Using Word Processing programs

A proposal to eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland

This is a long one. There is no TL;DR, but Google tells me it should take about 10 minutes to read. Or, you can skip to The Plan - Summary if you want the bullet points.
But why should you give this any time at all?
My background is in data analysis. Making sense of numbers is what I do for a living. I have been studying COVID-19 since I was locked down in March and the experience has been frustrating in equal measure. The difference between what was happening on the ground, and the story that the media told was genuinely alarming. The government / NPHET never even tried to stop the virus getting into the country, and no one held them to account for their (non)decisions. The disastrous consequences are all around us, and much of it was preventable.
Six months later, and the country has barely moved on. The ‘experts’ have no goals and little control over the virus. The media frame every issue as a crass binary choice between more or less restrictions and are otherwise happy just to have people to point their fingers at. The government / NPHET has nothing to offer the people, other than admonishments to do better and repeated cycle of restrictions.
Meanwhile students, artists, the over 70s, small business owners, the entire events and hospitality industries, and regular people who cannot WFH have been left swinging in the wind. Some have been evicted, others are relying on drugs to get by. This situation is not just a problem for one or two parts of our society: this is a widespread degradation of our quality of life. If I can do anything to help, I feel obliged to try.

Context
As I see it, we have three choices:
I won’t argue over technocratic definitions like ‘elimination’, ‘eradication’ or ‘suppression’. These distinctions are semantic in an environment of oppressive civic restrictions, mass unemployment, waves of business closures, and general misery. Whatever gets us to a place where we can live our lives as normal (or close enough), and the public health infrastructure can take care of the virus, that’s what I’m aiming for.
This proposal cannot work without public support. No proposal can work without public support. Public adherence is the single most important variable in the equation, yet it is the one that the politicians and the media and the ‘experts’ have ignored. FG burned through a lot of goodwill in the first lockdown (and money, and resources, and lives…). Instead of vilifying people who aren’t adhering to the rules, policymakers need to recognise the sacrifices that the people made (which were subsequently squandered) and they need to earn that trust back.
This proposal cannot work without support from the North. That doesn’t mean that we need to convince them to adopt our plan. It means we need to convince them that the goal is worthwhile and achievable. From there we can work together to coordinate our policies. Managing our own affairs with competence, would be a good start. Picking up the phone to talk to them, instead of trying to browbeat them through the media, would also help.
Irrespective of your goals or beliefs, some facts are certain: there will be lockdowns, there will be government spending to support the economy, and the virus will demand public health resources. All of that will happen in the coming months and years, whether we have a plan or not. The question is whether those resources are used to solve the problem, or whether they are wasted on a plan that keeps us going around in circles.
So yes, there will be lockdowns in this proposal, but they will not be FG lockdowns i.e. lock them down and throw away the key. Through intelligent policies and a greater mobilisation of resources, we can do so much more with our lockdowns to reduce the burden on the people and make their experience more tolerable. Indeed, that trade-off always exists in public policy: better policymaking = happier people. Which is why the politicians usually get the blame, and rightly so.
We need to move to a more ‘war time’ mindset. Not because we need a shared enemy to unite us, but because we need to mobilise every possible resource at our disposal and focus it on the single most important issue affecting us all. We need more tests, we need vehicles for mobile testing units, we need facilities for quarantines. Wherever there is spare capacity, we need to find a way to put it to good use. We need to take most of the power away from the narrow-minded medics, and get the rest of our society and our civic infrastructure involved in planning e.g. community representatives, legal experts, business leaders, An Garda, the army etc.
People want to invest in their communities, they want to help their friends and neighbours. There are people all over the country who would rather be volunteering as part of a national plan to get rid of COVID-19, than to be sitting at home on the PUP, going crazy listening to the ‘experts’ – who failed to prevent this – talk about more lockdowns. We need to harness that latent energy and build it into the plan.
One of the most important factors that is within our control, is the degree to which policymakers communicate with the people. And I mean real communication, not press releases or attention-seeking speeches from the other side of the world. We need to talk to the people, listen to them, answer their questions, take their feedback on board. The people aren’t stupid. They know a good plan when they see it – which is why few are paying attention to the ‘Living With The Virus’ stuff – and they have valuable information that can help make that plan work.
Underlying these points is a need to create intelligent rules, and to enforce them strictly. Strict does not mean harsh. Strict enforcement is not authoritarianism, and it is not an invitation to a fight; it is simply administrative competence. In the context of a contagious outbreak, administrative competence is the difference between life and death.
I’ll finish this section with the caveat that all parameters are suggestions or placeholders. The exact numbers will depend on resources, on more data and further analysis, and on input from communities and other stakeholders – all of which is within our control.

The Plan – Summary
Like any problem in life, if you can’t solve it directly, you break it down into smaller, less complex parts.
Instead of putting the whole country into lockdown and trying to eradicate the virus from the whole island at the same time – a miserable experience for all – we should go county by county until the job is done. We seal off a county, flood it with resources, clear it of COVID-19, and then let it reopen as normal. We repeat the process for neighbouring counties and then combine them when they are cleared, to create a larger ‘Cleared Zone’. The process continues and the Cleared Zone keeps growing until it covers the whole island.
This approach allows us to focus our resources on one area at a time (nurses, doctors, tests, volunteers etc) instead of spreading them over the whole country. We can be more comprehensive in our testing and quarantining measures, and more confident in our plans. Short, sharp, strict lockdowns work best.
By maximising the ratio of resources to population, we also lower the burden on the people. In particular, we minimise the amount of time that people spend in lockdown, and the less time they spend in lockdown, the more likely the plan is to work.
This structured approach also makes it easier for us to measure our progress and make reliable forecasts. We can allocate our resources more efficiently and plan our responses more effectively. Observers can watch our progress and judge for themselves whether it is a good idea (i.e. politicians in the North and / or protestors in Dublin).
Perhaps most important of all, the structure makes it easier to explain the idea to the people and get buy-in before anything happens. We can outline the plan, explain how it works, explain how it compares to the alternatives, and then give them realistic estimates of what would be required and how long it would take. Then we can hear their feedback and take the conversation and planning from there.
I have heard any people talking about elimination and ZeroCovid, but do any of them have a plan for getting to zero? Or a plan to get the people on board?
Step 1: More structure and responsibility from leaders
Step 2: Less uncertainty, easier decisions, better outcomes, less stress for everyone
Step 3: Profit. Elimination.

The Plan – Implementation
We isolate a county and lock it down for an initial 3 weeks. An Garda man the county borders. They are supported by the army, who provide boots on the ground so that An Garda aren’t stretched. Most routes are closed off so that all essential travel goes through a few well-manned checkpoints. If we do a good job with planning and communication, there won’t be much work to do.
We test systemically high-risk households and high-risk individuals early and often i.e. large households and essential workers. With help from local volunteers, medics screen as many people as possible every day. We use multiple measures and repeated applications to improve the quality of our results. We want to identify and remove cases at the earliest possible point, both to reduce the chance of further infection, and to protect the individual’s health.
Low risk confirmed cases (young / healthy) go to a safe and comfortable quarantine. Local hotels and guest houses could be used, ideally before we invest in building quarantine facilities. Local taxis, kitted out with extra protective equipment, could take them there. High risk confirmed cases (older / comorbidities) go by ambulance to local medical facilities as required.
During this period, we work with local politicians, community leaders, residence associations etc to ensure that everyone is looked after (in reality, these conversations will have started weeks before). We get our neighbourhoods communicating, looking out for each other, making sure they’ve got enough food or heating or whatever else they need. Local volunteers and taxi drivers can do odd jobs like sending packages, collecting prescriptions, lifting heavy stuff, or just checking in on people. If it is feasible, we can even invite local artists to play gigs for people in their streets or apartments.
Towards the end of the second week, we begin a mass testing program with the ultimate goal of testing every person in the county (scale depends on resources). Once we have completed the tests and cleared the confirmed cases into quarantine, we can begin a slow, staggered opening process. We must be especially conservative at this point to ensure no slippage.
When one county is clear, we move to the next one, and repeat the process. When we have cleared two bordering counties, we can join them together in a bigger Cleared Zone and the process continues from there. Eventually the Cleared Zone covers the whole country, except Dublin (or more realistically, the Pale).
What would the other counties do while they wait for their turn? I’m assuming that, they would be doing whatever the ‘Living With The Virus’ plan dictates. This proposal succeeds in line with what happens in the sealed off zones, so I am more concerned with them. However, it would speed up the process if the bordering counties could be encouraged to get a head start. If the plan is going successfully, I’m confident they would.
With its population density and its complexity, Dublin / the Pale will be the last county to be cleared. However, given that every other county would be cleared by that point, and with so much effort having been put in, it might make more sense just to burn Dublin down. We could go with a concrete mausoleum as per Chernobyl, but it might be easier and quicker if we just raised the city and started from scratch. The country needs to rebalance, so it’d be two birds with one stone.
Or maybe we call that plan B. Dublin’s plan A would follow the same principles as for the rest of the country. Break it into smaller parts, focus resources on one area at a time, use layers of risk measures where precision isn’t an option, and get cases as early as possible, using whatever resources available. By that stage the rest of the country would be clear and the demand for medical resources low. We would have learned a lot along the way, and we would have plenty of ammo to throw at the problem.
In general, the more resources we have, the faster we can move. The county by county approach that I have outlined above is too slow. With greater resources, we can increase the number of counties that are being cleared at any one time. One option is to work by province. Another would be to define the zones with respect to observed travel routes, in order to reduce the risk of leakage and reduce the inconvenience on local communities.
At the end of the day, lines have to be drawn somewhere, and some people will inevitably lose out. The better we communicate with people in advance, the lower the burden on the people and the more of these problems we can avoid.
Following on from that, one of the skills we need to take from this crisis is the ability to isolate and quarantine regions. Whether it is a city, a town, a county, a specific building, or even the entire country, we need to be able to seal it off and control movement in and out. This is an essential tool for outbreak management – whatever the outbreak and whatever the disease.
The same goes for individuals. We need to be able to create and operate safe, comfortable, and effective quarantines, and to do so at short notice. It should be a matter of national embarrassment that FG and NPHET couldn’t even organise a quarantine in a pandemic.
The whole process might take 3 to 4 months. That means we would have cut off all non-essential air travel for that time, but it doesn’t mean the whole country is in lockdown for 3 or 4 months. The lockdown is staggered, and the individual’s experience will depend on their location and their place in the ‘queue’.
The first group of counties to go into lockdown will also be the first to come out. Once they have eliminated the spread of the virus, they will return to a normal, although somewhat isolated, society. The experience steadily improves as more and more counties join them in the Cleared Zone (or steadily deteriorates, depending on your county pride).
While the first group is in lockdown, the rest of the country continues as normal i.e. living with the virus. Everyone watches as the first group goes through its lockdown (just think of the #banter). Several weeks later, as the first group is opening up, the second group is preparing to go in to lockdown. As the second group comes out, the third group goes in etc etc and the staggered lockdowns roll like a wave across the country.
Every county goes from Living With The Virus -> intelligent lockdown (needs a better name) -> Cleared Zone. The earlier you are in the queue, the less time you spend Living With The Virus and the more time you spend in the Cleared Zone. The individual would only be in a strict lockdown for a matter of weeks, maybe 3-6 depending on the complexity of the region and the resources available. For counties with smaller populations that have shown that they can do a good lockdown, it will be quicker. For Dublin, it will be slower.

Strengths
I think this proposal has a lot of strengths. It’s a plan, for a start. We haven’t had a plan since this thing began (the FG lockdown wasn’t a plan – it was the inevitable consequence of not having a plan). The leaders take more responsibility to lower the burden on the people, it mobilises idle resources, and it fosters communication and community across the country.
These are three strengths that I want to emphasise.
1 It provides clarity
This might be the most important point.
Uncertainty is painful. Uncertainty is a cost. Even if the bad thing is unlikely to happen, just the fact that it is a risk, or that it could happen means that you live with a cloud over your head. Suffering is bad enough on its own, but suffering for an unknown length of time is torture. And if that period is determined at the whim of a politician or an ‘expert’, that is a recipe for society-wide anger and even civil disorder.
With this proposal, we can forecast the length of the period of lockdown with greater accuracy. The people will be able to understand what is being asked of them. We can make plans around resources required versus those available. The economists can make forecasts. Businesses can plan their finances. The people can plan their weddings, book their holidays, get back to training, sign up for courses, and have things to look forward to.
At the end of the day, any successful proposal must remove the uncertainty and provide meaningful clarity to households and businesses.
2 Never let a crisis go to waste
This plan will require tools and capabilities like rapid local testing, safe quarantines, rapid isolation of towns and regions, emergency decision-making frameworks etc. If we don’t have a capability, then we need to build it. When people say ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ this is what they mean: you build the tools in the crisis that will help you protect yourself from the next one.
Nature works the same way. You lift weights until the muscle fibres tear, then they grow back stronger. We build aerobic endurance by pushing ourselves to a limit, then our body naturally reacts to increase the limit. A vaccine works similarly by stimulating antibodies for the disease. Well, we need a civic emergency vaccine for Ireland. These tools are the antibodies that will protect us next time. The sooner we build them, the better. Now is the time, not later.
3 It's the only way we can protect the economy
The risk to the economy isn’t the next few months of revenue. We can borrow to cover lost income in the short run. The real risk is a wave of defaults that precipitates a financial crisis.
As more individuals and businesses are put under financial pressure, more borrowers will default on their debts. But one man’s debt is another man’s asset, so as the borrowers default, the lender’s financial situation also deteriorates. Defaults are contagious, and if a wave of defaults threatens a major lender, the entire financial system will be at risk.
Only an elimination plan can protect the economy. Along with the virus and the uncertainty it creates, we need to eliminate the risk of financial contagion.

