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XPiratez / [Fanfic] Special Thinkin' Place
« on: November 23, 2022, 09:12:08 pm »
Cranky Brianna stared into her cup of moonshine and grimaced.  “Don’t they ever clean the fucking still?” 

She opened the door to the closet and dumped the foul liquid out into the corridor.  She quickly, yet quietly, closed the door again.  No sense alerting others to the presence of her Special Thinkin Spot.  She pulled “her” personal computer from underneath a pile of rags and dropped some sectoweed on a brass brazier.  Using the last few drops of moonshine left in her cup as starter fluid, she soon had the funky alien weed filling the closet with its dank, earthy aroma. 

“Ok, Bri, THINK,” she murmured, taking a deep lungful of smokey air before coughing repeated.  Even before the coughing abated, however, she’d pulled several pieces of scrap paper together, along with a pen, and pulled up some notes she’d made on the computer. 

“Ok, so both Lokk’Naars and Narlocks agree on their shared origin, so what if…” Brianna began, frantically sketching dots and lines on a piece of paper, muttering and crossing things out and redrawing them, soon crumpling the paper into a ball and tossing it on the brazier and beginning anew on another sheet. 

A loud SLAM sounded as the door violently swung in, knocking the brazier and its burning contents to the floor.  “SHIT!” Brianna swore as she scrambled to snuff the burning embers scattered about, while the foot of Sugar Knife withdrew and was replaced by her grinning, clearly drunken, head. 

“Wass going on in heeeerre, hmmm?” 

“I’m WORKING.  And you, Sugar Knife, are INTERRUPTING that work!” 

“Ahhhh, Cranky Brianna.  Truly a gal worthy of her name!”  Sugar Knife stepped into the closet, then crouched down next to Brianna, her heavy frame seeming to make the space seem impossibly cramped.  “I followed your scent, like a good hunter.”  Her face scrunched up, her nostrils flaring.  “Sectoweed, really?” 

“It aids the research.” 

“And what research are you doing in a closet, anyway?  Shouldn’t you be in the lab with the other Brainers?”  Sugar asked, punctuating her words with repeated shoves to Brianna’s upper arm.

“Nothing you’d understand, meathead!” 

“Oh yeah, maybe I should tell the Cap’n you’re doing some kind of unauth… unapp… some kinda stuff you ain’t should be doing!” 

The two women glared at each other for a long moment.  Sugar’s composure cracked and she began laughing, falling over backwards and landing with a loud smack as her muscular bottom struck the plastcrete floor. 

“Awww, I don’t give a shit what you’re doing.  Come out and have some fun!  Cap’n’s got a wrestling tournament going on in Hangar 2.  Winner gets to interrogate those two Altar Boys that got brung back last night.” 

“There’s nothing more useful those guys can tell us, though.” 

“Yeah, but the Altar boys don’t know that!” giggled the large woman.  “Got to help with an interrogation a couple of weeks ago - the boy pissed himself when I took off my top!  Don’t think he’d ever seen a set of tits before, much less a pair like mine!  For all the shit they try and cram in those boys heads, you think they’d take five minutes and give ‘em a clue about the facts o’ life.” 

Cranky Brianna rolled her eyes, and, satisfied that the fire hazard had been dealt with and seriously annoyed that her contemplative mood had been ruined, began stuffing her papers together. 

“Whuzzis?” Sugar rolled herself back into a seated position and thunked her pointer finger repeatedly on a piece of paper covered with lines. 

Brianna sighed.  “Honestly, maybe nothing.  Just something I’ve been thinking about.  It’s probably nonsense.” 

“Tell me.”  Brianna looked earnestly at the frowning Brainer.  Brianna’s features softened, and Sugar pulled out a flask and offered it to her.  Brianna took a long pull and sat with the flask in hand, pulling her thoughts together. 

“Ok, so there’s all kinds of things we Brainers are trying to figure out, right?  There’s the obvious stuff, like how various weapons work and how to best kill stuff, there’s interrogations of prisoners, there’s work to figure out new facilities and stuff like how aircraft and their weapons work, and all that’s good and useful stuff.  But there’s other stuff we find out, and I’m not sure what to make of it all.” 

“Ok, go on.”  Sugar pulled her flask back from the now distracted Brainer, and took a sip.

“The thing is, we’re finding all kinds of bits and pieces of knowledge, but we don’t really know how it all goes together.  Like, by trial and error we can figure out how to make it so a button in the cockpit of a helicopter sends a signal to a weapon pod, but there used to be whole fields of knowledge and it all fit together.  So that the people of old didn’t need to tinker and try stuff to get things to work, they could just, you know, build stuff out of stuff they made and they knew exactly how it all worked.  And we don’t know that stuff anymore - I think that’s part of the Star Gods plan.  As long as we just use technology or tinker with it, but don’t make or, or only make it in ways they approve of, they can be content that we’ll never challenge them.” 

