Now-Crowd Billboards - Party Time   

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Just in time for the party comes the Now-Crowd Billboards - Party Time! Whether it is for New Years Eve, out dancing at the night club, or at a more intimate party in the home, the Now-Crowd Billboards - Party Time is ready to make your occasion a real party with a large crowd quickly and easily! And it's not just for parties, many of the billboards can be used for any modern crowd or store scene!

It can be lonely being a Daz Figure. With too many friends in the same scene, you can bring Daz to a screeching halt without some serious computer hardware! So often, the lonely Daz Figure will be in scenes with only 2, 3, or maybe 4 other figures! Billboards are a fantastically quick and resource easy way to add background crowds to your scenes. These pre-rendered elements are great to play the background characters in your scene. The Now-Crowd Billboards improves on standard billboards by providing 72 different views for every billboard figure. Change a billboard figure to 12 different horizontal angles and 6 different vertical angles. When your camera moves, the Now-Crowd Billboards can be changed to match!*

And with this product coming from RiverSoft Art, you know that there will be great scripts to make these billboards easy to use! There is one script to turn the billboards to face the camera and another script to change billboard figure angle based on horizontal and vertical orientation.

For Iray and 3Delight

No other products are needed to use the Now-Crowd Billboards - Party Time.

Price: $22.95 Special Price: $11.48


          

Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

GOP Senators Unnerved and ‘Concerned’ About ‘Betrayal’ of Kurds in Syria   

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GOP Senators Unnerved and ‘Concerned’ About ‘Betrayal’ of Kurds in SyriaBRENDAN SMIALOWSKIPresident Donald Trump’s decision to pave the way for a Turkish invasion of northern Syria at the expense of Kurdish allies in the region has infuriated Republican allies in the Senate who have spent the last two weeks twisting themselves in knots to defend him from an impeachment inquiry. Late on Sunday, the White House released a one-paragraph statement declaring that a Turkish invasion of northern Syria was imminent, and the United States would “not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area.” For Kurds in the region—who have been fighting ISIS with U.S.-supplied weapons and are largely considered the strongest fighting force in Syria—the declaration amounts to an abrogration of agreements with the United States to defend them against Turkey, which considers them to be terrorists. In June, Trump himself warned that abandoning the alliance would allow Turkey to “wipe out the Kurds, who helped us with ISIS.”Trump’s Crazy Syria Move Will Wipe Out America’s Allies and Set Up a Big ISIS ComebackThe backlash from his Republican allies was swift.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), led the way on Monday morning, with the South Carolina senator calling the move “shortsighted and irresponsible” on Fox & Friends, a show that effectively serves as a televised presidential daily brief for Trump.“This impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos, Iran is licking their chops, and if I’m an ISIS fighter, I’ve got a second lease on life,” Graham said. “I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey’s military and their economy if they step one foot into Syria. I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is.”Graham even referenced the House’s impeachment inquiry, unprompted, before adding that while “I’ve tried to help him,” the president’s behavior was “just unnerving to its core.”Graham, who has spent years trying to steer Trump closer to the hawkish foreign policy stances held by his Republican predecessors, opened the floodgates for Republicans who see Trump’s move as a threat to a critical U.S. ally in the region, and a potentially disastrous embrace of an autocratic regime.Indeed, Monday saw widespread pushback from around the Senate GOP, from lawmakers who’ve cozied up to Trump to those who have been more willing to call him out. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Trump ally who has nudged him toward more hawkish positions on Venezuela and Iran policy, called the decision “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that he was “deeply concerned” that the decision could leave Kurds who risked their lives to fight ISIS in harm’s way.And Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), probably Trump’s most vocal Senate GOP critic, characterized the pullout as “a betrayal” that “presages another humanitarian disaster” in Syria. Romney went so far as to join Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to demand that administration officials explain their move to lawmakers and the public. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), meanwhile, has toned down his Trump criticism lately but warned that the retreat would “likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) managed to subtweet the president, calling Trump’s move “a terribly unwise decision” moments after the president described his wisdom on the matter as “great and unmatched.”Even Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare rebuke of the president whom he has pledged to protect from removal from office, pleaded with Trump to maintain an American presence in the region and to prevent Turkey from invading.“I urge the president to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners,” McConnell said in a statement. Major new conflict between Turkey and our partners in Syria, McConnell said, “would seriously risk damaging Turkey’s ties to the United States and causing greater isolation for Turkey on the world stage.”Among Trump’s allies seeking to thread the needle between opposing the withdrawal and ensuring that the president didn’t feel attacked was Sen. Ted Cruz, who tweeted that while Trump was “right to want to bring our soldiers home,” it would be “DISGRACEFUL” (capital letters Cruz’s) to allow Turkey to attack Kurdish allies in the region.“Our enemies and rivals (Iran, Russia, etc.) don’t abandon their allies,” Cruz said. “If we want allies to stand with America in the future, we shouldn’t either. Honorable nations stand by their friends.”Seemingly alone among Senate Republicans in supporting the withdrawal was Sen. Rand Paul, who is perhaps the biggest cheerleader of Trump’s isolationist instincts. The Kentucky senator told reporters that he stands with Trump “as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy.”Other Senate Republicans have remained tight-lipped on the president’s decision, perhaps praying that Trump will reverse course on the withdrawal—as he did in December 2018, after sharp rebukes from within the party and the resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis halted a hastily announced drawdown of U.S. troops from Syria.Asked during an event celebrating a trade agreement with Japan on Monday afternoon about whether he had consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the decision, Trump insisted that he had.“I consulted with everybody,” Trump said.Additional reporting: Sam Brodey Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



          

America’s illustrator: Norman Rockwell exhibit – with paintings, posters and magazine covers – opens at the MAC   

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“I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” – Norman Rockwell

Mention the name “Norman Rockwell,” and different thoughts bubble up for different people.

The gawky New England artist charmed millions of Americans for nearly 50 years as the Saturday Evening Post’s most beloved cover illustrator and chronicler of small-town life. At the same time, many critics snubbed Rockwell as too cliché, sentimental or homogenous to be taken seriously.

“Norman Rockwell is arguably America’s most famous artist ever,” said Wes Jessup, executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, where a new exhibition, “Norman Rockwell’s America,” opened this weekend. “Who was more famous? Warhol? No. Warhol was actually a big collector of Rockwell.”

Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 and died in 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at age 84. He lived and worked during some of the most impactful movements in modern art history such as impressionism, cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.

But he forged his own way as an illustrator. He once said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I’ve always called myself an illustrator.”

“I’m 50, and when I was in college, Rockwell was considered retrograde. He was overlooked,” Jessup said. “So I think there is a rediscovery coming from my generation and younger people.”

Last month, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released her new album, provocatively titled “Norman (expletive) Rockwell.” The moniker suggests that maybe everything in America is not quite so perfect after all.

There is even a term bolstering Rockwell’s lasting impact on popular culture: “Rockwellian.” It can refer to anything quaint, idealistic or sentimental such as a “Rockwellian childhood” or a “Rockwellian holiday celebration.”

