Gun Control

21 December, 2012

“Gun control is pointless. If someone wants that badly to kill a bunch of people, they will find a way to do it.”


I was talking to a psychiatrist, once. This guy had been a brain surgeon when he was younger, so he’d essentially been a doctor his whole life. We were talking, briefly, about suicide and he said that he didn’t get why people hanged themselves, threw themselves in front of trains, drove into trees. “Why not just take pills?”

I looked at him like he was an idiot and replied, “Most people cannot get pills.”

He was a bit taken aback, and thought and said – “You know, that’s right. Even I would have trouble getting that much barbituate.”

Suicide is something people do when they have the means and the impulse. In merry olde England, the gas supply used to be what is called “Town Gas”, or “Coal Gas”. I think it was made by the gasification of coal. Coal has all sorts of crap in it – sulfur compounds – and the gas was quite poisonous. People routinely committed suicide by “putting thier heads in the oven” and poisoning themselves.

A while back, they switched to natural gas, which is nowhere near as poisonous. The suicide rate plummeted.

And it has never rebounded to the same levels.

Without easy and convenient means people don’t “find another way” to do it. Fact is – they don’t do it at all, not at anything like the same rate.

You think that alienation and anger in young males is uniquely american? Hell no. There’s plenty to go around, trust me. Plenty of bullied teenagers who’d raze their school if they could, right here in Oz.

The problem is that killing people is hard to do. It is a difficult thing to accomplish. Killing a dozen people is damn near impossible for the average person.

Unless they have a gun.

It is simply not true that if these school shooters didn’t have semiautomatic guns, they’d “find another way”. There is no other way. What can they do? Strangle thier schoolmates one-by-one? Use a katana? Without years of training or a gun, it’s impossible to do what these people did.

The problem is the guns. Now, the USA is awash with the damn things – any sort of gun ban is a practical impossibility. But that they are difficult now to get rid of is quite a different question to “what’s causing the killings?” and “If we fixed it so that angry young men couldn’t get guns, would that fix things?”. Guns are the principal enabler.

GG5 – Week 2

18 December, 2012

A good second week, I think. The encounters were beefed up considerably – someone at my table one-shotted a 3HD Orc (Fighter/Rogue/Fighter). I had 3 characters down, Alix had 4 down, everything going great. I thought I might have to nerf things a bit, but no – they came back. Then it was 11PM and I didn’t get to run the third encounter for the night. Pity, ’cause it involved something cool. As it was, my table just did orc sailors and a couple of elf samurai.

Oh – and someone’s animal companion decided to jump onto a ship of enemy sailors all by himself (tiger). Got creamed. Druid goes “give fluffy back” as the ship is pulling away, and dude goes “? Ok! Men – throw that tiger overboard.” We all found out about the pathfinder drowning rules. Turns out being submerged while you are unconscious is bad news. Second encounter, someone else decided to jump onto a ship full of enemy sailors, all by himself. Got creamed.

The cleric also discovered why you take “selective channel”. A few of the sailors were unconscious, not dead.

As for me – “how high is the ship’s railing above dock level?” – (thinks “Fuck, I dunno”). It’s what happens. I was giving people DC 10 (or 15) acrobatics checks. In retrospect, the entire point of a pier is that it is at about deck height. I always find that I don’t think things through far enough before the game.

The big meeting – all the long-time players were jerking me around, man. It was the newb who said “so one group gets the dude, another group brings the ship around.” I mean – everyone had already worked out that that was the plan, they were all just being deliberately obtuse about it to screw with me. Pricks.

The broader point is that this campaign looks like being a bit railroady, and it is railroady at the moment. I’ll have to work out what to do, there.

Still haven’t figured out how CR relates to EL. So we just went “ok, everyone is second level”. Six encounters – probably about right.


17 December, 2012

Well, I’m not sure what voice to write this post in. The usual “letters to Michael” won’t really cut it anymore, because Switch has turned to the dark side.

She got a bit of a psyhic note from Zon-Kuthon, a very specific Contact Outer Plane spell, that must be cast on someone who is bleeding out. Now, last session Klael caught a wererat – this week we questioned him, promising him freedom for information.

After we let him go, Switch went invisible, said she was going to check some stuff, and chased him down. The problem is that the spell doesn’t work on someone who is dead – they have to be in the process of. But Switch does have access to one spell that does the job.

Magic Jar.

She cast Improved Invisibility, then possessed the rat. Then it was a bit of comedy, trying to find some way to kill the rat. Switch still had her spells while possessing the rat’s body, so cast Scorching Ray and Acid Splash until the rat was unconscious and bleeding out. Then, back in her own body, cast the spell.

All invisible. Rainor was watching, but there was nothing to see. The conversation went like this:

ZK: What?
S: I am willing to serve.
ZK: I see. And what do you offer?
S: Well, this wererat.
ZK: Yeah, ok (“It Is Sufficient”). What do you want?
S: Um, Arcane Power!
ZK: Orly? And what do you offer in exchange for that?
out of game: Guys? Scott is definitely going to Wollongong in the new year?
out of game: Yeah dude, totally.
S: The life of the paladin with whom I travel.

To general hilarity. Dave was expecting “My full loyalty” or some such, but I was a bit put on the spot and tried to think “What would Zon-Kuthon really like?”. So, yeah – Switch has offered to gakk Klael (who has saved her life dozens of times over) in exchange for cool shit from the God of Pain and Envy. Not to mention murdering a wererat after solemnly promising to let him go.

Yeah. That’s, well, that’s pretty darksided. Murder, betrayal. Definitely, unquestionably evil. A real dick move.

After this, the god conveniently disposed of the body, which was way better than my plan of using Expeditious Excavation to do a grave. There was seriously nothing for Rainor to see (and yeah, he was watching).

Switch has a acquired a level of “Chosen of Zon-Kuthon”. She gets regular spell progression and a bite attack (that does Con damage). Oh, and she has adopted black velvet, lace, choker with a silver skull type outfit. Beats me how long she’ll be able to hide the “biting people FTW” from Rainor. Klael I’m not really worried about, ’cause that sucker is going down. Might have to poison him a bit, first. Fun times 🙂 .