“Ok.”  Sugar nodded.

“So, their study of materials gave them insight into chemistry - poisons and acids and the like - which gave them insight into how matter and energy worked, and it was all systematic and rigorous and predictable.  They called it “science,” and it was the foundation of much of their world before the arrival of the Star Gods.” 

Sugar nodded again.  Brainers would get like this, she’d discovered, and it was better to just nod and keep drinking whenever they did.  They’d run out of words eventually. 

“But anyway we’ve been discovering lots of other stuff, too, about the Lokk’naars and Narlocks and their religions, and about the Church and it’s not-exactly-veneration of the Star Gods, and connections between the faith of the Church and the faith of the Deep Ones, and where the Reticulans fit into all of this and… and..” Brianna struggled with the words, even as they came out tumbling faster and faster, and suddenly tongue-tied, scrambled to pull out a piece of paper covered with lines and dots.  “What if there’s some pattern, some kind of systematic ‘science,’ that lets us understand all the strange religions and mystical stuff, too?   Like, look at this!” 

Sugar pointedly fixed her eyes on the paper.  “It’s, uh, lines.  And dots.  And a buncha symbols.” 

“Ok, this pair, right here.  This here is the Lokk’Naar Golden Prince… and here, this is the White Father of the Narlock pantheon.”


“Ok, there was this ancient Pureblood, name of Cartez.  He did a bunch of stuff, centuries before the Star Gods.  He conquered an empire, but he also invented Cartesian Duelism.”


“Um, it’s like… you know about fighting duels, right?” 


“Well, he kind of defined the whole thing!  And the thing about duels is that they, in theory, are about even opposites.  Like… the light side and the dark side.  Day and Night.  Moon and Sun.  Female and Male. I still don’t know how slapping someone with a glove to start the duel fits into the theory, yet, but I’m working on it.”

Sugar blinked silently. 

“Ok, so here’s the thing… we know the Narlocks are supposedly described as ‘aligned with light’ and our Lokk’Naar allies are ‘dark’ and both sides have eight deities, right?  What if they’re the same deities, just in light and dark aspects?  See, the Golden Prince is all about Pride, and the White Father is about Humility… but in their own ways, both about possessiveness of others.  The Prince is a slave master, and White Father has his vice of possessiveness.  Same thing!”


“Hasn’t it ever occurred to you how odd it is that Jack just happened to have his home base right outside where we settled, and why he seems so willing to help us?  Jill has her ninjas, who seem to be becoming more and more active even as we become more active?”

“Those ninja gals are certainly a good fight, for sure…”

“There’s an old incantation, pre-Star God, that goes, ‘Jack and Jill went up a hill, to fetch a pail of water.  Jack fell down, and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.’  What if Jack and Jill are aspects of the same being, and that ancient rhyme is encoding something important.  What if instead of a hill, they went up into space, and something - maybe the Star Gods, beat them down and sent them back to us?  I just want to figure out what the ‘pail of water’ represents… maybe it’s somehow tied to the worship of the Elder Gods of the Deep Ones pantheon, and-” 

“This… is… nuts.“ Sugar, incredulous, broke her own rule and spoke up, interrupting the ranting Brainer.  “Like, seriously, Brianna, even if there’s like a pattern and a science and hidden meanings to all of this stuff… WHO CARES?!  Look.  Every day we go out and some days we don’t all come back, and so we drink and make merry and all that happy shit and we deal with it.  And some of us drink too much and some get too rough with the prisoners and some freak out on the battlefield and start shooting wildly and some of us just wake screaming from nightmares.  And we accept that!  We tough it out and fuckin’ deal!  And now you want to tell me there’s some weirdo fucking PATTERN to all of this and we aren’t even in control of our own fates and we’re just cogs in some bizarre mechanistic cosmos, ruled by intangible laws?  That there’s secret meanings behind everything that happens?” she began, growing increasingly more strident. 

Brianna, too startled to do anything more, nodded.  Dimly, her booze-and-sectoweed addled brain marveled at how articulate the normally poorly-spoken soldier was, but Brianna had enough sense to not say anything. 

“WELL FUCK THAT NOISE!”  Sugar took the last swig of moonshine from her flask and tossed it down the corridor, which shattered against the plastcrete as if to punctuate the point.  “Yesterday I saw some peasant girl with us on her first mission die.  A ninja snuck up on her and cut her arm off; I dome’d the ninja from behind but it was too late for that poor girl.  She had just enough time to look at the stump of her arm in horror before she bled out and died.  She’s dead!  DEAD!  So I don’t give a fuck about any of this shit.  Fuck you and fuck your project.  Fuck Jack and fuck Jill and fuck the Lokk’Naars and Narlocks and their fucking deities and fuck the gods in space and under the sea and in other planes of existence and hiding right up my Hellerium-tainted meaty ass!  Fuck ‘em all!  If I’m part of their plans I don’t have to know about it, and I damn sure don’t have to fucking like it!” 