‘Vivid and affectionate portraits’

No matter where one places Rockwell in the canon, his depictions of everyday life made him the most widely circulated and universally beloved American artist of the 20th century. Rockwell’s “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country” garnered him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The MAC exhibition will use Rockwell’s singular art and enduring vision of a hopeful America to chronicle the nation’s history and examine what constitutes the American spirit. “Norman Rockwell America” is a show of 22 oil paintings, seven charcoal or graphite studies, original posters and all 323 Post magazine covers spanning six decades. It’s the first solo exhibition of Rockwell’s paintings and covers to visit the Inland Northwest.

The exhibition is arranged in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. The original works give viewers the chance to observe Rockwell’s superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, characteristics sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions.

In a masterful style almost photograph-like, and in hyper-real detail, Rockwell painted everyday people in ordinary situations. His goal was to tell a story, in a single picture, armed only with a paintbrush.

He lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, Korean War and Vietnam. But the stories he told most often were relentlessly optimistic, depicting a simpler world, one worth fighting for.

In Rockwell’s paintings, the nation’s rich tapestry is united by holiday rituals, faith and family life. Rockwell’s America is a place where honest, hard-working people endeavor to live rather than a world in which they really live. As Peter Schjedahl wrote in the New Yorker, “He didn’t illustrate Middle America. He invented Middle America.”

For example, readers of the Post delighted in Rockwell’s paintings of humorous childhood escapades. The iconic images include the illustration of the little boys running while yanking on their clothes after sneaking a dip in the local waterhole, the little girl with a black eye sitting outside the principal’s office with a huge grin spread on her face, and the young runaway chatting with a cop at the soda fountain counter with his bundle of clothes tied to a stick in full view under his barstool.

There are lots of intergenerational interactions, too: a grandfather picking up a bat to hit a few balls with the little ones, the daughter watching mom put on makeup at her vanity table and the parents putting their kids to bed. In 1955, Post readers voted the 1951 Thanksgiving issue their all-time favorite cover. The illustration depicts a woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant as they are observed by other people at their table.

‘Extraordinary in the ordinary’

“He found the extraordinary in the ordinary moments because when you get to the truth of life, I think what we really remember is how beautiful it was to have a cup of tea with that person,” said Rockwell’s granddaughter Abigail Rockwell, who conducted a phone interview from her home back East.

“Yes, you will remember the Taj Mahal after you visit, but don’t we really go back to the small moments and think, ‘Oh God, I miss having tea with that person?’”

One of the paintings hanging in the MAC exhibit is titled “The Party After the Party.” Rockwell lovingly created an intimate scene in which a granddaughter kneels on the parlor floor in front of her grandmother’s chair. The pair holds hands as the young woman, still clad in her finery, tells Grandma all that happened at the party.

“Yes, I just got chills!” said Abigail Rockwell, now the de facto historian of the family. “That is a really sweet and memorable moment. That is part of the Edison Mazda series (of advertisements Rockwell illustrated) in the 1920s. I’ve always thought it’s some of his best work.”

Abigail Rockwell, who also is a successful jazz singer, will travel to Spokane to give a talk at the MAC on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. and lead a private tour. Tickets are $25. She also will sign copies of the recently re-released autobiography by her grandfather, “My Adventures as an Illustrator: The Definitive Edition.” Abigail Rockwell has spent much of the last several years researching and updating the book. Her goal was to bust false myths and preserve her grandfather’s legacy.

One of the biggest misconceptions she said that she finds is that her “Pop,” as she calls him, painted only white America. However, a look at some of Rockwell’s most iconic works belies that notion.

In 1961, the artist painted “The Golden Rule,” showing people of different religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds worshipping together. However, Rockwell himself once recalled being directed to paint out a black person from a group picture in the Post. The policy at the time only allowed the portrayal of African Americans in service jobs next to white people.

After leaving the Post in 1963, Rockwell appeared eager to refocus his efforts on supporting the Civil Rights movement. In 1964, he produced his iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” It depicts Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African American girl, on her way to an all-white public school during the New Orleans desegregation crisis. Due to threatened violence, she is being escorted by federal marshals. On the wall behind her are scrawled a racial slur and the letters “KKK.”

‘Ruining his legacy’

“Pop had the bravery to put those words on the wall,” Abigail said. “People don’t realize how controversial it was for him to do that. I saw the angry letters castigating him for ‘ruining his legacy.’ ”

One of Rockwell’s proudest moments, according to his granddaughter, was when he received a lifetime membership card to the NAACP. More than 30 years later, his portrait of Bridges was installed in the hall outside the Oval Office at the White House for several months during the Obama administration. Reproductions of this and more of Rockwell’s Civil Rights era paintings will be on display at the MAC as part of the current exhibition.

Another project Rockwell undertook after leaving the Post was a commission to paint a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for Spokane’s Lincoln First Federal Savings and Loan. The bank’s CEO, the late Spokane resident Donald P. Lindsay, had the idea to hire America’s most famous artist.

“My dad thought it was no big deal to write Norman Rockwell and just ask him to do it,” recalled Lindsay’s eldest daughter, Karen Warrick. “And it worked.”

For $4,000, Rockwell agreed to produce the 7-foot piece, taller even than Lincoln himself. Finished in 1965, the portrait depicts the 16th president as a young man on the farm dressed in work clothes holding an ax in one hand and a book in the other. “Lincoln the Railsplitter” was used to market the Spokane bank and all the branches throughout the state. Jar openers, golf balls, calendars and stationery all bore Rockwell’s Lincoln image.

The original painting hung for two decades in the Lincoln First Federal Bank lobby located in what is now the Lincoln building at Riverside and Lincoln. After the bank changed hands, the piece later made its way to the private collection of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. It was eventually sold at auction to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2006 for $1.6 million.

The MAC has gathered letters, photos, bank memorabilia and a reproduction of “Lincoln the Railsplitter” to include in the exhibition. “It’s exciting that one of the most famous paintings of Abraham Lincoln that was ever done was done by one of America’s most famous artists and that it originated right here in Spokane,” Jessup said.

Warrick said that she hopes the Rockwell exhibit accomplishes what the artist himself wanted: to rekindle the American spirit. “I just hope that a lot of people are reassured that we care for one another in this country, that we are all the things that Rockwell brings out in his paintings,” Warrick said. “You wrap that around the integrity of a Lincoln and maybe young people will be inspired and think: ‘Is that what we used to look like in this country?’ ”


          

James Bryce on the autocratic oligarchy which controls the party machine in the American democratic system (1921)   

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James Bryce on the autocratic oligarchy which controls the party machine in the American democratic system (1921)


          

James Bryce on the Party Primaries and Conventions in the American political system (1888)   

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James Bryce on the Party Primaries and Conventions in the American political system (1888)


          

Bernie Sanders, resting at home, announces plan to curtail money in politics   

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Prominent friends and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., say he should cut back on his relentless campaign pace and speak openly about his recent heart attack when he returns to the campaign trail, urging a shift toward a more personal and less hectic campaign than he has run so far.

The comments reflect what supporters describe as a deeply personal decision with big implications for Sanders’s candidacy: how the 78-year-old democratic socialist, viewed by many of his backers as the leader of a movement, should proceed after a health scare that has sidelined him for days and raised questions about whether he can - or should - maintain the punishing demands of a presidential campaign.

