Recon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If D&D Had An Anti-Gun Lobby


Consider, if you will, the English Longbow.

A masterwork longbow you say? 1d8 piercing damage, with up to a +3 bonus for strength?

WRONG! A deadly rapid fire assault weapon, with a high capacity quiver to facilitate massacres and equipped with deadly "Knight-Killer" bodkin points, capable of penetrating a noble's breastplate. And if you want the deadly string muffler, a foul tool of assassins and poachers, you have to pay the local magistrate 200 gp and wait six months for approval.

Some more fun facts about this version of D&D:

Components for all spells that do over 1d6 damage require an "Accessible Combat Magic Permit" issued at the discretion of the local sheriff.

Anyone with less than a +10 base attack bonus can only own Blunt type weapons, due to the potential for mass collateral damage.

Anyone living in a recognized Gargoyle territory is permitted to own magic weapons of up to +3 enchantment, but must show a demonstrable need first. Usually having a few of your children eaten will do.

What a lame campaign this would be.

Friday, November 26, 2010

5 Things in the Pot Debate I Wish Would Go Away

5. "Smoking pot is a political statement and makes me a subversive." Listen, you lazy ass stoner, sitting on your couch and getting high is not a subversive act. If you are smoking to make a political point, stop now because all you are doing is feeding the criminal versions of the corporate fascists you hate so much anyway. If you really want to be subversive, you need to be growing your own.

4. "Marijuana is a gateway drug and if you smoke it, you'll end up giving handjobs behind the crackhouse for ever and ever." You know what is funny about the reefer, Vanilla America? THC is the chemical that gets the most attention, but there are a LOT of psychoactive chemicals in weed, all of which can vary wildly by strain. So when you start developing a tolerance to what you are smoking, all you have to do is switch from an indica to a sativa or even just to a different strain. So there is no point where you need to pass the D.A.R.E. note that just says "COCAINE" on a folded slip of paper (You remember that shit?) because the weed is not working for you anymore. Trust me, I know some old ass stoners who still get ripped as fuck all the time (My mom is kind of a lightweight) and haven't touched anything besides weed.

3. "I don't want legalized weed because it will get all corporate and stuff." You are a stupid shit. You are just too much of a pussy to shoot meth into your scrotum, and you are afraid that once herb is no longer a safe way to rebel, you'll have to move up to harder drugs to prove what a cool, iconoclastic, hip motherfucker you are. Listen to me: all of the great innovations in human history were not made when a thing was discovered, but when a thing was made cheap. I'm talking about a pack of 20 joints for the price of a pack of cigarettes. I'm talking about real, above ground development of new, high quality strains with no seeds or stems and a million crazy blunt wrap flavors. And best of all, people won't 'Tsk tsk' if you get shot in the fucking face during a no knock. Suck my dick, you pretentious fuck.

2. "If we let everyone smoke weed then no one will go out and get jobs and stuff." Point of order-plenty of motherfuckers who don't smoke weed are out of a job right now, homie. And furthermore, have you ever worked in the service industry, or even seen it? It runs on weed and addies and whiskey, baby, and if you think it doesn't, you've never been to the closeout party. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

1. "Weed is used to take advantage of women sexually, and I don't want my daughter to be molested." I'm not sure what you think people use alcohol for now, dude, but let me give you an example of two Chris By-The-Throats. CBTT-A is slamming tequila shooters and snorting coke off your hot daughter in an abandoned factory in the middle of nowhere, and CBTT-B is smoking AK-47 out of a huge bong with your hot daughter on his couch while they watch Code Monkeys. Which one do you think is more likely to rape her? If you said CBTT-A, congratulations, you have half a brain. If you said CBTT-B, it is because you've never seen him struggle to rape a bag of generic Captain Crunch. As a side note, this technique is a slight variation on "They is gonna rape our beeyootiful white women!"

And while I'm at it, can we please get rid of those "Above the Influence" commercials? Do you ever wonder how many of those hip actor kids go off after principal shooting to get high and pop valiums?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Planning the Bugout - Errata

or "Fuck me, did I miss the point again?"

I hope my bugout posts have been making sense to everyone. As I read over them I am not sure if what I am trying to do is coming across-I am trying to answer the question of "How do you put a bugout group together?" and the only way I know how to do that is to describe how our group came together. In the end, the ingredients were somehow all in place.

