errors, errors, and some more...

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ShadowScout
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Actually...

Postby ShadowScout » Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:22 am

frobisher wrote:
hassanisabbah wrote:
Baraendur wrote:The Shadow War - There was absolutely zero chance that they were going to be able to have a military victory against the shadows.
1000 years before the Minbari along with the Vorlons managed it...
No they didn't. All they did was end it for another thousand years. The Shadows moved prematurely at that point and the Minbari led coallition barely held them after the Vorlons intervened, and B4 arrived on the scene. Before that, the Minbari were losing.
Well, you'd have to take the Real goal of the Shadows into that equation, then things become a bit clearer.
Did they want to win the ShadowWar, destroying or subjugating all other races? Noo, they saw themselves as teachers, shepherds or gardeners, furthering evolution through conflict, making "strong" races stronger and weeding out those races too "weak" to survive. It'd be a bit counter-productive if they used their hyper-technology to just bury them all, wouldn't it?

I think their plans for their "shadow wars" were to first set all races at each other's throats, thus hardening them through conflict against each other, weeding out those too weak to stand even against their own "class" or enemy, and building enough resentment to make sure the Vorlons wouldn't "lull them to orderly sleep" while they were hibernating...
...and then attack openly, "kicking over the anthill" and showing the younger races how far they still had to go, how nasty things the universe still had in store for them thus encouragning them to speed up their R&D even after they were "defeated" - a "victory" which they of course had to allow those younger races, for one because their plans wouldn't be furthered if they won thenselves, for another so that they could go to sleep for their next hibernation cycle.
Of course, if some race impressed them by fighting real hard, the Shadows would consider their job done "prematurely" and allow them that "victory" - till next time, where they would test their mettle again, to make sure they kept their edge.
That would seem a plausible set of rules for their "game" agaist the vorlon's ideology of order and growth through obidience...
(notice that the Shadows actually can't loose using those rules - as long as they manage to start ANY kind of war, their side wins at least a moral victory - not a thing to be taken lightly in a war of ideology. And that was probably the reason why the Vorlons got so frustrated ages ago that they started to cheat, genetically manipulating the younger races to make sure They had an edge in personal encounters with the "angelic" image while introducing telepathy to make sure the younger races had an weapon usable against the Shadows, making it harder for Them to do their moves - remember, teeps can't just jam shadowships, they can detect shadows! Not something to be taken lightly either, if a telepath suddenly can take a peek "behind the curtain" and for example see -what- really gives the orders to the Emperor's new advisor...)

So, concerning Valen's War... there the Shadows followed their usual lead - first set everyone at each other's throats, send races They favor (the "Centauri of Valen's time") on a course of conquest and spread chaos. Then strike themselves, at those who seem likely candidates for a Vorlon rally... such was the situation when B4 arrived. Valen didn't just set the minbari straight, he also formed an alliance against the Shadows with several other races (the Tak'cha for example, though he later kicked them out for being too agressive, attacking not only the enemy but also the Yolu because they wanted to stay neutral), and led them all against the Shadows and those fighting on their side, all with some helpful support by the Vorlons (who certainly didn't engage Shadows, as that would break their rules, but had no such restrictions when dealing with shady helpers - the "Drakh of Valen's time" - and just seeing them, "angels" endorsing Valen will have swayed a Lot of undecided races to his alliance, making them believe the cause is just, good, holy, ordained by their gods, whatever). In the end the Shadows were "driven back to Z'ha'dum", and the races fighting on their side defeated and/or destroyed by the victorious races. The Shadows were "defeated", but had also reached their "minimum objective" - many races felt the touch of chaos and strife, and in their eyes "would become better for it, no matter the Vorlon interferance".

Yeah, spent a lot of time thinking about it, as one of my adventures involves some "leftovers" from that time...
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Postby Babylon 5 Aide » Thu Oct 16, 2003 1:25 pm

Please don't take this as a flame, but as constructive criticism. I will admit up front that I am basing this post on what I have seen locally here in West Virginia. Maybe it’s different elsewhere, but I wanted to add my two credits.

