60 round

Powers of Dishonored in D&D: Emily Kaldwin

It should come as no surprise to folks that know me personally that my favourite video game series is Dishonored, and since the player characters of that series have access to a number of eldritch powers, I thought they’d be something interesting to translate as spells for D&D.



Domino
3rd-level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: S
Duration: 1 minute
Choose two target creatures. Each of them must make a Wisdom saving throw, which they have disadvantage on if they are unaware of your presence. If both creatures fail the save, the two become linked. If a linked creature suffers any damage, is pushed or gains any conditions, all other creatures linked to it suffer the same effect.
   At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you may link an additional target for each spell slot level above 3rd.



Doppelgänger
2nd-level illusion
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: S
Duration: 5 rounds
You summon an illusionary duplicate of yourself at any point where you would normally be able to stand within range. The doppelgänger has tangible form, using your armour class and saving throws, with five hit points. The doppelgänger acts immediately after you in initiative order; you may control it with a bonus action, otherwise it will flee combat. If your doppelgänger is killed, it leaves a body which disappears once it is out of sight. If you are hidden from sight when casting this spell, enemies consider you dead if they kill your doppelgänger .

  At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, your doppelgänger may make any melee attack you are capable of during its turn as an action. When cast at this level, the doppelgänger actively attacks enemies instead of fleeing combat as it normally would.



Far Reach
1st-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 30 feet
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

A mass of tendrils stretch from your hand to any unoccupied space on a surface within range, then pull you directly to that location. If the location is not a flat surface, but one that you can climb onto, you immediately climb onto it. If you cannot climb onto the surface, you overshoot it and land 5 feet away from the chosen location, in the direction that you travelled.
  At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level, you may use your far reach to instantaneously pull an object into your hands.
  When you cast this spell at 3rd level or higher, you may target a creature within range. That creature must succeed on a Strength saving throw, or be pulled directly to you, landing prone in the nearest unoccupied space between you and the target’s original location. 




Mesmerize

2nd-level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: S
Duration: 3 rounds
You summon a spirit from the void to enthral your enemies. Summon the spirit at a point within range. Creatures within 20 feet of the spirit must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed and incapacitated, and must spend their turn staring at the spirit. At the end of a Creature’s turn, it may attempt the save again.



Shadow Walk
4th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: S
Duration: 3 rounds
 
For the duration, you, along with everything you are wearing and carrying, take on a smoky, shadow form. When you make an attack, or are reduced to 0 hit points in shadow form, the spell ends. While in the shadow form, you have the following benefits:

  • You have advantage on Stealth rolls when in dim light, and cannot be detected in complete darkness.
  • You may only make unarmed strikes, which deal 3d8 necrotic damage, instead of their normal damage, when in shadow form, plus your spellcasting ability modifier.
  • When attacking an unaware target, your unarmed strikes deal double damage.

At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you may make one additional melee attack before the spell ends for each spell slot level above 4th.


Far Reach and Shadow Walk were worked based on existing spells, namely Misty Step as the basis for Far Reach, with modifications for range, momentum and higher level abilities, and Gaseous Form for Shadow Walk, which I used as a guide on the caster’s form changing. Domino was developed with some inspiration from the Trickery Cleric’s Invoke Duplicity ability; Domino and Mesmerize were developed from scratch, with levels that I felt were most appropriate for them. All of the spells with a duration used as close to the durations of those spells in the game as is possible with the D&D system using turns instead of specifying by seconds.

This is going to be the first in a series of posts relating to Dishonored, and while more MTG homebrew will be back next week, expect other Dishonored posts in the near future, and not only spells! I have some interesting things planned that I’m very much looking forward to putting together.

Building an encounter has three main ingredients

Have you ever come up with a general idea for an encounter, but aren’t sure how to flesh it out or weave it into the larger narrative? It’s been said time and time again that Dungeons and Dragons is built on three pillars of play: combat, social, and exploration. As long as you know the environment and how subjects might fight or socialize, you as the DM can improvise any encounter well enough to roll with the punches. 

Here is an example of my own DM notes for this weekend’s first encounter: It starts off explaining the environment and how it can be explored, and then my notes mention some monsters in the distance which can branch into a combat or social encounter (or a blend of the two). You don’t need to know the specifics of my campaign to understand my writing, but if you have questions - always feel free to ask!