Weaknesses
Could ya be arsed

The End Goal
Think about what’s on the other side of this…
This is a massive challenge – the kind that defines a nation. However you think of your community, this would give you something to be proud of for generations. It would be like Italia ’90, except 10 times bigger, because we would be the players, we would be the ones making it happen.
We’d become the first country in Europe to eliminate the virus. And of all the countries in the world, we’d be doing it from the largest deficit too. Those Taiwanese and Kiwis made it easy for themselves with their preparation and their travel restrictions and their competent leaders. Our challenge is much greater than theirs, but they show us what is possible.
Have you ever wanted to scoff at the Germans for being disorganised? Wouldn’t you love to have a reason to mock the Danes? Aren’t you sick of hearing about New Zealand? Let’s make the Kiwis sick of hearing about the Irish!
If we take this challenge on, the world’s media will be on us. The FT, the Economist, the NYT, the Guardian, Monacle, Wired, the New Scientist, China Daily, RT, Good Housekeeping, Horse and Hound, PornHub… all of these international media empires would be tracking our progress, interviewing key people, reporting daily, willing us on. The world is desperate for good news, and we can be the ones to give it to them.
We would become a model for other nations to follow. They would take the Irish model and adapt it to their own situation. Instead of us copying other nations, they would be copying us. Instead of a pat on the head for the diddy little Irish fellas, we would be literally LEADING THE WORLD.
Back at home, we get our lives back, and society can breathe again, free of restrictions. The over 70s come out of hibernation. The students go back to university. The protests stop because people go back to work and we announce an inquiry into what exactly happened in February and March. The pubs go back to being pubs. Our hospitality industry is taken off life support. The tidal wave of bankruptcies is avoided. We can play sport and celebrate the wins. We stop talking about things we can or can't do. Just imagine that first session... And imagine how good it would feel knowing that you had worked for it, and knowing that you had set the nation on a better path for generations to come...
I think it’s worth a lash! Don’t you?
submitted by 4SMD1MCW to ireland [link] [comments]

Alternate CoS Asian Deiselpunk Setting PART 2: Reign of the Storm Shogun

Continued from previous Post: https://www.reddit.com/CurseofStrahd/comments/gwaj5b/alternate_cos_asian_dieselpunk_setting_part_1/

(Player) New and Variant Backgrounds: Some slightly altered backgrounds to give more ways to integrate your character into the world. Some of these backgrounds are simple reskins of existing backgrounds with new flavor text to help give potential character ideas.
Variant Soldier: Samurai
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation
Tool Proficiencies: One type musical instrument or Calligraphy Set,
vehicles (land)
Equipment: A banner bearing the crest of your clan or Daimyo, An ornate helmet and mask known as a Kabuto, a Calligraphy Set, A scroll stamped with the Imperial Seal denoting you as serving a Daimyo, a fine Kimono, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp
Feature: Way of Bushido – Anyone may follow the path of Bushido but you have devoted your life to following a strict personal code of honor. Bushido demands service, and so you have sworn yourself to a master or " Daimyo ". A Daimyo may be a local noble, the Jade Emperor, or even a childhood friend. It does not matter who a Daimyo is to a Samurai, only that they serve them with Honor. As long as the Samurai remains Honorable and obeys the will of his Daimyo he may requisition basic equipment and horses for temporary use as well as dwell for free in most inns. The owners of the equipment and innkeepers do this with the understanding that the Samurai will have his Daimyo cover the costs with interest to them later, though there are limits to this trust no Gunsmith will provide a Gun to a Samurai even just to borrow for free.
Variant Folk Hero: Ronin
Some Samurai do not follow a Daimyo, but instead swear themselves unto the weak and the innocent making them collectively his Daimyo. These roaming Samurai are called Ronin and they venture to the remote reaches of Daichi to bring justice.
The Ronin follows a strict personal code of Bushido that always includes " Protect the weak and innocent " among its edicts. As long as the Ronin follows this code his background Skill, Tool, and Language proficiencies as well as Background Feature are identical to the core Background Folk Hero with the exception of his equipment.
Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice), a humble unadorned Helmet and Mask called a Kabuto, a warm traveling Kimono, Scrolls detailing your lineage and status as a Samurai stamped with the Imperial Seal, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp
Variant Criminal – Shinobi:
Sometimes referred to as Ninjas by common folk, Shinobi are a cloister of loosely connected and often competing clans of professional assassins and infiltrators. Shinobi are masters of stealth and subterfuge and while the image of the black clad warrior made popular in Kabuki plays is certainly a major aspect of the Shinobi it is not all that they are. Though there are always exceptions most Shinobi Clans work for coin or for an ancestral Daimyo in much the same way a Samurai does, though it is rare that individual Shinobi serve a singular master. The most infamous clan are the Rain Maidens who have long served the Storm Shogun.
Shinobi are identical to the Criminal background in all ways except the following alterations to the background feature:
Feature: Clan Contact
You have a reliable and trustworthy contact who acts as a liaison to your Shinobi Clan. You know how to get messages to and from your contact even over great distances; specifically, you know the local dead drop locations, secret handshakes to contact messenger Shinobi, and trained messenger raven rookeries who can deliver the messages for you. As long as you are in good standing your Clan is willing to aid you acquire basic supplies and occasional vital information to aid you in your personal endeavours.
Variant Acolyte -Shrine Maiden: While men are permitted to watch over Kami Shrines it is traditional that a lone Maiden watch over the smaller way-shrines along major roads, these women lead very solitary and lonesome lives and it is not uncommon for them to occasionally be filled with a period of wonderlust where they seek out adventure before returning to their duties. Sometimes these Maidens have families that will live nearby but the Maiden is expected to live and sleep within her Shrine for most of the year. While this is tradition, there is no actual law requiring the Shrine Maidens to remain at their posts or to live solely within the Shrines and it is not particularly frowned upon for them to have lives outside their work.
Variant Entertainer – Geisha: An exclusively female profession of extremely skilled entertainers who spend their lives training in matters of conversation, party planning, tea serving, singing, acting, and often many other skills that serve well in keeping rich and powerful guests happy. Geisha is a highly honorable and respected profession that takes years of practice to attain the lowest rankings, while there are males who have obtained the same degree of skill and who’s abilities are identical to a Geisha’s they are simply called Entertainers. Geisha are sponsored by great noble houses, there are strict requirements and examinations to attain rank and title the cost of which can often indenture common Geisha to service to one of the great noble houses.
Variant Outlander – Vajra: A nomadic people of traders and merchants, they travel openly and without fear of the dark evils of the Storm Shogun under the protection of an ancient pact. They are reviled by many, refused entrance to most towns and villages but even so they are a peaceful people on whom the economy of Daichi depends. They revere their ancestors and believe in reincarnation, they do not worship the great Rakasha but do revere it and thus all Rakasha and tigers are sacred to them. They travel on the back of great elephants which carry their homes, their culture is rich and vibrant with a fondness for oral storytelling.
Identical in all ways to Outlander core background except exchange language choice for Language: Vajra and add Tool Proficiency: Musical Instrument. You may begin play with a Sitar, a guitar like instrument.
New Background – Invader:
You are a descendent of the coalition of nations that came to conquer Daichi one thousand years ago. While many still serve the Shogun Ishin you have chosen instead to join the other defectors in living peacefully among the people you once conquered. While despised even more than Vajra you serve an even more vital function in keeping the engines and machinery within the cities and villages of Daichi running. While the Invaders are from many nations their culture has eroded and homogenized over time. Their legends speak of a " Homeland " but none can remember the name. All invaders have a special innate affinity for their blood magic fueled hemo-diesel technology and all can instinctively repair and maintain it.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Arcana
Tool Proficiencies: Tinker’s and Smiths Tools
Languages: Invader’s Trade Tongue
Feature: Born Engineer – You instinctively know how to perform repairs on all manner of machinery magic and mundane. You may cast as a Mending as an Artificer of your level. Further, whenever you are in an annex or industrial sector of a city you may call on the aid of your fellow Invaders for access to crafting machinery, temporary use of simple vehicles, and a place to lay your head in the factory barracks.
(Player) New Subclasses:
Editorial Note: Due to some of the listed subclasses being from 3rd party content that I have purchased I cannot directly copy class abilities into this listing. The actual subclass will be presented as Handouts in-game. PM me if you require further information regarding each subclass.
Barbarian:
Path of the Juggernaut: You have built, scavenged, stolen, or otherwise acquired a titanic Diesel Suit. While most barbarians disdain armor you have made it into a focus for your Rage.
Ability Preview: Unstoppable – By expending a unique resource called " Momentum " you can burst through non-magical walls, furniture, and other barriers.
Path of the Iron Rider: You have formed a unique bond with a Tsukumogami Dieselcycle which you can call as a Familiar. You channel your rage into heavy firearms as you ride against the storm.
Ability Preview: Iron Horse – You can call a spirit possessed Dieselcycle to yourself using the Find Vehicle spell.
Ability Preview: Bullet Rage – Instead of channeling your Rage into melee strikes you may instead empower Firearms, eventually reloading and firing with blinding speed.
Bard
College of the Geisha – You are a professional of beauty and grace, your words, songs, and dances inspire in ways no other Bard can compare to. This has cost you the potency of magic and martial knowledge of other Colleges but strengthening and supporting your allies is more than worth it.
Ability Preview: Fascination – When an ally uses a skill empowered by Bardic Inspiration they also have Advantage on that roll.
College of the Vajra Weather a true born Vajra or one who has adopted their ways and culture, you have earned many of the unique powers of the foreign nomads. Farsight, Curses, and other oddities to aid allies or confound enemies are yours to command.
Ability Preview: Flash of Despair – You grant your enemies a moment of your own foresight, showing them their own imminent failure. You may use your Bardic Inspiration to grant penalties to your foes in the same ways you grant boons to your allies.
Cleric
Thaumic Engineering Domain: You have abandoned the old religions, accepting the new gods of Science and Reason. You are a man of logic not faith, but you do not ignorantly deny the existence of gods. Rather you recognize that they are a natural force in the world in much the same way as wind or fire are natural forces, and being a scientist at heart you have made it your speciality to put a microscope onto the powers of the divine.
Ability Preview: Armor of Divinity – You have discovered the underlying magical force that grants moments of supernatural protection to the Faithful and applied this theory to a physical suit of armor. You can summon a suit of diesel armor at will that is empowered by your knowledge of the divine.
Ability Preview: Theological Scholar – Where most Clerics dispense Wisdom you dispense Knowledge. Your spellcasting modifier is Intelligence, other class abilities that would scale off of Wisdom instead scale off of Intelligence.
Ability Preview: Spark of Creation – You slowly begin to apply your theories regarding the creation of life and the universe, fabricating advanced Automata with a spark of divine life.
Druid
Circle of the Machine: While most Druids protect the deep forests and natural wonders of the world, you have chosen to see to the needs of the Cities and their people. Viewing the wonders of technology as a creation just as worth of protection as any waterfall or mountain you have found a way to channel the raw powers of technology through your body to overcome the limitations of other Druids.
Ability Preview: Iron to Steel: You realize that Steel is just another form of iron, manufactured weapons are made from base natural components. You are proficient with Firearms and are not hindered by wearing metal armor or weapons.
Ability Preview: Machine Shape – The ultimate expression of your beliefs, you channel the raw force of technology and creation through your flesh to become one with the Machine. When you Wildshape you may change the Type of your beast shape to Construct.
Ability Preview: Automata Companion – As many druids surround themselves with the beasts of the forest you surround yourself with mechanized allies. You gain an Automata companion in the shape of a Beast.
Monk
Way of the Jade Bailiff You have sworn an oath to venture out into the distant reaches of Daichi bringing law and justice with you. You are trained well in the art of subdual and investigation, you never kill when arrest is a possibility.
Ability Preview: Pacify Suspect – You use your advanced hand-to-hand combat training to grapple or disarm targets while overwhelming them with a flurry of blows.
Way of the Singularity To obtain enlightenment is to comprehend infinity and eternity both, but flesh is finite and limited. In your journey to the nirvana of perfect understanding you have chosen to forsake flesh for augmetic steel. You have already installed numerous cybernetic implants within your body and will continue to do so, every pound of flesh lost bringing you closer to perfect understanding of the cosmos.
Ability Preview: The Flesh is Weak – Among various other augmentations you replace a full limb with a cybernetic augment. You may channel your Ki through this augment to bend the universe to your will, casting specialized Automation Spells.
Rogue
Drunken Master You realize that life is about more than just fighting, obtaining wealth, or rising through social ranks. It is a vital necessity for all living beings to relax and enjoy themselves, to this end you have made it your lifestyle to spread your mastercrafted brews far and wide.
Ability Preview: Good for what ails you – Your Sake is more than just simple rice wine, you have brewed it with ancient techniques gifted to the mortal races by the Kami at the dawn of time. These are not just booze but potent elixirs that replicate the effects of many Potions.
Alternate Drunken Master – hanoyu MasteMistress – While mechanically identical to the Drunken Master you have chosen to master the complex and delicate art of the tea ceremony rather than the bar room brawl. You use mystical tea leaves gathered from secret sanctuaries in the deep woods often tended by forest sprites rather than hard liquor.’’
Ranger
Automata Hunter Many in this world embrace technology, but not you. You hold special animosity and hatred for the industrialization that is poisoning Daichi, for the Automata that slaughter innocents, and for the slowly receding natural world. You have spent a lifetime learning the special weaknesses of machines, turning their own strength against them.
Ability Preview: Breaker Weapon – You have constructed an Anti-Tank Rifle, Thermal Torch, Piston Hammer, or Buster Sword. These weapons are customized to your exact specifications to destroy machines and bypass their armor. They are also still effective against organic targets, though their size tends to get in the way.

