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Messages - blingdenston

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Cantina / Re: State of the Galaxy
« on: 11/30/18, 09:21:40 PM »
It's a terrible problem, and  a bitter one....the good intentions of Single Player storytelling fragmented unthousand times across players and then subdivided amongst their characters. Some potential solutions:

1). We just make up an NPC Outlander and vote on the potential outcomes and then treat those as community canon.
2). We accept the break in continuity between the game and community RP and treat in-game story developments as a skeleton, then apportion the roles and effects of those to community characters...someone gets to be Outlander, someone gets to be Sith Emperor, someone gets to be Jedi Grandmaster, someone gets to be Mandalore, et cetera.
3). We just choose someone's character to have been Outlander and let their choices be 'canon' for communal RP, keeping the story in-game as is and allowing the potential deceleration of the importance of 'Outlander' to sunset that character as the protagonist of the world, and allowing us to take up our roles as agents/traitors to the Republic and Empire and all that in the upcoming fracas.
4). We continue to leave it kinda sketchy and only have the canon come up as important to group storylines, so that in a Member A-led roleplay their Jedi Knight was a light-side Outlander while Member B's stories extend from their adventures as a dark-side Imperial Agent and just have a gentlefolk's agreement to submerge that stuff for greater community/crossover events.

Just some off-the-cuff stuff. You can make Pehn the Outlander whenever you want, he'd be great at it.

Events and Occasions / Re: The Cron Adrift No More
« on: 11/11/18, 10:30:20 PM »
I'm in too, I'll sign up once I make certain nothing it's happening IRL that day and I decide what character I wanna play as.

Cantina / Re: recoveringgeek's Event plots and thoughts.
« on: 11/08/18, 12:00:14 AM »
Those are all good for me! I'd rank 'em best/better/good in the order they're posted, 'cause I figure the earlier we start the more we'll get to do!

Cantina / Re: recoveringgeek's Event plots and thoughts.
« on: 10/28/18, 05:38:31 PM »
D'oh! Didn't know you weren't part of the Custodum's on-site ranks anymore. Dassalya handles the GuildNet, so I'll just PM you the relevant information, lickety-split!

Cantina / Re: recoveringgeek's Event plots and thoughts.
« on: 10/28/18, 12:11:30 AM »
Yeesh, I dunno...the only character I have who really (in-character) remained involved in galactic stuff was Ran-del, and he barely even got to sniff Alliance RP. All the others are some manner of independent or mercenary, so it's not such a great hook for them.

I should mention that (between SmugCo and the Custodum back when I was more active in the game), we did several Ossus storylines...hell, for awhile, I tried to establish that the Custodum's secret base was in the Adega System. Since we're apparently moving to it, maybe a prelude dealing with the Republic/Imperial military fighting over Stronghold Adega (see for more info)?

The only thing of Pehn Qardaak's that would be on that ship would be his shuttle, if you stole it again.

Rancem Rath, however, lived on it and rented space. Things that might survive:
- A set of trophies stasis-sealed in a pitted old transparisteel case: a lurker claw, a preserved Nautolan tentacle, a chunk of a durasteel breastplate imprinted with a Weequay gang marking, and an old Sith warmask (in the Malak/Malgus style).
- An articulated dummy-arm with a half-complete wrist-launcher on it: a high-capacity minimissile launcher on top, a laser-tube on the bottom, a grapnel launcher on the right side, and a single vibro-claw on the left side.
- An ancient copy of the Bounty Hunter's Handbook written in archaic High Galactic, with notes in an unreadable shorthand in the margins,
- An old data-tape containing a hologram of a Khommite and diagrams of an ancient Khommite cloning facility, similar to Spaarti Creations' cloning tech,
- An archaic Chagrian nutritional-content tester.

Grave of the Fireflies
dir. Isao Takahata 高畑 勲 Takahata Isao

Why do fireflies have to die so soon?

Francois Truffaut, the French director and film critic, talked about the difficulty he saw in making a film about the Algerian War, and wars in general...a fear that the excitement of violence makes it impossible to make a film that is anything but pro-war: that merely by showing it, it's ennobled, when war is nothing of the sort.

Grave of the Fireflies is often cited as an anti-war movie, though director Isao Takahata denies such intentions. It's the tale of two siblings, teenage Seita and four-year-old Setsuko, trying to survive as orphans in Japan during the last days of World War II. American air raids, tunnel-blind nationalism, hard-hearted townspeople, and Seita's protective-but-childish decisions threaten them as history turns inevitably towards Japan's surrender.