Take some smart kids with very close ties, that don't quite fit in and agitate through constant persecution. Encourage them to engage in constant co op gaming where our avatars, directly or indirectly, are our means of (violent) communication with a world that we have concrete evidence is out to get us. Season with substance abuse and a few years of disillusionment with a depressingly moronic culture. Mix in a charismatic and, dare I say it, motherfucking sexy leader, and poof-one survivalist group capable of functioning as a crappy light infantry unit. That is one method that I can say, with empirical proof, works pretty goddamn good.

I don't know what the hell you should do. But I can tell you what works for me, and maybe expound on my success in that area to draw some tenative conclusions, and that is what you have been getting, through a heavy layer of overwritten drug addled drivel.

You're welcome, motherfuckers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Planning the Bugout, Part III - Maybe On Topic This Time

You see what happens when you smoke weed? You put three entries in a series and they barely have anything to do with each other. In the first post you have a guy actually complaining about having 30+ bodies in his bugout group, and in the next he's talking about his character sheet. Weed doesn't make you dumb, it just scatters the thoughts you have until they are practically see-through. But this time I'm going to try and answer the original question I posed, which is how do you keep a large group motivated and together long enough to go on all these three day FTX's and make preparations to fight in the Zombie War?

Let me know if I get off track again.

It is one of the most common questions on any and all survival forums-"How do I get my spouse\best friend\parents into prepping? I am concerned with their welfare and want to get them in on my plan, but all they ever say is 'I'm coming your house'" And for some of those groups of people I don't know-I have never been able to convince my parents or grandparents of anything; in fact my own prepping is largely due to their influence. But, if you were to ask me, "How do I get an existing group of 20-something drug using antisocial gamers into prepping?" I might have an answer for you.

You see, it all starts with gaming. Gaming is a wonderful example of the same kind of thinking that perpetuates on internet gun forums in such threads as "What if you were like at the gas station and like 14 taliban terrorists came out of a clown car and started shooting up the windows? lol" and "What kind of body armor do you reccomend for my new job as a bouncer in a local nightclub?" It forces you to take an unusual tactical scenario and react to it. I've been this group's DM for a long time, and there is a reason that Apocalyptic themes are common in my game world. And I have all the help I can stand there-the Apocalypse is all over the movies, books, video games and all other forms of media. It is very much in the popular narrative.

The internet gun forum hardass would interject at this point that this kind of thinking is foolish and encourages mall ninja habits. And it might, I dunno-I have two guys I am trying to talk out of Taurus Judges and one guy that swears by loading his shotgun's tube magazine with a complicated pattern of different specialty rounds. But it gets them thinking about the subject, and never stops being a fun topic of discussion and debate for the group.

Building on that concept-no, not gaming, but fun-I don't make people feel bad about enjoying the training and I don't stop them from feeling badass by cutting them downwhen they practice. This is important, because if people don't feel like there is some reward for doing all this hard, dangerous, uncomfortable stuff for no pay, they won't do it and that is that. Some people have enough will to simply do it for some theoretical future benefit, but the best way to keep them coming back is to make them feel good about what they are doing and that means tapping into the old 'camo and plastic m16s' in the woods feeling you get from either playing war in the woods as a kid or playing a tactical shooter online or whatever your kick is. I mean, I've never been to gun school, but I've taken martial arts classes that were supposed to be taken so seriously that cracking a smile was a no-no and you had to pretend like you didn't enjoy taking martial arts at all. And that is just a bullshit attitude. I like martial arts. I like guns and shooting. I like rough camping and foraging. And I'm not going to act otherwise, just to impress some hardass that I am paying to perform a service for me.

Anyway, the point is I don't scream at or belittle or do any of that other cliched drill sergeant bullshit when we are practicing together, because these people's association with me is all voluntary and punishing them for it is counterproductive to my goals. For a similar reason, I don't try to frighten people into prepping-even if I 'win' by using that gambit, motivation out of only fear doesn't hold up very well long term, and if they don't keep coming back it isn't worth the effort to work with them.

I didn't mean to start with a negative here, so here is a definite DO item-keep your existing ties strong. You need to do stuff together that isn't apocalypse related, or you might be straying over into crazy territory, so make sure you keep your friendships with the people around you at a healthy level. To survive an apocalypse, a strong, cohesive bond will be a treasure beyond measure, if it isn't now.