“I would be very open about the experience he had,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign who made his pitch to the senator in a brief telephone conversation last week. “I think it can show a resilience, a sense of empathy and a sense of vulnerability.”

Sanders supporters privately acknowledge concern that the heart attack could give voters second thoughts about the candidate, who would be the oldest president in history if elected. In an effort to move beyond the setback, some hope he can seize on the event to transmit a softer side that’s eluded him.

The goal, said Khanna, would be to “make a very human connection.” He said he texted the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, last week to tell her that this could be Sanders’s “FDR moment,” referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose battle with polio is sometimes said to have contributed to his empathy for the less fortunate.

The sensitivity of dealing with the heart attack has been evident since the episode occurred. The campaign did not immediately disclose the heart attack, initially saying only that Sanders had experienced chest pains and had two stents inserted in an artery.

Advisers and friends also say Sanders should consider easing his breakneck campaign pace. Sanders has been sprinting across the country, holding multiple events per day, maintaining a speed that has surpassed his top rivals.

“If I were giving him advice, I would tell him just slack up a little bit,” said former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who visited Sanders in a Las Vegas hospital last week. “Even if he slacks up a little bit, he’s campaigning more than anybody else.”

Sanders spent Monday recuperating at home in Burlington, Vermont. On a conference call with staff, he reiterated that the movement he has been leading is not about him, a theme he often hits in campaign speeches.

“If there’s anything that this event kind of tells us, it is the importance of what our message is in this campaign. And our message is ‘Us, not me,’ ” Sanders said, according to a person with knowledge of his remarks.

Campaign officials have signaled that he is not expected to return to the trail until the Oct. 15 debate near Columbus, Ohio. That makes the debate a critical event for the campaign, as Sanders will face considerable scrutiny from voters and rivals sizing up his health and vitality.

“Bernie is raring to go, and his campaign staff has been trying to hold him back until the debate,” said Ben Cohen, who co-founded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and serves as a national co-chair of the campaign. “The plan is for the debate to be his reentry into the race.”

People with knowledge of the situation said there had been a period of uncertainty about the campaign’s future in the immediate aftermath of Sanders’s hospitalization for chest pains last week. The campaign suspended an Iowa ad buy and made reassuring calls to supporters during those first hours.

But in recent days, the campaign has shown determination to move full speed ahead. The Iowa ad touting Sanders will be on the airwaves starting Tuesday.

The campaign rolled out a new policy proposal Monday aimed at curtailing the role of money in politics. It would eliminate big-dollar fundraising for all federal elections, enact a constitutional amendment to declare that campaign contributions are not speech and end corporate contributions to the party conventions.

Surrogates campaigned for Sanders in the key early states over the weekend, a strategy the campaign plans to continue. Cohen said he plans to campaign for Sanders this weekend in New Hampshire.

The campaign is also aggressively calling voters. After establishing a goal of making a million calls in the early primary states over the past 10 days, it beat that goal by 300,000 calls, the campaign said.

Sanders and his allies have also used his heart attack to call attention to his push to enact a Medicare-for-all universal health-care system. They note that while Sanders was fortunate to have access to good doctors and treatment, many Americans do not.

And Sanders has already begun showing a more personal side of himself. When he left the hospital on Friday, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, Jane, smiling and waving. When he returned to Burlington, reporters there noted Sanders saying he was “happy to be home” before walking inside where family was waiting.

On Monday, he and Jane took a walk in the rain, and he joked with reporters he said should get paid more for working in the drizzle.

Early this year, when he launched his second campaign for president, advisers encouraged Sanders to speak about his participation in the civil rights movement and his modest upbringing in Brooklyn. He mentioned those things at early campaign stops. But as time went on, they faded from his stump speeches.

“He’s somewhat reticent to talk about his own … life experiences,” said Cohen. “But I think it’s helpful for him to do that and it’s certainly only a decision that he can make, but I do think this is an opportunity for him to talk.”

Sanders has been trailing former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in many recent polls, sparing him the pressure that can face the front-runner. His Democratic rivals have either wished Sanders well or brushed aside questions about his physical fitness for office. President Donald Trump and his allies have been preoccupied with the impeachment inquiry.

These external events have led some Sanders allies to conclude that he does not have to rush back onto the national stage.

“The next months are going to be dominated by the impeachment inquiry, not the presidential race,” said Khanna. “His volunteers can do a lot of the work and he just needs to focus on recovering.”

In a sign of how the Sanders movement has charged ahead without him on the trail, a video created by a supporter arguing that he’s been criticized unfairly by the media had received 6 million views as of late Monday.

As Sanders recovers, his campaign has taken steps to reassure staffers and supporters, scheduling calls and other outreach to keep allies focused.

“The campaign reached out to me to let me know that he was doing fine. They gave me the details, which made me feel really comfortable,” said Deb Marlin, an Iowa small-business owner who has endorsed Sanders.

Reid recalled spending 30 to 45 minutes with Sanders on Thursday. They reminisced about their work in the Senate and talked about health care, Reid said. As for the next debate, Reid said Sanders ought to take things slowly before then.

“He should take it easy until then,” said Reid. “As far as I understand, that’s what he’s going to do.”


          

5 things about this week (7 October 2019)   

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PODCAST LIVE! I solo-hosted the first live ‘Never Mind the Barcharts’ podcast this weekend. Regular co-host Mark Pack was husting to be Lib Dem party president (a fact the party had failed to mention to him until the week before) (…)

Read the rest of this entry »


          

True or false? We fact check the federal leaders’ debate   

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OTTAWA—Six party leaders squared off in a sometimes frenzied, sometimes humorous, sometimes confusing debate in Gatineau, Que. Monday night.

While there was plenty of substantial (and relatively honest) disagreements on policy and politics over the course of the two-hour debate, the Star catalogued a few questionable claims from all six party leaders taking part in Monday’s debate.

Here they are, in the order the leaders’ fielded questions Monday night.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader

The claim: Trudeau said the Liberals have brought Canada “three quarters” of the way to its emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement, which is 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The facts: The latest national tally of emissions is from 2017. It says Canada emitted 716 million tonnes of greenhouse gas that year — just two per cent lower than in 2005. Moreover, the federal government projects that measures in the Liberal climate plan — including the carbon price, methane regulations and more — will reduce emissions to about 592 million tonnes by 2030. That’s only about 20 per cent below 2005 levels, or two thirds of the way to the target. The Liberals claim, however, that future technological improvement and impacts of incoming public transit expansions and more will ensure Canada closes the gap and exceeds the 2030 target.

Verdict: Misleading.

Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader

The claim: Singh accused Trudeau’s Liberals of giving away $14 billion to big corporations so they could buy jets and limousines.

The facts: Last November, the Liberals announced in their fall economic update that they would spend $14 billion on a slew of tax measures for Canadian businesses. These measures allowed companies that invest in “clean energy” to immediately write off spending on new equipment and machinery, while other businesses could now write off capital spending more quickly. These changes were explicitly designed, the Liberals said, to boost manufacturing and clean energy production. The NDP has attacked the measures as irresponsible corporate giveaways ever since, claiming it would help big businesses buy more jets and limos.

Verdict: Misleading.

Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader

The claim: “We’re going to pay for those (tax cuts and credits) by cutting corporate welfare and reducing Canada foreign aid budget by 25 per cent.”

The facts: Scheer has proposed cutting foreign aid and reviewing “corporate welfare” to find $3 billion in savings per year. But Conservatives have already announced spending that exceeds those savings, according to independent costing of their promises by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Verdict: Misleading. The two cuts Scheer mentions, if fully implemented, would go some of the way to paying for their spending — but wouldn’t cover the whole bill.

Elizabeth May, Green leader

The claim: May defended her party’s “fully costed” election platform, and said it was approved as responsible by former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

The facts: Initially, Page and his team at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy gave the Greens a failing grade in all three categories of assessment: transparency, “realistic economic and fiscal assumption,” and “responsible fiscal management.” Days later, after receiving more information about their assumptions from the party, Page revised his assessment to give the party a passing grade. However, the institute still found the party failed on fiscal responsibility, because of the uncertainty surrounding the dramatic changes the party is proposing in the short term.

Verdict: Misleading without context.

Yves-François Blanchet, Bloc Québécois leader

The claim: Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet accused the Conservatives of speaking against Quebec’s secularism law, Bill 21, in English Canada but saying they would “protect” the law in Quebec.

The facts: For his part, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has consistently said — in English and French — that a Conservative government would not intervene in court challenges against the law. Scheer’s Quebec lieutenant, Alain Reyes, told reporters Sunday that electing a Conservative government would “impede Justin Trudeau from contesting Bill 21.”

Verdict: Misleading. The Conservatives’ position has been relatively clear on Bill 21 — they would not intervene.

Maxime Bernier, People’s Party of Canada leader

The claim: “Canada receives more immigrants per capita than any other Western country.”

The facts: According to 2015 figures from the World Economic Forum, Canada does have a higher percentage of immigrants compared to other Western countries — but not the most. Australia (28.2 per cent) had a higher percentage than Canada (21 per cent). But in terms of absolute numbers, Canada ranks below a number of countries in the number of immigrants.

Verdict: Misleading.

Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier

Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga


          

SWN- Cabal Sigma Session 1- The Wrong Side of Heaven (part 4)   

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Making New Friends
 While en route during the several hours flight to Cleopatra Station from Outlaw Station, Osric had quite an unexpected interaction with the strange alien creature he "liberated" from the Battle Tower on Riot. Osric, attempted to communicate with the Hybrid Mergence, sprinkling it with some water, and trying to send out "positive" psychic vibes. The creature responded quickly, and before Osric could react it had scuttled up his arm, flipped around to the back of his neck, spread out its plantlike tendrils and ATTACHED itself to his spinal column just at the back of his neck between his skull and shoulder blades, a weird shiver ran through Osric's body, but he did not seem to be harmed, other than he was now completely freaked out and had some strange alien symbiote attached to him!!! Later in the flight, Osric eventually told his companions what had happened, half the party was intrigued, the other half considered spacing Osric and his new "friend". After determining that Osric seemed to be still in control of his mind and body, they decided to keep an eye on him, but to not "space him" for now...  Varlo resumed piloting their small shuttle to their destination, wondering what he had gotten himself into. Varlo had no issues piloting the small system shuttle the rest of the way to Slough Feg.  His background of piloting the cargo haulers back and forth between the Thieves Worlds, allowed him to be make the journey without any issues, thanks to his piloting skills, he was also able to bring the shuttle into orbit without alerting the Starch Orbital Traffic Control Station that did its best to monitor, track and control traffic in and around Slough Feg.  Passing near Ahab Station, the crew noted the old Ahab Station was more intact than what the authorities had said on the news reports. Ahab Station, a simian control facility, had been the first casualty of the Ape Uprising a year ago, the apes had reportedly blown the station to bits, but the companions could see that while the command module was completely destroyed, much of the station was still together. The rumors about this station dating back to the Terran Mandate must be true after all, it's Mandate Tech construction had allowed it to remain mostly intact even with the loss of its main command & control module. Varlo picked up an official Thieves Guild automated beacon, warning all space traffic away from Ahab Station. Able seemed to be very interested in Ahab Station, and strongly encouraged the group to make a detour to "recon the wrecked space station. Able hinted he knew of some lootable tech onboard that could benefit the party. Varlo voiced concerns about delaying their job for Mr. Grimm, Varlo felt like Mr. Grimm wasn't someone to cross. The group decided that Grimm had stressed speed and efficiency on this run to Cleopatra Station, and a detour into who knows what on Ahab could cause all kinds of problems. Soon Cleopatra Station was in sight. Intact and functioning, although no communication signals emitted from the station, and many systems seemed to be shut off or operating on back up.  Life support and gravity were functioning normally. Varlo eased the shuttle to the space station and automated docking signals and instructions emitted from the station, directing them to dock at one of the two docking stations.  Cleopatra Station seemed perfectly intact, life support, gravity, all operating at normal levels. Power levels showed they were available at full capacity, yet no communication signals or radio signals of any kind were leaving the station, other than a few automated signals related to general station ops all was quiet...too quiet... 


The four began the Danger Room "exercise" cautiously, realizing stepping on any of the squares could trigger problems, Able using his "Fix" skill disabled the panel in front of him rendering it safe to step on. Bras Hombre tried to do the same, but he was no tech. Osric took a few tentative steps into the room, only to come face to face with a robot popping up from the floor in front of him and beginning to activate it's taser hands. Osric swung his melee weapon and beheaded the robot. Varlo stepped into the room and jumped back avoiding the pit trap that opened up beneath him. Soon more robots were triggered. Then the thing...the Hybrid Mergence MOVED! It scuttled across the room quickly, triggering traps as it moved, another robot popped up and then some form of thick vision obscuring fog, then the Hybrid Mergence triggered a pit trap and fell into the trap. 
                                          The Hybrid Mergence
Able decided this was his chance and dashed across the room and dove into the pit after the thing. With each step he made a loud click occurred...multiple robots appeared, a Gatling gun popped up in the corner and whirred into life, barrels of some sort of flaming substance shot out of the wall and fire spilled out into the room approaching the edge of the pit containing Able and the thing.   
Then things went really wild, the robots that activated the prior round now moved towards the four. This trigged explosions, more robots, including a life-like robotic version of Stalin (who drew its pistol), a crevasse appeared dividing the room, and an Energy Cannon appeared. Varlo nearest to the Gatling gun, safely got to the Gatling gun (although a robot was now activated right beside Bras Hombre). Varlo hacked into the Gatling gun's system and was able to manually take control of it (he rolled so well with his skill check that he altered the things programmed damage output and rate of fire). Bras Hombre was locked in combat with a robot, while Osric used his psionic powers to telekinetically lift Able (now holding the Hybrid Mergence) out of the pit and towards the exit. Robot Stalin popped off a shot at the airborne Able hurting him but not "killing" him. Just as a flaming barrel emerged from the wall and melted robot Stalin into slag.  The Plasma gun activated, misfired and overheated blowing up. Bras Hombre had managed to pry up a floor panel giving him some cover from all the chaos. A blizzard of ice and snow(WTH?!!) activated in the middle of the room spilling over into the crevasse and mixing in with the flames from the burning barrels, steam made visibility even harder. As robots were taken out more appeared in their place. The words of the robot announcer at the start of this fiasco echoed in their heads...this was an "Introductory Scenario" to the danger room?!   
Unbeknownst to the party, their encounter was being broadcast on more channels across Riot, and even a few bars on the orbiting Outlaw Station.  Varlo then used the reprogrammed Gatling Gun to unleash a massive volley of "bullets" across the room, robots were taken out... along with Able and Bras Hombre!! In all this chaos it was friendly fire that took out half the party. The party couldn't hear it but bar patrons  cheered as Val (unintentionally?) took out two of his teammates. Osric knowing they were about to go down in flames (literally?) dashed to Able's fallen form, retrieved the Hybrid Mergence and was able to open the exit door. The program ended, the fires, fog and blizzard dispersed. The simulation was ended.  Bras Hombre and Able shook their heads, groggily waking up, bruised but alive and with bad headaches.   
The robot announcer instructed the four that the exercise was over, and directed them to the freshers and to return the Hybrid Mergence to the containment cube now appearing in the room.  Osric started in that direction, but then he sensed something. The Hybrid Mergence was a living thing! And it was projecting emotions to Osric...fear, sadness, most of all it wanted to escape this place! Osric realized it had some level of sentience and some level of psychic ability...at least some level of empathy. At the last minute Osric swapped out a small ration pack from his gear while stowing the creature in his clothing he dropped the ration pack into the containment cube, acting like he was returning the Hybrid Mergence, which now was secreted under his clothing and then excited the Danger Room. Varlo grinned from ear to ear, while Able gave him a menacing glare and Bras Hombre shook his head.