The PCs are high up along the peaks of the Orc’s Crown. They follow wood-and-hemp bridges that connect plateaus of rock, and follow narrow trails up along cliff walls. Eventually, they’ll easily spot a large company of ogres wearing crude backpack mounts, carefully scaling a 120 ft. vertical rock surface. Currently the ogres about thirty feet high.

  • DC 10 Perception spots seven ogres in total, each carrying orcs on the mounts. They are all armed with primitive weapons.
  • DC 12 Insight reveals the company seems rushed and uninterested in observing their surroundings.

ENVIRONMENT

  • DC 12 Perception spots an old steel and hemp pulley system built into the rock wall. DC 14 INT check to learn how to use the machine; it requires a PC to stay at the floor to operate the controls. The elevator can fit up to two Medium sized targets and move 40 ft. per round, but moves faster with only one (60 ft./round)
  • PCs who climb the wall must pass a DC 10 STR check for every 20 ft. they climb. For every 10 ft. beyond the first, the DC increases by 1. Players can choose to try and beat a DC 13 CON check to increase their climb speed by 10 ft. for that turn. If they fail, they must pass a DC 15 DEX save to fall 10 ft., otherwise they fall to the floor and take 1d10 bludgeoning damage for each 10 ft. fallen.

SOCIAL

The orc company will be uninterested in talking, but they also want to avoid a fight which would weaken their numbers and waste their time. If the party is hostile, the orc company will attack the group until they die. A DC 18 Persuasion check could later convince an orc to parlay and talk with the party; the DC drops to 10 if there is only one orc alive to parlay.

If the company isn’t already hostile, they could tell the group the following.

  • They will openly admit their allegiance to Rogmesh, their clan leader. They are meeting Rogmesh at Oogugboo Summit, an innately magical mountain, to later escort her to Curlamog’s Lair to confront Ergoth.
  • They’ve learned that Ergoth has sent a tanarruk to kill Rogmesh’s tribe and take her to Curlamog’s Lair. 

COMBAT

  • 2x Ogres
  • 4x Orcs

Sneaking up on the company would be fairly easy with a Passive Perception of 9. If the company is attacked, most of the group will attempt to continue their climb to the top of the rock wall. Two ogres and four orcs will descend 30 ft. to attack the party and bide time for the rest of their group to escape.

The orcs will not stop fighting until they die, often speaking in their own language to each other about martyring themselves to protect Rogmesh. The ogres will not retreat from battle, but will move onto a weaker opponent if they are challenged by their melee target.


My ‘environment’ challenges usually translate into skill challenges, and typically I try to include solutions that require a combination of two or more abilities like STR and INT. For this particular encounter, I permit beefier characters to use their Strength and Constitution to brave the rock wall, and squishier characters to use their Intelligence to create a simpler route for themselves and others to follow. 

My ‘social’ challenge here is totally optional, as is the ‘combat’ challenge. Whatever my players decide to do, I can refer to these notes and see how the orcs and ogres would respond. If the social encounter goes well, the PCs could learn more secrets about the big players in the story… otherwise they could simply have a straightforward brawl or a mix of combat and social. 

Has this guide been helpful? Would you do anything differently? Share with us here and add to the discussion!

USA. Ohio. Kent. May 4, 1970. Mary Ann Vecchio, a 14 year-old student, kneels beside Jeffrey Milley who’d been shot by the National Guard. Though the photo that first circulated turned out to be manipulated, this is the original, un-doctored version. This picture won the Pulitzer Prize.

The Kent State shootings occurred at Kent State University and involved the shooting of college students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. National Guardsmen fired into a group of unarmed students, killing four and wounded another nine—some marching against the Vietnam War and American invasion of Cambodia, some walking by or observing the protest from a distance. 

Guardsmen had on the previous day used tear gas to disperse protesters and, by May 4th, rallies were banned and classes resumed. But 2,000 people gathered in what quickly turned into confrontation. Tear gas and bayonets were met with rocks and verbal taunts, which were met with more than 60 rounds of gunfire. In 1974, all charges were dropped against eight of the Guardsmen involved. There were 28 guards who admitted to firing on top of the hill, 25 of these guards fired 55 rounds into the air and into the ground, 2 of the guards fired .45cal pistol shots, 2 into the crowd, and 3 into the air, one guard fired birdshot into the air. The guardsmen fired 61 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.