(Player) Misc. Player options, New Warlock Patron, Feats, Equipment, Familiars.
Editorial Note: Much like with Subclasses as some of this content is 3rd party I only provide flavor descpritions rather than actual rules which are instead provided through the compendium legally.
New Warlock Patron: Logic and Reason – Pacts with eldritch entities from beyond time are but a crutch to you. Through overwhelming knowledge of science and the deeper mechanisms that drive the cosmos you have become your own Patron.
Ability Preview: Space-Time Recollection – By using advanced knowledge of light particles and chronology magic you can view past events within an area up to 24 hours past. While you cannot willfully speed up or slow down the viewing of these events you can specify a general time frame such as " Morning, Early Afternoon, 9:45 PM "
Eldritch Invocations of Logic and Reason:
Binary Linguist – You can communicate with any Construct flawlessly, it always understands you even through pure body language. You in turn can understand the same.
Equipment:
Prosthetic Limb 50 GP – Loss of Limb is a common reality to the people of Daichi, necessitating such crude augmentations. While gorgeous paragons of artisanal mastercraft, or cunning advanced combat prosthetics do exist this is neither. This limb represents a modest workman’s limb. It does not come with excessive adornments and his simple unpainted steel. This device runs on 1 sp worth of Diesel fuel per day and perfectly matches the function of an organic limb. While the limb can replicate strength of up to a score of 20, being set any higher than the user’s natural strength would result in the limb tearing itself free or otherwise damaging the user.
DieselCycle, Price: Varies – The Dieselcycle is the most popular form of personal transport across Daichi, extremely rugged and reliable these two wheeled motorized vehicles can cross all manner of difficult terrain at breakneck speed. Many varieties of Dieselcycle exist, mirroring various breeds of horse and mule. Dieselcycles use the stat block of the specified Mount though with an intelligence, wisdom, and charisma score of 0, Type – Construct, double the listed HP and Speed, and with Bite or Hoof attacks becoming Ram attacks. Dieselcycles cannot move or operate without a Rider but unlike Horses do not feel fear and have no minds to warp with magic. A dieselcycle is destroyed when it reaches 0 HP and requires 1 GP worth of Hemo-Diesel to operate per day.
Familiars For sake of simplicity these entries will be kept brief, giving a short description of each new Familiar instead of a lengthy stat block.
Lesser Pheonix The smallest species of Pheonix, an extremely minor Kami. One should not summon such a creature if they are not prepared to give it proper reverance.
Helper Automata A small robot built to aid it’s maker. These Automata can be built into any shape from very small humanoids to mimicking animals, or more crude and utilitarian bundles of spidery limbs and tool armatures. Some are even shaped as extra mechanized arms to hold things for their masters.
Giant Silkworm Come in both " naked " and " fuzzy " varieties, these creatures provide the economic backbone for many mountain communities that make their living by weaving dazzling Kimono. They are calm tempered, vegetarian, and have no bite. Popular with small children.
Giant Flower Mantis Temperamental hunters this creature is as likely to bite and slice at it’s handler as it is an enemy. One rarely refers to these beasts as a " Familiar " for they more tolerate than serve their summoners.
Giant Hawkmoth The later stage of the SIlkworm’s life cycle, now possessing two great scythe limbs they become aggressive carnivores, though they retain the bonds they held in their larval stage with human owners and often are kept as beloved pets for many years.
Fu Dragon The least of the Dragons is still a mighty Kami. These Dragons will serve entire family lineages for generations as long as they are properly revered and respected.
Ancestor Spirit When a young Wu Jen or Warlock needs further guidance than can be given through mere rote memorization of ancestral tomes, sometimes an Ancestor will voluntarily leave Heaven to give spiritual guidance directly.
Feats For sake of simplicity Feats are cut down to just brief descriptions rather than the entire Feats entry. Racial Feats are not repeated here, they are listed in or near their racial entries in the Race section.
Bonded Weapon Wielder You attune your soul to a particular Weapon. You may call this weapon to your hand as a Bonus Action as long as it is on the same Plane as you. This Weapon no longer needs to be Attuned if magical.
Hengeyokai Ancestry You either carry some Hengeyokai blood in your veins, or if you are already a Hengeyokai discover enough of your hidden ancestries to unlock a new Animal Form. You may shapechange into an animal ( though not a Hybrid ) or a new additional animal form if already a Hengeyokai.
Tattooed Special Prerequisite: You have earned the respect of a master Monk or Maiko who has chosen to gift you one of these magical Tattoos. The tattoo is filled with magic and grants you a particular benefit dependent on the tattoo you earn.
Firearm Mastery Countless hours with a gun in your hand have paid off by allowing you to engage in melee combat with a gun among other benefits.
Novice Inventor Through constant experimentation you have dipped into the Automation magic of the Invaders. Gaining one of their spells and a Cantrip.
Augmented You have taken into your body extensive cybernetic improvement. You become more faster, stronger, or tougher and your mechanical parts make you more resilient. If you could before, you can no longer hide your cybernetic nature, your limbs and organs are obviously artificial.

(DUNGEON MASTERS) Okay with the general setting and player info out of the way we can talk a bit about the actual campaign. While I won't post all my notes here I will give enough of a general overview such that DM's can use it as a jumping off point if they so wish.

The True Backstory of Daichi and the Storm Shogun:

Isak was raised in a family of wealth and status with a glorious military history in a nation resembling 1920's America. He was brought up with the understanding that war was a glorious and honorable endeavor where the strong defended their ideals on the field of battle. Advances in technology and politics robbed him of this delusion however, wars of defense became wars of colonial conquest. Officers who once led from the front now telephoned their orders as men died by the thousands to machine gun fire. Isak grew to resent and hate his own people for failing to live up to the fantastical narrative he had been raised on. When Isak conquered Diachi he soon found solace in it's path of Bushido, the Samurai of Daichi embodied the world Isak wished to live in and so he sought to emulate them, eventually renaming himself the Storm Shogun Ishin. Ishin soon received orders that Daichi was to be colonized and her people marched onto reservations. Ishin's leutenant and childhood friend Mara ( Rahadin ) was of a people similarly subjugated and made certain Ishin knew fully what these reservations would do to the people of Daichi. Ishin promptly sought a means to betray his commanders and save Daichi. Delving deep into an ancient temple formed of Amber from the World Tree he uncovered the prison for the Four Great Perils. Hearing the whispers of Taowu who easily convinced Ishin that if he released them they would in gratitude draw Daichi away from the Material Realm such that it would be safe for eternity, however this act required a sacrifice in the form of the " ultimate betrayal of the one you love most. " Ishin despaired as he knew it could only mean killing his beloved sister. Ishin's Sister never entered the army but dissapointed her family by taking up the trade of a humble engineer, she was hesitant to accept Ishin's offer years ago to come to Daichi but relented to see her beloved brother again. During her stay at the former Imperial City she met a street thief named Yoko and the two quickly fell in love. Ishin returned to the city from his journey to the Amber Temple to discover the two being married beneath a sakura tree. Ishin quickly slew the Samurai Honor Guard ( The Player Characters ) and then murdered his own sister in cold blood. As life left her he looked to Yoko and knew that the betrayal was not sufficient, he had to first take from his sister the thing *she* loved the most before his betrayal would be truly ultimate. However with his sister dead Yoko flew into a rage and fought the Shogun with every dirty trick she knew, forcing the shogun to kill her. Taowu was furious at the Shogun's incompetent failure, yet with his betrayal half-complete the Great Perils were still able to manifest partiallin in Daichi and swiftly swept it away from the Material Plane while creating the eternal Typhoon in the process.

Now empowered by the Great Perils, the immortal Storm Shogun has been trapped in a thousand year long cycle of murdering his sister, her lover ( Ireena ), and their four guardian Samurai ( The Player Characters ). On the thousandth anniversery of his failure the Great Peril's hold on Daichi will wane and it will crash back to the Material Plane, destroying the world in the process. To save the world either the Storm Shogun must prevail......or the Samurai must find a way to undo the damage he has caused.

Meanwhile in the sleepy Kimkaro Village four humble Samurai are called to the home of the Daimyo who lies on his deathbed, he wishes to see his adoptive daughter Yoko one last time before he passes and has asked you to fetch her........

(Dungeon Masters) General Plot overview: This is how the game is intended to flow and be resolved. It is of course very much up to individual Dungeon Masters to modify this to fit their players and narrative. Obviously no plan or plot survives first contact with Players so adjust as needed. I've woven in plotlines from some other Modules I have to pad out areas I felt needed it.

Level 1: The party goes to find Yoko at her home outside the village walls and discovers that an Automata ( Animated Armor ) she has been scavenging parts from has sprung to life, possessed by a ghost screaming about it's Hunger. The ghost is Shinzo the Eater, a spirit astrally projecting from his emaciated corpse in the Death House. After defeating the machine the party visits the Daimyo who offers his blessing for the party to leave the village.....after they help resolve the current issue with the polluted river. The River the village relies on for fish has been dying off with the river goddess refusing to answer prayers.

The party spends a week searching without avail but while fishing Yoko finds a talking Koi Fish claiming to be the River Goddess! She needs to pass through the Dragon Gate at the top of a nearby mountain to resume her true form. (Dungeon Master) The " River Goddess Koi " is actually Jin-Hao the daughter of the true river goddess Jin-Zhi, he has been cursed into a koi fish as punishment for her arrogance and hubris in attempting to solve the poisoned river problem herself while her mother was away attending to matters in Heaven. Jin-Hao tried to use advanced magic far beyond the Wyrmling and accidently caused a massive lightning storm ( Nobody died thankfully ). It should be very obvious to the players that the Koi is lying and she will confess the truth under fairly little scrutiny as long as the party is kind.

A journey upriver ensues where the party must brave several skill challenges to overcome obstacles, there is always an extremely easy path that merely takes a long time to navigate. Jin-Zhi has engineered this to teach her daughter ( and the players ) patience. Weather the players succeed or fail the skill challenges Jin-Hao comes to realize that taking time and being patient solves more problems more easily than rushing ahead. Try to reflect in roleplay her slowly becoming less of a whiny impatient child and more level headed and patient as the player's progress. Eventually they will come to the Dragon's Gate and pass through where a final challenge awaits, Jin-Zhi in the form of a Tiger. This test is not for her daughter but rather for the Players, to see if they will be worthy of the gift she has for them. After Jin-Zhi takes 40 HP damage ( adjust as needed for party size. ) or the party is reduced to 0 HP ( They cannot die while in the Dragon's Gate and Jin-Zhi will resurrect them if they somehow do. ) she will adopt her true form and do the same to her daughter who will become a Lung Dragon once more. If the party has taken the lessons learned during the journey to heart, encouraged Jin-Hao to do the same, showed honor, teamwork, and courage in the final combat ( weather they won or not ) , and generally been polite she will reward them with a Clam of Patience.

Clam of Patience: Wonderous Item, Uncommon - This pearlescent creature produces a single use Pearl of Power once a Week. This pearl is known as a " Fruit of Time " and will crumble to dust when used or when the Clam produces another.

Jin-Zhi will offer to allow Jin-Hao a second try at fixing the river but the young dragon has learned her lesson and says she is not ready. Pleased with this Jin-Zhi explains to the party that the River's poisoning is from a dam downstream that is flooding the river with pollutants. She allows the party to ride on her back as far downstream as she is able to go before she reaches the edge of her allotted domain. At this point the party should be Level 2. If the party has grown attatched to Jin-Hao consider allowing them to retain her as an ally for the coming dungeon ( Silver Dragon Wyrmling ), if not grant them Inspiration.

Level 2: The party reaches the Dam which has an ancient house built on it in the style of the Invaders. This home belonged to Commander Durst, a cruel and wicked military officer who was " encouraged " to build his home far from any civilization as a form of exile by the Storm Shogun. This house is effectively identical to the Death House, however Rose and Thorn are replaced by Shinzo the Eater, Durst's son who was trapped in the deep watershed of the estate and starved, feeding on the corpses of his family after the Shogun slaughtered them upon his rise to power. ( The Shogun was ignorant of Shinzo's presence as he was hiding at the time. ) Shinzo soon became a horrifying emaciated Oni that is trapped within the building. Use the stats for the Shambling Mound though roleplay the Engulf Ability as Shinzo stuffing people whole into his horrid mouth lined with rows and rows of razor sharp teeth. Consider removing the Animated Armor ( The party already fought an Automata ) and making the Specter non-hostile. Replace the Grick and Mimic with more Asian themed monsters of equal CR.( I use creatures from the " Monsters of the Orient " complete Beastiary. )

Upon completing Death House the Dam begins to crumble and disintigrate, cue the party ( hopefully ) dramatically escaping just as the dam breaks and the poisoned waters are freed. Jin-Zhi in grattitude uses her magic to stop the dam from otherwise causing catastrophic flooding and the River is soon restored to health. The party levels to 3.

Level 3: The funeral of the Daimyo was delayed due to the pressing issue of the River. Now as the party returns they may proceed with burying Yoko's adoptive father, the arrangements go off without a hitch. However a mysterious individual is present, a woman in the uniform of the Storm Shogun's tank battalions. This woman is Lieutenant-Commander Mara Strahd's right hand woman ( Rahadin ). This character embodies the role of femme fetale but is more honorable than Rahadin and if she witnesses the Feast of St. Andral's event she can be convinced to betray the Storm Shogun.

She explains that she is an agent of the Storm Shogun and has come to declare the new Daimyo of the village. Considering the party single handedly are responsible for the River being cleansed she asks them for their recommendations and honors their requests, she holds relatively little regard for Shang as Daimyo and will only declare him if asked to. ( She dislikes anyone who acts through Proxy so make this clear unless Shang accompanied the party during any stage of the adventure ). She commands the party to go to The Imereial City to inform " the traitors " of the new Daimyo's appointnemt and issues them travel passes if they do not have them already.

At this point the game proceeds as normal for Curse of Strahd with reflavorings where needed.

Old Bonegrinder is now a Tea Plantation run by three White Haired Witches, Dream Pies are replaced by Dream Tea.

The Abbot is now the Maiden who operates a vast shrine at the village of Kreza, where she creates horrid amalgamations of Flesh and Metal. ( Cyborgs replace the Mongrelfolk )

The Imperial City is Vallaki, I allow the option to have a " golden ending " to the questline in which the Jade Emperor is ousted but his wife the Empress enters a political binding agreement ( or marriage if you want ) with Evangaline Pentageist and the Jade City remains free while improving the lives of all citizens. Evangaline keeps the Shogun placated with hidden loyalty without turning the city over to him wholesale.

The biggest departure is the removal of the Martikovs. I repalced them with The Troupe, a band of 36 highly skilled Kabuki Play actors and actresses who each own a distinct Mask. The party has hints of these masks throughout the adventure and slowly learn that there is a massive information network of these players. Inspired by the White Lotus from Avatar the Last Airbender, they preserve the story of the true origins of the Storm Shogun and help the party realize that they have been reincarnated dozens of times only to fail, this helps them learn from past mistakes.

The second greatest departure is that the Shogun's Sister ( Sergei ) is also reincarnating. She and Yoko have over time retained memories of each other despite their constant reincarnations, though the memories are vague and dreamlike. This is how Yoko has slowly become a skilled engineer while the Shogun's Sister has slowly become a street thief in the Imperial City. The two should meet often throughout the adventure, first as adversaries but slowly growing to be lovers. NOTE: Doing a love story, particularly one that does not involve players, is hard to make engaging. Imply rather than show, have Yoko show up later than usual at night and say how much fun she had while out with a " Friend " etc. etc.

I had Yoko be a Kitsune for this adventure and had the Shogun's Sister reincarnate as a Tanuki just for the fun of it but feel free to make them be of any race. You can make the Shogun's Sister Male if you wish, I personally just felt like adding some diversity to the campaign.

Wooooo! That was a long journey but we mostly got through it. I know there's alot that's glazed over but that's just part of my DMing style. I don't really write down every possible thing because honestly my players are gonna blow 90% of those plans up before they even make contact with them. If your curious to know more about anything just let me know and hopefully I didnt' bore you too much!
submitted by Zephyr_2 to CurseofStrahd [link] [comments]

I tried accumulating the most interesting bits from the previews.

