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Posts posted by Sammael

  1. Re: CD vs. DVD durability; I burn LOTS of discs. Not as many as some people, but far more than an average user. I also only buy premium-quality discs. In my experience, a very large percentage of burnt CDs (at least 25%) becomes unreadable after 2-4 years, even if they aren't exposed to any physical damage. I've had CDs without as much as a single scratch mark being completely unreadable by high-quality CD drives. Now, granted, I haven't had a DVD writer for as long, but I have yet to find a single DVD in my collection that doesn't work. From my experience, if a DVD has problems, they'll show during the burning, and are usually on the outermost 5% of the disc's surface. I have no clue as to why this is, but it's sure better than burning a CD and then being unpleasantly surprised that it doesn't work 2 years later.

  2. I imagine that all those who don't own DVD-RW drives have no data on their computers worth backing up.


    My computer sucks, yet I've had a DVD-ROM (Pioneer 500M) for some... five years now? I bought a DVD-RW (Plextor PX-712A) two years ago. I burn approximately 1 DVD worth of backup every month or so, and I can't remember the last time I actually bought a CD-R. CDs are dead.

  3. It is utterly unclear whether Milosevic's death closes a chapter in my country's history - or just flips to a new page.


    Like Brdavs points out, the whole story is a lot more complex than Murdoch and Turner would have you believe. While Milosevic certainly carried a gargantuan portion of the blame, he was hardly the only culprit. All three of the original political leaders of Serbia, Croatia, and (Muslim) Bosnia are now dead, and justice has not been served. All that is known for sure is that all three grew immensely rich during their rule, as did their close associates. The extent of this fortune is not known, but Milosevic alone was said to have amassed billions of dollars. Innocent people on all sides died thinking that they were fighting for their country, but it's clear from this time distance that the entire thing was orchestrated by Milosevic and Tudjman (and later Izetbegovic) to help them preserve power in a turbulent environment.


    It is highly doubtful that the Hague would have been able to conclusively prove Milosevic's guilt. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he was guilty, but he was quite clever - leaving virtually no written or recorded evidence. He did everything through intermediaries, the most significant of whom is Jovica Stanisic, former chief of State Security (i.e. the secret police). Interestingly enough, the Hague Tribunal allowed Stanisic to defend himself from freedom, indicating that this incredibly dangerous man still has enough strings to pull even in international institutions.


    Milosevic was guilty to his own people just as much as he is to our neighbors. Those who lived in Serbia during the 1990s (like me) remember the endless lines of refugees, street gunfights, hyperinflation, police brutality, total corruption (which is still present and proving quite difficult to root out), Goebbels-style propaganda, and much, much more. I participated in protests against Milosevic's regime from the time I became politically aware (at the age of 13) until October 5th, 2000, when he was finally defeated. Perhaps it would have been for the best if he had been killed that day, like Chausesku in Romania some 10 years before that. This way, he held us all hostage in a manner for five long years after late Prime Minister Djindjic sent him off to the Netherlands.


    Radical elements are fairly strong right now around here. Polls show that the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party has over 30% of the popular vote; democratic parties are fractured and must resort to weak coalitions to regain power. Unfortunately, the Radicals will use Milosevic's death in the Hague after the Tribunal refused to allow him to get medical treatment in Russia as a proof of his martyrdom. They will doubtlessly gain even more at the polls, and I fear that they are going to win the next elections.

  4. D&D combat system is an abstraction. I honestly cannot see how anybody can argue about realism in a system that uses hit points. Hit points, as a basic, fundamental sacred cow of D&D, automatically destroy any suspension of disbelief a player might otherwise have.


    In any given combat round, it is given that the combatants are constantly swinging their weapons at each other. The attack rolls made by the player are merely an approximation of attacks that actually connect in any meaningful way. In other words, even though a 1st level fighter may have swung his longsword five times at his opponent in any given six seconds, only one of those attacks came close to threatening him. The rest were parries, feints, and other fancy swordplay moves that Josh can tell us more about.


    As the fighter gains experience, he gets better at connecting his blows. That's why he gains an additional attack at BAB +6, and another at +11 and +16. Eventually, his skill is so great that nearly every swing he makes actually threatens the opponent.


