Friday, July 23, 2010

On Killing PCs


Okay, I'll give you a bit more than that.  Fine.  Be that way.

Let me first qualify 'death.'  When I say a character is 'dead,' I mean 'unplayable.'  I do not mean 'mildly inconvenienced' (hi, Epic Level!)  I do not even mean 'significantly inconvenienced' (level loss, etc).  I mean 'open up the character builder and start choosing stats.'

As a DM, I have a mixed relationship with inflicting death upon Player Characters.  On the one hand, I want people to be responsible for their actions, and for consequences to be realistic.  I want there to be a sense of danger in combat, and a thrill when a monster's attack narrowly misses or a key save is made.

On the other, people do not like having their characters die.  Players get understandably attached to their characters.  They should.  If they don't get invested in their characters, the campaign (or at least any 'role playing' therein) is likely to suck.  But, of course, this attachment also means that it's difficult for me to kill their beloved characters, even if that's simply how the dice fall.  I'm not there to emotionally scar my players, I'm there to have fun with them, after all (though some DMs might take a different stance on the issue of whether or not emotional scarring constitutes fun).

So, historically, I have made compromises.  There have been three fatalities during my two campaigns, and none have stuck.  I'm not entirely happy about this fact, and while I'd like to rationalize each of my decisions, the fact is that, historically, I've been unwilling to actually take the hard line I espouse in theory on character death.

Monster Power Cards, which clearly define the abilities that monsters have to the players, are one step in the right direction.  If monster abilities are more static, I think death seems less arbitrary, and "fairer," even if from all functional standpoints, I still control what abilities the monsters have.  Players seem to be more bothered by the DM coming up with something on the spot than with regular unbalanced design, and I'm happy to accomodate this preference.  I think the Joker had some good stuff to say about this idea in The Dark Knight.

The 'Table of Messy Results,' which substitutes gross bodily injury for actual death (most of the time), is another helpful tool.  Having a character greviously injured provides a challenge to overcome (for the player and the character) as a penalty for failure.  It might require a change in direction for a character's development, but I'd say that's a good (or at least interesting) thing.

I also hope that having more experienced players will lead them to accept the results of their actions, and more importantly, lead me to be willing to follow through on those consequences.  I hate the thought of being the douchebag DM who turns the newbie's first three characters into bloody stains because he or she happened to be (understandably) genre blind.  Yes, many people learned to play this way.  Yes, 'back in your day, you didn't have no fancy healing surges.  You had 1d4 hit points and a rock.  And you had to share the rock.'  Yes, I'll get off of your lawn.  If it's nobody's first rodeo, though, I think I'd have less pangs of guilt about smacking PCs for making foolhardy, misinformed, or just plain unfortunate decisions.

In the end, though, it really is on me deciding to stand by the ideals I've put forth numerous times on the subject.  Anyone have any insight on this?  I'm always open to hearing new ideas regarding this tricky subject.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Recirculating Content

So, first of all, there's now an honest-to-God interview with Mike and Bryan.  Wall St Journal, you have been all over this one, haven't you?  What's more, the questions are actually poignant and demonstrate a surprising knowledge of the series.  I give props where props are due to Mr. Farley, who is either a fellow fan or an extremely dedicated researcher.

Anyway, I always feel a bit cheap when my blog post consists entirely of responding to content generated somewhere else.  That said, I'm probably going to keep making these posts because, let's be honest, they're easy, and I usually have stuff to say about what other people are saying.  I'll continue to try to have my own 'value added,' however.  Tell me if that's working for you or not.

So, what new information do we get from this Interview?

-Katara is Tenzin's mother.  Nobody is surprised.

-Being stuck in an iceberg DID "[burn] up some of [Aang's] extra Avatar time."  Lucky guess on my part, I suppose.

-New Republic City is based on Shanghai in the 1930s.  Gee, there was another series like that recently... whatever happened to that show, anyway.  (Fansubbers?  Care to tell us?)