I tried accumulating all the most interesting bits of information and I tried to label as much of it as I could. (gunplay, hud, etc) some stuff is hard to narrow down to one label.
This is going to be a huge post even with just taking bits of each, I fully recommend reading them all if you get the chance, there's a lot of very interesting stuff that I could never fit it all. Each one has info the others don't elaborate on as much. Each also describes the graphics in detail.
I may have missed some details or made some mistakes copying it over since I'm on mobile.
Hope yall find it as interesting as I do.
(The Telegraph)
Gunplay "The gunplay in Red Dead Redemption 2 brings back some familiar elements, while at the same time widening the depth on slinging lead. First off, the Dead Eye Mechanic is back; players can slow the action down and paint targets with crosses in a short window of time, before loosing a volley of shots with pinpoint accuracy.
Second, players can also ‘fan’ their six-shooter’s firing pin, quickly emptying the gun’s revolving cylinder in a rapid-fire move that causes a ton of damage. The action is third-person pop-and-cover, although it’s worth picking one’s cover carefully – rock stops more bullets than some wooden structures, for example.
Finally, in a new twist, players have the option of drawing their gun without aiming it. In the previous game, unholstering a weapon immediately brought up a set of crosshairs. This isn’t the case now; players can even aim and cock their gun without firing it, in order to threaten an NPC without any fatal consequences. Naturally, wandering around with a gun in hand brings attention; the mood of the NPCs in the player’s environment changes if their weapon is drawn – even when it isn’t aimed."
Camp "And as Morgan encounters each gang member, his mood changes from one to the next naturally, greeting those who contribute, ignoring those who don’t and admonishing bad behavior. The gang is an organic community and it grows and shrinks depending on who leaves and who stays."
HUD "At the demo’s close, two more tidbits of information were imparted. First, the game’s HUD is completely customisable; players can remove every trace of in-game help – including the circular map in the bottom of the screen – should they wish, making the experience all the more immersive."
(https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/red-dead-redemption-2-exclusive-gameplay-preview-riding-dutch/)
(IGN)
"In Red Dead 2, people exist. They have work to do and schedules to stick to, regardless of whether you’re there to see it or not. But if you are there, they’ll react accordingly - so point a revolver at the guy innocently sweeping his porch and, depending on his demeanour, he could drop to his knees and beg for his life, or at the opposite end of the scale draw a six-shooter and retaliate. There’s deep-rooted connection between you, your actions and the surrounding world, which is critical to everything that Red Dead Redemption 2 is. Rockstar doesn’t just want you to play as outlaw and protagonist Arthur Morgan, it wants you to live as him."
Camp "The camp is a living community. Hidden from prying eyes by thick brush and towering trees, it’s the people that bring it to life and as such it’s constantly changing."
"This is a working camp, so everything has to… well, work. Clothes have to be cleaned, wood is needed for the fire, water must to be collected from the river, and so on. Each member of the gang has a role to play and their own duties to fulfill, and if you take a minute to look around you’ll begin to notice how everything works as it should and everyone has their place."
Interaction system "You have complete control over how Arthur acts in the world, thanks to a sophisticated interaction system represented by a number of choices displayed in the bottom right of the screen, such as Greet or Antagonise. These dynamically change depending on a number of factors, including where you are, who you’re talking to, choices you’ve made previously in the interaction and so on."
Gunplay "From the demo Dead Eye looks much the same as in the last game; the screen turns sepia and the action slows, giving the player a few seconds to mark targets before shooting. The four lawmen hit the dirt in a hail of gunfire before Arthur turns his focus to the deputies firing from on top of buildings. Long-distance kills play out in slow motion, shown from a reverse angle so you can fully appreciate the kill, and as the law is pushed back Arthur and the gang slowly make their way from one piece of cover to the next, back to their horses."
"more lawmen close in from every side. Arthur deftly disposes of two riding up from behind before switching to his rifle to fire at another gunman riding along a nearby ridge. The first shot misses but the second hits hard, knocking the target off his horse. His legs get caught in the reins and he’s dragged along the ground as the horse gallops on."
(http://m.ign.com/articles/2018/05/03/worlds-first-look-at-red-dead-redemption-2)
(The rest are translated using Google translate, so expect some mistakes.)
(Hobby Consolas)
"All the aspects that already marked a milestone in the previous "sandbox" of Rockstar ( GTA V ) have been improved and refined so that we have a feeling of immersion and persistence. In other words, Morgan's actions will have repercussions, both on the other characters and in the environment and will leave a mark that will accompany us throughout the game. It is a completely organic ecosystem that we had never experienced in a video game. And in addition, RDR 2 has the largest and densest map that has been to date in any game of the company."
"The narration that accompanied the demo was no less impressive: the hulls of our saddle will leave traces on the ground, which will fill with water and form puddles when it starts to rain, the corpses of animals will rot, and their smell will attract predators and scavengers until they disappear ... and we will see how the railroad network grows and increasingly unites more populations."
Guns "The RDR 2 arsenal is also selected with care; for now we know we will have at our disposal single action and semi-automatic revolvers, as well as lever rifles, black powder and cartridge shotguns (and we have only scratched the surface of the game)"
Interior graphics "We have already told you how impressive of its open stages, but it can not be compared with all the details of its interiors. The light is transformed when it passes through the windows and is reflected on the bronze surface of the oil lamps and on the wood of the desks, and generates a warm atmosphere."
Gunplay "The Red Dead Redemption shooting systemwas already brilliant. It is true that we could rely on the automatic aim and the Dead Eyeshot (stopping the time to mark the targets) to solve most violent encounters. But at the same time, it greatly rewarded those who preferred a manual system. That gun control is back, and it's even more accurate.
Gun control requires that we cock each time we fire with the "single action" and we can check with anguish how Morgan must reload-exchanging the handgun-before re-opening fire. So not only is it a matter of aim, but to take cover, and have a precise "timing" so that our enemies do not flank us."
(https://www.hobbyconsolas.com/reportajes/avance-red-dead-redemption-2-ps4-xbox-one-exclusiva-198494)
(Jeuxactu)
"So, actor Arthur Morgan will be the only playable character of Red Dead Redemption 2. A question that has been raised many times, especially following the system proposed by GTA V with its three protagonists that could be swapped to the fly. If Rob Nelson (co-President of Rockstar North, we remind you) does not rule out reusing the GTA V scheme in another game, imposing a hand character for Red Dead Redemption 2 allows you to focus on the adventures of Arthur Morgan, his intentions, how he will evolve over the course of history, knowing that he is by far a key figure in the Dutch band."
Camera "Another element that will change a lot of things is the camera. Like what was done with the last GOD OF WAR, the angle of view was extremely close, which certainly reduces the field of vision but offers more dynamism but also privacy. At present, we do not know if the camera will be able to stand back or the height, but such a change necessarily has consequences in the gameplay. During shooting sequences (we talk about it a little further down), the action is obviously reinforced, while during hunting moments, we have the feeling of being one with nature. Arthur Morgan finds himself in fact closer to the flora, but also the wildlife with which he will enjoy a new level of interaction and never seen in a video game."
Gunplay "a quick glance of the gunfight system , also greatly improved since the first episode. We could see Arthur Morgan taking cover, varying the animations according to his hideout. Similarly, Rockstar has also varied the maximum movements of Arthur Morgan who will have different ways to hold his weapon, but also to shoot according to his position, the weapon he will use or the style simply (from the classic shot or by quickly hitting the revolver dog with the palm of the hand). The famous Dead Eye will of course be part of it, with improvements that Rockstar Games did not want us to detail during the demo.
know that killcams have been put in place to magnify certain gestures, but also some deaths. It remains to know now in what conditions these focus will be triggered, but we can trust Rockstar to put our eyes on it."
(http://m.jeuxactu.com/red-dead-redemption-2-rockstar-repousse-les-limites-de-l-open-world-113716.htm)
(GamePro)
"In the course of the game, new people will join the squad again and again. However, we can not recruit members freely in the game world because, according to Rob Nelson, this would not guarantee the "degree of relationship with the people". After all, the hero is supposed to build a bond with each gangmate, with random NPCs in the game world that would be difficult. Nor is it possible to slip into other people, because unlike GTA 5, Arthur Morgan is the only playable character in RDR2. Rob Nelson says, "It's Arthur's story, and I think we have very compelling reasons to stay with him."
"Arthur rides on through a burnt forest and abandoned settlement. Places to remember, also because, as Rob Nelson says, they are "hand-crafted", so uniquely designed and not just randomly copied into the landscape."
"There are also many dynamic elements and events in the game world. For example, at one point we see some workers pulling up the walls of a new ranch. Upon request, we are confirmed by Rob Nelson, that at a later point there may well be a finished house."
"Arthur can now whistle at the touch of a button, for example, to attract the attention of opponents - or just wild - on himself."
Interaction system "The liveliness of the game world should set Red Dead Redemption 2 apart from many other Open World titles, but at least as big Rockstar has also written the interaction with her on the flags. Persons we meet along the way can still theoretically get out of the saddle, as in the first part, but RDR 2 fans out the possibilities of interaction, away from the binary "killing or passing on". It is much more interesting, for example, to talk to an NPC by pressing the left trigger once, then popping up several dialog options. For example, you can threaten your opponent or convince him in other ways, for example, to spend his money or to leave his coach to us.
Incidentally, this also works in the opposite direction, if, for example, a sheriff wants to convince us, with warm words, not to cause any unrest. In general, the demo is very impressive on how NPCs and the game world react to Arthur."
Gunplay "What's new is that you can now chase a whole cartridge drum into your targets in a matter of seconds even at normal game speed, and some kills are also captured by a slow motion killcam, similar to Max Payne 3, for example, Nelson adds that basic weapon handling should be even more sophisticated, mature and powerful.
On weapon types, we see Arthur's revolver, a rifle and a shotgun during the presentation, which are selected via a ring menu as in the predecessor. We also catch a glimpse of the status of the weapons, which differ as in the first part in certain attributes such as range and strength, the shooting iron can be upgraded as well."
(https://www.gamepro.de/artikel/red-dead-redemption-2-rockstars-beste-open-world,3329147.html)
(Everyeye)
"We meet caravans, fishermen, a group of settlers who are building a ranch. " Coming back to this area in a while you might find this building completed and in operation ", the developers tell us: " that of Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a world in some evolutionary ways, where you will build railways and towns they will expand "."
Interaction system "Arthur Morgan , to make a long story short, is able to talk with every single NPC dating on his way, and without the need for multiple-choice dialogue systems that would disrupt the flow of action. The most important thing to remember, in fact, is that Red Dead Redemption 2 does not want in any way to turn into a role-playing game, but to remain a title "in which a role is played "."
"In short, the times of GTA, in which all the inhabitants of San Andreas could remain disinterested in the presence of the protagonists, flee in a panic or at most rebel against the nth angora. "We wanted to create a world in which the barrel of a rifle was not the only tool through which to interact with the characters ", explains Rob Nelson, head of Rockstar North."
(https://www.everyeye.it/articoli/anteprima-red-dead-redemption-2-vi-raccontiamo-epopea-western-rockstar-in-esclusiva-38572.html)
(Famitsu) Has some interesting info but I don't think I could take bits without it messing it up.
(https://s.famitsu.com/news/201805/04156798.html)
All these previews are also listed here, (https://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption2/news/article/60432/First-Look-Previews-of-Red-Dead-Redemption-2%20)
submitted by karistaja to reddeadredemption [link] [comments]