Photograph: John Filo/Getty

Cleric Week: New Magic Items

image: Sarira Reliquary, Daegu National Museum, Korea

Here is a collection of D&D 5e homebrew magic items designed with clerics in mind. Many can be used by non-clerics, especially the ones simply inspired by the core pantheon of Dungeons & Dragons deities. Hope you enjoy them!

+1 Holy Symbol

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement by a cleric

A cleric attuned to this holy symbol that uses it as their spellcasting focus has +1 to their spell attacks and deals +1 damage with their damaging spells.

Goblet of Purity

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement by a cleric

A cleric attuned to the goblet can bless water poured into it. Water blessed in this way becomes free of disease and becomes crystal clear. Creatures drinking from the goblet are cured of all diseases ailing them.

Blessed Tidestar

Morningstar, Rare, Requires attunement by a cleric

This morningstar is coated in holy water, which flows constantly and magically from coral-like patterns in the head of the weapon down to the spiraling conical spikes adorning it. The holy water does not drip unless swung, and holy water spilled from it disappears where it lands. The weapon deals an additional 1d4 acid damage to undead and fiends, even ones that might be normally immune or resistant to acid damage.

Censor of Divinity

Wondrous Item, Uncommon, Requires attunement by a cleric

Once per day, when incense is burned in the censor and waved about, the cleric can increase the DC of one of their Channel Divinity abilities by 1.

Incense of Peaceful Rest

Wondrous Item, Common

Creatures resting within 60 ft. while this incense burns may heal one hit die in addition to any hit dice spent to heal themselves.

Prayer Beads of Recall

Wondrous Item, Uncommon, Requires attunement by a cleric

As you pray to your deity and run these beads through your fingers, you can teleport yourself and up to 9 allies to the nearest temple of your deity over the course of 1 minute. This ability works once before the beads disappear in a silent flicker of light. A creature must attune to this item by praying in a temple of their deity over a long rest.

Reliquary

Wondrous Item, Varied Rarity, Requires attunement by a cleric

The forms of reliquaries vary greatly. They can be bones or clothes of saints or notable religious figures or pieces of history from your religion, and can be completely unadorned or within an intricate vessel or chest ranging in size but usually able to be carried on your person. A reliquary can have one or more abilities based on its rarity:

  • Rare: The reliquary can cast Lesser Restoration on a creature that touches it once per day. The object passively emits daylight out to 30 ft. and dim light for another 30 ft.
  • Very Rare: The reliquary has the abilities of a rare reliquary. In addition, the reliquary can grant a creature that touches it an effect similar to a Bless spell for 1 hour once per day. This ability does not stack with other Bless spells. Creatures within 30 ft. of the reliquary also cannot become frightened.
  • Legendary: The reliquary has the abilities of a rare and very rare reliquary. In addition, the reliquary can cast Heal on a creature that touches it once per day and creatures slain within 60 ft. of the reliquary cannot be turned into undead.

Book of Boccob

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement 

Poring over this book grants the attuned user a +1 bonus on arcana and religion checks. The book can also be used once a week to cast a Commune spell.

Exquisite Mantle of Corellon Larethian

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement

This item cannot be attuned to a Drow, Orc, or Half-Orc; races despised by Corellon Larethian. The cloak can be used once per day to shroud the attuned creature in unearthly beauty. All creatures within 60 ft. that can see the creature must make a CHA saving throw with a DC of 13. Evil creatures that fail become frightened and blinded for 1d4+1 rounds. Nonevil, nongood creatures that fail become frightened and blinded for 1 round. Good creatures that fail suffer no ill effects.

Burrowing Arrow of Gruumsh

Any arrow or bolt, Uncommon, Requires attunement

Elves cannot attune to this item; a race despised by Gruumsh. This arrow is tipped with a red stone arrowhead with an eye carved into it. The shaft has a texture like that of a rat. When the arrow hits a creature with a discernible anatomy, it transforms into a rabid rat that gnaws deeper into the hit creature. The rat deals 1d6 damage on the start of each of the creature’s turns until they rip it out with a DC 11 STR check or by dealing 5 damage to it.