-Legend of Korra is Mike and Bryan's response to the usual "Hey, this is making money, do another season" request that gets handed down by the network when something does well.  I would like to speak for the fandom when I say: THANK YOU for not tacking an unplanned season onto the end of A:TLA.  The temptation is obvious, and the results are rarely good.  More writers, producers, directors, etc. should be willing to take the risk of letting one story end to start another (even if the two are connected, as these two stories are).

Here's to hoping for the best for Legend of Korra!


On Unbridled Optimism (Starcraft II)

Okay, so, I lied a little bit last post.  Sorry, Mike and Bryan, but in my defense, Blizzard was here first.

I'm willing to say right now that this is going to be awesome.  Given that it's been in Beta for ages (and apparently the Beta's pretty awesome, if a bit unbalanced), I'm not too worried about this statement biting me in the ass later.

Kudos to Blizzard for releasing another trailer to build hype - the first one did a great job, but I suspect that it's a bit far from people's minds, since it was, what, two years ago?  Three?

Anyway, I have to say, the thing I'm most interested in with Starcraft II is the development of the plot, especially Raynor's personal arc, and it looks like he's going to be front and center for Wings of Liberty.  I'm not very good at RTSes (though, like Warcraft 3, I may well find this one compelling enough to elevate myself from 'unforgivably horrible' to 'not a total embarrassment'). 

Starcraft's universe is interesting in that it's pretty much an extremely downscaled version of the 40k universe.  It takes on many of the same themes, but does so over much smaller areas of space, with less species (who fill all of the same niches), and has only a few important characters (Raynor, Mensk, Zeratul, Kerrigan, and maybe, I dunno, Artanis?), particularly after the lore purge that took place in Brood War.  I love the epic, expansive feel of the 40k universe, but this is nice, too.  It lets you get invested in the characters, instead of the setting.

The number one feature I'm looking forward to is, as always, the campaign editor.  Not that I actually ever FINISH the projects I begin in the campaign editor, but I very much enjoy working on them nonetheless.

Plus, given all of the giant robots they have now, I have a good reason to play Terrans.  We'll have to see if they upset Protoss (and their noble Photon Cannon Spam) as my main species for Starcraft II.

Hell, it's about time!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On Cautious Optimism

Well, we've finally got an official announcement and a premise for Avatar: Legend of Korra (good job being on the ball Chris!  And Jesse!).  Bryke are notorious Comic-Con Trolls (Warning: Sh*ttty handcam incoming), and incidentally, Comic-Con 2010 begins tomorrow (with some opening previews tonight).

Interesting notes about the premise as reported by the Wall St. Journal (passed on via Last Airbender Fans, as the WSJ link they provide is dead, but I found a working one to the same article):

-It takes place 70 years after Avatar: The Last Airbender.
-It follows Korra, a waterbender and the new Avatar.
-One of the settings (there will probably be many - it's Avatar) is 'Republic City,' a steampunk metropolis melting pot of all four nations that has apparently either replaced or surpassed Ba Sing Se as the center of the Avatar world.
-Not everyone in said city likes benders.
-Aang had at least one child, named Tenzin, who is an Airbender.

If this info is correct (and not misreported, intentionally or otherwise), it means a few interesting things for the Avatar-verse.

-Aang died relatively young, by Avatar universe standards.  If Korra is 16 (the usual age for beginning the Avatar journey, and she probably isn't younger than 12), that means that Aang was only around 67 when he passed away.  Given that Bumi and Guru Pathik are both well over a century old at the end of the series and still going strong, and Avatar Kyoshi lived for over two centuries, we know that individuals in this universe *can* live an extremely long time by our standards.  We don't know the degree to which characters like Bumi and Guru Pathik are anomalous (and Kyoshi certainly was, though presumably the "Avatar Stuff" would apply to Aang).  Still, for an Avatar, it seems young.  Maybe being stuck in the iceberg did take a toll on Aang's body.  Maybe he was killed.  In any case, I suspect that there's something going on here.

