Tagged: Classic Battletech

Favorite Weapons in Science Fiction and Fantasy

SFSignal recently ran an article asking several authors what their favorite weapons in sci-fi and fantasy were.

Lightsabers were brought up the most, while swords, and even characters were mentioned. It’s a pretty cool article (for we geeks) and I highly recommend reading it.

It got me thinking: what are MY favorite science fiction and fantasy weapons? I read and watch a lot of science fiction – and some fantasy. As I read the article on SFSignal it got me thinking through TV shows, books, games, and comics.

Favorite Science Fiction Weapons

Honestly there are too many to count. SciFi is where I spend most of my time. But I narrowed it down to four of them. While some may flex the definition to include vehicles, mecha, or power armor, I kept the definition of weapon pretty narrow to specific weapon systems.

Battletech Particle Project Cannon (PPC) – The PPC, and later the Clan extended range (ER) PPC was one of the most devastating ‘Mech/tank weapons in the game. Because it was energy based it didn’t need any reloads. While it created a lot of heat, most ‘Mechs could handle it and PPCs were the end of many an enemy ‘Mech in games. Just the thought of man-made lightning slicing through and blowing up armor is awesome!

PPC

Command and Conquer GDI Ion Cannon – I’ve been playing C&C since I was very young, and I love the original game even today. While The Brotherhood of NOD was fun to play, GDI had the orbiting satellite ion cannon that we lovingly termed “God’s middle finger” and would sew destruction across the battlefield.

169209-command-conquer-tiberian-sun-windows-screenshot-shooting-with

Warhammer 40k Heavy Bolter – Sure, the standard bolter in WH40k is an awesome staple, but I’m a heavy weapons lover, and the heavy bolter is a death-dealing masterpiece. And it just looks cool.

Heavy_Bolter_UM_1

Firefly – Jane’s Gun “Vera” – Jane has to be my favorite character from Firefly, and his tricked out beast of a gun “Vera” just looks cool. Though I lose geek points for not knowing whether or not he actually got to use it in the series.

jayne_cobb_vera

Fantasy

This one is a little harder. I don’t normally delve into fantasy these days. There are, of course, swords and axes galore. But specific weapons are harder for me to identify.

The Cinder Spires Crystal Gauntlets – In the first book in Jim Butcher’s new series “Aeronaut’s Windlass” the militaries of the spires have crystal gauntlets that fire magic. These are handy and very cool, not to mention the battle scenes with them are fantastic.

71Vbrfe4SaL

The Hobbit “Sting” – When I was very young I watched the animated “The Hobbit” movie and was immediately hooked on the fantasy genre. The sword “Sting” holds a special place in my heart. Later I would read the book, and I still thought Sting, though really just a long dagger/short sword was still a fine weapon. Plus the blue glow early-warning orc detection feature is quite nice.

rotk-1-1204-sting-found

Warhammer Fantasy Warsword of Khaine – The only books I enjoy from Warhammer Fantasy, and the series I’ve read three times now, the tales of Malus Darkblade have to be the best. The action and adventure, not to mention the dark plot really draw the reader in. The Warpsword of Khaine had the ability to keep Tz’arkan the Slaanesh demon at bay, and was a blood thirsty blade that drove Malus to kill more. My kinda sword.

Warhammer_Malus_Darkblade_Throne

 

What are YOUR favorite science fiction and fantasy weapons?

Until next time. . .

 

The Glog: The Gamer’s Log!

Two friend of mine and I have started a podcast: The Glog! We delve into the geeky goodness of hobbying, conventions, Dropfleet Commander, and RPG characters. Join us as we set out on our podcasting adventure!

Geekery – My Rediscovered Love of Dropzone Commander

Twas a glorious four days in August of 2014 when my wife, daughter, and brother made the long, arduous trek to Indianapolis, Indiana for Gen Con 2014.

I went.

I saw.

I gamed.