I am aware of the OGL for d20 rules, but I admit I am not that well read on them. That being said, I really feel that the rules in B5 really stink. This book could have been done as a supplement, and since we have yet to see anything else really come out of Mongoose to support the line I am wondering if they will continue the line (which I hope they do). I have yet to even find rules for healing in the book – something that could and should have been put in. Perhaps this was done to make the book more manageable for the public to buy, but as we have seen from AEG’s Stargate game which is almost complete, players prefer it.

The editing was atrocious. There aren't even chapter headers to let you know when you go from one chapter to another. I am awestruck that it made it to print with such simple problems; I know I would have been drawn and quartered for something similar in the military or any college class.

Personally I love the season episode explainer. I liked how it was very complete and gave a lot of good ideas for spin off games and such. Not being extremely familiar with B5's chronology this was a heaven sent piece of information!

I do wonder (as I have thrown out there a few times and have yet to have anyone acknowledge) why the principle characters are considered to be such low level. It does not seem to make sense to me and I wonder why the characters are below the character level that most senior established characters would be... Like around 6th level at least and usually closer to 8-10. This isn't necessarily a detractor, but a question I guess.

Character classes. The officer class for example... There are 4 levels in which the character gets no abilities at all. Why? Are there abilities to be chosen later with sourcebooks? Is it something else? Without an explainer it looks like the class is almost not worth taking. It's currently unbalanced... And not in the d20 spirit.

I love the B5 series and have thoroughly enjoyed the game that we have played thus far. I am glad that Mongoose chose to use d20 to help us tell the story of this station because I like the system and my players are all intimately familiar with it. I am concerned for a number of reasons: the lack of attention to detail on the first major product, the lack of support thus seen (At least in my neck of the woods), and the fact that the boards are almost dead when compared to WotC or Stargate. I'm just a little disappointed I suppose.

I’m ready for more products. More refined, more complete products. I hope that the folks there will take this as a bit of constructive criticism and not a flame. This is a good shot, but falls short from what I would desire… Perhaps I am demanding :)
What do you mean you need a container marked 'Vorlon bacterial waste'? And you need it delievered where? Ok ok ok yeah I know someone that can make it happen...
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Postby KDLadage » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:38 pm

Babylon 5 Aide wrote:Please don't take this as a flame, but as constructive criticism... Perhaps I am demanding :)
Nope. Just sounds like you fall on the same side of the fence I fall on... (i.e.: B5 needed to be a compelte game, base classes and prestige classes do not follow the spirit of the d20 rules, etc.).

The Mongoose Guys are good at taking contructive criticism; so I would not worry about it too much. Still, you might want to avoid descriptions like "I really feel that the rules in B5 really stink." No matter what you say, or how nicely you say it, following something like that, it no longer feels like constructive criticism.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:04 pm

frobisher wrote:
hassanisabbah wrote:
Baraendur wrote:The Shadow War - There was absolutely zero chance that they were going to be able to have a military victory against the shadows.
>> 1000 years before the Minbari along with the Vorlons managed it. But Yeah I just wanted to see some mega conflict
No they didn't. All they did was end it for another thousand years. The Shadows moved prematurely at that point and the Minbari led coallition barely held them after the Vorlons intervened, and B4 arrived on the scene. Before that, the Minbari were losing.

The Minbari didn't win so much as didn't lose 1000 years ago.

This time around, the Shadows were ready, and earlier than the Vorlons had anticipated.

The victory in current war was getting the cycle of wars to stop, forever.

Sorry thats what I meant by winning, ie the shadows were beaten to a stand still that took them 1000 years to recover from. Which is technically a bit of a horror hiding, when you think about it.

Mostly wars are not won, rather one side can't fight on any more (usually because its infrastructure has been bombed flat, and its armed forces are undersupplied - in manpower and resources.

Allies is where its at. Always make sure you have plenty of allies....