The SGT Sunscreen Saga - Part Five

Off Base
Once in awhile, when the stars align, you are allowed off base in AIT. Since I was a barracks rat, this prohibition on fun didn’t really affect me all too much. Fort Gordon, for those of you blessed enough not to know the area, really offers only three venues for soldiers – the mall, the tattoo shop, and the bar. There are eateries on base - a Waffle House, Popeye’s and a Taco Bell, but they usually involves people who outrank you. I am an E1, everyone outranks me, no thanks.
The mall is where you go to see Privates in the wild. If you’re ever around an AIT base, you’ll know it in a heartbeat. Go to a mall on a Friday around 6.30 and sit down in the food court. About five minutes in, you’ll see what you swear is a community college brochure come to life. You’ll get a black guy in a Bulls jersey joking with a white guy in cowboy boots, with an Asian guy in a button-up right behind. There are no “work-friends” anymore. Training is temporary, and time out is oh-so limited, so friends are your fellow soldiers, period.
One thing the commercials get right is the diversity in the Army. One way diversity shows up is how everyone dresses. Everyone’s got their own style, and when you’re “back on the block” you usually hang out with people with the same clothing style. Thing about the Army is, you have no idea what people wear other than the uniform. I honestly forgot jeans were a thing until after Basic.
As such, you make friends without knowledge of their style - almost like we’re human beings. Normally, if you approach me in a Tap Out shirt, cargo shorts, a backwards hat, flip flops and some sort of ill-fitting costume jewelry, I might avoid you. I’m sorry. Likewise, if you are just vehemently anti-flannel, we might have to be in different social circles – it is what it is. No love lost. So, the Augusta Mall, about ten minutes by taxi out of the gate, was where these packs of wild enlisted would roam - always in threes. Now, this mall had the typical amenities - a Gamestop, clothes and sporting goods stores, a food court and around seven Lids stores. Seven. One style I inexplicably picked up in the South was wearing those flat-billed hats - truly one of my biggest regrets in life. To be fair, I shaved my head every two weeks, so stupid hats made me look a bit less like a skinhead.
The real problem arose when I maintained this haircut after getting home, because I’m a cheap bastard. It wasn’t until a woman pulled her child out of an aisle I was shopping in I that I connected the dots - shaved head, blue eyes, leather jacket, motorcycle hel- … ohhhhhhh shit. Nobody ever told me either, they had me looking like the Nazi Youth for a solid year. Anyway, that’s the mall. However, the Augusta Mall, like all shopping centers around military bases - cater to stupid eighteen year olds with lots of cash. Now, everyone loves payday. For most of the world, it’s the time you can pay off enough of the bills to keep the lights on and buy yourself a celebratory Happy Meal. For soldiers, all Hell breaks loose. Now, we’ve established my conservative tendencies, but most of the armed forces does not agree with my frugality. We live on the “edge,” and most motherfuckers spend their paychecks on weekends and lady friends – I can’t blame them, honestly - nothing beats some good ol’ fashioned,booze-fueled, consensual sex. I understand it now, I didn’t then.
Now, as an E1, you're looking at maybe $600 a paycheck on the first and fifteenth. This is big money for a guy whose only previous job experience involved directing parking every summer at county fairs. One thing about my upbringing, is that I’ve never been “rich.” Of course, I always had food to eat, and a roof over my head, but that’s because my parents worked multiple jobs, and undeniably busted ass for us kids to get where we got. Being raised in this environment though, meant that you’d grow up to be frugal motherfucker – which I am to this day. I spent about 15 dollars a week during training, and came home with 10 g’s.
Some guys were broke by day three. Why? Because we’re fucking kids, that’s why. I had a roomie buy a 600 dollar knife, multiple times. Privates were buying cars, and jewelry, and whatever the fuck else teenagers buy. Meanwhile, I was shaving my head every two weeks to save the seven dollars from the barber. My biggest purchase? Skyrim, the day it came out, and I was entirely too stressed over the purchase … with thousands in the bank.
There’s a reason you find a lot of homeless vets - there’s not a ton of fiscal training, and the only repercussion for spending all your cash in Active Duty is not being able to go out anymore - rent and food is paid for. Anyways, at least partly responsible for this financial shitbaggery are the predatory merchants everywhere around bases.
The worst are car dealerships - offering you automatic loans solely for being in the military. The problem that many of my fellow soldiers discovered is that while twenty bucks a month for an iPad may seem like a good idea, the final price was somewhere around 2500 bucks - the Mustang everyone somehow buys winds up being in the 60’s. Plus, attractive chicks aggressively try to sell you jewelry “for your girl back home.” Even outside of the PX, there’s a couple guys trying to sell you a fucking claymore sword with your “family crest” on it for about a thousand dollars. A claymore, for those of you who haven’t seen Braveheart, is a 5-6’ two-handed sword. Where they thought we’d be stashing these massive melee weapons I don’t know. One kid actually bought one, and when he tried to bring it up into the barracks, he was sent directly to the post office to send it home. If they don’t let us keep Swiss Army knives in our rooms, I don’t know how he thought they’d let this William Wallace monstrosity through the doors. Whatever, this was shopping, one of the three venues.
The next hotspot was the tattoo parlor - there are more tattoo shops around an Army base than Starbucks in Orange County. Trust me on this.
There’s a few ways to tell someone’s in the military when they’re outside of uniform. If they are really playing up the “Army” aspect at a bar, you’ll probably catch some dog tags around their neck – you’ve found yourself a Private. Just as obvious, for males, is the haircut. Again, if they seem to be surrounded by people with similar haircuts, but in vastly different clothing styles, you might have a winner. If you’re in California and hear a country drawl, there you go. When that fails, check for that tattoo. Tattooing is almost synonymous with enlisted soldiers. It’s a rite of passage. Having one bad tattoo, bringing home a “4,” waking up hungover and missing pants – everyone’s got a story. I, of course, wanted to be no different.
As soon as you graduate Basic, you have a honeymoon period with the Army. You’re a “real soldier” now, part of the team – completely unjaded. 18 year olds also find themselves with some real dough for the first time in a while. What does unbridled patriotism, a heightened sense of toughness and a couple thousand dollars equal? A tattoo. A terrible, terrible tattoo. For a lot of reasons, the Army is like high school. The jocks (infantry) look down on the junior varsity (other combat arms) who finally look at everyone else like they’re the founding members of the Scrabble Club. As the founding member of my high school’s Scrabble club, it was offensive, but entirely deserved.
Another high school attitude in the military is that being too “in to” something is lame. Unlike that kid who only watched anime and ran through the halls with his wheelie backpack, you gotta blend in. The problem is, is that tattoos are supposedly a permanent art form. The thing is, when you were drunk on “hooah,” all these privates went out and got the American flags, the Iwo Jima picture, maybe an eagle. Now, there are tons of excellently done patriotic tattoos. However, some are essentially the “tribal tattoos” of the Army. “One shot, one kill” for example. You’ve got “Death before Dishonor.” One poor kid got the whole soldier’s creed on his ribs. But none hold a battery-operated church candle to one proud private. Down his arm, from shoulder to elbow was “Hooah!” in Army script. I’m sure he regrets that now. Be smart about your ink everybody.
So, about four or five times over the months of AIT I’d go with a buddy while they got tattoos. Of course, I was pretty uncomfortable in the tattoo parlor we frequented - the dude at the front literally had flames tatt’d from his eyebrows to the back of his head, with spacers in his nose. You weren’t finding the social upper crust in downtown Augusta, that’s for sure. Anyways, some guys get tattoos as often as people go to the movies - with the same amount of forethought.
“Wanna see a movie?” “Yeah!”
“Wanna get tatted?” “Sure!”
So I had my sleeve-length tattoos all drawn out - yeah, sleeves. Plus I had all the upper arm and chest tatts I drew on myself once in Sharpie - It took a week to wash off, and I had to be careful no one saw me in the shower, because that’s how you get nicknames. At the end of the day, I ended up bitching out, which I’m glad I did, or else I’d be explaining a few lewd tattoos to a grandkid a few years down the line.
The third venue that we trainees frequented was the bars. I never went - I hadn’t so much as sipped a beer until my first time home on leave. However, it was always evident who went out during the recall formation. Every weekend night, there would be an accountability formation held at 11 PM, and you had to have your ass back there.
Warning - here comes a rant. We weren’t allowed weekend passes like other companies, couldn’t buy a vehicle like other companies, and couldn’t live off post like other companies - despite these privileges being authorized by the Post Commander. Now, I have yet to be disparaging about any officers, because that’s not how I do things. Thing is though, in training companies, officers are attached there temporarily - so they don’t really give a shit about their soldiers since they are already on their way out the door. The problem with this is that officers will arbitrarily restrict soldiers’ activities in order to make themselves look good. It was constantly brought up that our company had no drug, alcohol or violence issues in something like 500 days - a battalion record for which the CO, not the soldiers, got the recognition. While the CO got another bullet point on the performance review, all 300 soldiers slowly went stir-crazy at our confinement. My battle buddies from other companies were having hotel parties,or driving home for the weekend. while we stood in the cold for role to be called. Rant over, but it was some real horseshit. To all future leaders, look out for your soldiers, and your soldiers will look out for you. We’re not stupid, we know when you’re playing games.
Anyways, because soldiers drink like … soldiers, half the company was blitzed out of their minds at recall. I normally had no issue with this - do what you do. The issue came about when drunk people, as drunk people do, decided to run their mouths at inopportune times.
Before you were allowed to head inside the barracks, an alphabetical roster had to be read through and then your ID had to be checked at the door. The poor bastards at the end of the roster knew their time wasn’t coming for a while, and so would chatter and yell through the whole thing. Some duty sergeants - pissed that they didn’t get to be buzzed on a fine Friday evening, would stop role entirely until the commotion died down - it didn’t. They’d yell “Abner” or “Alvarez” and the peanut gallery would scream “AWOL!” or “He’s dead!”and laugh and laugh. By the third or fourth name, the especially ornery NCO’s would put everyone in the front-leaning rest until it was over. All in all, weekend bed check normally took an hour at the earliest, up to two at the worst. So, I’m “M,” middle of the pack regardless. I’d go inside, brush my teeth, and watch a little TV in my room, then rack out. The inebriated folks would run through the hallway screaming, or kicking in doors, or lighting shit on fire until the duty NCO came upstairs, yelled, and sent everyone to bed. This was life for nine months.
My weekends usually went a bit differently than the drinkers. Now, I’ve since had my “drink, get into shenanigans and generally live an entirely unsustainable lifestyle” phase. Hell, I lived in a frat house. I’m 23, and if I make it to 30, it is a gift from God. Anyways, my AIT Fridays, in contrast, were some depressing shit. There’s no food allowed in the barracks – none. Seriously, Sergeants would open ceiling tiles and flip lockers to find some Poptarts (Hint - hide them under layers of civilian clothes or in ziploc bags in the latrine ceiling.)
Fortunately, about a hundred yards away from our barracks was the “IET” Initial Entry … something, essentially a rec room with a pool table, a couple tv’s, a coffee shop and a mini Domino’s Pizza inside. I was a regular, because NCO’s weren’t allowed in - not that they’d want to be in there anyway.
I had a very rigid weekend schedule. Fridays, we got off at five, so I went to chow with buddies, returned to watch How I Met Your Mother until 8, then off to the IET to buy cheesy bread and a Sprite. Return by nine, watch a movie until recall, then sleep. Everyone else got their drink on while I patiently waited for Ted and Robin to hook up. I finished that show four times - this was before the horseshit final season. It was one of the only shows on my hard drive.
Saturday and Sunday I’d form up at nine, and get that beautiful breakfast chow, Now, it’s a proven fact that breakfast food is the best food. If Ron Swanson says it, you live it. Breakfast is the best part of the Army - by far. Maybe it’s just so we don’t have even more reason to kill ourselves, but, again, Army food isn’t bad. Seriously.
So, every day we’re not in the field you get some powdered eggs, some bacon or sausage, and biscuits or something - they even had some fancy parfaits if you were feeling especially dainty. Bomb-dig spread there, Army. Plus, I’d fill a couple cups with ice, then throw the coffee on, mix in some chocolate milk - boom. You’d think I was Bobby Flay for thinking of making iced coffee. There was no rational reason for missing breakfast chow. Plus, you knew that PT is over for the day, and that makes the occasional pancake so much better. After lunch, it was either the mall or the px, be back by dinner, watch a movie, then get to recall. I was a real party fucking animal.
This would go on for months. Nine sad, long, unchanging months. I stopped going on Facebook because people back home having fun made me sad. Not quite sad enough to kill myself though, that would be another guy.
The Classroom
When we weren’t busy raking lines in dirt, eating breakfast, or killing ourselves, we went to class. This was the entire point of being at Gordon - learning our specific job. Really it’s where we spent months in a windowless room with computers, only to venture outside to step inside bigger computers with satellite dishes. Before you ask, there was no internet on the computers, and we could not have our phones on us from 7 AM until 5 PM. For the thousands of hours I spent in Sierra training, I have almost nothing funny to contribute - it was by far the most brain-numbingly boring activity I think one can complete. They spent a week teaching us binary, for really no fucking reason.
It took me about a month of class before I asked when we’d learn about the drones my recruiter had promised me, and the instructors laughed their asses off. It was then that reality sank in - I was in for a rough year.
My job, as a 25Sierra, is essentially being the Army’s wifi - I turn on my equipment, hit a few buttons, and blam, I’m done. Really, the training could have been thoroughly completed in two weeks. The shit we were trained on - for months - isn’t even in use anymore. I got to my unit after training and they said they hadn’t used the equipment I’d been trained on for over a decade. Half our training was on “satellite theory” - as if we fucking needed to know about geosynchronous orbits and signal polarity to make the antenna autotrack. I got so bored I created a lavish beach scene out of router connections and modems on the training module - I spent three whole days on it - until I was discovered and smoked accordingly. They were even less impressed when I made the giant robot attacking it the next day. I’m hoping it’s still lurking in some database somewhere in the schoolhouse - I put a lot of work into it.
I think the most important lesson learned in the schoolhouse was the danger of wearing civilian clothes, as an instructor, to the schoolhouse.
We had one instructor, who thought he was the House, MD of satellite communications. He was always yelling, and tried his damndest to ensure that we, the peasants, feared him. He was moderately successful with his ruse until he showed up on his day off, and we lost all respect for this dude. There he stood, with some Beatles glasses, a billowing Red Wings jersey, baggy cargo pants, and TOE SHOES. Yeah, those goofy fucking toe shoes! Man, it was tough to listen to the guy after that. Note to all you future leaders out there - stay in uniform.
I'm not sure how it worked in other training schools, but in AIT, when we got to class, we had to form up and sing the "Army Song," “The Signal Corps March,” and recite the "Soldier's Creed." Every day.
This daily routine is performed by a soldier pulled - at random - from the formation. Now, this was before my vocal smart-ass phase, so I was not on the leadership’s radar. (Instructors at the schoolhouse are different from those who are responsible for you at the barracks. Think of your grumpy landlord versus an equally alcoholic professor.)
So, since I was Non-Descript White Private #6, I blended in. I hadn't said a word to any of the instructors outside my classroom, so they didn't know how my voice sounded.
This went on until the last fucking day, seriously the last fucking day of class. Out of the blue, I get called up to sing it out. However, the end was in sight - I could see the light. So, I thought, fuck it.
Now, due to my complete lack of athletic ability, general intelligence, or prowess with the ladies, I've had to develop a special set of skills. While rescuing chicks on boats and karate-chopping Albanians would be my number one choice, I had to settle for the fact that I can make a lot of different "voices" - my favorite being a pretty good imitation of the old-school Batman narrator. So I take my place at the head of the formation, and I belt out the "Soldier's Creed" in the voice, straight-faced. The soldiers in formation started laughing, but the leadership didn't really respond - maybe this kid is just fucking retarded.
I get through all the songs n' such, and it comes time to march us in for another riveting day of bullshit. When you march in a formation ("File from the left, column left!") the first soldier in each line yells something to their line (either "stand fast" or "forward") What these cheeky bastards did was copy my voice as best they could. Not cool guys. And at that moment of realization, the head instructor sprinted over, nose to my cheek, and screamed
"What the FUCK do you think you're doing, Private?!"
Well, for one, he was the guy walking and talking on his phone in front of everyone’s formation during the Creed. One, walking and talking on a phone isn’t allowed - and this is the fucker that would yell about regulations and stray boot laces. Two, it’s definitely disrespectful to mosey around in front of any formation, anywhere, and it was just the tip of of this guy’s sheer patronizing asshaterry iceberg.
I was having none of it.
So, with a rogue wave of self-righteous indignation, I screamed back -
"I’m using my COMMAND VOICE, Sergeant!"
So, he lost his fucking mind, sending everyone scurrying into the building, while screaming at me. He attempted to give me an “Article 15” (an Army punishment that can strip pay and rank - a big deal.)
Luckily, my First Sergeant was having none of it and it didn't go through (since apparently Schoolhouse Sergeant didn’t have the authority give me one.) He asked me to demonstrate the voice, which I did, and he thought it was hilarious. Top, if you’re out there reading, thanks for looking out. I’m actually scared to mention you by name, but I hope you’ll find out somehow. Anyway I was now authorized to use my narrator voice when the new Privates were getting in trouble.
"Loook ouuuut Privates! Platoon Sergeant's coming!
“Meeeaaanwhile, in the hallway!"
Plus, the next time we saw Instructor Asshat on a company run, our 1SG made him do push-ups while we jogged in place. A little extreme, but hey, Army is Army.
Sometimes I get in trouble even when I don’t open my mouth. Like I said, the Army is super uptight with all the PC stuff. The problem is, is that most current leadership is from the “old Army,” where every non-alcoholic is a “faggot,” and a woman’s worth is based solely on the shapeliness of her ass. So, to compensate, some of the old timers have swung hard to the opposite side of the spectrum. Only some though, the rest go even harder to compensate.
Another fun Army rule, is that you can never have your hands in your pockets. Need to grab your keys? Your hand better hurry the fuck up. No dilly-dallying in there either. Is that a limp wrist? Police yourself, Soldier.
Anyways, so without pockets, you really do have a limited option for idle hand placement. Usually, you default to “at-ease,” but once in awhile you switch it up. My personal favorite is the “John Wayne.” The JW involves you hooking your thumbs through the belt above your pelvis – it’s comfy and natural, whatever.
This pose was completely unacceptable to one random sergeant, as I was once “verbally counseled” for sexual misconduct. The reason? “I was bringing attention to my genitals.” I think the real problem was that a certain staff sergeant’s genitals weren’t getting any attention.
Another constant in the Army is good ol’ AR 670-1. This Army regulation dictates all appearances you as a soldier are authorized to have. On and off duty. This includes haircuts, length of fingernails, and the acceptable state of repair of one’s blue jeans (seriously.) Some make sense - dudes can never have earings, you dirty hippies. Some make less sense - no super cool mohawks allowed. Some make no sense - you can not have any object on your dog tag chain unless it is religious. This is a problem, because we need to have our locker keys on us at all times, including in our decidedly haphazardly pocketed PT shorts. Now, the drill sergeants in Basic, being the pragmatic DGAF individuals that they are, instructed us to attach our keys to our dog tags.
But oh no, in AIT we had to abide by garrison rules - which means no keys allowed. However, leading a successful insurrection, I drew a cross on my key, thus making it the sigil o’ Christianity. The instructors were less than impressed with my manipulation of the system. This is about the extent of my raging against the machine, but it was a sweet campaign that the bards will sing of for centuries.
Slumber Parties with Spiderman
Very, very few times in life, being inept can work out in your favor. I cannot make a bed to military standards. I can’t fucking do it. Really, I’m sorry. In Basic, I slept underneath my bed as much as possible. It got to the point in AIT, that I had my room flipped so often for having incorrect hospital corners, they got tired of trashing it, and authorized my ass to get civilian sheets.
Now, choosing your own sheets in the real world might not seem like a big thing, but when you’ve been forced to sleep on top of an itchy, wool blanket from World War 2 for 25 weeks, your own comforter is a great thing. Being the immature assholes we are, soldiers never get your typical, adult sheets. Oh, no, we were men in twin sized beds that would never be seen by a woman. So, we got ridiculous. We had guys with Dora the Explorer, Transformers, and Thomas the Tank Engine – I decided on Spider Man. Yes, I would return from a full day and collapse on my crisp, blue, Spiderman sheets. It was truly a great time to be alive.
We did have a particular NCO who had one strict rule when it came to our rooms - only one.
Because of the longevity of our training, soldiers were able to get to know their NCO’s real well – almost developing a clearly hierarchical, but still sometimes amiable, verbally abusive step-parent relationship. Now, I sure as shit did not, which is for damn sure. They didn’t learn my name in 9 months, and I’m totally cool with that. Sure, a couple knew my face, but also thought my name was “Private.” It worked just fine for me.
One of the things about working alongside these fine non-commissioned officers, is you realize that they too, are almost humans. One’s from Texas, one enjoys LARPing, one is a female – real deep shit. One such quirk we realized is that a certain SSG Bueller HATED Pokémon. Absolutely hated anything pocket monster related. Any such contraband would be tossed out of a window. Why?
Well, dear reader, poor SSG Bueller had spent 18 months in Iraq in the most hipster way possible – he got there before it was cool. This meant that there were no significant bases, no infrastructure, no massive tents to go watch Shania Twain on her golden guitar. No, this meant, the only thing you could entertain yourself with when not getting shot at was whatever you carried with you. For some soldiers, they carried sketchpads, journals, or letters from back home – real Band of Brothers-type shit. But SSG B was having none of that. Oh no, SSG B had a motherfucking Game Boy, with motherfucking Pokémon Gold. The problem was … that was all he had. I don’t know how to tell you guys this, but a handheld game meant for twelve year olds can be completed pretty succinctly in twenty or so hours – more if you were that one asshole who actually tried to catch them all. Thing is, poor B had this game – and only this game – for a year and a half. Yeah, 500’ish days of a game meant for Japanese schoolchildren.
Needless to say, when he got back home, SSG hated anything and everything Pokémon. This was in fact, his only rule implemented, and I quote, “No Pokémon shit.” That’s it.
Of course, as the giggling manchildren we were, we thought this request was hilarious. We didn’t take into account that maybe a grizzled veteran wouldn’t like to be reminded of one of his many tours every fucking day while sloughing through another equally-as-shitty Georgia day. No, we wanted to be cute. And so we did - Pokemon sheets, Pokemon dolls, people would even mail him Pokemon dolls after they’d left and we’d laugh and laugh while he died a little bit inside every time. Sorry, SSG B. Hope you catch ‘em all someday.
Newbies
I have a particularly long MOS, so I was in AIT for around eight, nine months. The thing with training companies, is that there's an influx of new soldiers as soon as an old class graduates. Of course, as soon as I get to the party, it's decided to funnel all the newbies to other companies. This means that there becomes slowly less and less soldiers in my company. This sucks.
Why?
Well, reader, there's a thing in the Army called "fire guard." This is usually a two, four, or six hour shift of you wrestling errant flames. (Not really, you sit at a desk, and try not to sleep.)
The problem is, is that this duty is bequeathed by alphabetical roster. Month by month it got smaller and smaller - by the end, we went from 300 soldiers to 50, split between the day, night, and swing shift. This meant guard duty every night, and cleaning the barracks was a bitch and a half.
Luckily, two days before my class shipped home, we got fresh meat. You forget how lost in the sauce you are getting to AIT fresh out of Basic. Where you had every second of every day planned, there was now a bit of leeway. So, like the good soldiers we were, we fucked with them.
Another bullshit fact in training is the "bed check." This entails grown-ass men waiting outside their doors at 9PM in order to ask permission to go to sleep. If the duty sergeant starts at the other end of the building, you're fucked.
However, the new bloods don't know this - they just see "Bed check 2100 (9pm) for all new soldiers."
At 8.55, all of us older cats start freaking out around the privates.
"Guys! What the fuck are you doing?! It's almost bed check! You better get down there ASAP!"
They freak out and start hauling for the duty desk until we stop them.
"C'mon guys, it's bed check! You have to get your mattress cleared your first night in the barracks. Hurry!"
So these poor kids all grab their mattresses and one of them even managed to get it out a door by the time sergeant got upstairs.
"What the fu- what is this happy horse shit!? Who the fuck are you?!
He pops his head in the room to see the new guys confusedly grasping at their twin-sizes
“Wait, there's more?! Goddammit!"
Anyway, these guys spilled in right before we left on our final AIT FTX. This FTX was to be a five day long FOB (Forward Operating Base) scenario - like” little Iraq.” For the first time, we were mixed with soldiers who weren’t satellite peeps. I thought we were idiots, but apparently, we’re the fucking cream of the crop in the commo community. Some of the people assigned with us were Limas - the guys who essentially just plug shit in. They were at Gordon all of six weeks, and were bitching about how long they were there. These guys were the GED fuckers I thought I’d left behind in Basic.
Now, I mean no offense to the Limas of the world, as it isn’t a fair representation of all y’all, but the kids we were stuck with were some real goobers.
Anyway, the cadre at the FOB took their job entirely too seriously - trying to be drill sergeants when they weren’t. I guess it made sense for the guys who have only been out of Basic for a month, but for those of us who’d been at Gordon a while, we were thoroughly unimpressed. They screamed and yelled and dumped our shit on the ground, and divided us all into different musty tents.
The week comprised of marching around, playing Army, and getting “bombed” every couple hours. Being bombed meant that a siren would play in the middle of the camp, flashbangs would get thrown, and we’d all hustle out to squeeze into some bunkers - simple enough.
At night, because some people decided to change clothes for some reason, the only required equipment was your helmet, body armor, and weapon - too easy. Because I am a dirty nasty, I didn’t change for the entirety of the op, because it usually paid off. There were no ladies to impress, so who cared that I smelled like a JV locker room.
One night, a buddy and I were coming off guard duty at 2 in the morning, after an exciting “attack” (us two gate guards shooting blanks at bored instructors being “OpFor.”) We hadn’t been fake bombed all night, so I knew for a fact that we were going to be hit soon. I walked into the tent, stripped off my armor, helmet, and blouse (for a pillow) and laid there. My buddy laughed at me for never taking off my boots. Five minutes later, we get “hit.” This was towards the end of the exercise, so they threw tons of shit at us. Explosions and sirens everywhere.
I laughed the whole way to the shoddy pallet stack that was our “bunker.” Within two minutes, the rest of the twelve man tent has slid in, in various forms of dress, but with the three required pieces. At least, we thought we had everyone. Private fucking Snarf, a Lima who would lose Trivial Pursuit against a bag of potatoes, was nowhere to be found. An instructor stuck his head in - “You guys up?” (meaning “is everyone accounted for, and uninjured.”)
We just stared at him until somebody nodded. He left to check on everyone else.
At this point, everyone around the FOB is done hustling and bustling, the siren has stopped, and Snarf still didn’t show up. Then, in the distance, we hear … slapping? But it was getting closer to us.
Closer.
...Closer.
The dude closest to the bunker entrance stuck his head out, and just whispered “Oh, Goddamnit.”
In slides Snarf, wearing just PT shorts, a helmet, and ... flip flops. Nothing else.
“Did I miss it?”
Ten minutes after the “raid,” the entirety of our bunker stood at attention while Snarf did some push-ups. Whatever, it didn’t matter, because graduation was a couple days away.
There was, however, a bullshit scavenger hunt type check list before you were allowed to leave Gordon - including another CIF turn in and even making sure you didn’t have any outstanding fines at the library. Ha - library. I had been in maybe twice, and only then because it was the only spot with wifi. You’d think the Army’s communications headquarters would have some wifi, but you’d be wrong. Our company had three computers with internet in the day room, for three hundred of us. Yeah, welcome to the Army, asshole.
Graduation
AIT graduation is a lot less pomp and circumstance, and more just an annoyance to everyone. No one really gives a shit, but this is the Army, damnit, so we’re gonna play some brass instruments and put on fancy clothes.
The fancy clothes, or dress blue’s, had to have our new ranks sewn on, be pressed and perfect to the centimeter - there were inspections. About two months before, a large group of us E-1s were promoted to E2. Does this change anything? Not really - you are still called “private” and are treated no differently than you were before. However, in AIT, it was a big fucking deal. The rank structure in initial training is so fucked. PFC’s actually commanded respect, and junior privates had to listen. Specialists were just untouchable. In reality, being E1-E4 doesn’t change jack shit - everyone’s mopping the same bathrooms together.
This being the case, getting promoted was just the tits. Now, we, as E2’s, got to look down on the peasants that were the E1’s - I think it’s literally the least amount of power that can go to one’s head. We’d call them “fuzzies.” Because E1 has no official rank designator, the velcro patch on their chest would be left blank, or fuzzy. It’s jarring to see one now, It’s been a solid year since I saw a buck private. Anyways, we got the stupid “mosquito wings” sewed on our blue’s for graduation.
The ceremony itself was pretty straight forward - you walk across the stage into a spotlight, say your name, MOS, and where you’re headed (I was tempted to say “Fort Couch,” but I didn’t want to push my luck.) Of course, for the slower soldiers, this became a herculean task. Three things guys, three. Plus people got confused on exactly where to stand, so bewildered NCO’s literally ran masking tape arrows across the stage. We had to practice five times.
Anyway, so the day before shipping out of Gordon, we had the graduation. There was really only twenty family members who showed up - half of us were flying home the next day anyways. I’m not going to lie, I was excited to march over to the graduation venue that morning. We passed by the chow hall, in our blues, which told all the other companies waiting for grits that we were done. Fuck y’all, we’re out (except for the one poor bastard who got stationed right back in Fort Gordon.) So, we have the ceremony - and yes, people still fucked it up. Afterwards we headed back to the barracks and some people went out to go party for the last time. I did not, because tomorrow was the flight home.
So, of course, I spent the night packing, right? Wrong. We had an exit locker inspection to keep us from maybe having a smooth exit the next day.
Ship day was nuts. Breakfast, and then we lucky reservists had a brief with the National Guard liaison on what to expect back home, and who to report to as soon as we got there. Blurbity blah blah. The Active Duty members of our class had an additional two weeks of instruction ahead of them. We were not subtle with our smugness.
Our Gordon departure times were kept a secret until we got back to the barracks - where we discovered that nine of us had to be on the road in twenty minutes. We had 1200 seconds to pack everything we owned, throw away the rest, and say goodbye to the people we’ve spent 80 hours a week with for almost a year. The bitch of the bunch is you are only authorized two army green duffels for travel - one of which is completely filled with your uniforms, boots, and the like, the second which is also about half full of armyness.
Most my clothes, a couple boots, my beloved Spiderman blankets, and a sweet lcd monitor I found in the hallway all got the boot. I gave the monitor to some new Privates, which now that I think about it, is the opposite of hazing.
Anyway, the good part is that there wasn’t any time to say a long, awkward goodbye to anyone. Just a quick handshake and a nod with about ten people, then we piled into the van. On the final check-out, my platoon sergeant didn’t even know who I was, despite me seeing him every morning for forever. Whatever, I really didn’t give a shit about him, just my buddies - it was a bittersweet morning.
I’ve only seen three guys since - one in Kansas, and two in California, out of the 300 I started with.
CONTINUED IN PART SIX
submitted by SGTSunscreen to MilitaryStories [link] [comments]