-Any of the other children and teenagers from the original series could reasonably be alive.  They'd be pretty old at this point, admittedly (early to late 80s), but given what we've seen some Cool Old People do in the Avatar universe, all this means is that they'll be more badass than ever.

-Technology continued to progress after the war.  I doubt this surprises anybody, but while Avatar: The Last Airbender gave us a world on the edge of a technological explosion, here we see the results.  Nature versus unchecked industrialism is going to be even more of a core issue than it was before.  Hopefully, as before, both appreciation of the natural world and the utility of new technologies (when used responsibly) will be treated maturely.

-Bending is cultural/belief based, and so, as the influence of technology waxes, the prevalence of bending may wane.  The Earth Kingdom had the smallest percentage of benders in the original series (though, given its size, this said little about raw numbers), and was also the most industrialized and bureaucratized (if not the most technologically advanced) nation.  Air Nomads, on the other hand, typically eschewed worldly pursuits to focus on the spiritual, and as such, all Air Nomads were Airbenders.  It'll be interesting what, if anything, they do with this.  The mention of anti-bender politics also suggests that benders have become rarer - they were so integral to daily life virtually everywhere in the original series that it seems unlikely they would be oppressed, but if there were less benders and society did not rely on them as heavily, such sentiments could more easily take root.

-The Shipping Wars will finally be put to an EVEN MORE definitive end.  Probably.  Unless the series is so unimaginably trollish as not to tell us who ended up with whom via their shared offspring (and probably their offspring's offspring).  That said, I guarantee you that people will try to ressurect Zutara in some form with Korra and [most prominent Firebender within 10 years of her age's name goes here].  It's gonna happen.

Now that I've overanalyzed some tiny, insignificant scraps of data, I'll say that I am reserving full-on excitement until we've at least got a little more data.  You know, like the front half of Korra's character design.

This is what we're working with so far...

I have about as much faith in Mike and Bryan as it is possible for me to have in a (pair of) creator(s).  But not every work lives up to its predecessors, and I've been burned before.  I also wish that we could be more certain of Avatar: Legend of Korra reaching completion, but if it's airing on TV, we get no such guarantees.  While Avatar: The Last Airbender recieved very good ratings and reviews, it occasionally seemed to be on the verge of disappearance and possible cancellation, and five month periods with no word from Nickelodeon about the air date of finished episodes did not help in the least.  Of course, this is part of the gamble any show must make, but animation in the U.S. is a tough bracket to compete in.

This is a lot to worry about now, though.  For the moment, I'll be keeping my eyes on Comic-Con to see what spills out.


On Forgetting

I was biking to work today, in something of a daze as I usually am before I caffienate, and I had a great idea.  Well, it may not have been great.  But I remember that it seemed great at the time.  It was one of those 'why hasn't anybody ever done this before' ideas (I'm sure the answer is 'somebody has,' but I can't verify that unless I remember it.)  I think it was the concept for a story, or a joke.  Perhaps it was more cute or droll than truly clever.  I can't remember.  For some reason, I'm drawing a mental connection to Rome, so it probably had to do with speculative fiction.  Time travel, perhaps?  It's hard to tell reconstruction from new ideas inspired by the attempt at reconstruction.

Infuriating.  I need to invest in that pocket notebook, and more importantly, remember to use it.


Monday, July 19, 2010

On Regularity

So, in case it isn't abundantly clear, I'm not trying to post every day.

First, I must salute Mr. Flask for doing so (whenver he isn't away).  Writing every day is no small feat.  I was tempted to try to match him, because, let's be honest, I'm competitive, and I like the idea of a challenge.  Plus, as he points out in one of his first posts, writing every day is probably the best thing for your skills as a writer.  So far as I know, that's true. 

I considered all of this.  Ultimately, I decided that unless I have something I want to say, I'm willing to let silence preside for a while.  And sometimes even when I do have something to say, I don't want to publish it immediately.  I like to let my posts sit a bit before publishing them - probably because I'm indecisive and a procrastinator, and by delaying, I can put off committing to my words a  bit longer.