I have a blog post about it somewhere around here…

During the best four days in gaming in 2014, my brother and I went “halvsies” on the Dropzone Commander two-player starter box. I was immediately intrigued by the game with its miniatures engineered to fit together. Most of the dropships could actually carry the vehicles they were meant to. Everything fit perfectly. The designers are lifelong geeks, and they were, and still are, dedicated to that level of detail.

DZC 13

The universe itself is incredible. The story of Dropzone Commander begins with D+250 with humanity, under the United Colonies of Man, fighting the vile, parasitic Scourge to take back the fertile cradle worlds, the most important of which is Earth itself. In the midst of the chaos are the Resistance fighters on each world, some friendly to the UCM, some fighting for their own power. The clan-like Shaltari, once friends to humanity, now fight for their own aims. The Post Human Republic, a race of advanced humans, fight the UCM and the Scourge, but to what ends only they know.

DZC 10

The gameplay is awesome. It is fast and common sense, yet still dynamic enough to force the commander (player) to sit and think of their tactics, and overall strategy. I have played 700 point games in an hour and a half, and that is quite a few models on the board. I cannot wait to play larger 1,000 to 2,000 point games.

DZC 12

The group I play with doesn’t know the love and joy of Classic Battletech, but I constantly tell them that Dropzone Commander is what Battletech: Alpha Strike should have been. Not the models or the universe, of course, but the rules and playability. While I’m sure playing enough Alpha Strike will help keep the rules fresh in one’s mind, they are easily forgotten. I hadn’t played a game of Dropzone Commander in a year and a half, and I still remembered 90% of the rules. (It had been a busy year and a half, and all gaming went to the wayside with family, moving homes, our wedding, and work commitments.)

DZC 11

I wonder what would happen if Catalyst Game Labs got license to use the DZC system…

Things that make you go: hmm…

On top of it all, Hawk Wargames, the company that makes DZC, keeps their miniatures relatively cheap. I can get a handful of miniatures for $30-$40. This is great for a family man on a budget. I can slowly but surely build the army I want. It may take a month or two, but it’s not like Warhammer 40K where just one squad, or miniature, can wipe out a man’s gaming budget for the month. In fact, the cost of getting started in DZC is $44 for a starter set, which gives you from 540 to about 600 points, depending on the faction.

Even the books are cheap. I can get the first expansion book, “Reconquest: Phase 1”, for about $20 on Miniature Market. That’s a lot better than the $40-$60 I would drop for Battletech’s latest rulebooks.

Below are some pictures of my most recent game (two weeks ago) between my Scourge and an opponent’s UCM.

Though I lost, my Scourge put up one hell of a fight!

Hawk Wargames recently wrapped up a Kickstarter for their space ship battles game, Dropfleet Commander. The smallest ship carries 100 dropships. That is an insane scale. What’s even better is that Dropfleet Commander and Dropzone Commander will be playable together. Talk about epic scale!

I highly recommend Dropzone Commander to anyone who loves miniature wargames on a large scale.

And if you want a play a game with me, I am usually at the Game Shoppe in Bellevue, Nebraska on Thursday nights.

Until next time…

How to Become a Space Marine, or: Adeptus Astartes Training

As many of you might know, I’m a bit of a nerd. And by a bit, I mean a lot.

I also love to exercise. Lifting weights (especially), and running are a sort of Zen meditation for me, and it keeps me disciplined.

My nerdish drive and attachment to things that interest me, and my love of working out have led to [what many see as] a strange addiction: training to become like the superheroes/super soldiers of the books/comics I love. In fact, one of the factors (partially) driving my dedication to weight lifting in High School was my desire to be like Vegeta from Dragonball Z.

That’s right, Vegeta was my hero.

Think about it: Goku, Vegeta, Gohan – the entire Dragonball Z team – all pushed themselves harder, past their limits, to become faster, stronger, more agile, and better fighters.