Introducing the Z2 programming language (warning: wall of text)

Hi everybody!
It is a great pleasure and relief to finally introduce our new programming language called Z2, together with a pre-alpha level release of the compiler, standard library, an IDE and some other tools.
Now I have zero idea how to introduce the language to a fresh public. Been working on it for so long that I know every single feature by heart and think they are all a good ideas, yet don’t know how to present this fact to new people. So here is what I’ll try: a text introduction for the language and the release package and a working Windows only download link. This looks fitting for the introduction post. The release is configured to work out of the box, so you need to start zide.exe, select a source file and press F5. But keep in mid the pre-alpha tag: there may be bugs, crashes and who knows what.
Then, in another post here in the same thread I’ll add code snippets with explanations. Also, if somebody has more specific questions, please do ask them. It is simpler and probably more helpful for everybody to answer questions rather than tor randomly pick form the feature set a few snippets that are considered interesting.
If this doesn’t work and turns out to be too much to read, I’ll create a new introduction with lots of code and few words.
Z2 is a statically-typed pure-OOP general-use performance-centric systems-programming language. It used value types, references to these types, copy and move, with clear object relationships and lifetime rules, being well suited to an “everything belongs somewhere” programming style that allows for deterministic management and finalization of all resources. It comes with an intentionally lightweight but designed to be complete standard library that considers things like colors, geometry, XML support, image work, encryption, containers, threads and so on to be on the same level of importance as a simple integer or string class.
It is very hard to create an accurate picture of what the language is in a few paragraphs and we will try to do so with a bullet list. And this pre-alpha comes with a limited subset of the standard library source code (basically all the stuff we managed to test until the deadline) and a set of UT samples so one can see the language in practice. And the blog post might help.
But, if we are super reductive, maybe even more than needed, and are forced to describe Z2 in a few words, then one could say that Z2 is C++. The object model is compatible and it tries to solve the same problems using similar solutions. But it a clean and sanitized C++ and while the two languages have roughly the same amount of features, Z2 hopefully comes up as an easier language to learn and use. In Z2 there is generally one way to do something, the rules are simpler, have very few or any exceptions and these exceptions are clearly documented and made a big deal about, the language is designed to less ambiguous, the standard library is we thing relatively readable and the whole thing is designed with over a decade of experience in C++. It takes the parts that work form C++ and few other influences, notably Ruby in some subtle but important ways, combines them with original features and tries to create a practical language.
Here are a few extra important points about the language, in no particular order:
There are many more points we would like to mention, but this will suffice for an introduction. Already way too long to read.

