Playing old characters

ThayziakI am having a discussion with a friend about doing a play by post game. He wanted to know which of my characters I wanted to play. Initially I thought I should do two new characters, maybe a Fighter and then a multi-classed Magic User/Thief/Cleric. However paging through the book, I discovered you really can not do that, so then I thought maybe a Fighter/Thief and a Cleric/Magic User. After fiddling around with that for a while, I found it rather unsatisfying and could not decide what I wanted to do. This morning I was doing some work on the Wiki I use to keep track of all my game setting data and I came across the old Companions of Xarth PC list and there towards the bottom was the only character I played in that campaign, Thayziaik. Being a gaming pack rat, I of course still have his character sheet, so I thought maybe this was the way to go.

This is one of those things that comes from playing D&D for so long, you end up with a lot of characters with history. I did not play Thayziaik much, at 3rd level I suspect he did not see play for more than 15-20 games and the last time I played him would have been 1989 or 1990. Assuming he was around 20 years old (Minimum starting age for a human Magic user) when I last played him, and game time has progressed at the same speed as the real world, Thayziaik is now 45 years old, he is still 3rd level, so he has not been out adventuring, what has he been doing for the last 15 years? I am thinking he has been cloistered inside the Companions of Xarth Guild house, most likely using his identify spell along with his Arcane Lore skill to determine what various magic items the adventuring teams come back with are and what the probable value is. He of course charged very reasonable fees for preforming this sometimes dangerous task.

The conversion to HackMaster was pretty straight forward, I think he does not look too different from his original incarnation as an AD&D1E character, pictured above.

Str 16/01, Dex 15/12, Con 16/08, Int 14/36, Wis 13/19, Cha 12/10, Com 10/04
Race Human, Class Magic User, Level 3, Alignment Chaotic Good, Hit Points 39
Skills – Common 100%, Arcane Lore 50%, Spellcraft 25%, Riding 25%, Reading/Writing 25%
Talents – Blind Fighting
Robe, Cloak, Boots, Gloves, Cloak, BackPack, Staff, Hunting Dog, Ring of Truth
Spells: Armor, Find Familiar, Identify, Magic Missile, Mend, Munz’s Acid Bolt,
Ray of Enfeeblement, Web.

HeartBleed and Me

Heartbleed is one of those things I wanted to ignore, but ultimately I had to pay attention too. Truthfully, I am pretty bad about passwords, I tend to use the same 2 or 3 passwords for all my logins, so this is something I probably needed to do anyway. At the suggestion of a friend I installed LastPass on my system and began the process of fixing my bad habits.

LastPass imported all my saved passwords from Firefox, which made things nice and easy for me. I started with a security check, LastPass gave me a score of 6.25%, this is really bad, I thought I was using 2 or 3 passwords, but I was really using 1 about 80% of the time and many of my passwords had not been changed in years. The plan here was to delete all the old accounts I don’t use any more and update the ones I do with impossible to remember random strings that are managed by LastPass.

I went for social media first, FaceBook, G+ and Twitter, all three of these used the same password. I then moved on to the more utility sites like Dropbox, Yahoo Mail and Godaddy, my passwords were a bit more varied here, but I had not changed Yahoo Mail and Godaddy in several years. Finally I hit the gaming sites, Dragonsfoot,, Steve Jackson Games and DrivethruRPG, these were actually the best of the bunch. Finally I attacked all the financial sites, banks, investment sites, bill pay, etc, these I just cringe about.

It is all done though, all my passwords should now be very strong and all I have to hope for, is that the LastPass site does not get hacked.

Die Windows XP Die!

Microsoft is finally dropping support for Windows XP. As with the last three times they said they were going to do this, a considerable amount of whining has taken place. There are people who are in denial, who are saying Microsoft will continue support at the last minute, as it has done in the past. There are people who are asking Microsoft to open up the source code so third parties can support it. There are people who are demanding the government step in and force regulations on Microsoft to for them to support Windows XP until Jesus returns to earth.

You have two choices here. The first choice is, you can stick with XP. Yep, its true, no one is going to come and force you to install Windows 8.1 on your system and XP will not cease to function. All that is happening is XP will not longer be updated. Your second choice is to give it up and move on, you probably need to buy a new computer anyway and you can get a low end laptop these days for $400.