Also the Sinclair Valen thing was a bit soft but as its background its ok...

I can't remember what B4 did to change the conflict - its been some time.
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Postby Babylon 5 Aide » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:55 pm

Absolutley right. I just became a little passionate when I was typing :) Sorry about that folks.

Now... Anyone have any answers for me?
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Postby frobisher » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:51 pm

hassanisabbah wrote:I can't remember what B4 did to change the conflict - its been some time.
It gave the Minbari a rallying point, plus some extra resources/technology.

They'd just lost their main starbase to a Shadow attack and were beginning to fold like an Argos deckchair.

It was a big statement of "You don't stand alone any more". (it was the point at which the Vorlons first presented themselves to the Minbari as an ally).
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Re: Actually...

Postby frobisher » Fri Oct 17, 2003 8:14 am

ShadowScout wrote:Well, you'd have to take the Real goal of the Shadows into that equation, then things become a bit clearer.

Did they want to win the ShadowWar, destroying or subjugating all other races? Noo, they saw themselves as teachers, shepherds or gardeners, furthering evolution through conflict, making "strong" races stronger and weeding out those races too "weak" to survive. It'd be a bit counter-productive if they used their hyper-technology to just bury them all, wouldn't it?
However, the Minbari were on the verge of extinction because of the Shadow actions, and nothing else. They were being "weeded out", and by direct action if the Shadows no less.

They were the leading (and at that point only) opponent against the Shadow onslaught, and were only "spared" then because they endorsed the Vorlon viewpoint and became more worthy because of it..?

I don't think so.

If conflict promotes evolution, why stop it when an opponent becomes capable of fighting back adequately? At that point, shouldn't you let this "more adequate" opponent take out the side you'd been favouring as they are now less worthy of evolution?

That "victory" in itself would have proved the Shadows wrong in their view point and the Vorlons correct in theirs, and since what the wars were actually about was these two opposing viewpoints despite what the two sides would have their minions tell you unless they had to live with it, the Shadows wouldn't have conceeded it.

What the Shadows practice and what they preach (as with the Vorlons) are two entirely seperate things. Neither of them are the good guys in the piece, and at the end of the day the whole thing is about trying to (mistakenly) impress Lorien.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Fri Oct 17, 2003 10:27 am

In war there are no good guys and bad guys, only those who write the history and make the films. Still its was still a bit of a cop out.... but these species are kind of more or less gods, and move in mysterious ways.

Personally the vorlons come across as being a harsh arbitrator god, and the shadows a kind of satanic dealer. Both have advantages, but also come with a price as allies. Both are intellectually and morally beyond human concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, and rather more represent forces of the universe itself (interestingly Humans will evolve into a Vorlon like species...).

Kosh was a pretty decent Vorlon all told, given he sacrificed himself for the greater good of the alliance by arranging for involvement, and trying to get Morden to leave the station.

Good and Evil are relative, which is kind of a major point made through out the series, and its a persons actions that count and stand them from the crowd. Delenn is after all partially responcible for the onslaught of the Earth Minbari war.
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Postby ShadowScout » Fri Oct 17, 2003 10:48 am

frobisher wrote:However, the Minbari were on the verge of extinction because of the Shadow actions, and nothing else. They were being "weeded out", and by direct action if the Shadows no less.
Nope - not even close to extinction. It looked bad for them, sure; their fleets and planets were still mostly intact, but the Shadows had shown they could kill even their best defended starbase without too much troubles, the Minbari were fighting at every front, were divided within themselves, had no allies - it looked bleak for their future, and certainly some of the more pessimistic minbari would believe their race wouldn't survive this.
And then B4 appeared with Valen, as a replacement to their starbase, giving them a new place to coordinate things, new technologies to study, and an charismatic leader who had "divine backing" in form of the Vorlons; who united the Minbari clans, united many races to fight the shadows, taught them new tactics and ways of fighting and led them to finally win battles against the other side.