Package contents

As mentioned above, due to time constrains, only the Windows version could be polished enough for the release deadline. And only the 32-bit version. The next minor release will add 64 bit support and a release after will add Linux support too. PT 9.3.2 will finally add Linux support. Sorry about that.
If anybody managed to read up to this point, thank you and please let me know if this is a proper introduction or if I’ve made a full mess of it. I await all questions and am preparing a list of snippets with short explanations to practically show the language, but until then here is “hello world”:
 namespace org.z2legacy.samples.ut; class HelloWorld { def @main() { System.Out << "Hello World!\n"; } } 

Installation instructions

Windows

1. Download the latest pre-compiled binary and un-archive to an INSTALL_DIR selected by you where normal programs have write access.
    PT 9.3.1 (Latest)
    PT 9.3.0     PT 9.2.1     PT 9.2.0     PT 9.1.0
2. (Optional) For native compilation you need a backend compiler. Z2C will auto-detect installed Visual Studio versions, but you can download and use a pre-packaged version of MIGW/TDM for 32/64 bit compilation using OSS tools. You must unpack under INSTALL_DIR\gcc. This will result in INSTALL_DIR\gcc\tdm.
    https://github.com/MasterZean/z2-stdlib/blob/gh-pages/downloads/tdm-for-pt9.zip
3. (Optional) If you already have an installed MINGW or variant and wish to skip step 2, you can run zide.exe from INSTALL_DIR. This will generate a "buildMethods.xml". This XML can be edited to point towards your existing MINGW path. Be advised that you need a relatively recent MINGW.

Linux

Coming soon.

Blog

And a link to the blog that doesn’t get updated that often, but does contain extra information: https://z2legacy.wordpress.com/
submitted by MasterZean to ProgrammingLanguages [link] [comments]