Either way, please god stop complaining.

Western Digital Black^2 Dual Drive

This week I had a windfall of cash and decided to buy myself a Solid State Hard Drive. Since my Alienware X51 only really has room for 1 hard drive and a dinky 256 SSD would not be terribly suitable, I decided to opt for a Western Digital Black^2 Dual Drive. This device is a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB mechanical drive built together into a single laptop sized hard drive. The pro to this is I get two drived in a single package, the down side is mediocre  performance. While the Solid state is several magnitudes faster than the mechanic drive, it is sharing a single SATA data channel with the mechanical drive and so you loose some performance there.

My first problem with this drive was fitting it securely inside my computer. The X51 has a fixed SATA data/power connector where the hard drive pushed into it, rather than cables. So I had to do some serious garage engineering to get it in there all nice and snug.

My second problem was when I booted into the Linux install, it only saw the SSD drive, it did not see the 1 TB drive at all. I assumed this would probably be fixed with an updated kernel.  I found this was not the case. I went to the internet and found the USB key they sent with the drive was not just Windows drivers. It actually takes you to Western Digital’s website where you down load a program that unlocks the 2nd hard drive. So I installed Windows 7 on the system, got the unlocking program, ran it and sure enough, the 2nd hard drive shows up. In hindsight, I probably could have just plugged in the spiffy USB cable they sent with the drive, hooked it up to PezWitch’s system, downloaded the unlocking program there, ran it on the drive and saved myself the trouble of a Windows install.

Once I got back into the Linux installer, I found the two hard drives actually looked like a single drive, with two partitions, three if you include the 100 MB Windows boot loader. I left the partitions as they were except to change the file systems. the Windows boot loader I converted to a FAT 16 table, figuring I might eventually use it for a quick boot hack. The second partition, which would be the rest of the SSD I formatted as Ext4 and mounted to root “/” and the third partition, which is the mechanical drive, I converted to Ext4 as well and mounted to /home. Magically, this worked, I was able to install Linux and boot up with no issues.

It was at this point I was getting the nvidia card going and things went REALLY wack on me, and the system would not go into the GUI. The nvidia driver was borked or an update screwed me over, I am not sure if it is related to the hard drive or not. I was now nearly 24 hours and three OS installs into this mess and I still did not have a functional OS. Sadly it was time to relegate this technology to the “Not Ready for Prime Time” category. I put my old hard drive back into my system, I just can’t have shit flaking out on me. I have now installed it into my Laptop and giving it one more try, if I can not get a stable OS, it will be crossed off the list of Linux compatible devices and I will foist it off on PezWitch, maybe it will perform better in her M11x.


PezWitch reminded me of one thing I forgot to mention, While I was removing the old hard drive from my X51, I cut myself and bled all over the new drive. Take from that what you will.

Random thoughts on random shit

Pi day came and went with the usual “But But Tau!” stuff. This got me to thinking, there is a text file on the internet that has Pi to one billion digits. Surely somewhere there is a good cryptographic application for a billion numbers with no repeating patterns.

So Fred Phelps is dead

Well another douche bag is dead, the world is a better place without Fred Phelps. All I have to says is fuck you and good riddance.


Titan (E42) – PL 10

Strength 12, Stamina 10, Agility 2, Dexterity 2, Fighting 6, Intellect 0, Awareness 1, Presence 1

All-out Attack, Daze (Intimidation), Diehard, Power Attack, Ultimate Effort: Toughness checks

Acrobatics 2 (+4), Athletics 2 (+14), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+8), Expertise: Retail Sales 2 (+2), Intimidation 6 (+7), Investigation 2 (+2), Ranged Combat: Throwing 2 (+4), Technology 2 (+2), Vehicles 2 (+4)


  • Titanic Endurance
    •    Enhanced Ability: Enhanced Stamina 6 (+6 STA)
    •    Immunity: Immunity 10 (Life Support)
    •    Impervious Defense: Impervious Toughness 10
    •    Regeneration: Regeneration 5 (Every 2 rounds)
  • Titanic Strength
    •    Enhanced Ability: Enhanced Strength 8 (+8 STR)
    •    Leaping: Leaping  12 (Leap 4 miles at 250 miles/hour in 1 minute)
    •    Power-lifting: Power-lifting 8 (+8 STR for lifting, 25 kton Load Limit)