    Where do the AoOs come from? They come from the numerous otherwise "wasted" swings that every combatnat makes in a round. Only, instead of "wasting" a swing, the opponent uses the split-second opening you've given him to actually connect the blow.


    Why aren't daggers faster than greatswords? Because it's a whole lot harder to connect a dagger stab than a greatsword swing. Sure, the dagger guy gets to stab a lot faster, but he's a lot easier to avoid, too. Thus, more of his stabs are "wasted" than is the case with larger wepons. Not to mention that he basically has to enter his opponent's square to plant a stab, whereas the greatsword guy can make his swing from a considerable distance. This contributes to the overall time spent "fighting" in any given combat round.

  5. D&D rules are not supposed to reflect any sort of real-life logic. They never were. They are supposed to make the game playable. If you are after "realistic" role-playing, D&D is not for you.



    Still not logical. You're missing the point of timed actions - yes, I'm open to attack if I drop my guard, but it does not automatically follow from that that my enemy will be able to use it before I act.


    You're right - it doesn't. Which is why there is the "casting on the defensive" option, where it's assumed that you're trying to wave your hands faster than your enemy can react. Because you're waving hands so fast, you have to make a concentration check to do it right and not miscast. There you have it - nearly any rule can be easily justified. But there's no reason to do that, really.


    I presume you prefer the 2nd edition rule that any attack automatically disrupts spellcasting, even if it deals as little as 1 point of damage?

  6. I've seen considerably better trolls re: merits of 2nd edition vs. 3.x.


    I've played and DMed both for a significant period of time. To me, 3.x is an infinitely better system, because it suits my needs infinitely better. There is a simple unified resolution mechanic and there are exceptions to that mechanic (which I've taken steps to eliminate in my games).


    On the other hand, there wasn't anything even remotely resembling a unified mechanic in 2nd edition. EVERYTHING was an exception, and rules were horribly inconsistent. Additionally, rules were limiting, rather than defining. They told you what you can't do, rather that what you can do. You can't cast spells in armor UNLESS it's elven chain. Whoa. Two exceptions right there, in that one simple rule.


    IMO, AD&D 1st edition was a much better system than AD&D 2nd edition. And it had AoOs, even if they weren't named as such.


    BTW, it took me all of ten minutes to completely grasp the AoOs when 3E came out, even though English is my second language. I've DMed games for people of varying ages (12-30) and none of them ever had any difficulty grasping the concept of AoOs. You do something that drops your guard while next to an enemy, he gets a free attack at you. Duh.

  7. Too bad it never got made:




    If I ever owned a Lamborghini, it'd be a toss up between this:




    and this:




    One of the few concepts that Mercedes didn't screw up:




    Why, oh why wasn't this made?




    More to come later...

  8. King Kong - unnecessarily long. Would be a much better movie if it was under two hours. Pointless, drawn-out, self-indulgent, badly-animated dinosaur stampedo scene is probably one of the worst scenes I've seen in a long while.


    Narnia - I had no expectations whatsoever for it, and thought it was pretty good. Admittedly, it's been a while since I've read the book, so I can't really compare - but perhaps that's a good thing, in this case. I didn't pay any attention to the "Christian overtones" so they didn't bother me. Anybody who's disappointed with this movie because it doesn't "compare well" to LotR is on crack. It belongs to an entirely different genre.

  9. wemic.jpg


    Let's see how many people remain here who can say why I'm posting this image. It's from the upcoming War Drums D&D Miniatures set.

  10. I am a Microsoft-based solution developer and I'll second most of the above recommendations, except OpenOffice. In my experience, it's more trouble than it's worth.


    There are also freeware (open source or not) replacements for Total Commander (e.g. Turbo Manager), ACDSee (IrfanView), and Adobe Acrobat (GhostScript). Ever since this spring's crackdown on IT companies using pirated software in my country, many companies have turned around and started looking for freeware replacements for otherwise really expensive software.

  11. The Pledge of Allegiance is pure nationalism at its worst. When I first heard it after my arrival in the U.S., I thought it was a joke, as it sounds eerily similar to the "communist pioneer pledge" we had to say back when I was in elementary school (and my country was still a communist one).

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