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KEN'S HOUSE RULES: Countering Counter-Strike?

I've had this little problem for a while with the Counter-Strike mechanism in HarnMaster. (I've really only had it since my superior PC got whacked by an underskilled Gargun who decided to use the counter-strike manuever, but go figure :) )

It essentially goes like this: No matter how skilled a combatant may or may not be, they are completely defenseless to a counter-strike maneuver, no matter how badly skilled their opponent may be. An attacker with a 95 EML attacks a defender with a 60 EML only to have the defender counter-strike. The most likely outcome is that both return a Marginal Success. This results in both the attacker and the defender suffering a strike.

It's true that the Melee Combat Matrix favors the original attacker slightly during a counterstrike, but the mechanism relies soley on the defender's chances of missing. There is no active defense relying on the attackers skill.

My solution is a new attack option


An attacker may elect to suffer a -10 penalty to EML in order to perform a CAUTIOUS ATTACK. This functions exactly as a normal MELEE ATTACK with one difference. If the reduced EML of the attacker EXCEEDS the EML of the defender, then the defender may NOT exercise the COUNTER-STRIKE defense option.

NOTE: In most cases an attacker will not know for certain whether the defender's EML is higher or lower than his own, or by how much. It is entirely possible to suffer the -10 penalty of CAUTIOUS ATTACK and still suffer a COUNTER-STRIKE from an opponent who's EML is high enough to overcome the cautious nature of the attack.

Living in Interesting Times

With Eric, Eric, Eric the ‘Arf a Fish

Last week I acquired a new constant companion. The front end looks like a fish, I’ve never seen the rear end; it could like a horse, a toaster oven, or maybe a fish. It only swims backwards from left to right. I call it Eric… Eric the ‘alf a fish. The part I’ve seen has two mouths, but that’s ok… it doesn’t bite. On the other hand, it does have some odd behaviour. It eats words. If there’s a page of text, it eats the right half, then works its way left to leave only a few letters on each line.

Eric is there if I close my left eye. Eric is there if I close my right eye. Eric is there is I close both eyes. (hence my use of the term ‘constant’ when describing what kind of companion Eric is…)
Eric, Eric, Eric the ‘arf a Fish…

Thirty-eight point six is a magic number: if my temperature reaches this high while on chemotherapy, I am supposed to go directly to the emergency room (do not pass go, do not collect $200). It hits thirty-nine. This indicates I have an infection that my torn and bloodied immune system cannot manage. Also, I have a tendency to fall down every time I stand up (more than this actually) and that strikes me as out of the ordinary also.

For the first time in my life, I am wheeled through Emergency without any waiting whatsoever, and straight into an isolation room. Interesting. I make a point of not thinking about how scary this could be to some people. Doctors and mean girls with needles examine me for a couple of hours. I have an infection, they take a swab but they never determine what it is. Turns out my haemoglobin is now 42… that’s right… the answer to life the universe and everything… 42… a happy cheerful amusing number, except that it’s supposed to be about 160. One nurse observes that she’s never had a conversation with someone whose haemoglobin was 42 before… also, my white blood count is way down (well, my immune system is in collapse). They give me 6 units of blood (Redpacks… thanks to all you donors out there) some platelets, and enough antibiotics to choke a rhinoceros. Oh and hey… they gave Eric a name: patrichial haemorrhages
Eric, Eric, Eric the patrichial haemorrhages

Eric should go away as soon as my infection clears up and my immune system recovers.
I also have patricial haemorrhages in my nose/mouth but they don’t smell/taste fishy, so that’s alright.

For a few weeks I may be able to write, but I wont’ be able to read. This may mean that what I write will not meet my usual standards…

Well, the last few weeks… maybe the last couple of months, have been interesting (in the sense of the Chinese Curse, “may you live in interesting time”. I’ve been withdrawn from my last chemotherapy protocol (I suppose that’s a good idea since it was killing me what with dropping my haemoglobin to 42 and crushing my immune system). My lump-doctor broke up with me…she sees no need to see me any more. No matter what we call him… Eric is still with me, although he has evolved into a general blur. But then, one cannot complain about that sort of thing; I’ve realised for some time now that everything is evolving into a blur .

Ivinia Con II

Ivinia Con II (the second in a series of Scandinavian Hârn Cons) will be held from Friday the 15th of August 2008 to Sunday the 17th at the Fotevikens Museum in Sweden. The convention is being arranged by Mikael Hegardt (logistics, venue etc) and Anders Bersten (events, games etc).

For more information check out the Convention's web page at http://www.ivinia.se/IviniaCon_II/Welcome.html and visit this thread http://www.lythia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=8651 on Lythia.com's HarnForum.

HârnCon VI [August 29 - 31] Vancouver

The sixth edition of HârnCon returns to Vancouver BC, Canada this coming August 29-31.