Sugar Knife turned on her heel and slammed the closet door, managing to be somehow even louder than she’d been in kicking it open a few minutes prior. 

The scent of moonshine, sectoweed and sweat filled the still air of the corridor, as a quiet sobbing echoed.

XPiratez / Approaches to Base Building
« on: June 22, 2020, 07:02:00 pm »
After not touching XPiratez for a while, I've gotten back into it this last week.  I'm liking the changes, particularly with regard to events.  Throwing/bows also seem to have gotten some love, which is nice!  I've been loving the throwing axes.

Unlike vanilla X-Com, where you could get away with it, you can't just build a couple of "Do everything" bases and call it a day - there's simply too much stuff to be built and done.  Here's my current approach, in July of the second year:

- Main base, Isle of Lesbos in the Med, all the research happens here.  I have two hangars, one for El Fuego (heavy intercepts) and one for a Turtle (undersea and general combat).  Also 50 runts working on Chateau and X-Grog whenever they're not doing equipment/extraction/gambling/tokens/enslavement/recruitment stuff.  Goal is to transition this to ground missions and science entirely.

- 2nd base, China, 2 hangars, with Airbus (w/ assigned Lokk'Narr team for sneaky missions) and Pachyderm (for orbital or do-this-in-a-hurry ground missions.)  Also setting up large living quarters and one or more dojos; the plan is to have a large population of Gals in training here, as well as being my second point for launching ground missions.

Next two bases are more peripheral; they're staffed with Peasants constantly training in Dojos and with second-line gear, which has been sufficient to fight off the Ratmen and Doom raids they've had (albeit with casualties from the Doom Imps!).  They also have a single hangar, currently empty, waiting on good interceptor craft.  One is in Antartica and I'm working towards making that my Mint/heavy workshop base - I just got the Mint and am constructing it; for now it's 65 runts making X-Grog, and the other is in Brazil and has 4 Sectoweed farms going. 

Once I've got a little more cash, I want to set up  hyperwave/hangar with interceptor/token garrison bases in North America, Austrailia and central Africa as well. 

What are other people's approaches to base building? 

XPiratez / Just finished my first play-through. Some thoughts.
« on: May 01, 2018, 04:13:08 am »
Just completed my first play through of X-Piratez.  Overall, I had a blast!  Again and again I found myself amazed at the level of depth Dioxine has added to an almost 25 year old game.  I started last fall with 99H1 and upgraded to 99I2a to finish it, with a several month break in between.  I wanted to share some thoughts I had about it, in no particular order.  Warning, has some spoilers.

- I’d played a few missions in, and I had gotten the hang of the “raid the church” missions.  I’d learnt that killing people on those missions was generally punished, and that sometimes prisoners were nice to have for robbery.  So I set out with harpoon guns with stun bolts on what I thought was another routine temple raid. 
  I was wrong!  Turns out it was full of zombies!  I hadn’t encountered them before, and found out the hard way - by losing a gal - that stunning was useless against them.
  Fortunately, out of sheer laziness, I had a number of other weapons that I’d left sitting in my airbus, so after racing the survivors back, tossing their weapons aside, and grabbing the various swords and bats I had, managed to defeat my foes.  Being thrown a curve like that really got me hooked.

- I appreciate that there’s a lot of written backstory as to what’s going on, even if I wasn’t always sure about how it all tied together.  With the limited tools available, Dioxine manages to use Bootypedia & workshop to give a strong sense of a living world, all the more impressive given the limited ways in which the game engine permits storytelling. 

- One small disappointment - the ending. 
The ending is basically the ending of regular XCom, albeit with some text changes - I’m guessing this is an engine limitation?  But I would have like to have found out more about Jill, leader of the Naarlocks. I found myself wondering if the Knights of Cydonia had survived and would aid me in the final battle, or if they were themselves the final enemy.  I wondered about who was really behind the Pink Ships, Shadowtech, and the falling out between the Star Gods and the Reticulans.  One data disk alludes to there being a few hundred million humans & mutants on the surface, but 13 billion Gillmen or other undersea denizens, and their Elder Gods are never really explored.
The game never really answers these questions, but I gather that Dioxine is still working on the ending, so I should probably shut up and be patient.     ;D

- Like others, I found the endgame can drag a little.  With over a billion dolaros, via my
currency forgery and battle tank sales
I found that Ivan Dogovitch’s QoL mods helped shave some time off the waiting game.  I had enough manufacturing capacity that I could basically ignore everything and still have a monthly score in the thousands, plus piles of cash coming in.  I took missions that seemed like they’d be fun, or good practice for the gals, and ignored things I thought might be dangerous or simply tedious. 