          

Labour pledges to revive youth services after years of decline   

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Party says figures show a 73% drop in real-terms funding for youth services since 2010-11

Labour would guarantee a nationwide network of youth clubs and other services for young people as a way of tackling problems such as mental ill-health and school exclusions, as well as involvement in knife and drug crime, the party has announced.

Announcing the pledge under the banner of Only Young Once, Labour said government figures showed the amount spent on youth services overall had fallen by more than £1bn a year in real terms since 2010-11, a drop of 73%.

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Former Tory MP Heidi Allen joins Liberal Democrats   

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MP said Tories and Labour have ‘turned their backs on the liberal, progressive centre ground’

The former Conservative MP Heidi Allen has joined the Liberal Democrats, the party has said.

The South Cambridgeshire MP, who has been sitting as an independent since quitting the Change UK party – now called the Independent Group for Change – in June, takes the Lib Dem’s tally in the Commons to 19.

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Former Conservative MP joins Liberal Democrats   

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Former Conservative MP Heidi Allen has joined the Liberal Democrats, the party has said.
          

Re: The Dem Schism Gets Real   

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The fact that the Central Committee has backed environmental concerns is in no way an extreme viewpoint. It seems to me, that in issues such as the Balloon Tract, that the party merely pointed out that any rubber-stamped approval of the permit for this project would go afoul of California law, and the Coastal zone codes.
Posted by Steven Bridenbaugh1

          

Re: The Dem Schism Gets Real   

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The article and comments above are exactly why I distanced myself from any political party decades ago -- there's simply too much pointless rhetoric about toeing the party line and FAR too little about how to actually solve the problems we face.

Frankly, I'm beginning to think what we really need is a benign dictator because we are so rigorously polarized in the political debate that nothing is going to get solved.

I imagine this is what Rome looked like under the last days of Nero.


Posted by Tim1
          

Session: Dungeon Alliance:: Discovering the Fate of the Lost Alliance - my 1st solo campaign (part four)   

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by jhaelen

Game Four:

Originally, Bartholomew (#18), the Gnome Rogue’s main motivation for founding the alliance had been to search the Slayer’s Dungeon for the remains of the Lost Alliance’s members in order to liberate them from their possessions. But after they’d unexpectedly found a means to bring one of them, Shoktor the Transmuter, back to life, he had quickly become an important ally and friend. And as the group followed the tracks of the Lost Alliance and learned more about their fate, he found that their discoveries had affected them in unexpected ways.

Between him and Kulldrak (#20), the Half-Orc Paladin, an unspoken competition had started, and they felt compelled to outdo each other in combat. And between Taio (#21), the Warrior Mage, and Jypzy (#6), the Elf Wizard, a tender romantic relationship had blossomed, so they were reluctant to leave each other’s side for long.

It almost felt as if they were reenacting what had befallen the Lost Alliance…

As if that wasn’t worrying enough, after their latest trip to the Slayer’s Dungeon, an important task had remained unresolved: After defeating the Dark Empress, they had discovered one of Shoktor’s allies in her Throne Room, bound to a table, his soul imprisoned in a strange crystal, leaving his body in a stasis, trapped between life and death. Unsure how to free him without causing irreparable damage, they’d left him there, with Taio magically sealing access to the place.

After spending a few days researching dark rituals and forbidden eldritch experiments, help came from an unexpected direction: Lady Eleanor, who had accompanied them before during their ill-fated second dungeon expedition learned about their inquiries and made a proposition:

In return for three artifacts, she offered them a tome describing the occult procedure to return a soul to its body. Grudgingly they accepted the deal, took the tome, and made their way back through the Great Wyrm’s tunnels into the depths of the Slayer’s dungeon.


Quests: Displacement, Lady Eleanor, Dark Empress

On their way to the sealed portal leading to the Throne Room, they made short work of the creatures that had made the previously cleared rooms their new home. Bartholomew winked at Kulldrak and quickly dispatched a pair of giant spiders in one room, Jypzy incinerated another room harboring a zombie and a gargoyle, while Taio dealt with an ogre in a third room. All that was left for Kulldrak to do was to search the rooms, discovering a treasure chest and a strange broken amulet.
[o]Just as in my previous game, the continuing Rivalry between Bartholomew and Kulldrak earned me a total of two campaign tokens over the course of this game. I’ve found it’s harder to ensure that the first rival to activate slays an Enemy while within two spaces of the other in the later game rounds. So, two out of a potential maximum of four isn’t bad.[/o]
With a short prayer, the Paladin mended the trident-shaped amulet and restored its power. He handed it over to Shoktor to investigate, who grew agitated as it triggered another memory: Shoktor himself had once created the amulet as a gift for Tay the Summoner, his secret love! He’d enchanted it to enhance her summoning skills.
[o]Repairing the Amulet of Triton granted me one campaign token and the card itself – one of the rare sources of a damage bonus for pets.[/o]
In the meantime, Taio had opened the chest and started looting. Apart from coins and a few pieces of jewelry, he discovered a rod which he identified as a magical Rod of Opening. As he was holding it, it started to glow with a faint bluish light indicating the presence of a nearby secret door. Intrigued, he started pacing the room’s outer walls, and after casting a detection spell, revealed something even more fascinating:

Apparently the room was slightly out of phase, existing partially in a different dimension. Warning the rest of the party to remain at a safe distance, he activated the rod and watched as the room shifted and warped, leaving him slightly dizzy. When he recovered, new pathways had opened in three directions and a pair of wargs was pouncing on him!