Shouldn’t that be the goal of exercise? (It is in my opinion)

I caveat this post by stating I am not from another planet and a yellow sun does not give me superpowers, nor have I been doused with radioactive goo, I am not a Saiyan (OVER NINE-THOUSAND!),  nor do I have the genetic-enhancement knowledge of Adeptus Mechanics (praise be to the Omnissiah), nor the genetic knowledge of the Clan Scientist Caste (continuing Kerensky’s vision).

If someone does have any of these things, especially the latter two, you are a jerk for not sharing, Mr. Jerky McJerkface!

The last few years I’ve been hooked on Warhammer 40k. It’s hard not to be. The universe is well established with a diverse, interesting background full of heroes, villains, and anti-heroes that are easy to love, love to hate, many times identify with, and look up to. Read Know No Fear by Dan Abnett and try not to idolize Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, or the warriors of the XIII Legiones Astartes as they face unbelievable odds, but never lose their courage. Even The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden has characters who, though they turn to Chaos, we get attached to and empthize with.

And for the longest time I’ve been a huge fan of Battletech, especially the Clans. Their eugenics program have bred a phenotype of warrior called Elementals: 7-8ft tall warriors that are pure muscle, and are the epitome of the infantryman in the 31st Century.

With these ideas in mind, I present you the following:

HOW TO BECOME A SPACE MARINE, or: ADEPTUS ASTARTES TRAINING

I provide a second caveat to this post that you may not want to be big like a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes. That’s okay . . . wuss. 🙂

1. Knowledge is Power

Training should begin with knowledge. Research the exercises and workouts you will be doing, the stretches needed to take care of muscles and tendons, and the supplements you will be taking. The internet provides a wealth of information. Be careful what you take as “fact”. As far as supplements go, many sites provide the ability to comment on them, and customers can leave their impressions and let other prospective buyers know whether or not a supplement is worth the money or not.

One of the books I recommend is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. In it, Arnold goes into the science and the form of lifting, whether the goal is an Olympian physique or pure strength training.

This is the book I’ve used for years, and it has served me well. It’s a single body of knowledge that is based on fact, not conjecture or opinion. It’s $30, but it’s $30 well spent, as opposed to buying Men’s Health every month (Men’s Health has also been known to contradict itself on nutrition and lifting, and steer people in all sorts of odd, and wrong directions).

Have different goals? Want something free, challenging, and different? try Crossfit, www.crossfit.com. I’m not a huge follower of this workout style. In the past I have done Crossfit for two or three months at a time, just to change up my routine, but I don’t swear by it. Crossfit does some things, and doesn’t do some things, that I disagree with – like the lack of chest development. But there are those that swear by it, and with their results as proof they may have something.

But knowledge isn’t just about knowing how to lift – that’s just the physical aspect. There is also a mental aspect. A warrior of the Adeptus Astartes also improves themselves mentally. Reading for mental and emotional self-improvement is also important. Books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Paul Sullivan’s Clutch, are great books to begin working on improving yourself mentally.

And of course, improving yourself in one area has cumulative effects in improving yourself in other areas.

That IS something I love about the Crossfit website: they have articles and videos on self-improvement that will make you think.

2. The Disciplined Mind

Working out, and self-improvement in general, begins with a disciplined mind. How does one gain a disciplined mind? For some it’s easier than others. It just comes naturally. They just do it. For some, though, it’s a battle of wills, an epic struggle, to put down the game controller, or the Dungeons & Dragons book, drag themselves out of the chair, and make their way to the gym – or even into the blinding light of the outside world, for that matter.

(Note: Part of this is that our culture has started to idolize the pasty white, anti-social gamer/nerd type. That’s sad. You can be a gamer, or tabletop gamer, and still get swoll. I have a friend who’s a beast in the gym, and is one of the biggest nerds I know.)