- Speaking of cash, I rarely have more than 2 or 3 bases in a regular game of X-Com - in my X-Pirates play-through, I ended up with the full 8 bases: My first science base, my first industrial printer/spa base, my factory base, my “build the conquerer” factory/printer/workshop base, and 4 interception bases.  The very different interception & manufacturing game in X-Pirates really drives you to expand your operations - there’s simply no way you can do all the things you’d want to do in one (or two, or three) bases. 

- One aspect of the game I never really explored much were alternate soldiers or tanks.  The Gals, particularly once trained at a spa, seemed to be pound-for-pound the best fighters I could get.  I guess I can see some value in tanks
or synths
for fighting enemies with strong voodoo, but I’m not sure I get how slaves, Lokk’Naars, or the new peasants fit in.  Likewise, I never really experimented with hiring veterans, freaks, etc.  Am I missing something, or do other people not find them particularly compelling? 

- Another thing that bugged me - and this is probably more an engine limitation than something Dioxine can fix - was finding out where to source things.  I went with the grey codex, and could theoretically build sorceress suits, but I was never able to figure out how or where to source a Tome of Lightning.  Likewise, sythmetal mesh, magischen motors, force crystals, etc. always seemed to be in short supply, and it took a lot of digging to figure out how to get parts.  I see in the latest build that when you’re looking at the fence list you can see what uses a particular item has, which is nice - I suppose you could use that to work backward to see what you might disassemble to get parts, but not everything can be disassembled, and you have to have one of the items first.  Likewise, getting all the components in one place can be a hassle - the “all vaults” will show me all vaults, but it gives me no idea where those items are, which is kind of tedious when you have 8 bases!  Again, though, this is an engine limitation, and not Dioxine’s problem. 

- There are perhaps too many trappings, and I frequently found myself struggling to figure out exactly what to equip my gals with.  Part of that is probably bad inventory management on my part - toss the old crap out! - but I found myself having to constantly consult the Bootypedia to figure out what to have the gals wear. 

All things considered, though, X-Pirates is absolutely breathtaking in it’s ambition and depth.  If the new XCOM games are all about taking the old X-Com and purifying it to it’s simplest elements so everyone can enjoy it, X-Piratez goes in the opposite direction: adding complexity - and meaningful, game-affecting complexity! - to an old classic. 

Oh, and lots of cartoon boobs.   ;D

Definitely worth the donation!,4604.0.html

XPZ Strategy/Tactics / Sell me on better weapons & better strategies!
« on: September 27, 2017, 10:28:50 pm »
As someone who played the original X-Com as a kid, I'm totally loving X-Piratez!  It's quirky and fun, and the variability it brings to the table makes the 25+ year old game engine feel fresh & new again.  In original X-Com, I'd invariably end up with a Skyranger full of soldiers in Powered Armor, with Heavy Plasma, except for a few who had Psi-Amps or Blaster Launchers.  I'd scout the enemy, mind control the baddies, use them to find more baddies, mind control them, then march the whole lot out somewhere and shoot them with a blaster bomb.  Not in this mod!

Right now, in Sept 2602, I'm using a Shadowbat for most of my ground missions.  I typically have a mix of gals in Camp Paint/Guerrilla Gear, with Hunting/Auto/Battle/Las/Dragoon rifles up on the wings of the bat, along with Rogues with hunting bows and fire arrows, while my scouting is Barbarian/Amazon gals with Barbaric swords.  I've been using this basic approach for almost a year in-game and it works pretty well.  I GTFO immediately if I'm up against lots of Marsec/Megapol/Mercs, unless there's several near the Shadowbat I can get to with my sword Gals, but otherwise this approach works pretty well.  I relied on grenades a lot in my earlier days, and I still keep some on board, along with shotguns, but I don't use grenades or shotguns much anymore, unless it's a really close-quarters mission, like an Archeological Dig.  I've yet to really use the heavy weapons or explosives much; though I did use a grenade launcher against a Megapol landed ship to mixed results. 

On underwater missions, I'm using my "B" team I keep for defense purposes at a manufacturing base, and my typical approach is to have them swim up to level 4 or 5, and slowly patrol.  They're high enough so that they have clear lines of sight every direction and can't be easily surprised.  They all have X-bows, which works fairly well - I've noticed the baddies I meet often take 5-6 X-bow shots to take down, but hey, low-risk ranged weapon training! 

I managed to find a single space suit in a warehouse raid, so I typically have that on someone, armed with a heavy laser, during space missions.  Those pods are terrible.

Any advice?  What do you do differently? 

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