Monday, July 12, 2010

On Online Tabletop RPGs

There are things I really like about playing in tabletop RPGs online.  I'm not the kind of person who *needs* to roll physical dice, and so I like that added convenience of not having to waste time with digging around to find the third d10.  I also like that it's easier to separate roleplaying and table talk - in text, it's very easy to demarcate character speech and player speech (although, this reminds me that, the next time I have a reason to play a face-to-face campaign, I need to make up and use a different voice for my character other than my normal speaking voice, to accomplish the same thing).  I think people are also willing to take more risks, with typed text, and, as such, get more into character.  Acting a part is hard, but if you reduce the required input to text only, I think people are more willing to push the envelope.  And, of course, you have a clear record of what was said, what was done, and what happened, which is useful for a plethora of reasons.

That said, there are, of course, a number of problems inherent in online tabletop gaming that like to accompany all of its wonderful advantages and stab you in the back when you look away.  Imagine trying to play a sit-down tabletop RPG with every player in possession of a laptop, iPod, phone, or other electronic accessory.  All the time.  There is a reason that I greatly dislike it when players bring such items to face-to-face games, and try to discourage them from doing so.  The distractability factor for players is simply too high.  During whatever element of gameplay a player does not find interesting, he or she is likely to tune out - but this is very problematic later, when details from that period of time become important.

"NO! We were allied with those (hob)goblins!"*

(A completely out-of-context Order of the Stick panel!  Used for an unrelated joke!)

Access to electronics is an unavoidable part of gaming online, and though it isn't insurmountable, it certainly causes problems.  It also has a kind of sickening synergy with the reduced rate of conversation in online games - few people can type as quickly as they can speak - and so there may be (perfectly reasonable) pauses in an online game.  Added lulls combined with easy access distractions can mean trouble, even in a situation where the DM hasn't made any mistakes.

We're about to have a campaign run with both text and voice-chat, though.  I'm very curious to see how that will go.  The distraction factor is still present, but this might be mitigated by the slighlty faster clip of gameplay (ideally).


*He knows.  He just doesn't care.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Forgiveness

Blizzard may have ticked me off with RealID (okay, more like mildly irked but heavily concerned), but a new Cataclysm Screenshot reveals exactly why I love them anyway.


P.S.: Yes, this is tagged under 'Unforgivable Puns.'  Irony ensues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On the Ordo Xenos (In Progress - Pt. I)

Commander Fyre (Pictured with Veteran Retinue)

Commander Fyre is a tenacious soldier and the consummate commanding officer.  By which I mean he has a really impressive beard.  Commander Fyre has served alongside Inquisitor Balerephos for two decades after being inducted for a 'three hour mission' to clear some Genestealers out of a dead Craftworld, but he has never once complained of this reassignment or the painful, painful injuries that it has caused him over the years.  Commander Fyre's stately demeanor and imposing facial hair help to keep the veterans under his command in order, even in the face of the horrible enemies of mankind and Inquisitor Balerephos' idiosyncracies.  Commander Fyre is usually accompanied by his Veteran Retinue and an Astropath.

Sergeant Ironheart

Sergeant Grafh 'Ironheart' Zefen is the leader of the 'Valar's Razors' Stormtrooper squads under Inquisitor Balerephos' command.  Sergeant Ironheart is a traditionalist, and sometimes clashes with the more unorthodox leadership and tactics of the 'Reaper Squad,' the Inquisitional Stormtroopers he serves alongside.  Still, his loyalty to the Imperium, and by extension, the Inquisitor, is unquestionable, especially after the Inquisitor risked his life and limb to save the 'Razors' on Khala, personally pulling the wounded Ironheart from the wreckage of a crashed Eldar tank and seeing to it that his damaged vital organs be replaced with augmentics.