But would the Shadows Really have "weeded them out"? That wasn't their intention, according to Justin, or their "spokes-shades" in Delenn's vision at coriana - and Lorien's comments seemed to confirm that as their true motivations. So I think they wouldn't - they would have kicked their anthill over, and watched how the minbari reacted - and if they had decided to go down fighting, the Shadows would have rewarded this following of their principles by letting them off - remember, at this time the Minbari weren's as vorlonized as they were after Valen's time. If not, the Shadows would have been disappointed, and maybe even left them some weedkiller - you know, the sort that gives a race a last 5-year chance to save themself if they just strive to look hard enough.
They were the leading (and at that point only) opponent against the Shadow onslaught, and were only "spared" then because they endorsed the Vorlon viewpoint and became more worthy because of it..?
Nope, they only got the vorlon viewpoint after Valen. And they were only leading the war against the shadows after Valen. His apperance if the one thing that truly screwed up the shadow's plans - something they just hadn't counted on (while I presume the Vorlons got an message from the future explaining what they were to do with that strange space station that just appeared where the Minbari would find it - and thus got the drop on the shadows in using it to their advantage).

And as the Minbari thus became the Vorlon's pet, do you really think the Shadows would have destroyed them just out of spite? When it is only logical that the "rules of engagement" between those two had something to say about that (otherwise they'd have depopulated the galaxy long ago - every side killing off all races that joined their enemy left no younger race alive). Only when those rules were finally broken in B5 time did the Vorlons go that way, and the Shadows followed (probably later complaining to Lorien "---they did it first")
If conflict promotes evolution, why stop it when an opponent becomes capable of fighting back adequately? At that point, shouldn't you let this "more adequate" opponent take out the side you'd been favouring as they are now less worthy of evolution?
Possibly. And who said that didn't happen? Certainly some of the races that fought against the minbari and their allies aren't around anymore in B5 time... so guess what must have happened to them (especially when one thinks about the Tak'Cha, or how bloodthirsty minbari warriors can get when motivated by suitable enemy actions).
And the Shadows couldn't sustain their war too long in any case, as there's still their hibernation cycle coming up... so they had to stop, but make it look as to promote their ideas - that the younger races stopped them because they grew stronger through all the fighting, thus pointing them into a direction they wanted them to be. Of course, with vorlon-supported races that's only a minor victory - see below; because there the Vorlons had the next hibernation cycle to spoil the shadow's teachings... but you can't always win a total victory when playing galactic chess...
That "victory" in itself would have proved the Shadows wrong in their view point and the Vorlons correct in theirs, and since what the wars were actually about was these two opposing viewpoints despite what the two sides would have their minions tell you unless they had to live with it, the Shadows wouldn't have conceeded it.
Actually not.
The shadows point was that races would "grow" through chaos and conflict, and they were right in that - as human history shows.
The Vorlons point was that races would "grow" through order and obidience, and they were right in that - as humna history shows.
But were also wrong of course, in thinking that races could grow only through their way. Once the Shadows knew that - as an inscrription on Z'ha'dum shows, that true understanding could only be found in the area Between light and dark, order and chaos, good and evil. Only order freezes all growth. Only chaos destroys as quickly as it creates. The true truth lies in between. But in their struggle against the Vorlons, the Shadows lost their way and sought only to oppose them instead of doing things the right way - and the Vorlons did much of the same.