Claw of Nerull

Rod, Uncommon, Requires attunement

This disembodied skeletal forearm is tipped with a pointing finger and is covered with dried blood. When the command word is spoken and the rod is pointed at a living creature of Large size or smaller up to 30 ft. away, skeletal hands emerge from the ground and grasp at the creature, holding them in place for up to 1 minute. The creature must make a DC 15 DEX saving throw to evade the emerging hands or a DC 16 STR saving throw to break free of them. The rod can be used in this way once per day.

Hextor’s Gauntlet of Dominion

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement

A black iron spiked gauntlet that oils itself with blood and sweat. Once per day you may clench the gauntlet into a fist before you. You may cast Command as a bonus action targeting a creature that can hear and see you within 60 ft. Each round that you maintain concentration and keep your fist clenched for up to 1 minute, you can cast Command again as a bonus action, but you must target the same creature with it each round. While your fist is clenched in this way you cannot use it for other actions such as attacking or holding things.

Briarknot Armor of Obad-Hai

Armor, Rare, Requires attunement

A brooch that looks like a fetish of leaves, twigs, and flowers that can be affixed to your clothing. When the command word is spoken, it rapidly grows to cover your body in a form-fitting armor of thorny vines. The armor changes your base AC to 17 (no benefit from DEX bonus). Creatures that touch you or hit you with a natural or unarmed melee attack take 1d6 piercing damage. The armor wilts and dies when the command word is spoken once more, but the brooch remains intact to be called upon again.

Ruby Dagger of Wee Jas

Dagger, Very Rare, Requires attunement by a cleric

This +1 dagger is made from a shard of a large magical ruby and has an intricate golden hilt. When a creature is slain by this dagger their soul exits their body, ignites, and surges towards the nearest enemy within 30 ft., dealing 7d6 fire damage before leaving for the afterlife. A creature that makes a DC 15 DEX saving throw takes only half of this damage.

Vessel of Vecna

Wondrous Item, Uncommon

A skull of a humanoid that was missing their left eye. When a secret, thought, or memory is whispered to the skull’s face, it causes its good eye socket to glow with a tiny point of green light. The creature that whispered to the vessel completely forgets their thought, memory, or secret and cannot recall it even through magical means. It is as if they never knew it in the first place and are forbidden from thinking about it further. A creature that whispers a command word to a vessel with such a glow within it learns the secret held within, emptying the vessel once more. Destroying a Vessel of Vecna with a secret stored within it does not restore the memories of the initial creature.

Yondalla’s Blessed Seeds

Wondrous Item, Uncommon

These simple-looking seeds come in a pouch featuring Yondalla’s holy symbol on the side. A pouch typically contains 2d4+1 seeds when found. When one of the seeds is thrown onto a patch of dirt at least 5 ft. in diameter, it rapidly grows into a full-grown tree over the course of one round. The tree is about 4 feet in diameter and is 60 feet in height. Climbing such a tree requires a DC 12 Athletics or Acrobatics check.

Hammer of Moradin

Wondrous Item, Rare, Requires attunement

This item can be used as a warhammer. If attuned to a dwarf, it is instead treated as a +1 warhammer. Once per day, the hammer can be used to repair any item made of metal or stone up to a 10-ft. cube. Alternatively, it can be used to cast Fabricate but only on stone or metal material.

Dowsing Rod of Garl Glittergold

Rod, Uncommon, Requires attunement

This golden rod can be used once per day to point its wielder in the direction of the largest collection of wealth (in gems and/or minerals) within 500 ft.

Ehlonna’s Horn

Wondrous Item, Very Rare, Requires attunement by a non-evil cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger

This spiraling white horn can be blown to summon a Unicorn mount. The unicorn serves faithfully and will fight for the creature it is attuned to but if it is asked to perform an evil act then it will vanish and the horn will crumble into pieces. The unicorn cannot cast its Teleport spell and cannot use its Legendary Actions while summoned in this way. When the unicorn is slain it instead vanishes, returning to the place it was summoned from. The horn can only be used during a new moon (once a month) and only one unicorn can be summoned at a time.

3

The Taubina AG-2 Automatic Grenade Launcher,

An interesting weapon lost to history, the Taubina Automatic Grenade Launcher was the creation of Soviet weapons designer Yakov Taubin. First developed in 1931 and perfected in 1937-1939, the Taubina Automatic Grenade Launcher was a weapon that was several generations ahead of its time.  Invented at a time when most grenade launchers were single shot affairs, typically rifle grenades, the Taubina was the first of it’s kind and it’s concept would become a staple of modern militaries today.  The Taubina Grenade Launcher was designed to fire 40.8mm grenades in either semi automatic or fully automatic modes. Recoil operated, most models utilized a magazine resulting in a rate of fire of 50-60 rounds a minute, however later prototypes utilized a belt feed system which resulted in a rate of 400-450 rounds a minute. It’s maximum range was around 1,200 meters  The launcher could be used in both direct fire and indirect fire modes. It was typically mounted on a light wheeled carriage.

The Taubina was first tested in Soviet trials in 1938, where it performed admirably but had some flaws.  First it had a weak extractor and extraction springs, resulting in a 7% failure rate.  Secondly it was inaccurate at longer ranges.  Taubin went to work fixing these problems, developing improved models which saw limited use during the Winter War against Finland in 1939. Despite rave reports on the Taubina’s performance and the potential whoopass the weapon offered the Red Army, the weapon was doomed by Soviet bureaucracy. Most Soviet officials did not see the need for automatic grenade launchers which could rain hundreds of rounds of high explosives on an enemy position. A shame considering that World War II was just around the corner. Much of the opposition to the weapon came from Chief of Main Artillery Directorate Grigory Kulik, who preferred more traditional light infantry mortars and saw no need for the weapon. In 1939 the Taubina project was ended. 

Yakov Taubin abandoned the Taubina Grenade Launcher and began work on aircraft machine gun and cannon designs.  In 1940 he developed a prototype for an aircraft cannon meant to be used on the IL-2 Sturmovik airplane. However he design was turned down in favor of a competing design, the VYa-23. Shortly afterward, on May 15th, 1941, shortly before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Taubin was arrested by the NKVD on charges of “preserving samples of unfinished weapons and egregiously plotting production of technically unfinished and unsatisfactory weapons systems”. On October 17th, as German forces raced across the Soviet Union, he was executed and buried in a mass grave. The automatic grenade launcher wouldn’t be re-invented until 1966.

7

BCM Gunfighter History : Travis Haley

An Exercise in Compromise

Hanging in my office, is a clone of the rifle I carried on two combat tours(Iraq and Liberia). It’s a reminder of where I came from, where I stand today, where I am going and why I am going there.

While serving in 2nd Force Reconnaissance in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, my unit started seeing radical advances in small arms and light weaponry via the SOPMOD program. Suddenly, carbines could quickly be fine tuned for specific missions by mounting night vision systems, laser aiming devices, weapon lights and red dot optics to the 1913 Picatinny Rail Systems on the upper receiver and handguard.

These technologies opened up whole new tactics, techniques and procedures that could be employed to prosecute our mission of specialized reconnaissance, ambush and direct action raids.

Despite the additional capabilities the SOPMOD program delivered, opinions were sharply divided on the program. Some saw these tools as a burden, adding a lot of “crap” that would only increase the amount of weight our Marines carried on mission for little tangible benefit. A maxed out M4 could run up to 14 pounds, but we didn’t need every component for every mission.

TWO POUNDS OF METAL

The SOPMOD accessory package that my platoon ended up running included almost two pounds of weight in mounting interfaces alone. When I challenged this, I got a typical Marine Corps answer, “Because that’s what you are issued, now quit asking irrelevant questions Too Speed.” (Too Speed was my call sign)

I couldn’t accept that answer. It was an institutional answer that repeated a party line and the lives of my teammates were, and will always be, more important than not rocking the boat.

After some trial and error, the first mod I made was to ditch the Surefire M951 Weapon Light and replace it with a Surefire 6P in a shotgun tube light mount that I scored at a sporting goods shop near base. After swapping the 6P tail cap for the M951 remote switch assembly, I then ran the tape switch on the left side of the 203 so activating the light wouldn’t impact my weapons manipulation.