Here is another DO item-DO know the motherfuckers you are with, in detail. Know their capabilities, their weaknesses, their secrets and neuroses. It is one of my biggest advantages in leading this outfit-I have known these people a long, long time, I have seen them at their best and worst, and we foster an open environment where everyone shares things naturally-and I keep careful track of all this knowledge.

Again it all comes back to gaming-when I make someone put down their stats on a sheet (and keep them honest when they do it) I get a pretty good idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are. More importantly, during the game I see what kind of choices they make, what kind of thinking they use, what fallacies and inaccuracies they believe. I have the opportunity to test them, to force introspection on them, and to present them with the kind of situations that they are going to face in the PAW. I can gently correct misconceptions and discuss communication and chain of command issues in a fictional context. And I can do it all in a fun, casual environment that is 100% opsec gold-no one will suspect a group of gaming nerds to be dangerous armed militants, except of course Jack Chick. (ZING)

And one more DO for the list-DO encourage your friends to learn useful skills. I've been trying to implement a system of Accomplishment patches for a year or two now, right? And I have a guy who is a graphic design student and a talented artist, who will be designing them for me. Pure motivation, right there-when they are done, and if they look sufficiently bad ass and punk rockish, I will have useful motherfuckers falling out of my ears. But the patches are an affectation in any case-it is simple enough to say "Oh, yeah, dude, you should totally pursue an EMT-B certification or an auto mechanics certificate or a ham radio license." You make them feel good about contributing, and they will naturally contribute as much as they can.

And now to bring it on home-let's have another DON'T list item. For fuck's sake, DON'T expect miracles out of these people. None of them are ever going to be professional operators or high level competitive shooters. Remember that all these fucks work day jobs, have kids and responsibilities, and have no obligation to even be seen near you. Be humble.

So, to recap, don't act like some hardass martinet, reward the behavior you find most profitable to your unit's success, know everyone involved on a deep and personal level, and keep your expectations realistic, and you can be outfitted for the PAW in no time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Jack Chick Terror Hour

So every gamer knows Dark Dungeons, and no one else gives a shit. The gaming population has basically co-opted it into a meme, and the mainstream Christian population has realized that Dungeons & Dragons is escapist fantasy, not Jewlluminati Covert Satanic Cult Training. In most ways, there is almost no point in mocking this sad joke of a man, but fuck knows I never let that stop me before.

So I could scare Jack Chick's pecker back up into his asshole with this new campaign.

First, the player characters-amoral, violent parodies of some already mentally disturbed, drug abusing, sexually deviant people who happen to be gathered together in an armed survivalist militia (...type thing...) who play a Grand Theft Auto version of World of Darkness. Using our superpowers to perpetuate mass slaughter, describing everything in lurid detail, playing under the influence of various drugs and alcohol, and describing terrible dark sex magick rituals in service of Kamala, Wyrm Baroness of Lust-all the things that make gaming terrifying.

For fun, I'd put on some Marilyn Manson (An affectation I'm afraid, most of us don't even like him-Hank III is our most common gaming music) and light some black candles even though it is fucking impossible to read your die rolls or your sheet. And I'd tell my players "Fan service, you sick fucks-Your Basic Torture teacher has asked you to capture and torture a celebrity in an ironic way and harvest their agony to serve the Rapemind, May He Defecate on the Light Forever. You are sitting in west hollywood in an interior design company van, with flies buzzing over the driver's gaping neck hole. Your fearless leader lights a cigarette and waves a blood splattered Star Map. What do you do?"

That mentally ill fuckup would wake up screaming for the rest of his life.

And that makes me happy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Planning the Bugout, Part Two: This time, it's adjective

So I suppose, in hindsight, I should talk first about the materials I have to work with. When you are a lunatic wannabe warlord with just enough dots in Charisma to land himself in real trouble, your bricks and mortar are the people you surround yourself with. So I'm going to take a step back and talk a little about our group-or more accurately, our group's character sheets.