Takahata stated that his goal was to puncture the air of nobility people living in wartime are often imbued with by their descendants in peacetime, to connect modern viewers with the children of the war to tell a story of isolation from society and the harm it can bring. While I don't, necessarily, think he was prevaricating or eliding anything, I don't think it's possible to watch Grave of the Fireflies and not see a strong anti-war message in it...what violence there is is never exciting, only horrifying...and the end result of all the bombs and battles, advances and retreats depicted in all those other war movies is laid out here: destruction, privation, illness, death.

I'd seen Grave of the Fireflies before, so I knew what was coming...still, I began weeping not even 3 minutes into the film and didn't really stop the entire time. It's a very honest movie...not merely about the horrors of the lifequakes that destroy citizens when their nations go to war, but the tragic consequences of irresponsibility, simple cruelty, and the liminal line between the successful and happy and the failed and dead. I don't know if I can really suggest Grave of the Fireflies to's a devastating experience. But I feel compelled to mention it to's beautiful and awful and brutal in a way that few other pieces of media manage to be.

I didn't really have the time to write anything but a retrospective on this one this my knowledge, showings of the movie are over for this year. That said, Grave of the Fireflies has just been rereleased by Sentai Filmworks (with an excellent 2012 dub in addition to the original Japanese tracks with subtitles), which you can get on all sorts of platforms (and Blu-Ray) here:

Next month...who leaves the seeds for you to find?

Outside Realm / Re: Poems that Inspire
« on: 08/07/18, 07:52:54 AM »
The Song of the Happy Shepherd
By William Butler Yeats

The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:
But O, sick children of the world,
Of all the many changing things
In dreary dancing past us whirled,
To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,
Words alone are certain good.
Where are now the warring kings,
Word be-mockers? By the Rood
Where are now the warring kings?
An idle word is now their glory,
By the stammering schoolboy said,
Reading some entangled story:
The kings of the old time are dead;
The wandering earth herself may be
Only a sudden flaming word,
In clanging space a moment heard,
Troubling the endless reverie.

Then nowise worship dusty deeds,
Nor seek, for this is also sooth,
To hunger fiercely after truth,
Lest all thy toiling only breeds
New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth
Saving in thine own heart. Seek, then,
No learning from the starry men,
Who follow with the optic glass
The whirling ways of stars that pass
Seek, then, for this is also sooth,
No word of theirs the cold star-bane
Has cloven and rent their hearts in twain,
And dead is all their human truth.
Go gather by the humming sea
Some twisted, echo-harbouring shell,
And to its lips thy story tell,
And they thy comforters will be,
Rewarding in melodious guile
Thy fretful words a little while,
Till they shall singing fade in ruth
And die a pearly brotherhood;
For words alone are certain good:
Sing, then, for this is also sooth.

I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,
My songs of old earth's dreamy youth:
But ah! she dreams not now; dream thou!
For fair are poppies on the brow:
Dream, dream, for this is also sooth.

Cantina / Re: Polling interest
« on: 07/29/18, 09:53:26 PM »
You can just call me...the Keymaster.

Hey, folks...I'm not trying to be the spoiler here, at all. I love you all and I'm proud of you all and I want the best for you all. But let's be brutal: if there's going to be a massive movement to another server, folks will get left behind. The urge to dedicate one's self to an egalitarian and noble smidge of sacrifice in pursuit of one's true desires is poignant, heartfelt, and almost entirely worthless. The simple freedom of getting what you really want (I.E. more and better and broader RP) will slowly-but-surely trickle away your involvement from this server until the fact becomes obvious: that that sacrifice is onerous and difficult and maybe a bit more than the folks stuck behind should reasonably expect.

And, hey, right now? That's me. I'm not subscribed and I don't intend to be subscribed for months if not whenever the next 2 month deal rolls around, and my money's tight. Like, I know this sounds kinda desperate, but I personally don't have an extra $35.00 to throw around right now (and that's just if I transfer 2 out of 3 Qardaaks, leaving Hyse behind to tend the Custodum Original, not to mention ALL of my Imperial characters and side-projects).

I'm not saying this SHOULDN'T become a thing...the health of this server, and amongst this community, has grown wan and needs a boost and I don't know that there's enough will in the remaining population of this community to do it all on our own. In all honesty, if time and money and interest were about half-an-order of magnitude higher on my part, Pehn would probably be scouting out Star Forge as we speak.

I'm just asking that you take into account that an exodus leaves behind the infirm and the uninterested, and consider strongly whether you should write checks your good will can't reasonably be expected to pay off later.

In all honesty, the thing I'm THIRD-most worried about (other than the fact that Character Transfers are $10 a pop and that I have six Legacy cargo holds full of goods I'd need to transfer) is that there're a passel of folks who've been tossed to the curb in this community that could turn up like bad pennies with all the potential annoyance and recurring trauma that could entail.