Working on being disciplined is just like working muscles: you have to keep doing it to strengthen it. Each day that you force yourself up and to the gym is a day you become mentally stronger. That is something someone from the intelligencia (normally self-proclaimed) will not tell you. Discipline is a mental exercise, and it’s one we must do daily. We must be dedicated to working out. Even when we’re tired and just want to lay around, we must fight the temptation to be lazy and hit the gym.

Of course, just like physical exercise, rest is required for our minds (we are not true Adeptus Astartes that can train daily without respite and recover in a matter of hours). I usually take Sundays off.

3. Strength of Arms

Then you actually have to lift.

That’s right. You have to actually do the exercises. Seeable results take a while – 3 to 4 months. That may seem like a long time, but if you never start, you’ll never see results. This is where discipline and perseverence come in.

With the knowledge dredged from Arnold’s massive codex, you now need to create a workout that fits your schedule, lifestyle, and goals. If you’re looking to be Adeptus-Astartes-big, you’re looking for the full Arnold workout. Arnold suggests 2 to 4 hours per day.

That sounds crazy, but that’s what Arnold did to get so big.

And, if you’re gunning for an Adeptus Astartes physique, that’s what YOU have to do.

A good schedule to keep is 1-2 hours in the morning before work, and 1-2 hours after work. This is, of course, dependent on your schedule and responsibilities. Some of us have families, and/or kids (in my case, I have a puppy). So working out for hours on end probably isn’t realistic. You have to find a workout program and schedule that fits your life.

Shorter, more intense workouts may be your bag. Crossfit markets itself on workouts taking no longer than 30min, and are usually only around 15-20min.

Strenght also comes through fighting/weapons training. Have a punching bag? 6x 5min rounds punching and kicking the bag will really smoke you. Sword? Axe? Get out and train with these, slashing, parrying, advancing and dodging, for 30-40min. Train with a friend. You’ll find that it’s an amazing workout AND you’ll be improving your martial abilities – just like a Space Marine.

4. The Ossmodula and Biscopea

In Warhammer 40k, initiates into the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes are implanted with an array of powerful, advanced organs that help them grow bigger, give them tougher skin, enhanced eyesight, allow them to defeat poisons in their system, and be able to learn information by eating the flesh of an enemy. They even receive a second heart and a second pair of lungs.

The Ossmodula strengthens a Space Marine’s bones, while the Biscopea gives a Space Marine their massive muscles and physical strength.

We don’t have these (yet . . . so, science world, get on this).

We DO have supplements. Supplements allow us to grow bigger muscles, have well oiled joints, and keep us healthy.

Or you could get into a drug ring like these yahoos: http://www.omaha.com/article/20120913/NEWS/709149921. Selling steroids that were 100 times stronger than normal steroids . . . Bane Serum? It’s a method, I suppose.

Look on www.tfsupplements.com, www.bodybuilding.com, or go to GNC, Complete Nutrition, or Vitamin Shoppe, and you will see an almost endless array of pills, powders, liquids, and bars that all claim they are the best, the only ones you need.

So what to use?

Remember point 1: Knowledge is Power. So do your research. Match your budget and goals with the products, and make sure to check the reviews by customers and industry specialists.

I use the following (ALL THE PILLS!):

GNC Mega Men’s Extreme Athlete VitaPaks – Multivitamins, creatine, joint support, and a thermogenic weight loss supplement. Best supplement pack I’ve ever taken.

Universal Animal Cuts – a series of weight loss supplements to help stay cut.

Universal Animal Flex – joint support supplement.

Vitamin Shoppe Omega 3 6 9 – supplement for heart health.

Complete Nutrition V Core Protein – PROTEIN!! I take this immediately after my workout mixed with a post-workout powder (below). I normally get vanilla.