Remember how I told you most of our gaming is Avatar style-playing as versions, or more accurately parodies, of ourselves? There are things you notice about our sheets that give us a number of our biggest advantages. For non nerds, remember that the World of Darkness scale is 1 (Poor) 2 (Average) 3 (Exceptional) 4 (Very Exceptional) and 5 (Epic)

My own character sheet, when I put down stats realistically, is a generalist more than a specialist-I know a lot about very little, but I know a little about a lot. My highest attributes are Intelligence and Manipulation, both at 4. I also pull down a respectable 3 in strength, wits and charisma. My weaknesses are appearance (2, and that generous) dexterity (2, and perhaps also generous although I am more agile than I look) and perception (1-I'm absurdly self absorbed). Stamina is a toss up-when interpreted as long term fitness and endurance I am probably a 2, but in terms of taking a hit I am a confident 4 from bitter experience, so I usually round it out to 3 and chalk it up to the system. So what we have here is a canny, sneaky motherfucker who wasted a lot of time in college on martial arts classes and dabbled in damn near every other field of knowledge with genuine interest for awhile. My skills emphasize Subterfuge (an honest 4, ha ha ha) Melee (A 3, and that only because I'm back in training recently and have a lot of dormant muscle memory) Academics (3-I am the king of the fuzzy studies) and Survival 3 (For all my mall ninja-ry, I grew up in the woods) and then, y'know, the inevitable 4 points in Nerd Culture Trivia.

So that is me, but how about the rest of the group? Lumped in a group their sheets show consistently above average intelligence and wits across the board-none below 3, with a few 4's. Major weakness? Perception. Hey, we're potheads. High skills include Weed Trivia, Subterfuge, Stealth (We played a lot of spotlight as kids, and, uh, as adults) Crafts, and respectable ratings in Survival and Firearms (Mostly 2's), and a few exceptional members in a few highly useful fields like Brawl, Melee and Medicine.

So what are we doing on this bugout then? Patrolling and contact drills-we need to drill Alertness to make up for that god awful Perception. Medical training for GSW and other traumas, because we have a guy who is an EMT-B certified now and can teach it-everyone having those extra Medicine dots will come in handy in our PAW skirmishes. Movement, stealth and sentry drills to both sharpen our high points (Stealth) and, again, work on that Alertness skill. Communication methodology-if we can move and communicate effectively we will be 90% of the way to being a passable light infantry unit. CQB is going to get a review from the last bugout, because I want to see if you pricks have been practicing it-I want to see muscle memory, raise that Brawl rating, plus get some mileage out of that Stamina roll-we are going to do some live Pugils and maybe have a go with some pads. Brawl may no longer be the most important thing to a unit's effectiveness, but it gets everyone's blood going and trains aggressiveness-an attribute that is not on our sheet and, with us being stoners, is sometimes lacking.

Finally, on the last day (so we have that wonderful infantry experience of a full ammo load the whole time) we are going to do our Firearms and shooting techniques-after we are good and tired and cold and sore, because if you shoot good then, you shoot good fresh. Probably basics-static shooting for accuracy, shooting positions with and without cover, reloads, weapon transitions, lots and lots of dry fire because we are all poor as fuck...hopefully something to raise our Firearms ratings.

Thus ends the tale of our Character Sheets. As you can see, we are fairly inept, but we have our strengths and are working on our weaknesses. Having a few people that specialize and can teach others rudiments is a good thing for us, as it allows us to build exactly the skills we need to rock the Mad Max universe.

And baby, you better believe that's what it's all about.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Planning the Bugout-An Anecdote

Planning a bugout for a group of antisocial stoners? You probably think I'm crazy.

Not a lot of internet survivalists ever get much past the armchair stage. But by now, after beginning our serious prepping in 2006 or so, we have averaged 1.5 practice bugouts a year-we aim for two a year but sometimes shit happens. I don't think that is too bad for a bunch of people scattered across the state who all work menial jobs. It is a large group of people-all told about 30 although no more than 20 usually make it, with some of the others being children under 10. So it has posed some unique challenges to the motivated survivalist group-how do you plan logistically for a group that size?

There are some advantages too-you can buy the big #10 cans and actually use them, there are plenty of bodies for fire and kitchen patrol, and 30 pairs of eyes can spot trouble a lot better than 3. We can deploy a level of firepower on an enemy that a smaller group cannot, and split the cost of large items more ways. We can even afford a certain level of specialization like a dedicated marksman or a corpsman. We standardize on bulk ammo because we have one shotgun, one pistol and two rifle calibers. We can standardize on parts because nearly everyone has an AK patterned firearm (except for you SKS heretics and you Mosin Monkey Molesters, plus our one guy who is a felon and has a freakin' sweet high end crossbow)

Perhaps most amazingly of all, we are all able to get along for long periods under high stress situations. That is mostly our upbringing-we have all been together a long time; my trusty second in command has been my friend since we were single digits, and our parents were good friends before that. I don't plan on losing any sleep for thinking of betrayal.