Princess Mononoke
dir. Hayao Miyazaki 宮崎 駿 Miyazaki Hayao

In ancient times, the land lay covered in forests, where, from ages long past, dwelt the spirits of the gods. Back then, man and beast lived in harmony, but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed. Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts who owed their allegiances to the Great Forest Spirit. For those were the days of gods and of demons...

Princess Mononoke (Spirit/Monster Princess) was the second Ghibli movie I ever saw (after the Fox video release of My Neighbor Totoro), and PROBABLY the first Miyazaki movie I can really remember hearing about anywhere but Real Stuf catalogues or the anime discussion chatrooms I foodled my way through on AOL, Prodigy, and MSN when I was a teenager. This was the one that got the idea that there was a 'Japanese Walt Disney' going in the public discourse...partially due to the Weinstein Brothers' bizarre half-steps towards introducing East Asian cinema to the world (but also hamfistedly mangling it, or relegating it to tiny releases unless Quentin Tarantino could convince them to just put it out there, like Zhang Yimou's Hero).

There was less-than-no-way I was going to get to see it in theaters, and I made the mistake of asking my dull friend who DID see it about it. He sniffed, "Yeah, it was pretty stupid. There's a part where the main dude uses his super-arm to decapitate a dude with a bowshot. That could never happen in reality." I should mention this is the guy who gave me his Dragon Ball Z RPG book and snickered about how it has an entire side-panel about how Krillin could DEFINITELY kill Superman.

So, I didn't really see it 'til it came on...geez, was it the Disney Channel in late 2001? It was around the time I graduated high school, anyway. I'd been watching anime for nearly ten years at that point (longer if you count stuff like Star Blazers, Captain Harlock, and Robotech), from when we were calling it 'Japanimation' and luxuriating in stuff like Project A-Ko and buying VHS tapes of Bubblegum Crisis for $35 an episode, and I'd seen some pretty great stuff...but I'd never seen anything QUITE like Princess Mononoke.

I didn't really think much of it at the time, but I recognized the incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail, the quaint and mysterious and exotic medieval Japanese setting (sometime around the 15th Century), and the evocative and foreign spiritual and supernatural elements. I kind of found the hero and heroine boring and uninteresting, though.

As time has gone on, though, I've repeatedly come back to Princess Mononoke and found more to like about it. It's a story about the conflict between the old ways of religion and mysticism versus modernity and self-actualization: a powerful woman makes her own way in the world, protecting and empowering the helpless and disadvantaged...but in doing so unbalances nature and offends the gods (though this, notably, due to her violent and rapacious overreach, as opposed to her progressive bonafides). The ripples of this action reach out from her stronghold and draw in opposition: a young man cursed by a byproduct of her sins, a group of government agents snooping around trying to keep these prodigies from effecting business-as-usual in the capital of Kyoto, and a mysterious wolf-girl bent on revenge. It's a dense tapestry, full of wonder at the secrets of the natural world, the industry of woman and man, and a powerful faith that the love of the young can overcome the politics, marvels, and weapons that shadow the world entire.

I like other Ghibli films better, but I think Princess Mononoke is a pretty good fit for folks on this site, full of action, fantasy and romance.  It's playing at Fathom event centers in the US starting with a dubbed showing on the 22nd (and another on the 25th) and a subtitled showing on the 23rd.

Next month...woof. Fucking WOOF.

Outside Realm / Some Tabletop RPGs I'm Excited About
« on: 06/30/18, 06:17:29 PM »
Hey! I'm looking at some tabletop RPGs that are (tangentially) related to Star Wars, and I thought I'd let you guys in on it!

Tachyon Squadron -

Tachyon Squadron is a Fate Core Playset based on military sci-fi/space opera stuff like Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Wing Commander, et cetera. Fate is a narrative RPG aimed at replicating the experience of specific genre pieces, and Tachyon Squadron is specifically looking to replicate the feeling of being in a plucky starfighter squadron up against massive, implacable foes. It's really cool! It's also got a really neat hack of the Fate Core conflict system that simulates starfighter combat in a really neat involves positioning, maneuvering and blasting in a really exciting manner that I'm pretty jazzed-up about. I'm actually pretty excited to run this sometime soon!

Scum and Villainy

Scum and Villainy is a Forged in the Dark game where you play the crew of an outlaw spaceship trying to make ends meet at the edge of civilization, dealing with cutthroat crime syndicates, distant and powerful star-aristocrats, and strange mystics and aliens. 'Forged in the Dark' refers to games based on Blades in the Dark, and the core concepts are this: you play as some form of rogues who are part of a nascent, underdog group of some sort and you run jobs to support and build-up your power-base (in this case, a starship). You actually plan out the job (which could be a heist, a smuggling run, a bounty hunt, or whatever else your crew is interested in) IN play, so that you jump immediately into the action and 'fluff it out' in-game, with each character taking responsibility for an aspect of the job. Each session is a run of some sort, followed by downtime, recovery, and character/crew advancement. It's a REALLY cool concept, and Scum and Villainy is the first one I'm really itching to get into and run for myself.