Complete Nutrition Rezzerect – post-workout supplement. I normally get orange. The orange Rezzerect mixed with the vanilla V-Core protein (in water) tastes like an orange creamsicle. 🙂

Make sure you’re healthy enough to take some of these supplements, too. Space Marines have their Apothocaries. We have our doctors. If you’re concerned, get checked first. Don’t keel over and die due to stress on some organ from a supplement just because you wanna get swoll. Be smart about this.

5. Heresy Grows From Idleness

In many of the stories about the Space Marines, the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes put themselves through grueling training regimines. In Brothers of the Snake, Sergeant Priad sets squad Damocles running through the mountains of Ithaca, in arctic temperatures, with naught but loin cloths to cover them. In the Horus Heresy books, many of the Astartes warriors battle in practice cages with weaponized servitors that would cut a normal human to ribbons.

In Battletech both the Clans and factions within the Inner Sphere and Periphery are renown for their gruelling training. In the Magistracy of Canopus there is a world where the local infantry drop recruits into the snow-covered mountains with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a knife and require them to survive. Each Clan drills their sibkos, classes of children starting at the age of five, in unarmed, armed, and mechanized combat in all sorts of situations and terrain. Many Clans have their own rights of passage: the Ghost Bears have the Clawing, where Ghost Bear warriors hunt a 2ton Ghost Bear and take its fur – or die in the process; the Hell’s Horses have the Branding, where a team of warriors go out and try to capture and brand a carnivorous Hell’s Horse; the Goliath Scorpions inject themselves with Goliath Scorpion venom – actually that’s stupid.

The point is: it’s tough.

And that’s how exercise should be.

We need to do that extra mile, that additional five pounds, that extra repetition. We need to do more reps in less time, with shorter rest time. We need to go 0.5mph faster on the treadmill when doing sprints. Even though we’ve done five circuits, we need to do one more, and push ourselves harder this time. We ran 3.2 miles in 22min 30sec last time? This time we need to run it in 22min flat. Last time our friend beat us soundly dueling with swords, this time hey may beat us, but we’ll make him work and pay for it.

In order to become bigger, stronger, more cut, faster, we have to push ourselves that extra bit. In both The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and in the movie “Pumping Iron”, Arnold says that the one who wants to win is the one willing to spend more time in the gym, the one willing to do that extra rep or set. So it goes for our Adeptus Astartes training.

By NOT pushing ourselves, we are only cheating ourselves, no one else.

So we didn’t do that extra quarter mile sprint. So we cut an exercise out of our workout today.

We are only hurting ourselves when we do this, and we must fight the temptation to do so. When the little voice in the back of your mind tells you to slack off, tell them to stuff it, and go and knock out that exercise harder than you would have before. Remember: Heresy grows from idleness!

Final Thoughts

Exercise isn’t just to get big (though that’s the goal of this post, and my personal goals). Exercise helps us stay healthy and helps our bodies function properly. Getting out of the office chair or off the couch for 30-60min a day keeps us going and helps us live longer, healtheir, happier lives. With our sedintary lifestyles in this modern age of wealth and prosperity we tend to lounge . . . and do little more.

Why did I share my thoughts, and this post?

Exercise is very important to me. Like I said it literally has a calming effect on me once I’ve completed my exercise and cooled down.

Having been overweight and dealing with how unhealthy I was, I’ve gone nuts working to never go back to that again. I disagree with that stupid MTV/VH1/whatever-channel show that states, “Once you go thick, you never go stick.” That’s disgusting. What is wrong with them? Being unhealthy and fat is cool? Really? Is that really our society today? Them and Honey Boo Boo?

And I’d like to help others reach their goals and give them a foundation from which to work from. I’m always surprised at the number of people that strive to workout and be fit, but have no clue where to start looking. I hope this helps.

Like I said, you don’t have to get big and buff (like me), but hopefully, if you are looking to get into healthy shape, this post gives you a good basis to start at.

If you disagree with my opinions/methods in this post, well you are more than welcome to your own wrong opinion. 🙂

Until next time . . .