[o]Since I didn’t want to take any chances, I had spent the 3xp required to trigger Dimensional Replacement in my last turn of the first game round. This quest is worded a bit differently than the others, allowing the token to be placed in any Dungeon room, which I interpreted to mean it didn’t have the standard restrictions. So, I chose to place it in the central room, adjacent to Taio. In retrospect, after re-reading the relevant rules section (the first section on page 7 of the Rules Supplement), it looks like that was an error:
In addition, the player must obey the following rules

I’m used to card texts taking priority over general rules, but this doesn’t seem to be the case here . Well, it can’t be helped now. I would still have been able to resolve the quest quite easily, but it would likely have taken me an additional activation. Anyway, resolving the quest granted me two campaign tokens.[/o]
For the rest of the group, it had looked as if the door to the room had disappeared and the wall started to move and twist, until a new opening suddenly appeared, showing Taio trying to fend off huge canine beasts, while a hydra and a wyvern in adjacent rooms slowly made their way towards him, attracted by the noise.

The rogue was the first to recover his wits and joined the fight, flanking and impaling one of the giant wolves. Then the elf wizard followed his lead, covering Taio’s side and blasted several of the hydra’s heads with spells. Unfortunately, this wasn’t sufficient to take out the hydra. Wide-eyed Jypzy watched as for every head she had destroyed a new pair grew back with alarming speed. The hydra’s vicious counter-attack was too much for the elf. A distressed cry escaped the warrior mage as he watched her go down.
[o]The continuing effect of the Forbidden Love Letter earned me one campaign token at the end of game round two. At the end of round four, I didn’t manage to join the “Lovers” due to Taios being defeated at that point, causing the heart-broken Jypzy to take another wound.[/o]
The half-orc was the slowest to react, but made up for it with a fierce rage, charging the wyvern without regard for his own safety. Even falling into a pit trap that unexpectedly opened under him couldn’t stop his advance for long. Before the dumbfounded wyvern understood what had happened, Kulldrak had already gutted it.

Despite his concern for Jypzy, Taio suppressed his emotions and with a coolness he didn’t feel, ran in a circle around the hydra to disable a trap in the hydra’s lair before finishing off the hydra.

Seeing this, Bartholomew nodded grimly and made a run for the next room, opening the door to reveal a small lizard-like creature asleep in a corner. Without pausing, he rushed back, intending to deal with the remaining warg when he suddenly realized that he was back in the room with the portal they had sealed during their previous visit. But the portal was open! How could that be?

His thoughts were racing when another shock hit him like a bolt of lightning and with a feeling of growing dread he watched the Dark Empress they’d believed dead emerge from the portal. With a wicked grin she cast a spell at him and he felt as if he’d fallen into an icy lake and barely managed to shout a warning as he almost passed out.

A fierce fight ensued, which became even worse when the awakened lizard-creature joined, turning out to be a deadly basilisk!
[o]I knew I had to take some risks if I wanted to earn enough campaign points to call my last game a victory. So far, I’d been making excellent progress, but taking down a Final Enemy can take time, so I placed the Throne Room entrance at my earliest opportunity.

And I still needed that third level II or higher monster for Lady Eleanor’s quest. So, I also placed a level III room with a basilisk, the only remaining standard monster type I hadn’t encountered yet in any of my previous games.

Finally, I opened the entrance to the Throne Room since it seemed like a relatively safe thing to do as the basilisk wouldn’t activate this turn…

This would be something I’d regret in a short while because its nasty gaze ability forced me to discard four cards, prolonging the fight against the Final Enemy.[/o]
Things looked truly dire until an opening presented itself: The Dark Empress was so focused on taking revenge for her previous defeat at the hands of the adventurers that she fell into the pit trap Kulldrak had triggered earlier.

This gave Jypzy the chance to take her down for good this time, bathing her in magical fire until there was nothing left but ashes. With the evil sorceress gone, the basilisk was soon to follow.
[o]Defeating The Dark Empress (again!) granted me another four campaign tokens. During this fight another rule question came up. As the second paragraph on page 8 of the Rules Supplement mentions:
The Final Enemy always attacks a hero at the end of each Monster Activation segment if possible.

As it turned out, the only way to attack the randomly selected target hero required the Dark Empress to move through the space containing the Pit Trap.

So far, so good, but apparently I hadn’t read the Pit Trap’s card text carefully enough, because I believed that any creature entering the space would take 2 automatic damage.

However, as I’m seeing now, what the card actually says is that the automatic damage is only taken when the trap is sprung. Afterwards, its only effect is to hinder movement and prevent creatures in its space to attack.

Unfortunately, this means that Jypzy wouldn’t have been able to take out the Dark Empress with a single attack, leaving her with two remaining life instead. So, it would have taken me at least another activation to defeat her. Ah, well… soblue[/o]
After they’d recovered a bit, Taio studied the portal with a puzzled expression. “I thought no one would be able to break my seal. I doubt the Dark Empress would have been strong enough. And besides, how comes she was alive again? Someone or something extraordinarily powerful must be behind this.” This was followed by an uneasy quietness, everyone exchanging worried glances.
[o]In previous games I had wondered how you’re supposed to successfully resolve Lady Eleanor’s quest. It’s already not that easy to defeat 3 Level II or higher monsters to trigger the quest. And even if you do, you’re very likely already far into the game. And then you need to draft three artifacts, move adjacent to her and remove them from the game again!

Turns it out it’s a lot easier if you already start the game with two artifacts in play
So, this is one example of a quest that is a lot easier to complete in the 3rd or 4th game of a campaign. Resolving the quest earned me three campaign tokens.[/o]
It was Kulldrak who finally broke the silence: “All this brooding won’t do us any good. Let’s finish the job we came here for!” With renewed determination they made their way through the portal to look for Shoktor’s ally. And thankfully he was still there, looking exactly the same as the last time they’d seen him. Perusing the tome they’d received from Lady Eleanor, they carefully followed its instructions and proceeded to free the captured soul and used it to restore the adventurer.

When he came to, his befuddled gaze darted from one adventurer to another until he spotted Shoktor. “Is that you Shoktor? Have you been taken prisoner, too? Who are your companions and where are we?!”

After bringing him up to date, the adventurer introduced himself as Vrakh the Hunter and told them how he had been separated from the other members of his alliance and taken prisoner by the Dark Empress. But it was his final memory that was the most worrying:
It had not been the Empress herself but a demonic entity, half spider, half woman that had strapped him to the ritual device to drain his soul.
[o]Freeing the Enervated Adventurer’s soul from the crystal prison granted me three campaign tokens.

I also added Vrakh the Hunter to my deck, yet another means to draw more cards and allowing me to play a second Battle Tactic or Weapon.[/o]
And just as he was finishing the tale, a strange chittering sound came from the ceiling and the being Vrakh had described descended from the blackness of an otherworldy gate, hanging by a silken thread. All of a sudden, a hissing voice in their heads proclaimed “Look who’s found their way into our web, my children. More souls to feed the Spider Queen!”
Leaving no doubt about her intentions, our brave heroes prepared for a battle to protect their very souls.

It took a concerted action to bring her down while the mere presence of the demon queen poisoned their bodies and minds. When Kulldrak delivered the killing blow, her voice manifested in their heads one last time, uttering a chilling curse.
[o]Defeating The Spider Queen granted me an impressive five campaign tokens. Thankfully, I didn’t contract the Curse of Spider Queen earlier. At this point in the campaign, it didn’t have any effect, anymore. But if it had already been in place at the start of the third game, it might have given me a bit of a challenge.[/o]
The fight had taken its toll and everyone was close to death, but that didn’t stop them from exploring the rest of this dungeon level. Thankfully Bartholomew discovered a Staff of Restoration allowing him to cure some of their poisonous wounds.

So they barely managed to escape from the dungeon. Despite being badly wounded they felt quite proud of their achievement, having discovered and ended the threat of a great evil.
But had the Spider Queen truly been responsible for the fate of the Lost Alliance or was there something else behind all this. Something hidden even deeper in the Slayer’s Dungeon; something they hadn’t encountered yet?

From the shadows an ancient being clad in black armor watched the adventurers as they made their way back to the surface. As its glowing eyes searched for signs of weakness, it whispered to itself “Well, well, finally some worthy opponents. I’m really looking forward to meet you in a duel should you ever dare to return to my dungeon.” With a silent laugh it made its way back to the heart of the dungeon it had created centuries ago...

This concludes the fourth and final part of this campaign.

In this game, I gained a total of 61xp (after 4 rounds), which was also my final score since I placed all rooms and had no monster or (unrevealed) challenge tokens left on the board. I had also beaten all three quests and collected a total of 21 campaign tokens, five more than the goal for a campaign's 4th game.

I drafted a total of 15 cards, which was probably a bit much. Even with the additional card draws I had a few activations where my hand wasn’t ideal and finished the game badly beaten up with a total of 21 wound tokens left on my four heroes. And six times, one of the adventurers had to face defeat.

I feel a bit bad about the rules mistakes I discovered while writing this session report, but back when I’d just finished the game, I definitely considered it a resounding success.

Either way, it's been a satisfying conclusion to the campaign

And in case you couldn’t tell: I consider the adventure packs a great enhancement to the game, and campaign mode the definitive way to play.

I’m really looking forward to give the next adventure pack a try. It’s already been way too long since I finished my first campaign cry

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the session report!
          

Session: War of the Ring:: SPI's 1978 - War of the Ring. Massive 3 player game.   

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by Rick Smith

Hi all,
3 Player Game, with Rick's House Rules & New Components:
2019, Sept 23.

This is a huge post so I'm dividing it up into parts.

Glossary:
SP = Saruman Player
FP = Fellowship Player
DPP = Dark Power Player

PT, PTS = Shadow Points.
DRM = Die Roll Modifier. If you must add 2 to the die, you have a +2 DRM.

N1 = Lord of the Nazgul.
N2 = Khamûl
N3 thru N9 = Nazgul #3 thru Nazgul #9.


INTRODUCTION:
This game has me adding a lot of new components. I've double the size of the event deck, tripled the number of magic items, and Servants of Sauron. I've created new Search cards (most cards have 2 to 4 extra locations being searched). I've added 20 'location' chits which give people more reasons to go off the path given in the books. I've added several new characters, beefed up Nazgul 3 and 4 (they are the Black Numorians).
Saruman has a number of big improvements, including the ability to make his own rings of power.

SETUP:
Each player is dealt 8 event cards, picks 4 and the rest are reshuffled into the event deck.

SP keeps: “Rivers Flooded”, “Orcs Attack From Rear”, “Orcs in State of Battle Frenzy”, & “Saruman Rides Demonic Steed”.

FP keeps: “Flee Combat and Hide”, “Nargil Pass Revealed”, “Misty Passes Open”, and “Gondor Mobilizes”. The Gondor Mobilizes is nice, but by house rules Gondor Mobilizing will cause Mordor to mobilize 2 turns later, so playing this on the first turn is not an automatic decision.

DPP keeps: “Gollum attempts to Seize the Ring”, “Sub-commander Shows Initiative”, “Fierce Storms”, & “Minor Reinforcements”.

(I'll describe the cards if they are played.)

Frodo gets the One Ring, and the following items are in Rivendell: Fine Short-Sword (+1 combat, non-magic damage) which is given to Aragorn; Elvish Spear (does magic damage) which goes to Gimli; Lesser Ring of Eregion (improved tactics in individual combat, cost 1 point of Ring Fatigue when put on) which goes to Sam; Map of Nurn (gives two new ways into Nurn: via the Nargil Pass in the south, and by going off the map to the east, from hex E1625, to E1627) which goes to Frodo.


TURN 1:
DPP gets 13 PTS. … Golum goes to DPP.

Events:
SP draws “Werewolves Track Scents” and discards face down “Orc Attack From Rear”.
FP draws “Denethor Peer into Palantir...” and discards the “Nargil Pass Revealed”. (He found the map of Nurn, so he does not need this event card.)
DPP draws “Nargil Pass” and discards it face down.

No Search on turn 1.

SP turn:
Saruman works on Ring Lore. His sorcery roll is a 2 so he gets 2 Lore Points, so his Lore Total is 2. (If he has 4 or more more, he constructs a Lesser Ring.)

FP turn:
There are a lot more areas to explore with the location chits, so all the good stuff does not follow the trail of bread crumbs given in the book. With this expansion, it is pretty much required to split the party to pick up more magic items and explore more of the map (especially the northern half). This has been done deliberately to give the DPP more time to do things with his armies, to make a military victory more of a concern.

The part splits into 3 groups: Gandalf and all the hobbits which will head south quickly. Gimli and Legolas who will search north and east, and Boromir and Aragorn who will search west. Boromir and Aragorn will search and try to find a magic weapon and then head south quickly.

Gimli & Legolas move to north Rhudaur (W2609).
Gandalf & the Hobbits are at the west gate of Moria.
Aragorn & Boromir reach Weathertop and search the location. It is the best location chit in the game with two magic items and no monster! They draw “Lembas” and “Mithril Mail”. (By house rule, this dwarven mail can be worn by hobbits AND dwarves.) Boromir takes both items for now.

DPP turn:
Lots of PTS, so he moves 6 Nazgul. He is mostly concerned with those people moving south so N1, N3, & N5 move inside Moria, while N2 & N4 move to South Eregion. N6 moves to the hex east of Bree blocking the road.


TURN 2:
DPP gets 8 PTS … Gollum stays with DPP.

Events:
SP draws “Wizards are Subtle and Quick to Anger”, and plays “Rivers Flooded”.

FP Draws “Late Reinforcements” which can only be played on turn 13 or later. She discards it face down.

DPP draws: “Late reinforcements” and plays “Minor Reinforcements”. This card can be played by anyone, and gives a handful of troops in various locations. The DPP can pick two groups and selects: (a 4-6 Murmak & a 2-7 horseman appear in the Citadel of Umbar), and (three 2-5 troll groups are placed in W2716, W2511, & E0826).

Search Phase:
SP draws: 3 Nazgul. (He controls none, so no good.)
DPP draws: 9 Hand orcs. (Also wasted.)

SP Turn:
Saruman mobilizes, and Saruman continues to work on Ring Lore. His sorcery roll is a 1, so he has accumulated a Lore Total of 3. Still not good enough.
Since Saruman Mobilized, by house rules the Western Allies will mobilize at M+5 (turn 7) and Rohan will Mobilize at M+2 (turn 4). Grima has not used his power and rolls 1d6 and gets a 6. He does not delay Rohan's Mobilization this turn. :-(

FP Turn:
Gandalf and co. back up to hex W2715 and find a magic item at that location. It is a Lesser Ring of Eregion (appropriate location for this item seeing as they are at the old capital). When this ring is put on it costs 1 Ring Fatigue, but gives the wearer +2 Movement. Frodo takes this ring, but does not put it on yet. They have 2 more movement points so move to W2518.
Gimli and Legolas move into Arnor.
Aragorn & Boromir move north of the Weather Hills to Fornost and find a 2-5 men military unit there. (This ranger force is placed on the map and when the N. Allies mobilize, it can move.)

DPP Turn:
Only 8 PTS this turn. He will move 4 Nazgul: N2, N7, N8 & N9 move to W2318.


TURN 3:
DPP gets 9 PTS … Gollum stays with DPP.

Events:
SP draws: “Press a Damaged Foe” (which allows you to do extra damage to a defeated army), and discards it face down.
FP draws: “Legolas Attacks From Long Range”, and discards, Denethor Peers in Palantir & Sees Doom” face down.
DPP draws: “Denethor Peers...” and the FP curses. The DPP must play or discard a card, and plays “Fierce Storms”.

Search:
SP draws hand orcs! The area searched includes Breeland and Eregion so the SP must decide how he wants to split 10 hand orcs. Guessing that the Ring is in the larger group heading south, 9 points of orcs are placed on the Eregion group, and 1 point is sent to Bree. The Saruman player rolls two '1's!!! Capture attempts on both groups!
Aragorn and Boromir make their save and are not captured, but Saruman has spotted them.
In the Eregion group, Sam and Pippin are captured. Merry and Frodo rolled well and dodged the orcs.
From the army 'change' bag, a 9-4 orc is placed in the fellowship's hex with the two captured hobbits. All 4 hobbits are spotted, so Saruman knows the hex where the ring is. The FP informs Saruman that one of the hobbits has 'a ring'. “Is it the One Ring?!?” “No, it is a lesser ring of Eregion.” Saruman curses the FP for twisting his tail. She smiles.

The DPP draws a hand orc, so his search phase is wasted.

SP turn:
Grima rolls a '5' so Rohan's Mobilization is not delayed. Damn it, what good is that miserable worm?
Troops start mustering. The Dunlending appear as three groups which move into Eregion south west, S, and SE of the uncaptured fellowship.
There are storms so the orcs only move two hexes south west.
Saruman plays, “Saruman rides Demonic Steed”, which allows him to move to any hex on the map. He jumps on the spotted characters, and Attempts to Seize the Ring from Frodo.

--- Individual Combat:
Note that the “Flee Combat and Hide” event card, does not work on Attempts to Seize the Ring.
Saruman will use Sorcery. The first round he does two damage.
Frodo dons the ring (+1 combat and +1 moral). Against Saruman, being invisible does NOT let his escape combat, so he must fight. His moral is now higher than Saruman's, so he rolls an extra die.
He rolls {3,2,4} for no hits.
The combat continues, with Saruman killing Frodo, and taking one wound.

Saruman takes Frodo's 3 items, and dons the Ring. This is a 'hostile act' towards Mordor, so the DPP may now attack the SP military units and characters.

FP turn:
She rolls but Merry & Sam do not escape.
Before movement Gandalf will attempt to Seize the Ring.

--- Individual Combat:
Note that Gandalf can attempt to take the ring, even if Saruman is invisible, so this attack is legal.
Both wizards use sorcery. In three rounds, Saruman does 6 hits to Gandalf and G. does 4 to Saruman. Both wizards die at the same moment! Frodo's one successful stab was decisive!

(Saruman debated playing the “Wizards are Subtle and Quick to Anger”, card, but his rolls vs. Gandalf were decent, so there was a very good chance the card would have been wasted. Still what a disappointment.)

The Ring is laying prominently in the mud, and by rule M1, Pippin picks it up and becomes the Ringbearer. Pippin picks up the Lesser Ring of Eregion, and the Map of Nurn. He is alone in his hex.

Gandalf will return in 6 turns (on turn 9). Saruman comes back next turn in Isengard, but is permanently weaker now being Combat 3, Moral 3, Endurance 5, Ring Rating (infinite), Sorcery only a 'B'. Saruman curses, with decent luck he would have had it!

The Fierce Storms slows everyone, but they move a hex or two. Pippin has masses of armies and Nazgul to the south and flees north towards Rivendell. He puts on the speed movement lesser ring, and moves 3 hexes north (this costs him 1 Ring Fatigue when he first puts it on).

DPP turn:
He chortles. Saruman has taken the ring, so the DPP can attack him if he wants. Gandalf is down for the maximum amount of time. Saruman is permanently weaker. The result was about as good as it could get.

8 PTS are used to move 4 Nazgul close to the Ring (north and NW of Pippin, blocking his way to Rivendell).

Then he plays, “Gollum Attempts to Seize the Ring”!

--- Individual Combat:
Pippin puts on the One Ring for +1 combat, +1 moral.
Pippin gets lucky, killing Gollum in two rounds of combat, and only taking one wound in return.


TURN 4:
DPP gets 11 Shadow Points (PTS). Gollum is dead, so no further rolls for him.

Pippin tries to take off the One Ring and is successful. He now has 2 Ring Fatigue.

Event Phase:
SP draws: “Araval IV Helps”. This card will give the player a Barrow Blade (magic Numenorian weapon designed to fight the Nazgul, like the Barrow Blades given to Pippin by Tom Bombadil in the book), but the player has to go to hex W1218, to claim it. Saruman has a tough decision, he can run to Eldoras to make sure that Rohan does not mobilize, finish the Lesser Ring he is working on, run north with his Dunlending armies and try to find the One Ring, or go for this item. ALL of these choices are things he wants! Indecisive, the holds this card for now.

FP draws: another Misty Passes Open and discards it.

DPP draws: “Cirith Ungol Closed”, and happily keeps it.

Search Phase:
SP draws hand orcs, but they search the wrong areas.
DPP draws hand orcs which wastes his search.

SP Turn:
Before movement, Grima does his thing. He rolls a '6', so he does not delay Rohan's mobilization. Crap. Saruman resurrects in Isengard, and moves to Eldoras to delay Rohan' Mobilization.
More troops mobilize. The Isengard troops sit still, while the Dunlending troops move north, hunting for the Ring.
The troops with prisoners move south.

FP turn:
No prisoners escape.
Legolas and Gimli moving onto Mt. Gunabad, and encounter a location: It is a Servant of Sauron and a magic item. The Servant is: An Olog-Hai troll. (Combat below.)
She does not want Boromir near the ring, so Aragorn and Boromir split up. Aragorn heads towards Rivendell as fast as possible, Boromir moves to Annuminas (the ancient capital of Arnor) and finds a 1-5 army unit.
Pippin crosses two small rivers and goes along the Great East road ending up south of Weathertop. