urban attack

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Spock??? nah whatever I don’t even like Spock that much— [trips] [hundreds of thousands of drawings of Spock spill out of sketchbook] w-wait a fucking- I these arent mine I’m just [gathering them up frantically sweating] listen I just- listen fuck [thousands of pictures of Spock scatter across the floor] shit fcuk I’m holding them for a friend just listen

2

Around the forests of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut, there is said to be a group of creatures known as The Melonheads. They are described as small humanoids with large bulbous heads. The popular urban legend was coined in the 1970’s when a group of teens reportedly saw a group of the creatures whilst they were camping. They are said to occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people.

10

Urban Arcana

(Since I was unfamiliar with this and I’m sure some of you are too I decided to put the wiki description up for you all.)

Urban Arcana is a campaign setting for the d20 Modern roleplaying game that builds on a small campaign model included in the original rulebook. It adds much in the way of magic and monsters to the game, and contains rules for things such as playing Shadowkind characters.

In the world of Urban Arcana, dragons rule the boardrooms and bugbears rule the streets. It is a world where monsters and magic exist, yet the human psyche just cannot fathom them and covers up all supernatural events. Some, however, break that barrier and become aware of the world around them and help Mages, Acolytes, and other magical characters fight with monsters from another realm.

This game takes modern adventures and combines it with a chaotic twist of magic, using creatures and spells familiar to those who play Dungeons & Dragons. The setting is simply Earth as we know it. Slowly creatures from another world, where magic and fantasy rules, have moved into ours. They are hidden by the human subconscious which disbelieves seeing horns on people’s heads or monsters in the subway.

Story
Urban Arcana’s story varies from GM to GM, but they usually share these common factors. Urban Arcana takes place on Earth, or a slight variation of it. Ever since the dawn of time, creatures from another world have been appearing on Earth due to a force called Shadow. Creatures such as Elves, Kobolds, Gnoll, Aasimar, and others have inhabited earth for years, with no memory of the world they came from due to “The Gift of Lethe”. They have always assimilated into human society because most “Mundane” or normal humans believe them to be fictional, and therefore see them as other mundanes. This is helped along by the fact that the Common tongue of D&D is always identical to the language of the area that they appear in (A sort of Deus Ex Machina to over come language barriers). In recent years however, Shadow activity has increased, with an influx of new Shadowkind appearing. The reason for this varies from campaign to campaign, some times never being explained at all. This has resulted in the formation of various organizations.

Department 7, from the original d20 Modern. This version is headed by a female Mage, similar to the head agents of spy films. Most players are members of department 7.
The Corsone syndicate, a reference to The Godfather. This mafia appears to be mundane at first, but as the player digs deeper, they find that it is run by shadowkind, usually a Mind Flayer.
The Fraternal Order of Vigilance, a Hate Group dedicated to killing shadowkind. The philanthropic organization is a front for their more sinister means. Usually a villain. The Module might involve trying to expose them, or avoiding them.
The Black Feathers, Eco-Terrorist run by an Elf. Mostly Neutral.
A shadow television network.
Other organizations are corporations that are run by a genie, a medieval themed fast food restaurant run by shadow, or a homeless shelter for recently displaced shadowkind. One module involves Department 7’s benefactor being a Gold Dragon.

World
The player can either be a Mundane, who stumbles upon shadow somehow, or a Shadowkind, who is either already settled, or is trying to fit in. In the world of Urban Arcana, demons can attack, vampires can own Ferraris, and emails can curse players. The Game is played with d20 Modern rules. Each player starts off with a basic class:

Strong, a player who focuses on dealing damage and physical strength.
Fast, a nimble player who focuses on dexterous feats, as well as speed.
Tough, a player who focuses on withstanding even the most brutal of attacks.
Smart, an intelligent player who uses their knowledge to get ahead.
Dedicated, a wise hero who use their insight to solve problems.
Charismatic, a hero who uses charm and looks to get what they want.
They then can take any advanced class from classic d20 modern, or special urban arcana classes. Some of them are analogs of classic Dungeons and Dragons classes like the Mage (wizard) or Acolyte (cleric). Others are more modern, such as:

Techno Mage, a mage who sacrifices the reliability of paper spellbooks, for the convenience of computers.
Speed Demon, a hero who can operate vehicles as an extension of their own body.
Shadowjack, a magical hacker whose link to the electronic world makes him almost unstoppable… online.
Glamourist, a hero who is the definition of charismatic, and is capable of hiding true intentions and bending people to their will.
The world can be nearly identical to the real world, such as a campaign taking place in London or New York, or completely made up, as is the nature of pen-and-paper RPGs. As the game borrows heavily from Dungeons and Dragons, sharing many spells and items, and mythology. Real world religion and D&D religion are considered equally valid in Urban Arcana, and you can have a Knight of Pelor, or a Christian Acolyte, as the game takes place in the “real world”.

Prepackaged campaigns also borrow from pop culture. One adventure, Come for the Reaping, involves your heroes investigating a mansion filled with zombies in a reference to Resident Evil, complete with the explosive finish.

Urban Arcana is best used as a campaign to transition into. A d20 Modern character and a Dungeons and Dragons character can both be added to Urban arcana, although the D&D one would require modification in order to balance the game.

My History of Science Was Wrong
  • Back when Venus passed between Earth and the Sun, a conversation with a local astronomer got me interested in reading just a little bit about the history of astronomy. I was completely surprised by how reasonable old-timey theories like Aristotle's levity/gravity and a geocentric Earth are--IF you drop your presentist knowledge in favour of the tools that were around at the time.
  • I learned a lot of things from reading just one (long) online comment-thread
  • Part of the understanding is just how crazy our modern cosmology is. Of course none of us question it because there were astronauts on the moon on TV and besides our teachers told us so and they have a higher social position and education than we do. (Bacon) This really hit home for me when I read that some ancient Greek natural-philosophers had measured how fast the Earth would have to spin to validate heliocentricity and concluded the number (~10,000 mph) was ludicrous. It sure feels like I'm standing still and not being blown by a 10,000 mph wind!
  • One ancient natural-philosopher speculated: If only there were some kind of ... ENVELOPE, or SHEATH, that would protect everything from spinning off and keep the air still on the Earth as the Earth whirled at its . Speaking of ad-hoc theories that fail Ockham's Razor....
  • (But wait ... how could they make that calculation if they thought the Earth was Flat because no Colón/Magellan...? I think that's another misconception I'll have to remedy later.)
  • Also interesting is that the concept of relativistic frames shows up in the 14th century. To say whether the celestial sphere or the Earthly sphere is rotating (what the stars can be observed to do at night) ... well, it's all just a matter of perspective, innit? Neither one "is really" rotating, it's just that the "other" is rotating -- considered from wherever "you" are standing.
  • I was also reminded, in imagining the astronomers working with their epicycles to predict -- quantitatively, not necessarily knowing the underlying mechanism -- the motions of the stars and planets, of quantitative finance. Particularly the machine-learning side. We just try to figure out *a* formula that works. If it has lower Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimension, great, but all we're really trying to do is predict what will happen or, more often, the risk of X happening. I can imagine future economists looking back on what fools we are, with our neural nets trained on the wrong data and overfitting the wrong functional forms. All for the sake of making a dollar and getting that social approval.
  • Have you ever tried explaining why inertia is right and things all fall at the same speed to a kid? Because things don't all fall at the same speed, and smoke in fact goes up. Not only that, but (if you have chosen to live far enough away from artificial light or regularly venture there at night) the sky is obviously still and even with great precision we can't measure parallax. Not to mention
  • Also -- that whole "Humans have over time come to see themselves as less and less special or privileged in the order of the universe"? Who said that, Sagan? I oughtta put a different book in front of his face before he promulgated all that stuff. The ancients and medievals didn't see humans as special or privileged by the Earth being at the centre of the Universe. They saw us as being at the bottom (which we obviously are. all the Heavens are above us. "up" is defined as the normal to the manifold surface of the Earth) of the natural order. This is totally consistent with the Fallen post-Eden state -- the Earth getting older and decaying, Man living shorter and shorter lifespans and falling deeper into Sin, the great civilisations of the past crumbling and decaying.
  • Anyway, there are way too many informative things said by different people to do "Quote" posts and I want these to be tied together. So I'm using the "Chat" Format instead.
  • if heliocentrism is so blatantly obvious and only the stupid Catholics didn’t get it because of their “blind faith”, why did the Chinese, who were unencumbered by both Aristotle and the Bible, have to wait until the Jesuits – of all people – came, rather than vice versa? It’s funny how all these clamorous indictments against the Catholic Church for holding back science somehow amount to a big insult to non-European civilizations, who didn’t have the evil Church to hold them back and somehow still didn’t make it, despite being given a 1000-year headstart.
  • Don’t forget, heliocentrism had been falsified in good Popperian fashion by the absence of the predicted stellar parallax and the lack of eastward deflection in falling bodies. (Good evidence why Popper is inadequate.) The latter was not empirically settled until the 1790s when Gugliemini dropped weights down the inside of the spiral staircase of the tower of the Univ. of Bologna. The former was apparently settled when Calandrelli observed parallax in a-Lyrae. (“Apparently” because some have contended that he could not have actually observed it. However, it was reported in the literature in 1803.)
  • the Jesuits were half-way convinced. Grienberger was reported to have said that Scheiner was on board and even Clavius was not far from the Copernican system. Then GG had to get into a flame war with Grassi over the comets of 1618, where Grassi had made meticulous telescopic observations and was clearly right on the science while GG had not even bothered to observe them, and so the Jesuits, who had earlier celebrated Galileo, sat on their hands when he went on trial.
  • Galileo declared that the comets of 1618 were emanations in the earth’s atmosphere; whereas the Jesuit astronomers claimed they were bodies in highly eccentric orbits that had come from somewhere beyond the moon. In the Dialogo, Galileo had claimed the ocean tides were sloshing caused by the earth’s rotation and so conclusive proof. But centuries before, Aquinas had written that the tides were caused somehow by the moon.
  • Somebody else pointed out that the Catholics have had the longest-running astronomical observatory in the world. Elsewhere that Aquinas wrote that there are multiple possible interpretations of the Bible and we shouldn't settle on THE official one until we know it's true (however false interpretations can be ruled out)
  • Apparently the future Pope told Galileo in 1611 that the theologians needed a little time to go over his work. He pushed them on the issue and said they needed to reinterpret the Bible based on his work of natural philosophy, That was a no-no because only the Church can interpret the Bible (this is before Martin Luther) and that is in fact where all of their political power comes from. So rather than being anti-science, the Church was forced, politically, into taking GG head on when, for intellectual reasons, they woudl have preferred to continue their centuries-long project of squaring science with religion.
  • (In the discussion it coes clear that science and religion as we think of them today are misleading terms, because science as we understand it didn't exist and neither did religion as we understand it. Natural philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and theology are better terms.
  • here's what the other guy said:
  • The Catholic Church has one of the oldest operating observatories in the world. During the time the Catholic Church was ascendant, Europe experienced one of the greatest scientific booms in world history.
  • The conflict thesis about Galileo and Bruno are basically urban legends that have little connection to what actually happened. It always disappoints atheists when they find out that Galileo was actually kind of a dick, and Bruno wasn't executed in the slightest for his support of heliocentrism, but I try to always attack urban legends whenever they crop up.
  • Geocentricity was not seen to support humanity’s “specialness”. The centre of the universe was the bottom of the universe – everywhere you looked was up. That we occupy the place of least dignity in the universe was a commonplace of classical & medieval poetry. --Andrew Brew
  • "Anachronistically, we tend to think the Church's great problem was negotiating the difference between dogma and emerging science. But the Galileo debate was superimposed on a much older struggle to assimilate Greek thought (Aristotle) w Church teaching." —Jim Harrison
  • "Immutability of the heavens is not & never was prerequisite to geocentricity. Stoics rejected immutability & accepted geo."—@rmathematicus
  • "There is an obsession with suggesting that X was wrong, and that the 'truth' came along and bulldozed all previous lies."—Pete Langman
  • "contrary to popular opinion, Copernicus’ De revolutionibus was not on the Librorum Prohibitorum but only referred there until corrected."
  • "Kepler worried about having his book on the Librorum Prohibitorum but friends pointed out that it became more attractive, forbidden fruit."
  • "All the ban meant was that scholars could not find the book on open shelves but had to apply…duly delivered from the poison cabinet."
  • attributed as a chat
  • presentist ... fuels debate
  • W
  • Jim Harrison: What really ended the debate was not a decision on which system had fewer epicycles and assumptions, but the emergence of a persuasive dynamic explanation. So long as it’s just a matter of geometry, Tycho’s system works as well as a heliocentric system even if you consider the phases of Venus. Once you develop laws of motion and a theory of gravity, however, it becomes pretty hard to think that the itty bitty Earth is lording it over the enormous sun. It seems there was this guy named Newton…
  • Came across a historian of science who is tearing apart the story we were all told about the Catholic Church and Galileo.
  • https: //thonyc.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/but-it-doesn%e2%80%99t-move/
  • A few choice quotes:
  • @rmathematicus: if heliocentrism is so blatantly obvious and only the stupid Catholics didn’t get it because of their “blind faith”, why did the Chinese, who were unencumbered by both Aristotle and the Bible, have to wait until the Jesuits – of all people – came, rather than vice versa? It’s funny how all these clamorous indictments against the Catholic Church for holding back science somehow amount to a big insult to non-European civilizations, who didn’t have the evil Church to hold them back and somehow still didn’t make it, despite being given a 1000-year headstart.
  • @rmathematicus: Don’t forget, heliocentrism had been falsified in good Popperian fashion by the absence of the predicted stellar parallax and the lack of eastward deflection in falling bodies. (Good evidence why Popper is inadequate.) The latter was not empirically settled until the 1790s when Gugliemini dropped weights down the inside of the spiral staircase of the tower of the Univ. of Bologna. The former was apparently settled when Calandrelli observed parallax in a-Lyrae. (“Apparently” because some have contended that he could not have actually observed it. However, it was reported in the literature in 1803.)
  • @rmathematicus: the Jesuits were half-way convinced. Grienberger was reported to have said that Scheiner was on board and even Clavius was not far from the Copernican system. Then GG had to get into a flame war with Grassi over the comets of 1618, where Grassi had made meticulous telescopic observations and was clearly right on the science while GG had not even bothered to observe them, and so the Jesuits, who had earlier celebrated Galileo, sat on their hands when he went on trial.
  • @rmathematics: Galileo declared that the comets of 1618 were emanations in the earth’s atmosphere; whereas the Jesuit astronomers claimed they were bodies in highly eccentric orbits that had come from somewhere beyond the moon. In the Dialogo, Galileo had claimed the ocean tides were sloshing caused by the earth’s rotation and so conclusive proof. But centuries before, Aquinas had written that the tides were caused somehow by the moon.
  • @rmathematicus: Somebody else pointed out that the Catholics have had the longest-running astronomical observatory in the world. Elsewhere that Aquinas wrote that there are multiple possible interpretations of the Bible and we shouldn't settle on THE official one until we know it's true (however false interpretations can be ruled out)
  • @rmathematicus: Apparently the future Pope told Galileo in 1611 that the theologians needed a little time to go over his work. He pushed them on the issue and said they needed to reinterpret the Bible based on his work of natural philosophy, That was a no-no because only the Church can interpret the Bible (this is before Martin Luther) and that is in fact where all of their political power comes from. So rather than being anti-science, the Church was forced, politically, into taking GG head on when, for intellectual reasons, they woudl have preferred to continue their centuries-long project of squaring science with religion.
  • @isomorphisms: (In the discussion it coes clear that science and religion as we think of them today are misleading terms, because science as we understand it didn't exist and neither did religion as we understand it. Natural philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and theology are better terms.
  • here's what the other guy said:
  • The Catholic Church has one of the oldest operating observatories in the world. During the time the Catholic Church was ascendant, Europe experienced one of the greatest scientific booms in world history.
  • The conflict thesis about Galileo and Bruno are basically urban legends that have little connection to what actually happened. It always disappoints atheists when they find out that Galileo was actually kind of a dick, and Bruno wasn't executed in the slightest for his support of heliocentrism, but I try to always attack urban legends whenever they crop up.
  • Andrew Brew: Geocentricity was not seen to support humanity’s “specialness”. The centre of the universe was the bottom of the universe – everywhere you looked was up. That we occupy the place of least dignity in the universe was a commonplace of classical & medieval poetry.
  • Jim Harrison: Anachronistically, we tend to think the Church's great problem was negotiating the difference between dogma and emerging science. But the Galileo debate was superimposed on a much older struggle to assimilate Greek thought (Aristotle) w Church teaching.
  • @rmathematicus: Immutability of the heavens is not & never was prerequisite to geocentricity. The Stoics, for example, rejected immutability & accepted geocentricity.
  • Pete Langman: There is an obsession with suggesting that X was wrong, and that the 'truth' came along and bulldozed all previous lies.
  • "contrary to popular opinion, Copernicus’ De revolutionibus was not on the Librorum Prohibitorum but only referred there until corrected."
  • "Kepler worried about having his book on the Librorum Prohibitorum but friends pointed out that it became more attractive, forbidden fruit."
  • "All the ban meant was that scholars could not find the book on open shelves but had to apply…duly delivered from the poison cabinet."