Worldbuilding and Community / Re: Jedi and mental disorders
« on: 06/26/18, 10:03:23 AM »
I was literally just thinking about this the other night...specifically, I was talking about 'psychic chirurgery' in the old Ravenloft setting and ideas I'd had for the horror implications of seeking a cure for madness from a mysterious psychic. 'Psychic surgery' is a fraud technique, very common way back in the 60s-80s, where quacks would use laying-on-of-hands to remove 'illnesses' from a sick person's body (usually just chicken guts or other forms of bloody offal). In the context we were talking about, 'psychic chirurgery' referred to a psionic power that allowed the practicioner to heal people's minds, ending feeblemindedness or confusion or the effects of a symbol of madness. In Ravenloft, where madness is a common affliction simply by adventuring in the world, it offers an uncommon but more reliable method of dealing with mental derangement than putting yourself in a fantasy sanitorium to be treated by psuedo-Victorian elf alienists or whatever.

This lead me to thinking about specifically Jedi and mental illnesses, and how (depending on the source) Jedi healers are capable of alleviating wounds and illnesses that even space medicine can't touch, but how rarely that reaches out to psychic harm...but then I thought about Revan from KOTOR (who was literally 'reprogrammed'), and I was thinking about how it was appropriate that Jedi, who often have psychic powers, would have special techniques for that sort of thing.

As in the aforementioned Revan example, though, grand manipulations and hubristic 'overwatch' of people's innermost psyche should have deep consequences and terrible implications. The way I see it, I'd say that Jedi likely DO have techniques for 'Force healing' mental illnesses, but they're dangerous and frowned-upon: an attempt to force someone's personal trauma to be 'fixed' is no balm to most people.

The Jedi 'mind trick' only works against the weak-willed and, as someone with experience with dealing with mental illness, the trauma-drive of an afflicted individual is not 'weak' takes hard, long work to help someone get through their issues, and no doctor or counselor can do it alone. Without effort and dedication from the patient, it's almost doomed to failure. Thus, I'd see it like this: Jedi, especially those with skills at mental manipulation, probably can wave a hand at someone with mental illnesses and 'fix' them...but not without endangering their long-term recovery and threatening 'psychic breaks' that can damage them even worse. Jedi counselors, on the other hand, can likely use a combination of 'calming effects' (like the mind trick, but nice...or like Force stun, but on a low-setting) and their preternatural awareness of consequence and empathy to guide folks into a treatment and recovery program that is supernally effective...with time.

Pom Poko
dir. Isao Takahata 高畑 勲 Takahata Isao

They used their balls as weapons in a brave kamikaze attack.

Pom Poko is my favorite Isao Takahata project. I've only seen it once, late late at night on a cable channel in the early aughties, and was FLABBERGASTED by A). how beautiful it was, B). how bizarre it was and C). how emotionally complex and sincere it was. It was what inspired me to really look in to the oeuvre of Studio Ghibli beyond the big Miyazaki movies.

Pom Poko is about a community of tanuki dealing with the urbanization of Japan in the mid 20th Century. Anglicized as 'Raccoon Dogs', tanuki aren't raccoons and they're not QUITE dogs...they're actually a bit more like foxes, and have a folkloric reputation as shapeshifters and tricksters* (as well as, similar to western raccoons, being urban pests).

Some real-life tanuki

The tanuki in Pom Poko find themselves in existential danger due to the rapid urbanization of the Tama Hills near Tokyo, and take up the old practices of shapeshifting and playing supernatural tricks on humans to try and save their territory from being consumed in the concrete explosion that radically changed the landscape of the former outskirts of Tokyo with unforgiving swiftness. The tanuki we follow are, in turns, silly, brave, desperate, psychotic, and mournful, and the movie switches art styles and tones rapidly, but never falteringly or inadequately. Scenes of bucolic silliness early in the movie give way to scenes of supernatural oddity and thanatotic processions later's a truly bizarre movie.

But it's also incredibly charming. It gets dark later on, but there's a sweetness and spirit of fun that remains even as our shapeshifting heroes face the inevitability of urban sprawl, and I give it one of my highest recommendations. You are unlikely to see any movie quite like this on the big screen this year, or maybe ANY year.  A dubbed screening is playing Monday, June 18th, with another subtitled screening on Wednesday, June 20th.

*Of note, tanuki males have prominent testicles, and they folklorically have ENORMOUS testes that they often pound like drums and carry over their shoulders like a pack. As such, the movie makes mention of them using their 'balls' as part of their shapeshifting (unless you're watching one of the dubs which may bowlderize it to 'pouches'). So, expect that!

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