Initiative +2
Grab, +6 (DC Spec 22)
Strike: Strike 5, +6 (DC 20)
Throw, +4 (DC 27)
Unarmed, +8 (DC 27)

Enemy: Iron Mask
Motivation: Doing Good


Dodge 10, Parry 10, Fortitude 10, Toughness 10, Will 10

Power Points
Abilities 40 + Powers 73 + Advantages 5 + Skills 11 (22 ranks) + Defenses 21 = 150

Titan always wanted to be a super hero and when his power expressed itself he was happy and elated. What he discovered though was he is not very good at it. He crossed paths with several major villains and lost to all of them. He now keeps to rescue and recovery work staying out of the way of better and more competent heroes. Business Man occasionally recruits him for jobs where he needs muscle, primarily because Titan knows how to stay out of the way and not break anything.

This is another Champions transplant, this was my character. He his a basic powerhouse and not terribly imaginative. On earth 42, Titan is kind of a super looser. In his personal life he has trouble keeping relationships, he works a dead end job and lives with his mother. His superhero life is not much better.

The Architect

The Architect (E42) – PL 10

Strength 0, Stamina 2, Agility 2, Dexterity 4, Fighting 2, Intellect 10, Awareness 7, Presence 0

Equipment 16, Great Endurance, Inventor, Jack-of-all-trades, Speed of Thought, Trance, Well-informed

Acrobatics 2 (+4), Athletics 2 (+2), Deception 2 (+2), Expertise: Science 6 (+16), Insight 2 (+9), Investigation 6 (+16), Perception 6 (+13), Persuasion 4 (+4), Sleight of Hand 4 (+8), Stealth 4 (+6), Technology 6 (+16), Treatment 2 (+12), Vehicles 4 (+8)


  • Gallifreyan Physiology
    •    Immortality: Immortality 15 (Return after 2 minutes; Limited: Can only regenerate 13 times)
    •    Immunity: Immunity 3 (Aging, Environmental Condition: Radiation, Sleep)
    •    Two Hearts: Enhanced Trait 1 (Advantages: Great Endurance)
  • Psychic Paper
    •    Illusion: Illusion 1 (Linked; Affects: One Sense Type – Sight, Area: 2 cft., DC 11; Limited: Limited to credentials)
    •    Mind Reading: Mind Reading 1 (Linked; DC 11; Limited: Limited to credentials)
  • Sonic Screwdriver: Variable 2
  • Time Lord
    •    Comprehend: Comprehend 4 (Languages – Read All, Languages – Speak All, Languages – Understand All, Languages – You’re Understood)
    •    Mind Reading: Mind Reading 4 (DC 14)
    •    Quickness: Quickness 2 (Perform routine tasks in -2 time ranks)
    •    Time Awarness: Senses 2 (Acute: Time Awareness, Awareness: Time (Mental))

Psychic Paper [Psychic Paper], Sonic Scewdriver [Sonic Screwdriver: Variable 2], Tardis

Initiative +10
Grab, +2 (DC Spec 10)
Mind Reading: Mind Reading 1 (DC Will 11)
Mind Reading: Mind Reading 4 (DC Will 14)
Throw, +4 (DC 15)
Unarmed, +2 (DC 15)

Motivation: Thrills


Dodge 3, Parry 3, Fortitude 8, Toughness 2, Will 10

Power Points
Abilities 54 + Powers 39 + Advantages 21 + Skills 25 (50 ranks) + Defenses 11 = 150

Tardis – PL 10

Strength 10, Defense 4, Toughness 14, Size Medium


  • Features
    • Artificial Intellegence: Feature 1
    • Bigger on the inside: Feature 1
  • Flight: Flight 7 (Speed: 250 miles/hour, 0.5 miles/round)
  • Hide in Plain Sight: Concealment 2 (Sense – Sight, Advantages: Hide in Plain Sight)
  • Space Travel: Movement 4 (Environmental Adaptation: Space Travel, Space Travel 3: other galaxies)
  • Time Travel: Movement 4 (Environmental Adaptation: Time Travel, Time Travel 3: any time)

Power Points
Abilities 10 + Powers 37 + Advantages 0 + Features 0 + Skills 0 (0 ranks) + Defenses 13 + Equipment 0 (0 ep) + Weapons & Armor 0 (0 ep) = 60

This started out as an experiment to see if I could do the Doctor in Mutants and Masterminds. Surprisingly, in terms of the game, the Doctor is not that high of powered character, on the other hand, the ability to move freely through time and space makes him incredibly powerful. I can totally see Thor playing this character and viewing Titan and Business Man as his “Companions” and complains that the Doctors companions are always cute redheads..

