19 March 2013

Good news, Mediochre News, and Savage Worlds...

  Well, dear readers, we're back after taking a week off for Spring Break.  That means two posts this week to catch up.  The Battle of the Bulge continues - last week an encouraging loss of 6lbs, but it looks like 3 of those have come back this week to haunt me.  I took the Z-Man to East Texas to see my grandmother and her husband, and I should have predicted a complete and total lack of anything that resembled MediFast's concept of "Lean and Green."  Boudin.  Fried chicken.  At least when we had BBQ I could do the BBQ chicken - but no green sides.  Not one.  Potato Salad?  Check.  BBQ Beans with sausage and ground meat in them?  Check.  A.... salad?  Nope.  Green beans?  Negative.  I did the best I could, and avoided totally killing my diet (or so I thought) and still somehow ended up putting back 5lbs, which is down to 3 as of this morning.

  I'm going to be honest - frustration and just plain fatigue with the situation has begun to set in.  Every month I'm not at 217 is a month I watch my friends go to drill and learn and serve our great state in the Texas State Guard.  Even with the hopefully temporary regain, I am 45lbs lighter than I was when I originally attempted to enlist - yet I am still worthless to the battalion until I lose another 25ish lbs and hit 217.  In the meantime, there are a few members of the regiment who are quite a bit more overweight than I am, and they continue to serve under some unspoken grandfather clause.  It's frustrating.  If there's a standard, there's a standard.  If not, then I would dearly prefer to be training and serving as the weight comes off rather than being permanently benched.  I've even stopped going to drills because a lot of the training the unit is doing these days is of a nature that I cannot take part in until I'm sworn in for insurance reasons.  It's frustrating, and borderline depressing.  My son watches Thomas the Tank Engine, and I now totally understand the obsession Thomas and his friends have with being "Really useful."  I know I'm a good dad, and I've been told that by folks from Arrow, CASA and CPS as well as friends and family.  I know I'm a good student, I have my BA with honors to show me that.  I know that I could be a "really useful" soldier, and an even more useful NCO, but every day I struggle with my weight makes me that much closer to just saying "screw it" since I watch the people around me happily eat what they want, and even a tiny deviation from my MediFast plan means no weight loss or even a small gain.  I miss rice, gorramit.  I miss being able to indulge in the kind of food my Mammaw serves.  I miss going into a restaurant and not immediately looking at the salads and grilled chicken items.  I realize I'm never going to be able to eat chicken fried steak or chinese food as regularly as I used to - but a once a week comfort meal would be nice, and I can't even allow myself that.  Every ounce is that much longer my good friends wait for me to swear into the battalion with them, that much longer the officers and NCOs have to pass judgement on my lack of commitment to getting into the Guard, and that much longer I get to look at myself and see a goal that I just can't seem to reach because the Guard doesn't care if I've lost 45lbs, they will care when I hit 217.  Do or do not, I suppose, there is no try.

  So what's the good news?  We have a tentative adoption date.  As things firm up I'll post here what it is.  This means we're counting it down, we have an actual goal date.  Next week I have to go to a court hearing to see what's up with the case, but it's pretty certain at this time that Mary and I will be parents in the near future without the "foster-" prefix.  This cheers me up some, but there are still the two hurdles of figuring out what the hell we're going to do about childcare once the state is no longer assisting us, and getting our fire marshal certification at our home.  That's right, they found something else they didn't like - I have to move our friggin freezer because it uses an "extension cord."  Ugh.  Dammit.  That's the mediochre news.  At least Lt. Davis from RRFD is giving us the opportunity to correct the situation without getting charged again.  He's a pretty awesome guy, and I appreciated his information and his honesty about stuff.  It's nice that he took the time to explain *why* the FD is so concerned with extension cords, and how permanent use of one can screw the homeowner if there is a fire.

  Now - on to the gaming part.  SAVAGE WORLDS. 

  Readers who've tagged along for a while have noticed that we love us some Battletech, but the current RPG rules set leaves us a bit unsatisfied.  It's more complex than it needs to be, and in trying to cover the entire Battletech timeline ends up containing none of the information you really need to do any one time period aside from the rapidly changing current one.  We've looked at several other systems, including a homegrown one based on the older MechWarrior and MechWarrior 2nd Edition games.  This past RDG meeting, we tried Savage Worlds for 'Mech combat on the heels of our previous test of Savage Worlds for characters and interpersonal combat. 

  It worked well.  Very well.  The folks at Dischord Company have done a Savage Worlds Fan conversion of Battletech to SW and it's pretty damn good.  They've hit all the high points of Battletech while keeping the Fast! Furious! Fun! rules lightness of Savage Worlds.  To take a look at what they've got going on, check out their latest version on the Pinnacle forums here.  As of this writing, they're in Revision 12 of their rules.

  Man, did they hit the high points.  There are background packages for all the major (and some minor) factions currently extant, build with a zero-sum scheme so that they add to the characters without being a "race" and thereby losing the free Edge humans get.  They have edges that work inside a BattleMech, like offsetting the penalty for indirect fire, or rapid movement.  Their 'Mech rules use standard BTech ranges, 'Mech sheets, etc. but offer quicker combat resolution, fewer phases, and the ability to score crits on a Raise as opposed to just when armor is breached or snake-eyes is rolled on a location chart.  We found that once we got the rules down it move a LOT faster than standard Battletech.

  We decided to make a couple of modifications to the fine work the Dischord Company did.  First, we eliminated measuring the distance a 'Mech travels during the movement phase and used a fixed value based on speed as is done in Quick Strike.  This means that there's no more need for us to futz with movement dice as such, although we did keep glass beads so we'd know who had moved and fired at all.  The reduction of phases to make move, fire and physical one phase is a mixed blessing.  This makes the game run a LOT faster, but also makes some of the tactics of winning initiative a bit different.  Players will have to learn to hold initiative if they want the advantage of moving last, but this will allow them to be shot at first unless they win the contest of Agility to interrupt an opponent's action...

  We also decided that a raise when firing on a MechWarrior who is an Extra means an automatic single crit to a location rolled - the most damaging weapon in a weapon group.  This will help Wild Cards stand out over Extras, and will also help keep tanks popping when compared to 'Mechs.  Sadly, we forgot we wanted to try this rule and played a whole battle without it.  The result was ridiculously tough tanks, as we were also using the OLD tank crit charts.

  The folks present for this test-run voted unanimously to adopt Savage Worlds as our game system for our Battletech campaign, and we will be using Savage Battletech for combat.  I look forward to seeing where all this goes.  I can't wait for Saturday, when we'll be doing character creation for the new campaign...

Singing off, for the moment.

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