Detailed Review of UBTG

As posted at BoardGameGeek several years ago:
I am definitely a fan of what Gillespie Games has created with "Ultimate Baseball the Game" (UBTG). When I read what others have written about it, I come away feeling like it is both a misunderstood product and one that has not found its audience yet. The web site for the game gives a very detailed account of how it is different from 'replay' games like Strat, but I think that many people gloss over that and focus on the web site's claim that the game is a "simulation of baseball". This seems to cause a misalignment of expectations.
The majority of baseball gamers seem to interpret "simulation" a very specific way, a way more aligned to troves of real life statistics used to get the most realistic possible outcome for a proposed "what if" scenario with limited "player elected" decisions. UBTG isn't built to do that, which I think frustrates many people who are looking for a "simulation". UBTG is also not a "replay" game. It takes hours to play and doesn't have a sanctioned solitaire mod (though it can be played solitaire with some effort - more on that later).
So what is UBTG delivering? To me, instead of being a "statistically driven simulation", UBTG is actually a "baseball strategy role playing game" where, at any given moment, the player must make strategic decisions in the role of: -The general manager -The manager -The pitcher -The batter -The baserunners -The fielders
When I say "moment" above, I really mean it - far from being a "set your roster, roll the dice a few times and write down the winner", UBTG actually includes some "bullet time" play for events like infield grounders where fielders and batters have to make split second decisions about, for the batting team, whether to try and take a base, and for the fielding team, where to go with a throw. You will spend minutes on a play that takes seconds in real baseball, but for the player who wants to 'role play', this is a good thing! UBTG is a first edition and, in my opinion, not quite perfectly engineered, but it's exceptional as a first effort.
Now, the pitch by pitch mode Diamond Mind Baseball (DMB) comes close and has many of the same features as UBTG and (depending on how you see things) the "advantage" of automating some of the action, while also including more 'real life stats' (more sophistication for injuries, ballpark factors, wind) into its machine, UBTG seems to be the most complete "Baseball strategy role playing" game there is, where I'm measuring completeness not in the number of statistics used (where DMB and several others have a great deal more) but in the number of 'player elected' decisions that have to be made by a live person on every pitch and ball-in-play.
So, if you are wanting to simulate a lot of games quickly - if you are wanting results derived from a specific season from a specific player - if you want columns of SABR data down to the thousanth's place in decimals all feeding into the results - you can safely stop reading knowing that UBTG is not going to satisfy your needs. On the other hand, if this notion of head to head strategic decisions using a simplified but still highly-thought-out statistics model, over several hours (it will probably take you all of 4 hours to play your first "advanced" game with all the rules) appeals to you, and you are ready to learn more about "Baseball strategy role playing", read on:
While this review will be long, for at least a taste of brevity I am revealing only the full 'advanced' game. There is a simplified 'basic' game option also, though while it is more accessible it lacks much of the strategic bite of the advanced version and feels much more luck driven. Anyway, putting that aside, let's examine the roles to play in the advanced game.
The first role you must play in this baseball RPG is the General Manager. So let's talk about how you select your players in UBTG. The UBTG team includes a baseball historian who has indexed 19th century players, negro league players, dead ball players and modern players using his own proprietary (and private/unavailable, at least so far) model, so that you can have 'dream matchups' of any of the above. Satchel Paige vs. Barry Bonds - OK... Babe Ruth and Frank Thomas in the same lineup? For sure...
Here are the details of the simplified statistics model:
BATTING: When batting, along with right/left handedness it looks like this: 1) A 'hitting rating' integer up to 15 - of the real life stats, hitting rating feels closest to on-base percentage... a higher hitting rating will of course lead to more hits on balls in play but it will also lead to more fouls and balls on balls not in play. We'll cover an example of this later.
2) A 'power rating' up to 15 - of the real life stats, this feels closest to slugging percentage... And in fact slugging record holder Babe Ruth has the highest power rating in the game. On base hits, power rating is applied to determine whether a 'base hit' outcome is actually a double, single, or home run. The specific mechanic is that you must roll <=2x the power rating with the game's 30-sided die (the only die in the game) in order to qualify for a 'power upgrade chance', and then, based on the power rating, you roll agin to determine whether you got the upgrade to a double, triple or home run (some upgrade chances fail and the base hit remains a single).
3) A 'speed' rating up to 15 (though no one has earned a 14 or 15 yet) - UBTG's historian differentiates pure speed from 'baserunning acumen' but of course when batting speed is all about getting around the bases.
Then there are a series of binary 'skills' for batting that you either have or you don't, which are: 4) 'Keen Eye' -- this reduces swinging strikes that would lead to a strikeout. For example, a given die roll outcome will look like this: "Strike but Foul if Keen Eye"
5) 'Situational Hitting' -- this skill only can be used with <2 outs and certain baserunner conditions, but it's all about compromising some power (literally abandoning the ability to use 'power upgrade') to 'hit behind the runner' which, overall makes runner advancement more likely even if the batter makes an out.
6) 'Clutch Hitting' -- this still only can be used with runners in scoring position or in the 9th/later if the batter can tie or win the game -- it is definitely powerful as there are several die rolls that are "base hit if clutch hitting, otherwise ball' - definitely a big difference
7) 'Base Running' -- This is applied as a modifier to die rolls in any baserunning situation that calls for a die roll
8) 'K+' -- Actually a 'negative' skill, this increases the likelihood of striking out. It's applied differently than the other skills in that it actually is applied to affect a real-time increase in the pitcher's attribues.
9) 'Team Leadership' -- The UBTG team believes in the competitive value of having 'team leaders' (Think of guys who were player managers or guys who were a 'coach on the field' like Joe Morgan) in the dugout or in the field... if a team has team leaders in the dugout it earns 1-5 one-time use chits that can be redeemed to: a) Temporarly boost a batter's hitting rating b) Nullify advantages that the pitcher would get from throwing his "best pitch" (more on that later) c) Get a 'great jump' for a base stealer
So that's batting.
FIELDING: Now, in the field, it works like this:
1) A 'fielding rating' - this slams together many of today's advanced defensive stats into one- in gameplay though it shows up as a major factor in whether extra bases and other unforced runner advances will be successful or not. Combines fielding, throwing and tagging.
2) A binary skill of 'big throw' - relevant only for catchers and outfielders, the BT is used as a die roll modifier which increases the likelihood of a throw-out on advancements. Most analogous to "base running" skill for batters.
3) List of position eligibility - you can play out of position in UBTG but with severe penalties in fielding rating.
PITCHING: Finally, for pitchers you have the following:
1) A 'pitching rating' up to 15 that is I suppose closest to 'WHIP' -- it's really treated like the inverse of the 'hitting rating' above. I'll show why with an example a bit later.
2) A 'K rating' up to 4 that is closest to 'strikeouts per inning pitched' -- certain play outcomes will turn BALLS or FOULS into STRIKES if the K rating is high enough, but more importantly, K rating also one of two factors that determines 'pitcher type', which differentiates entire columns of results based on a spectrum of command and control guys to more 'wild' strikeout pitchers
3) Binary skill of 'Big game' (starters) and 'Save' relievers that legitimately functions as a 'do over' for certain pitches... very powerful in key moments of the game
4) Binary skill of 'pitch call' for catchers which functions exactly the same as (3) above
5) Binary skill of 'pitcher endurance' which means that fatigue begins 20 pitches later (starters) or 10 pitches later (relievers) than normal
6) Binary skill of 'knuckleball' which influences a few results, though frankly makes no difference most of the time (a minor disappointment, but I can forgive the designers on this one)
7) Binary skill of 'pitches to contact' which creates more strikes and more contract, along with fewer strikeouts and walks. This is the other factor in 'pitcher type', along with K rating
Finally, remember that 'Team Leadership' skill from before? If the fielding team has team leaders 'on the field' then it can use chits to: a) get the 'element of surprise' advantage on a pickoff throw b) prevent (really 'nullify') ERROR results that occur from die rolls
So there you have it - that is the full universe of skills as derived by the UBTG team and their historian. Assembling your 25 man roster allows for a wide range of flexibility in choosing which skills you want to prioritize. Setting your line-up is similarly fully up to you, as is whether or not to use the DH.
Now you've picked your players and are ready for the first pitch - here's where you get to the heart of the UBTG experience - the pitcher batter battle. Here's how it goes down:
First, pitcher tells the batter whether he's throwing 'Normal', 'Strike mode' or 'Ball mode'. This simulates that a major league hitter can get a 'read' on pitches which look 'dead red' or 'clearly a ball'. That said, this is an imperfect skill, so of course if you take a pitch in 'ball mode' it still might be a strike - and if you take a pitch in 'strike mode' it might still be a ball, though the odds are heavily against this in both cases for all types of pitchers.
Next, the pitcher chooses the pitch to throw -- every pitcher in the game has the same four pitches, which are four colors instead of specific pitch names. White and Black are fast and Green and Red are slow, which is meaningful for stolen base attempts and on third strikes, where a guess of at least the correct speed can give a chance to turn a strike into a foul. where it gets more interesting is that each pitcher has at least one 'best pitch'. That best pitch is determined by what type of pitcher it is. Remember, pitcher type is based on the combination of 'K rating' and 'Pitches to contact'. For the four colors there are four pitcher types (Contact<=1k, Contact>=2k, non-contact<=1k, non-Contact>=2k) each of those types has its own specific column of possible results correlated to specific die rolls. As you might expect, the number of die rolls that could lead to a swinging strike for the non-Contact>=2k pitcher is the highest - and in particular that pitcher type's 'best' pitch can convert a number of FOULS into swinging strikes.
Meanwhile, simultaneous to the pitcher choosing the pitch to throw, the batting team chooses the pitch to swing at, or to not swing at all and take the pitch. The pitcher choice and the batter choice are done by concealing a colored marble (white/black/green/red) in your hand and holding it out over the board, then a simultaneous reveal. The number one factor in the results of a given pitch is whether the batter has guessed right or guessed wrong.
Exploring that factor further, very specifically, the heart of the action are the game's "play results tables" (PRT) which are a series of grids starting from '1 or less' as the index value for the top row and '34+' as the index value for the bottom row. There's a grid for each possible permutation of baserunners. Results <1-13 are unique to those permutations, while results 14-34+ are common for all permutations. As you might imagine, each index value represents a modified die roll of the 30 sided die. If there are no modifiers and you roll a '4', you look in row 4 for the result. Now, onto the columns of the table - there is one column for a RIGHT GUESS that's used for any right guess regardless of pitcher type. From there, rows 1-13 of WRONG GUESS are common for all pitcher types, while rows 14-34+ have unique columns for each of the four pitcher types. We'll talk about some of the modifiers below, but for now let's compare right and wrong guesses.
Considering RIGHT GUESSES, a lower die roll is generally better for the batting team - in fact '1 or less' is an unconditional home run even if using the 'situational hitting' skill (just over the fence!) -- Meanwhile considering WRONG GUESSES, a lower die roll is generally better for the pitching team.
The chain of results for RIGHT GUESSES looks roughly like this from low to high die values: HOME RUN>Hard to field base hit>Base hit>Conditional base hit (for example only if clutch hitting, or if you can roll again less than the batter's hitting rating)>BALL>FOUL
Over on the WRONG GUESS side, where the lower numbers favor the fielding team, the results generally look like this: Double/Triple Plays>Force outs and ground outs>Fly outs>Strikes>Fouls>Balls>Single (a wrong guess can be a single only in the 34+ row)
Of course many play results are conditional - some examples are: - Base hit IF batter has clutch hitting skill and there are runners in scoring position -- but otherwise a BALL - BALL unless pitcher threw best pitch, in which case FOUL instead - STRIKE, unless batter has keen eye, in which case FOUL instead - FOUL, unless pitcher's current K rating is 3+, in which case STRIKE instead
While there is MUCH more to the game than just this table, this is the heart of the action and will drive the results more than any of the other elements in the game. So, given that, some readers may wonder if such a big swing in possible results from RIGHT GUESSES (which almost never result in any kind of out) to WRONG GUESSES (which almost never result in any kind of hit) leaves too much in what is essentially a 'guess which marble I picked' question. Perhaps this would be true if all marbles were equal and the pitcher had as much of a reason to choose any one color as any of the others, which actually is indeed the case in the 'basic' game. But this is not just rock, paper scissors, because:
1) Right guesses have +6 added to them (i.e., to the die roll) when 'best pitch' is used, and some wrong guesses have -3. Remember, right guesses favor the hitter the lower the die roll, and wrong guesses favor the pitcher the lower the die roll, in general 2) All pitchers also have a 'second best pitch' which can add +3 to right guesses 3) Contact>=2k pitchers (Greg Maddux) actually have THREE of the four pitches which can modify die results on right/wrong guesses 4) The pitch speed (recall two are 'slow' and two are 'fast') can affect the success of a stolen base 5) Many results in the PRT are conditional to the 'best pitch' (BALL unless best pitch in which case FOUL, for example) 6) For the non-Contact >=2k pitchers, their 'white' best pitch, a 'power' fastball, drives significantly more swinging strikes than any other pitch in the game
Any 'guessing game', most famously rock paper scissors has these thoughts on the part of the guesser? a) Will he repeat what he just used last time or change? b) What does he usually do first? c) What does he do after a 'win'? d) Whad does he do after a 'loss'?
All of that thinking is part of being at the plate in real baseball ('he's started the last three batters with fastball, so I'm looking for the fastball') and in UBTG as well - but in addition to that, the batter has to consider:
e) Since the pitching team knows they'll get the best modifiers on the die roll with a 'best pitch', should I guess the 'best pitch'? Or, will they anticipate that I'm going to look for them to throw the best pitch and pick something else to make sure of the WRONG GUESS? f) If I don't choose to look for the BEST PITCH, would they choose the second best pitch? Or is that too obvious? g) If there's a runner on base, will they choose a FAST pitch or will they go against the grain knowing I'll be looking for a FAST pitch h) If there's 2 strikes and it's a non-contact >=2k pitcher, do I for sure go with the BEST PITCH knowing that I'll likely strike out swinging for anything else? i) Do I just 'take' the first pitch (not showing a corresponding marble) to learn tendencies of how he starts off batters, then try to capitalize?
All of this brings a real richness to the 'cat and mouse' game, but there's even more! When the pitcher has a heavy advantage over the batter (comparing 'pitching rating' to 'hitting rating' incl. handedness), the batting player can only use 3 colors (and only 2 for the largest advantages, such as when pitchers bat) -- in these instances it's possible for the pitching team to get the batting team to exhaust all possible guesses while the at bat is still in progress and then move to one of the other colors, forcing either a WRONG GUESS or for the batting team to just take pitches and hope that the pitcher can't find the strike zone. Similarly, if the hitter has a big advantage (or in STRIKE MODE) the pitching team might have to reveal a marble and only use the other three in choosing, making even a random guess change from a 25% to a 33% chance of hitting a RIGHT GUESS.
Batters can try and swing at pitches in BALL Mode but any right guesses (particularly from contact pitchers) will have modifiers added. In STRIKE MODE, both RIGHT and WRONG GUESSES have -2, reflecting that if a right guess happens on dead red, this will be very solid contact, but if a wrong guess happens on dead red (you read dead read fastball and it was actually a changeup) this will hurt contact.
Remember those ratings from before? Pitching rating minus hitting rating (including +1 to hitting for opposite hand and -1 to hitting for same hand) = PITCHER ADVANTAGE and gets added to right guesses - but if Hitting rating is > pitching rating then that's BATTER ADVANTAGE and it's added to WRONG GUESSES.
The batting team's other surprise options include BUNT (which the pitching team can also surprise by charging in to try and field) and SITUATIONAL HIT (discussed above). Bunts have an entirely separate two grids used to determine first a) whether the bunt was laid down successfully and then b) who fields it, and determining any putouts.
This pitch by pitch faceoff is the biggest strategic decision in the game but it's far from the only one- picking up the pace of the review a bit, here are other decisions that must be made:
-The rule on BASE HITS is that as the batter goes, everyone else goes... that is, if batter gets a single, everyone moves up a base. BUT, nearly all base hits allow for all runners to 'Go for the extra base' (and maybe even an extra 2 bases, rare but possible) as a player elected option. For each runner, you calculate FIELDING DIFFICULTY (FD) which includes both a die roll but then also factors such as - The batters power (mainly only on fly outs, since power for BASE HITS comes via the POWER UPGRADE mentioned earlier) - Runners speed - Whether runner has 'base running' skill - Whether runner had risky lead - Whether runner was 'forced' - Whether there was a 3-2 count with 2 outs - What base runner is running to - Where on the field the ball was hit (die roll, slight bias to pull for all hitters) - Fielding ability of throwetagger - Whether thrower has 'big throw' - and more...
Once FD is calculated for all the runners, the batting team can decide who all is going to go for the extra base - at this point the fielding team gets to decide where to attempt the putout, which could lead to a decision like "Do I take the chance to throw out the lead runner at 20% chance of success or do I try to throw out the trailing runner at 35% chances of success"? The batting team can play it conservative and only advance if it's a sure thing or run the risk even if there's only a 3% chance of success! By the way, outfield throws from base hits to 3B or Home can be "cut off" as well... for example, gameplay might go like the following example - emphasis on the word DECIDES:
-With 1 out, Batting team has runner on 1st - Batter hits double to CF -Batting team decides to 'go for the extra base' to score the runner from 1st after calculating 70% chance of success of that runner scoring and 40% chance of batter-runner reaching 3rd (if the CF threw directly to 3rd) -Fielding team decides to throw home -Batting team decides to now advance the batter-runner to 3B at 50% chance of success (with the throw being cut off), baiting the fielding team to cut off the throw home to ensure the runner scores -Fielding team decides whether to let the throw go home or cut off and throw to third
On infield plays, the intensity of the decision-making gets dialed up even further with something only found in UBTG, called "immediate unforced advance" and "delayed unforced advance". I'll use an example to explain again:
1-With 0 out, Batting team has runner on 1st and 3rd - Batter decides to bunt 2-On the bunt, the batting player decides to place the runner at 1st in "Immediate unforced advance" -- this means he's not running with the pitch, he's waiting to make sure the bunt isn't popped up and only running once the bunt is down fair. But the runner on third is maintaining their normal or risky lead and not running yet. -Now there's a die roll to determine who fields the ball, and FD is calculated for all of the following: a) The forced runner headed to second b) The batter-runner c) The runner on third, who, as soon as the fielding player might throw to second or first, has the option to make a "DELAYED UNFORCED ADVANCE" and dash for home while that throw is occurring, and also has the option to MAINTAIN RISKY LEAD (and get thrown behind) or to return to the bag. The batting player must decide this option d) Now the fielding team decides where to attempt a putout - let's assume for now that the runner on third MAINTAINED RISKY LEAD - this means the fielding player gets to decide between --Trying to pick the runner off of 3rd --Trying to throw out the forced runner at 2nd --Trying to throw out the batter runner --Do nothing (which would mean that everyone is safe but ensures that no one would score) Now let's assume the fielding team decides to try and gun down the runner at second - here the batting team now must decide whether to execute the DELAYED UNFORCED ADVANCE of the runner from third to home, knowing that, assuming the 1B fielded the bunt, that a 3-6-2 double play is possible.
That's a lot of decisions - and of course they don't happen in 'real time', but it's a great way to get 'inside' the guts of this bang bang play. When you get several runners the FD calculation can drag a bit because of all the modifiers, but the more you repeat the process, the faster you get at determining FD.
Other decisions in the game: -Deciding whether to try and pick off runners with a risky lead at the risk of a wild throw -Deciding whether to try and steal a /base, or hit and run -Deciding when to use the 'situational hit' -Deciding when to apply defensive sets including 'play in for bunt', 'play in to prevent score', 'play corners in' -Deciding when to make a substitution -Deciding when to dive for a ball which is eligible for the 'dive play' (3.3% of base hits, die roll '20') -Deciding when to use your chits (this will all make more sense now), including: -Pitching team using "big game"/"save"/"pitch call" chit to nullify a RIGHT GUESS in a critical situation, making it a 'do over' so hitting team has to guess again (the larger effect being making it even harder to get that critical 'right guess' against the best pitchers) -Hitting team using "team leadership" to nullify the modifiers from a BEST PITCH, which might turn am inconsequential BALL into a game winning BASE HIT
So that's the theme... decisions decisions decisions - making this a true "Baseball strategy role playing" game. By the way, yes, the strikeout pitchers will tend to get more strikeouts, the best hitters will tend to get more hits, and so on-- but let's get real -- 'simulation' is secondary here. You could invent your own team of made up players and assign them the attributes above since the model is so simple! You could even have a 'salary cap' for assigning out fixed amounts of rating points and chits.... how would you use them? Would you create a babe ruth and a nick punto or would you create a balanced team?
Gillespie has done an amazing job and this is very fun if you like to get 'inside the head' of all the baseball roles. I do see a few opportunities to improve, which are as follows (Gillespie is already thinking about many of these):
1) Base hits on WRONG GUESSES -- probably my biggest suggested change, along with outs on right guesses -- It is nary impossible to get a base hit on a WRONG GUESS when facing a good pitcher (and the game is full of good pitchers). To have a die roll of 34 requires a significant hitter to pitcher advantage and if a contact pitcher throws their best pitch only the maximum 7 point hitter advantage can counteract the -3 on a WRONG GUESS and still result in a hit, which is always a soft single! This doesn't seem right... Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera... these hitters can be looking fastball and then 'make the adjustment' to the offspeed pitch -- maybe giving up a little power (though not as much as 'situational hitting') but still being able to drive the ball. It's taken me a while to get there but I now believe that the game is too penalizing for the best hitters on 'wrong guess' pitches. At a minimum, it feels like if I guessed fast and got slow and had one of these great hitters, I should not have to roll a 30 and then also have at least a 4 point advantage to get a single... I'm not sure how to get this into the game - whether the WRONG GUESS PRT just needs to be a bit more forgiving (probably) or whether this should be another special skill. I'd suggest it's the PRT... I'd make even a 31 at least a 'roll again' for a hit... but even here... it seems like that's not right, and that even against a great pitcher, a great hitter has a chance to make the adjustment. So even where there's pitcher advantage a wrong guess should still have a chance... even for a power upgrade, in my opinion. I'd say for pitcher advantage of 3 or less, an unmodified roll of 30 should probably have a good chance of being a hit, and then of course even moreso as hitter advantage comes in... Adjusting from slow to fast?? well, that usually is a 'foul' at best so I think that's covered. So, yes, officially, I'm recommending that if a slow pitch is thrown and there's pitcher advantage of 3 or less, a wrong guess of a fast pitch should give a better chance at 'making the adustment' ... excited to hear what the Gillespie's have to say on that one, given that they tested the PRT for 20 years or so, ha! But it just doesn't lay right with me that there are only very scarce soft singles possible in the most extreme of circumstances. In my play to date there just hasn't been one at all because the pitchers used have been so strong! It feels too gimmicky to have solid hits only on 'right guesses'and I think it needs looking into.
Related to this, a few 'right' guesses should also probably result in outs. Hard hit outs, mind you, but outs... those balls that commentators say "he got all of it, but right at ____" this would balance out the averages etc. that the Gillespie team has worked so hard to make sure come through in results of well played games. Allow for some outs on 'unlucky' right guesses and more powerful and more occurrences of hits on 'lucky' or 'highly skilled hitter' wrong guesses, please! To me this is the biggest issue with the game, and actually materially annoys me, really the only thing that does though (2) below comes close.
Just to hammer this point home further, think of baseball games you watch on TV in particular - what do you hear? None of these are that rare! -"Wow, he got all of that ball but just hit it right to the center fielder!" (RIGHT GUESS but OUT) -"Jammed him, and look at that, just a little duck snort right over the infield and no one can get it - falls in for a hit..." (WRONG GUESS but HIT without requring a huge batter advantage) -"Watch him hold his hands back for the offspeed pitch and then just go with the pitch right down the opposite field line for a double" (WRONG GUESS but powerful hit for a good hitter) For that matter, some hitters can even throw their wrists to accelerate for the fastball, so maybe we allow for that too.
Okay, the horse is dead... moving on!
2a) As mentioned above, there is a modicum of 'pull' in where the ball goes on batted balls. In the outfield 1-10 = LF, 11-20 = CF and 21-30 = RF. You subtract 1 for a RHB and add 1 for a LHB. That's all. This feels a little too 'random' to me, making every batter "Tony Gwynn" spraying the ball to all fields. I would like to see another skill (NOT a rating) added for "pull factor" which would boost that +/-1 to a bigger number - maybe -6/+6. Jim Thome doesn't spray the ball to all fields with just a 3% bias towards right..... nor David Ortiz, etc...
2b) Of course once this is introduced, the fielding team should be able to decide to shift their infield and/or outfield, separately, left or right to account for this pull factor. If the ball goes where it's most likely to go, then I'm rewarded in FD for a hit or maybe even earn an out instead of a base hit in certain infield scenarios. But if the batter surprises and goes against trend, then I'm at more risk of Higher FD or balls getting through that might have been outs otherwise. Now it may seem this would get overly complicated (for the infield) with runners on but I don't think it would be that bad -- if things are shifted over towards 1B in the infield, it would mean many grounders to 'third' would get through for a hit, and that grounders to short would get fielded but with a very high FD for making any putout at third base, and probably automatic advance to 3B on some PRT 1-13 results. If things are shifted over towards 3B then second and third are covered and it would just be a matter of grounders to '2B' having a more likelihood of getting through - the 1B still has to stay close enough to the bag to receive the ball. Overall the design should be 'risk/reward' as in real life.
A scary batter in this model would be a pull hitter who also has SH (can't think of one of these right now, but I'm sure there was one somewhere out there) who has great pull power but can handle the bat when they want to...
2b) 'Draw Walks' skill -- As noted above the game as the "keen eye" for strikeout prevention, but what about Rickey Henderson (a player 'disrespected' by UBTG a bit to my eye) and other hitters who actually excelled at inducing balls even on good pitches. I'd like to see this as a binary skill which would "turn strikes into balls" on taken pitches to truly give the great OBP men their due. Rickey is a guy who just seems underrated in the UBTG overall skill ratings, and to me it's got to be because this skill is not in the game.
3) 'Pitch framing' skill for catchers -- The academic analysis is out there for everyone to see now and I've e-mailed it to the Gillespies - this is a real thing that can be measured in the game. A great framer can "turn balls into strikes" - this skill would probably be the counter to the previous one.
4) 'Rob a home run' die roll -- This play happens too often to not be able to be player-elected, in my opinion. At the low end of the 'home run' range, perhaps that die roll qualifies as 'robbable' if the relevant outfielder has the right combindation of speed and fielding. Then they make the leap and try to get it based on a die roll. Would love to see this in... More for the entertainment of it than the items above, but who wouldn't like to rob a home run?
5) 'Pickoff move' skill -- Andy Pettite, Terry Mulholland... truly great pickoff moves that froze runners at 1B. These aren't represented in the game and I think they would add more realism to the decisions around stealing, leads and pickoffs.
6) Wild pitches/passed balls seem a bit scarce, though they are in the game. Minor.
It should be noted here that Team Gillespie is currently very highly interactive on their web site via the 'ask a question' feature and will consider all suggestions. One common response I've gotten is to invent my own mods or, if I've already invented them, to try them in the game and see what happens. While that's okay, the whole value of UBTG is that it's a system that the family has tested for 20 years, so mods like the ones above would be better received coming with their stamp of approval rather than just my imagination!
Hope you've enjoyed this look at the game - my critique is meant to be constructive and I hope that my analysis (certainly largely positive) will help this game in finding its audience, in particular because it is very hard to find an opponent right now!
Postscript- I mentioned solitaire... it's a bit crude but using dice or a computer you can randomize many of the decisions above (usually with 2 factors) and get 'realistic' outcomes... for example, if using the die... 0-0 count... roll 1-25 means 'opponent' takes the pitch, 26-30 swings, and so on... it's not perfect but it can be done and it's a great way to test out all the different parts and pieces of the game, especially modeling the effect different choices have on results. You've just got to set up the conditions of the first roll based on 'what would they most likely do' (sometimes it's 50/50), make your choice and then find out if things went 'your way'.
submitted by CommanderBigMac78 to FansOfUBTG [link] [comments]

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