So the key is to use these advantages to beat the disadvantages-and there are some disadvantages too. For one thing, getting anything together in a group that size requires more planning and communication. The first thing you should do in a big group is have an up to date contact list in a secure location-names, numbers, email addresses, facebook pages, radio frequencies and protocols. Their homes should be marked on your gps and you should know their work schedules and contact info. In short, you want as many bridges of communication open as possible at all times because when the shit goes down, time may be very fuckin' short. You also need to have plans-a simple plan for everyone to know, and contingencies for any problems that come up. In our case, the overarching first step for every disaster is "GET TO HOME BASE" which is our house for obvious reasons-it is where I set up my Sexy Action Command Post(tm).

Among my contingencies, I have plans for everyone's extraction, anywhere. I have two guys that are designated standby, and two backup standbys, just to go out and extract anyone from interference they may meet when following the plan-which, again, is simple. These people are potheads, they may need their hands held-or they may need to be rescued from a knot of flesh eating carnivorous plants. These things happen. So the extraction is more complicated, but because I have plenty of personnel I can plan for the inevitable complications as well as any mortal can.

Anyway, this is running long, so look out for a part two later, where I'll discuss a few more of our hurdles and how they are overcome.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Return of Mall Ninja Confession Booth - Gun School Phobia

Like some of you, I have not invested nearly enough in my training.

I've taken the jerk off safety courses as a kid, done some static shooting for accuracy, dicked around with a little bit of dry fire practice, and read up on the literature, but I still haven't taken a serious fightin' rifle class. And this drives me nuts; I hate it.

It is okay if you hate me if you know I'm that guy-you know, the scruffy deluded mall ninja with a cheap AK and no operator experience or impressive tactical course resume. But what you should really hate is that 75% of the internet gun sphere is also that guy. I don't know their reasons, but I thought I'd discuss my own.

It is easy to say "I'm broke" but I'm not-not since my promotion anyway. I am short on time-painfully so if you hadn't noticed from the status of my novel or this blog. But neither of these obstacles are infinite and I am close to my goals of overcoming both now. I should be excited, but I'm really kind of nervous. The reason is Gun School Phobia.

I finally understand those guys with locker room fear-I never had it, because despite my poor marksmanship I have a huge cock-but the principle is the same. And it isn't even my skills that concern me when I think of going-it will likely be a beginner class and everyone will suck. It is mostly my gear. I'm going to show up with my low end Century WASR and my knock off 'Spetnatz' tac vest and my well worn Springfield 1911-and motherfuckers are going to laugh at me, because the internet is full of gun snobs who will show up for the beginner class with M4's with more equity than my car and I can't stand it. Those people aggrieve me when I see them posting on the internet telling others that that they won't even bother prying the weapon off their zombie chewed course if they pick X Weapon. I don't think I could stand them in real life.

You know how bad it is? I have a retort all planned for any snide comments about my shit. "Look, damnit, it was either the Century (Springfield\Milsurp\Cold Steel\Generic) with training or the Arsenal (Kimber\Eagle\Custom) without training-who would you rather have at your back?" And in my head, and here with my dirt poor, Mosin and SKS owning chums, the saying flies. But there is no pacifying the gun snob crowd, and it makes me want to grind my teeth.

There are some good courses in Indiana from Suarez International, and over in Ohio DavePal84 (From the ZS forums) teaches a class that I would love to take as well. I have the ammo and the money for the training is falling into place-I even have some vacation time left. Essentially, I find my bullshit excuses evaporating and it has come down to this very primal, very ugly point.

It is a stupid worry-everyone is going to be there to learn, and there is no way some of these dicks are going to be as bad without the veil of anonymity, and fuck, it isn't like these gun snobs are exempt from being among the 75% that aren't going to be there anyway, right? Right.

It is ridiculous really-I mean what I should be worrying about is finding a school that will consent to teach a politically dangerous dope smoking scumfuck, not fretting because some guy telling me my gear is dogshit as if I didn't know already. But I am, and I find I don't like this about myself.

Our next practice bugout is tentatively scheduled for March. I'm getting a fucking class in before then somehow. I'll feel better when I'm out of that 75% and I can feel snobby about that.

Maybe I'll see you there.