Now to get back to your statement - the war wasn't about whose side would win, it was about whose idea would win. A Total shadow victory would have been Their "pet races" victorious at the end of a Shadow War, so that their ideas of growth through strife would be propagated even in their absence. But if/when they didn't manage that, they could still score a minor victory in their eyes by actually starting the war - thus at least kicking over the anthill and insuring Vorlon order didn't stifle all growth for this millenia. Only if they wouldn't have got Any race to fight would they have to admit total defeat and concede the Vorlons won that round - but I don't think that Ever happened. On the other hand I also don't think the Shadows ever won a complete victory, as their way just wouldn't encourage cooperation betweent heir minion races - they'd have wanted those as rivals so they could "grow" through the competition; wheras the Vorlon's ideology of order would have encouraged many races to band together in alliance, trust each other and move coordianted and thus gave them an advantage agaist the shadow's minions (unless the Shadows were ever successful in setting those races at each other's throats to prevent them from forming alliances - but then the Vorlon ace came into play, because if an "angel" says you should forget the strife with your neighbor and concentrate on the "greater threat" from outside most races would have listened)
What the Shadows practice and what they preach (as with the Vorlons) are two entirely seperate things. Neither of them are the good guys in the piece, and at the end of the day the whole thing is about trying to (mistakenly) impress Lorien.
True.
Both lost sight of what they wanted and who they were, sacrificing the core of their ideas on the altar of opposing the other side. Both wanted to impress someone by proving their way is true, by making the younger races choose their side and thus proving to the others they had been right all along - both wanted to impress not only Lorien as their "first one", but also the others!

But JMS iconology still works, making people see the Shadows as the worse of the two - bent only on destruction; which annoys me sometimes, as I found the twisted way he portrayed them both as "grey guys" behind their white/black fassades, both meaning well in their own strange way, both attempting to sacrifice the lesser good for the greater colored by their beliefs. It does take some twisted thinking to follow their actions (more twisted for the Shadows PoV for a human - the Vorlons are easier to understand), but once you do it's delightful to re-watch the show and think about "why does he/they do this", and realizing how much they had strayed from their path as galactic guardian... and then you also understand the final confrontation, an why they left the galaxy in embarresment (at least they had the wisdom to realize how things stood after it was pointed out to them so clearly by Lorien, Dheridan and Delenn - many humans would just have switched to denial mode and beat the dead horse some more... also something you don't often see in a SF show - bravo JMS!)
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Postby hassanisabbah » Tue Oct 21, 2003 3:56 pm

Wow - I thought I got into the series, but you guys..... :lol: :twisted:
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Postby ShadowScout » Tue Oct 21, 2003 4:30 pm

hassanisabbah wrote:Wow - I thought I got into the series, but you guys.....
...are completely beyond the pale, beyond help, hopeless and ready for the rubber room? :wink:
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Postby Babylon 5 Aide » Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:07 pm

I would have said sedation myself :)
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Postby hassanisabbah » Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:02 pm

Bouncy Wall Indoor Castle Time!

Still its good to have a passion. Mine is just not Sci-Fi
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Postby Morden » Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:29 am

hassanisabbah wrote:Wow - I thought I got into the series, but you guys..... :lol: :twisted:
As someone I know described it, I'm borderline pathological about it.
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Willing to take the chance....

Postby pmvanova » Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:23 pm

I was surprised and pleased to see the B5 book on the shelf and after reading the foreward by JMS just had to force my hand into my pocket and spend the money on it. (my debit card screamed all the way through the transaction but I told it to stop, it was making a scene and it was worth the money)

Well, as a warning, in other groups, I was labeled a closet SpellCop, in a well meaning and joking way. I am the pickiest with spelling typos, especially with typos that were not caught because of a spellcheck program. I never got the hang of correct grammar and if I can't read it and understand it because of it's structure, it's my fault.
(I can't let typos go out into a chat room either. If I spell something wrong, I have to back up and retype before sending..slows my speed down incredibly)
::settles ruffled feathers::
(twice)

I am not a big fan of the d20 system, having dropped the original D&D system years ago..BUT I am willing to give this a try because of my dedication to Babylon 5 as a gaming world. I've been meaning to adapt B5 to the Traveller system, which seems easy enough, but as all things, it's not as easy as it looks. Therefore I was pleased to find this edition.

I am willing keep the current book as long as somewhere down the line...(I know it's impossible, but hey, one can always hope) a second edition will be published with the corrections and clarifications.

I am willing to invest in this product line because it's the best thing to come along for the B5 universe so far.
So nyah! :wink:
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