Business Man

Business Man (E42) – PL 10

Strength 0, Stamina 0, Agility 1, Dexterity 3, Fighting 4, Intellect 10, Awareness 5, Presence 1

Beginner’s Luck, Benefit, Wealth 4 (multimillionaire), Daze (Deception), Equipment 4, Fascinate (Persuasion), Hide in Plain Sight, Inventor, Jack-of-all-trades

Close Combat: Unarmed 1 (+5), Expertise: Business and Accounting 4 (+14), Expertise: Engineering 4 (+14), Insight 4 (+9), Investigation 4 (+14), Perception 4 (+9), Technology 4 (+14), Vehicles 4 (+7)


  • Brief Case (Easily Removable)
    •    Bigger on the inside than the outside: Feature 1
    •    Dazzle: Dazzle 10 (Affects Sense: Sight, Resisted by: Fortitude, DC 20)
    •    Impervious Defense: Impervious Toughness 10
    •    Various Gadgets: Variable 5 (technological; Limited: Small Technological devices)
  • Business Suit (Removable)
    •    Protection: Protection 10 (+10 Toughness)
  • Fedora (Easily Removable)
    •    Communication: Radio Communication 3
    •    Senses: Senses 2 (Analytical: Sight, Infravision)
  • Trench Coat (Removable)
    •    Concealment: Concealment 4 (All Visual Senses)
    •    Gliding: Flight 5 (Speed: 60 miles/hour, 900 feet/round; Gliding)

Audio Recorder, Car, Cell Phone (Smartphone), Concealable Microphone, Flash Goggles, Flashlight, Gas Mask, Handcuffs, Lock Release Gun, Mini-tracer, Multi-tool

Initiative +1
Dazzle: Dazzle 10, +3 (DC Fort 20)
Grab, +4 (DC Spec 10)
Throw, +3 (DC 15)
Unarmed, +5 (DC 15)

Motivation: Acceptance: Accepts that he is a total weirdness magnet for super hero/villain activity
Responsibility: Has  a job


Dodge 5, Parry 5, Fortitude 5, Toughness 10, Will 5

Power Points
Abilities 48 + Powers 63 + Advantages 14 + Skills 15 (29 ranks) + Defenses 10 = 150

Business Man is one of the great inventors and engineers of modern history. However he much prefers to “Crunch the Numbers” than build trinkets. Early in his life he realized for some unknown reason he is a magnet for Superhero/Super Villain activity. After being hurt a couple of times for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he started developing defenses that were integrated into stylish three piece suits. He also maintains some offensive abilities, but he only tends to use them to keep Mooks and Henchmen away from himself and other innocent bystanders.

Business Man is generally considered to be an Urban Legend, but there are websites dedicated to this “Unknown man” who mysteriously appears in the background photos taken of various Super battles.

Business Man was originally conceived for a Champions game by my friend Bruce. To this day, I believe Bruce never actually put him on paper, although I suspect he will deny that. This is my re-imaging of Business Man for earth 42. I picture him, not as a member of a super team, but rather someone who just has incredible bad luck and ends up at the center various super battles, sort of a super powered innocent bystander,

Sexism and the Hi Tech industry

My friend wrote a really good piece on sexism, I especially liked;

 ”I am far from Mr. Office Decorum and I’ll tell you I would have fired every person imvolved (or better, done like the Romans and have them draw beads then crucify every tenth one in the parking lot as a warning to others).”

I just have to ask – What the hell kind of place are these people working at?

Chad and I disagree on a wide variety of subjects, but one thing we both agree on is the need to all organization to maintain discipline within the ranks.