'Valar's Razors' Squad, Imperial Storm Troopers

'Reaper' Squad, Inquisitorial Storm Troopers

The core members of the 'Reaper' Squad have been with Inquisitor Balrephos since he first reached the rank of full Inquisitor, although some of its members have changed during that time, and its number has risen from the usual 10 to an unorthodox 13.  Unswervingly loyal to Balerephos, the 'Reaper' Squad is usually split into three fighting forces.

'Scythe' Team

'Scythe' Team, one of the two fireteams usually made from the 'Reaper' Squad, is equipped with two Plasma Guns.  Typically, the 'Scythe' Team and the 'Harvest' Team spearhead an advance, supporting the Chimeras and Deathwatch Kill-Team from behind with their deadly firepower.

'Harvest' Team

'Shadow' Team

The 'Shadow' Team is comprised of the three best crack shots from the 'Reaper' Squad, armed with Plasma Guns, and all three of its members hold rank equivalent to the sergeants who lead the 'Scythe' and 'Harvest' teams.  This group almost unfailingly accompanies Inquisitor Balrephos into battle, never farther behind his advance than his actual shadow.

'Dreadwind' Vendetta Gunship

The 'Dreadwind' falls into the category of 'assets borrowed by Inquisitor Balerephos and then never returned.'  Its pilot, Ark Dartagan, may not be the finest Ace from the Imperial guard, but what he lacks in talent and experience he more than makes up for in sheer audacity.  Dartagan was inducted into Inquisitor Balerephos' forces when the Inquisitor asked for a pilot volunteer to deliver his Deathwatch troops into the heart of a Necron phalanx. 

Dartagan, at that point a cocky technician waiting his chance to become a pilot, volunteered when no pilot with any real combat experience would possibly consider doing so, and 'borrowed' a Valkyrie against his commanding officer's orders to carry the mission out.  Dartagan then proceeded to fly the Valkyrie directly towards the Necron monolith at speeds members of the Deathwatch Kill-Team later recalled as 'suicidal', and when he was inevitably shot down, crashed direction into the Monolith, opening a hole in its armor that later allowed Deathwatch Librarian Gabriel the Stern to plant a Meltabomb, destroying the foul contraption.  Dartagan narrowly survived this experience by bailing out at the last second  before impact (the Deathwatch team, miraculously, also landed unharmed) and then running around on the ground like a decapitated pterrachicken dodging Gauss Flayer shots until the Killteam settled matters with the Necrons. 

Inquisitor Balerephos then stepped in when the Commissar attached to Dartagan's unit attempted to execute him for his rash actions, inducting both the pilot and the nearest Gunship, a Vendetta called the 'Deathwind,' into his forces 'for the next few days.'  (By which he is generally understood to mean 'forever.')

'Nightcrash' Veteran Squad 

The 'Nightcrash' Veterans, also called 'Tal'shere's Raiders,' are a Veteran Squad under Commander Fyre, commanded by Sergeant Tal'shere.  They specialize in Stealth Demolitions, scouting ahead of the main force and destroying any installations or vehicles that would pose a problem.

'Cloudspear' Veteran Squad

[Image Coming in the Next Batch!]

The 'Cloudspear' Squad are armored assault Veterans under Commander Fyre, who usually operate from within a Chimera transport, and form the main thrust of any assault along with Inquisitor Balerephos.

Deathwatch Kill-Team Preview

To-Do List:

-Deathwatch Kill-Team
     -(3 members modeled but unassembled, 7 to go)

-Brother Charon

-Commissar Meredith Tahl

-Inquisitor Balerephos, and full Retinue

     -Acolyte Jenkins
     -Other Minions
     -Mystic/Chef Rylen Tarsas

-Sergeant Tal'shere

-Sergeant Fossman

-Co-opted Command Chimera ("Fortress of Indestructible Glory," also called "The FIG")

-Chimera ('Thunderhead')


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Poking the Bear (Druid)

So apparently, Blizzard has implemented plans to make your name - your actual name - visible on the forums whenever you post. 

