhat more competently under the pen of Paul Dini during which time he literally steals Catwoman's heart to replace her own which earns him the sort of beat down the Joker has wet dreams about receiving, after which Selina from her hospital bed completely and utterly destroys his fortune. Most recenty seen last month, dead broke and scamming Wayne's companies for start up cash before running afoul of Catwoman; sadly his prominent advertising as part of the Battle for the Cowl event (see below) speaks to his continued survival.

I should also mention that Hush faked the resurrection of a now adult Jason Todd (Robin II). However as a result of Infinite Crisis and Superboy Prime *sigh* punching the walls of reality Jason Todd is currently spontaneously alive as an adult. And exceptionally pissed at Bruce for not killing the Joker for having murdered him.

Batman R.I.P marks drug-addled brit writer Grant Morrison's ascension to the Batbooks and metaploting overlordship at DC. Basically a bunch of rich neer do wells called The Black Hand decided to destroy Batman for kicks and giggles. Bruce falls almost instantaneously for international jet-setting african socialite Jezebel Jett, reveals his secret identity to her and is then driven insane and doped up on "weapons grade meth" before being dumped in an alley.
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Then we have Final Crisis (if only) which is basically Morrison's "Wouldn't it be cool if Evil wins!" Magnum Opus in which, after having murdered every single one of Kirby's New Gods because DC didn't know what to do with the characters he has Darkseid pull a Xanatos Gambit that eventually sees Darkseid and his peeps, hanging on Earth in stolen human hosts, unleash the Anti-Life Equation via the internet and, well, win. Naturally Superman is off in some parallell dimension or such picking up the gizmo that will save the day. Wonder Woman -- just as naturally, because despite being billed as a member of the Big Three virtually no one at DC has any respect for her at all -- is either mindfragged or outright possessed into becoming one of Darkseid's minions off-screen. Batman, though... Darkseid has for some time held a kidnapped Batman in order to use him as the Jango Fett for his new army except Batman's so hardcore he defeats the dreamscape machine he's stuck in, killing all the clones connected to it he was meant to be imprinting his badassitude on, then kills Darkseid moments before Darkseid hits him with the old Omega beams.

Which brings us to Battle of the Cowl set to take place in the wake of Final Crisis in which prety much every major Bat family member -- including Hush and Damien, the latter is implied via promo art to become Robin for at least some amount of time -- in a battle over the legacy and the mantle of the Bat.
7909  Community / Off-Topic / Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 15, 2009, 01:47:01 PM
The Bruce/Batman balance and the degree of dickery he displays to the rest of the Batfamily has been a constant narrative cycle in the batbooks for the last 20 years at the very least. Batman is a dick to his family and friends -> situations arise because of that -> Bruce resolves to be a nicer guy -> new writer comes in -> Batman is a dick to his family and friends...

At one point, just prior to the mess of the Wargames crossover, he reached such a nadir of basic sane human decency in his never ending war that Tim Drake (Robin III) quit for a number of reasons, including getting away from Batman's frankly creepy and abusive behaviour "training". Batman's response was to behave as a complete and utter cunt by resorting to psychwar in hiring Tim's girlfriend  Steph as Robin IV in order to make Tim jealous. This young woman who essentially heroworships Batman is then set up, by her hero, to fail, being given a bare minimum of training necessary then callously fired when that training proved insufficient and she was forced to resort to the unsuccessful use of deadly force to save Batman's life.

Shortly thereafter Steph, in an attempt to regain her mentor's approval initiates a sequence of events where she's basically tortured almost to death with an electric drill and then denied life-saving medical treatment by Gotham's answer to Mother Teresa in order to teach Batman a lesson; for years afterwards he refuses to give her a display case as he had given Jason Todd. The fact that only recently this was retconned to Steph's death being faked to give her time to recover in a new life in Africa as a medical aid worker and the lack of memorial case was because Batman didn't quite believe she was dead but still let Tim go on thinking she was, in no way excuses the complete and utter jerkitude at any point.

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7910  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Origins on: January 15, 2009, 01:13:17 PM
There's been a couple around.

I'd say at the very least you're looking at a Large (1x1) semi- or quasi-human, claw I natural attack, +Str and/or Con, -Wis (without their helmet, their visual range dramatically decreases, either a banned checks -- or a limitation that says unless the grab it as an origin class skill it's always always cross-class -- on Sense Motive checks targetting anyone outside their species because they're such collosal self-aggrandising dicks the average Pred just can't think that low out of the box (a species feat would unlock this), insight bonus to Athletics (yes I know it's cass for talents and insight for specialties but I've always thought that was the wrong way around to do it), heat resistance, achilles heel for cold, a minimum amount of thick hide, climb checks without kits.
7911  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Cybermancer (Shadowrun inspired Expert Class) on: January 15, 2009, 01:30:24 AM
Alternatively it could apply the Big Budget quality to your chrome stat...
7912  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Game mechanic question on: January 15, 2009, 01:24:18 AM
Quote from: MugMug
Barring the use of certain feats, a character firing at an opponent with whom he is in melee combat suffers -8 on the attack chack and +4 to the error range.

Reach isn't 2 way -- the shooter has to be adjacent to their target for the penalty to apply, not within their opponent's reach (or more importantly, their own) -- and importantly we're not talking reach, we're talking physical size

Not to mention that a 2x2 character can be simultaneously attacked by 12 opponents as opposed to the 8 that a 1x1 has to contend with, not to mention being even more susceptable to flanking.
7913  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Some Bond covers on: January 15, 2009, 01:02:59 AM
Are there new editions of these novels coming out, or is this just "fun with photoshop"?

As with the Godzilla story book, these are just things I found trawling through Flickr so their provinence is unknown to me.
7914  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Godzilla Likes to Roar on: January 15, 2009, 01:01:47 AM
Godzilla is female?

Or enjoys the company of men.

But read it again and I think it's clear that it's Anguirus who's putting the moves on folk.
7915  Community / Off-Topic / Godzilla Likes to Roar on: January 14, 2009, 01:29:48 PM
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7916  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Cybermancer (Shadowrun inspired Expert Class) on: January 14, 2009, 12:31:52 PM
Because Chrome generally uses the same progression as Wealth and as a weath stat is capped at 10. Making it go higherr requires you to work out a table showing the progression to level, oh let' say 20, the end result of which is the PC running around with multiple Cal V picks when -- campaign qualitie aside -- everyone else is capped at a single Cal IV item.

Far simpler and more balanced to simply say the character gets a second chrome stat to play with when the firstone fills up. It also actually gives the character something tangiable from their core ability at 1st level instead of the frankly weak "well, you now have potential to raise a score above a threshold you may be nowhere near in any event".
7917  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Game mechanic question on: January 14, 2009, 12:20:17 PM
As a house rule, I run with "If 2 character options each make you Large (1x1), they stack to make you Large (2x2)"
7918  Community / Off-Topic / Some Bond covers on: January 14, 2009, 12:11:01 PM



7919  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Greatest Movie Death Scenes on: January 14, 2009, 01:15:26 AM
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7920  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Cybermancer (Shadowrun inspired Expert Class) on: January 14, 2009, 01:12:01 AM
An answer to ramping up Chrome would be:

Machine Driven: You gain a second Chrome weath stat with a starting value of 1. Should your first Chrome stat exceed 10, then and only then you may place points in your second Chrome stat, to a value equal to your starting action dice.
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