The venue for the weekend is the Marpole Curling Club, which offers a large meeting room as well as a spacious pub, both of which have plenty of tables for gaming.

For those wishing to book accommodations, the Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel offers a special rate for participants at Marpole Curling Club events. The manager of the club mentioned that occasionally the desk staff at the hotel has been unaware of the special rate, but checking with their supervisor has always resolved any issues.

The Marpole Club is about 3 blocks away from the hotel. Maps and directions are available on both web sites.

The fee for the weekend will be CDN $30 in advance, or CDN $40 at the door. The advantage of registering in advance (other than saving $10) is that you will be able to sign up to run and/or play games in advance on the web. Advance fees can be paid using PayPal to bmcneilly@shaw.ca, or you can mail a cheque to me (please contact me directly to obtain my mailing address).

The Vancouver Gaming Guild is sponsoring the convention, and we will be using their online registration system to schedule the weekend. You will need to create a profile for yourself in the registration system. As well as a login id, you will be asked to enter your real name, which is used in the game schedule. We don’t use aliases in the schedule since it is much easier to locate “Brian McNeilly” on game day than “Brénan-al-Saél”. Once your fee has been received, you will be issued a ticket number which will give you access to the convention schedule for setting up an event, or signing up to play in a game.

The weekend will begin Friday evening at 6PM with a Meet and Greet gathering to get to know each other (and eat some fine sushi). Following that, there will be seven 4-hour game slots:

Friday 7-11PM
Saturday 9AM-1PM, 2-6PM, 7-11PM*
Sunday 9AM-1PM, 2-6PM, 7-11PM

* The Saturday evening slot is reserved for a special event involving the entire group.

Hope to see you there!

Brian McNeilly

A Loss of Inspiration

Yet Young Grasshopper is Set Upon His Path

As I write this, last Tuesday, E. Gary Gygax, co-creator with Dave Arneson (and probably a few others) of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away at sixty-nine. I certainly cannot let this pass without remark, because he was a remarkable man.

Mr. Gygax defined role-playing for millions, and inspired millions more. Perhaps his legacy lies more in the field of computer gaming and entertainment in general than in the pen & paper game he offered. He will be missed, and the world is a little poorer for his absence.

This last weekend give or take, Ken visited me in person at my very own home for three nights and two full days. Unfortunately, his second full day was seriously interrupted by the fact that I had to wander off and get chemotherapy, but the rest of the time was fruitful, and not just for the hour or so of sightseeing we got done. In case you did not know BC, where I live, is one of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on this planet. I like to think of it as one of only three places where Peter Jackson could have filmed LotR ;)

Ken came to learn how to make the new style Atlas/Regional maps and got to work on part of Hèpekéria… While he will need to practice quite a bit, there are now two of us who can make these rather special maps.

It is sometimes a bit too easy to forget how important great maps are to a great environment. Maps give us the lay of the land and the land usage in settled areas; they tell us about vegetation and topography that must inevitably be significant to anyone living nearby. They explain the course of rivers and the run of roads. They make sense of why someone built that bridge or town here instead of there, and why no one really wants to live in that particular part of the world. They might even tell us the order in which lands were settled and why any given region might be heavily contested by two or more nations. They can suggest the extents of tribes or nations, and the limits of military campaigns. Maps can even tell us quite a lot about the folk who live on the land. This is why I have always believed that before you can properly understand the culture, you must understand the geography; the map may not be the ‘territory’, but it must always come first. The best way to learn about a place is to draw a map. This is why I have always enjoyed mapping so much.

It is through mapping that I learn the myriad details of history and politics that make up the world.

I feel pretty good these days. I get surprisingly tired going up the stairs, but apart from that I’m really happy at the absence of false and tricksy nausea. Here today, here tomorrow… the rest is wossname…

I won’t know if my ‘folorn hope’ chemotherapy is working until the end of April. I may not know then. I know people who won’t go to the doctor because they are terrified that they might be told something unpleasant. I understand this now. It fits in nicely with the ‘stick your fingers in your ears, hum and think of puppies’ strategy which I am assured is a ‘valid way to fight cancer’… or was it ‘don’t think of puppies’?

To be honest, this idea of ‘fighting cancer’ has always puzzled me; it’s a bit like saying the battlefield is fighting the battle. My experience is that we just lie back and hope the battle is over soon.

That seems a bit of a downer on which to end. So let’s remember that we have all the pieces in place to keep producing high quality HârnWorld publications for many years to come. Keléstia Productions feels an obligation to the work that goes beyond what would be considered common practice for a publisher (beyond what would normally be considered sane really). All we ask in return is a little respect for our rights and whatnot… Oh… and huge wads of cash would be excellent too… :)