Yes, in theory, it's supposed to combat this:

(Thanks, Penny-Arcade)

Practically, it's about as well thought out as Leeroy Jenkins' ill-fated dive into the Rookery of Blackrock Spire.  On the surface, it's the stupidest thing you've ever seen, but also like the Leeroy Jenkins video, there may be more going on that there appears to be (the video is staged, for comedy). 

I'm inclined to say that although I don't buy any of the conspiracy theories regarding this change, I also don't think that this is to fight forum trolling so much as it is to tie all of their products together more tightly, creating easier transitions from one to another in the days to come, when Blizzard will inevitably release a new MMO. 

Thankfully, this change will not apply retroactively to old posts.  I guess I'm not going to post in the forums any more, though (not that I really ever do).

Even more disturbingly, some addons can apparently read (and repeat to other people) your real name thanks to in-game RealID.  Awesome.  Guess I'm killing all my addons for the moment (not that I use so many).

But what's really interesting about this is that it's the biggest forum furor (which are always hilarious in and of themselves) I've seen since the second coming of Bus Shock, and impressively, this clusterf*ck may be even more... shall I say... Cataclysmic?


P.S.: I predict that by week's end, either Blizzard has addressed this issue or it has become clear that people really don't care that much.  Still, it's an impressive storm brewing on the forums.

Update #1 (7/7/2010):

Well, the sh*t is really flying now, and Godwin's law has hit the forum hard regarding Blizzard's liberal application of the banhammer.  Inevitable V for Vendetta comparisons are being made, as they always are whenever the internet gets angry.  The official thread on changes is over 1,000 pages long.  Blizzard has also made clear that this change is part of their long-term plans, and seems to be holding firm on the issue.  It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.

Some interesting points have been raised in the debate, the most valid of which, I think, is that this change has some disturbing ramifications for those whose real names reveal a great deal about their identities.  Of course, the standard response from supporters has been "don't post, don't have your name revealed," but while technically true, this answer is laden with unfortunate implications about how people who fear being victimized should be silent.

Update #2:  And lo, by Friday night, it has been retracted.  Real names will not be displayed on the forums.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On Mediocrity

So, according to reviews, the new film inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender is ANYTHING but mediocre.  It's running an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this post (this may fluctuate a bit, of course).  To put an 8% in perspective, Manos the Hands of Fate has 0% on RT, but apparently even the Mystery Science Theater guys couldn't make that one watchable.  Friggin' Dragonball Evolution has a 13%, however.  So 8% really blows.

I am now going to say something radical.  This is a good thing.

Well, that's not quite true.  It's not a good thing.  But it's a less bad thing than a mediocre adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender would have been.  Here's my logic:

With our 20/20 hindsight from after this film, we can now see that M. Night Shamwow's glory days are beyond all reasonable likelihood behind him.  As such, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that he was not going to turn his career around with this film.  It was simply never in the cards that 'The Last Airbender' would be a good movie under his creative direction.  So, at "best," it would have been mediocre and forgettable instead of being a train wreck.

However, I don't want a mediocre ATLA movie.  I want a good ATLA movie.  And, I strongly suspect that the chances of a good live-action adaptation happening in the next decade or so are greatly improved by this recent turn of events.

You see, when a famous franchise has a movie and it's mediocre, it gets swept under the rug.  Think about 'Daredevil.'  'Daredevil' was a passable film, if not a good one.  It didn't do anything violently wrong, it just didn't really do anything right.  It pulled a 44% on RT, which isn't good, but isn't a total disaster.  And then the franchise sort of disappeared, and I guarantee we won't see another Daredevil film until the next superhero fad revival in 30 years or so.  I don't care, but fans of Daredevil kind of got the shaft.

Then look at the 'Hulk' movie from 2003.  It outscored Daredevil on RT, but it royally cocked up the Hulk's lore, alienating fans and performing poorly at the box office.  While it was not considered a terribly bad film by critics, the people who mattered - fans - reviled it.  And lo, only five years later, the franchise was rebooted with 'The Incredible Hulk.'  Which was a vast improvement in many regards, but still a mediocre film, so we won't be hearing from the Hulk for another 30 years or so.