Getting a weapon light in tight with a rail and shaving weight off the interface was something I would spend the next 10 years fiddling with before I had a eureka moment and Haley Strategic Partners released the Thorntail Adaptive Series of light mounts, currently in use by military, security contractors and law enforcement worldwide.

This time was a defining moment for me, as it was when I first started tweaking and eventually building original components for my platoon based on the unique requirements of our missions. These experiences of shaving weight, improving ergonomics and finding a balance between capability and utility, would drive the development of so many of the components I have commercialized in my post-service career.

THE RIFLE I TOOK TO WAR

Colt M4 with 14.5” Barrel
Colt M203 40 mm Grenade Launcher
Knights Armament RAS Handguard
PEQ-2 IR Aiming Laser
Surefire Classic 6P with a custom “Simply Dynamic” mount
Boone & Packer Redi-Mag
Simply Dynamic Multi-Mission Sling (commercialized by Magpul as the MS3)

LOAD OUT

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Force was trained up for both Green Side(reconnaissance) and Black Side(direct action) missions, with the assumption we would be tasked to one or the other. However, when we entered Iraq, our platoon found ourselves doing a combination of both at the same time. Force Recon is a special operations unit that prepares the battlespace and gathers intelligence for the MAGTF(Marine Air Ground Task Force) and then prosecutes specialized targets as directed.  

With a few days under our belts, the entire platoon started striping gear and mags, looking for that perfect balance of speed, utility and capability. If you can’t move, you can’t be effective. Most of the Marines went from 13 rifle magazines to between five or six. I ended up with four on my vest and two taped together on my carbine with riggers tape and offset with a stick.

Force Recon ran low signature loads outs, often working out of vehicles(mil and civilian), and running a double mag on the carbine meant I had 60 rounds at the ready. When I saw the “Redi-Mag” in a copy of Shotgun News, I ordered it and had it delivered to me overseas. Despite the weight, the Redi-Mag was more versatile than the old riggers tape and stick, and cut my carbine reloads to sub one second.

I no longer run a Redi-Mag because there are so many excellent belt mounted magazine pouches available today, that I can reload at almost the exact speed as from a Redi-Mag. That said, you will sometimes find them on my house and car guns, as I do not expect to be kitting up if someone breaks into my house or I find myself engaged with an active shooter around vehicles in the streets.

M203

The M203 is a vital component to small and agile units, like Force, who operate in small units in semi and non-permissive settings. It becomes even more essential in worst case scenarios where the mission is compromised or the unit is outright ambushed by an enemy force.

We prepared for scenarios where 203s could be employed for a hasty breach, in instances where a short count/stack was not possible. Also, as a posturing tool to achieve immediate fire superiority in the face of an ambush. Finally, we practiced employing them to suppress fortified enemy positions in buildings by putting accurate fire through windows or open doors.

In fact, in the first gunfight I was involved in during OIF, I put this into practice, pumping 40mm HEDP(High Explosive Dual Purpose) rounds through windows of enemy positions 50 meters out. This fire created instant hate and discontent on target, where crew served weapons and M4s did not offer as much of an immediate positive effect. We had never trained to fire the M203 at such a close distance for safety reasons, but I held at the top of the window frame with my Aimpoint and the round went straight where I wanted it.

MEUSOC 1911

The MEUSOC 1911 has an almost legendary reputation among 1911 and handgun enthusiasts. One of the most high performance handguns ever built, the MEUSOC 1911 we ran was hand built by Marine Armorers from the Precision Weapons Section at MCBQ (Marine Corps Base Quantico). They fine tuned our 1911’s, hand selecting barrels, link pins, sear springs, ejectors, firing pin stops, mainspring housings and mainsprings. Slides were custom built by Springfield Armory with beavertail safeties and recoil spring guides by Ed Brown, Novak rear sights, Wilson Combat extractors + mag release buttons, and King’s Gun Works ambi thumb safeties.

Force ran the 1911 specifically in direct action raid or ambush missions. It was not a primary and would only come into play if our carbines had run dry or malfunctioned. We carried 10 round magazines with 230 Grain 45 ACP. More than enough to deal with any immediate situation and then refocus on the carbine to get it back into action.

On DRP(Deep Reconnaissance Patrol) Missions, I personally chose my Berretta M92, which was our only 9mm alternative at the time. The flatter trajectory at range of the 9mm and the larger magazine meant more bullets to deal with more problems in the event my carbine was down or permanently disabled.

When I later worked as a security contractor on Ambassador Bremmer’s detail with Blackwater, we would run Glock 17s. But in the end, the mission drives the gear. But more importantly, the mission drives the man.

THE MISSION DRIVES THE MAN

When I first started making gear, I was doing it to help keep my guys alive. When I started my first company, Simply Dynamic Tactical, I wasn’t in it to get rich. I was doing it to pass on what I learned in combat and to provide tools that would stack the deck in the favor of the men and women who were going overseas or out on our streets as warfighters, law enforcement or private citizens.

Surviving war is an awesome responsibility. For those who have been in combat, you never forget the brothers you lost. When you are one of those who made it back, you carry a weight that is difficult to put into words. I was lucky to have known such great men in my life. I was lucky to have a second family closer than any people I will ever know.

As I approach the 5th year in business with Haley Strategic Partners, we have tried to bring this industry together and to stay focused on that one mission. Enable brave men and women to complete their missions as safely as possible. Through training, through gear and through mindset.  

Stay Sharp and be safe,

Travis Haley
October, 2015

US Navy .22 caliber hand cranked Hotchkiss cannon training gun

Produced in the late 19th century by an unknown company, this hand cranked machine gun was made to train sailors in the use of the 47mm Hotchkiss cannon, which was a popular revolving cannon in use by many navies in the late 19th century. 

The gun fired a .22 LR cartridge, a small, low powered, and inexpensive caliber which is popular for plinking, target shooting, and small game hunting. The gun was crank operation much like the Hotchkiss and the Gatling gun.  The gun was fed by a cylinder which held 60 rounds. The stock and barrel where taken from Winchester rifles. While the training gun did not exactly simulate the operation and firing of a Hotchkiss cannon, it was used to teach the basics of marksmanship to new recruits.

From Rock Island Auctions

Prestige Feat: Dragonguard

The Dragonguard were once the elite protectors of Un’Harem. Dragon slayers blessed by Bahamut to combat the children of Tiamat. 

Dragonguard

Prerequisite: To take the Dragonguard feat, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Dragon Kin. You must be a dragonborn or a half-dragon to become a Dragonguard.
  • Dragon Slayer. To become a Dragonguard, you must have single handedly slain a young or older dragon.

As a Dragonguard, your breathweapon gains a number of benefits:

  • Your breathweapon save DC increases by 1.
  • When you use your breathweapon, you can choose to either have it effect a 15-ft. cone or a 5 by 30-ft. line.

  • Your breathweapon gain a recharge of 6.

In addition, you can expend a use of your breathweapon to force a dragon out of the sky. Choose a dragon you can see within 300 feet of you. The dragon must succeed on a Strength saving throw or its flying speed is reduced to 0 feet for 1 minute, or until you use your breathweapon again. An airborne dragon affected by this descends at 60 feet per round until it reaches the ground or the effect ends.

Who Wore it Better: Boots of Haste

wallflowerwaitlist asked: The twins argue a lot over using the Boots of Haste. In Episode 82, Vax said that he is statistically more effective with them. Do we have any statistical evidence on which twin really has been more effective with them in the past, or even hypothetically?

Short Version: It depends heavily on the situation.

Long Version: There are a number of factors to consider here, because some of this depends on how we view ‘effective.’ Let’s break it down by what the boots are able to do.

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imitating brush strokes (more or less) in photoshop

i highly recommend making your own brushes. it’s very easy in photoshop and i’ll show you how.

if you don’t know how to do that at all, here’s the basic: you draw a shape that you want to be your brush shape on white canvas. white will be transparent, black will be opaque, and anything in-between will be semi-transparent accordingly. you select what you’ve drawn with marquee tool, and then go to edit->define brush pattern, like so

and there you go, the brush preset will be added to your available brushes, and from there you can tweak it however you like.

so now to the general idea of the brushes that i prefer to use. aside from fancy texture brushes for things like leaves, cobblestone, etc, that when used wisely can make your work much quicker and easier (and when used unwisely can make your digital painting look absolutely horrible. please do not use too many texture/stamp brushes), you’re gonna need four basic brushes and variations thereof that you’ll just adjust the size and other settings of during work:

1. a textured, charcoal/stiff paintbrush tip

you start with a square and add texture to it using default photoshop brushes. remember not to leave any sharp edges of the original shape. the smudge on the top is what you get without adjusting anything, but what you wanna do is set angle jitter to “direction”, spacing to no more than 10%, and transfer to “pen pressure”.

2. flat paintbrush strokes

just make some dots and shapes using a soft default photoshop brush in the shape of a line, to make it look more or less like the mark a flat brush would make if you dabbed its tip on paper, then put it through a bit of motion blur and gaussian blur to soften it more. then set spacing to no more than 10% (depends on the shape of the preset), angle jitter to “direction”, and transfer to “pen pressure”. you can also set size jitter to “pen pressure” but don’t make the minimum less than 60%

3. fine round brush tip

the shape of an oval works best. give it a little bit of texture and soften the edges, set angle jitter to “direction” or “initial direction” (if you want a more varied size of the tip in one stroke), and both size jitter and transfer to “pen pressure” but with the former don’t set the minimum to less than 40% and with the latter don’t set the minimum to less than 70%. add hue jitter at about 4-8% to give it a more painterly look

4. smudgy round tip

just make a very blurry, smudgy round shape with some textures and little lines and scratches, that you’ll mostly use for blending and overlays. set transfer to “pen pressure” and add some texture or hue jitter if you wanna. you might want to also reduce spacing to about 15%

for each of these, play with opacity and flow settings until you find what you need. and, in general, when drawing your own brush presents, just play with blurring the edges, different shapes, textures etc, until you get what you need. all of these brush presets were made with default photoshop brushes you can find when you open adobe photoshop for the very first time.

WWII Firearms in Libya Part 1

Part 2 // WWII Armor in Libya

During the 2011 rebellion against dictator Muammar Qaddafi, all sorts of weapons found there way into the hands of the rebels. Some were improvised, such as this S-75 SAM mounted on a T-55, some were contemporary, and some were older than the fighter who wielded them.

Carcano rifle. Introduced in 1891, the Carcano would remain Italy’s primary rifle for WWI and WWII, ceasing production in 1945. As an occupier of Libya during the interwar period and WWII, it’s not surprising to find Carcano’s in the hands of Libyan rebels. The IJN also used the Carcano after Arisaka production was allotted for the IJA in 1937.

The man in the background is holding a Carcano. Also in the picture is a Sterling SMG and a Browning Hi Power. The Carcano was predominantly used by rebels in the Nafusa Mountains. A member of the rebel military council overseeing the western mountain front, as many as 1 in 10 rebels in the region were armed with World War II-era weapons.

RP-46. Russian light machinegun that fed from a large, cumbersome, 47 or 60-round pan magazine or a belt. The Degtyaryov was very robust and reliable, capable of being buried in sand before firing off 500 rounds.

One of the Degtyaryov’s main drawbacks was the flimsy bipod, which snapped rather easily. This was corrected with the RP-46.

The RP-46 improved on the standard Degtyaryov by adding a heavier barrel for prolonged firing, a user-adjustable gas system and the capability to fire from a belt feed.

Browning Hi Power. Single-action, semi-auto pistol firing either 9mm or .40 S&W, the Hi Power was designed by John Moses Browning and completed by FN in Belgium back in 1926. It served on both sides during WWII, being a coveted sidearm for its large capacity. The Hi Power would go on to be one of the most widely used pistols in the world, serving with over 50 different countries. It is still manufactured today This is Muammar Qaddafi’s personal, gilded pistol.

Bonus: M33 helmet. Italy’s standard helmet during WWII and all the way up until the 1990s.  While not possessing the same degree of protection offered by the German Stahlhelm, the M33 was seen as a successful design, since it offered three times the resistance of the Adrian, was light and was relatively comfortable.