Do I expect to see another Avatar: The Last Airbender film go into production in the next few months?  Of course not.  Hell, I don't think it's even that likely that it will go into production in the next decade.  But if 'The Last Airbender' had been mediocre, I think there would be NO possibility.  And if not a film, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Nickelodeon push something else into production to reinvigorate the franchise.  Heck, maybe that's what the rumored 'Legend of Korra' project is.  'The Last Airbender' is not going to give the franchise the momentum it needs, but honestly, I now strongly suspect that it never could have anyway.  And with any luck, its pyre will create fertile soil where something better can take root.

Of course, this may only be wishful thinking on my part.  It's crossed my mind that this colossal failure could torpedo the franchise going forward.  But it seems that the vast majority of reviews, while negative on the film, were positive about the source material.


Friday, July 2, 2010

On Walls of Text

I tend to blather on.  A lot.

I was thinking of trying to be more concise sometimes.


Thursday, July 1, 2010


 I discovered the 'Space Marine Chapter Name Generator' over at Bolter and Chainsword a while back, and it's been a source of much amusement for me.

I now propose a game.  Hit the random name generator until you laugh (or at least crack a smile).  When you laugh, you have to come up with fluff or the chapter.  Let me demonstrate:

First button press: Purple Wizards.  Heh.

Wow, that was quick.

Um, let's see.  The Purple Wizards are a loyalist chapter from a relatively late founding, based on the geneseed of the Blood Angels.  As such, a larger proportion of their chapter than usual are psykers, and they tend to hone these abilities instead of the usual focus on melee strike forces that traditionalist Blood Angels favor.  After their founding, they built their fortress-monastary on the remote world of Indigo.  Though originally named the 'Red Bloodmurderers' by a particularly zealous and uncreative Chapter Master,  the Purple Wizards changed their name after an incident where the entire First Company repainted its armor purple for better camoflauge amongst the giant, highly toxic flowers that cover much of Indigo's surface during the spring and fall (which last 4/5ths of the year because of its orbit).  After crushing a massive but poorly camoflauged contingent of Khornate cultists and Chaos Space Marines with their ambush tactics and psychic abilities despite being massively outnumbered, the entire chapter was repainted purple in the First Company's honor, and renamed the 'Purple Wizards.'  Most members of the chapter were happy to see the name 'Red Bloodmurderers' go, despite the general concensus amongst its members that the 'Purple Wizards' was not much better.

Now if only I could draw at all well, I'd whip up some funny pictures to go along with this.


P.S.: I just got 'Dancing Gators' to pop up as a name.  Followed by the 'Psi Hornets.'  25H, you need to get on this!

On Inquisitors and Guardsmen

"What have we here?" Inquisitor Balerephos asked his majordomo, First Acolyte Leroi.

Leroi looked up from his recaff, dour-faced as always during the hours before the sun normally rises.

"Well, sir, these guardsmen were cut down by Tyranids.  This command squad was caught during the retreat."

"I see.  But it appears that the officer was not actually hit by any of the fleshborer rounds."  The Inquisitor crunched some of the dead, beetle-like creatures under his foot for emphasis.

"No sir.  However, this legion had been known for a lack of discipline.  You can see that one of the commander's retinue actually tried to escape, fleeing his post.  You can tell by the wounds on his back, and the fact that he made it a bit farther than the rest of his squad.  Ironically, he had been charged with carrying the regimental banner, for morale.  These banners aren't light.  And when he dropped the regimental banner, it fell on his commanding officer.  The bronze wing on the side impaled him, fatally from the looks of it.  Right through his skull, killing him in an instant.  With the commander dead, it's no wonder the rest of these troops were routed."

"I see.  Well I guess you could say this is what happens when..."

The Inquisitor trailed off briefly, and pulled a pair of solar-optic lenses from his front pocket, fitting them over his normal glasses to shield his eyes from the rising sun.  Looking down at the corpse, he continued,

" let standards fall."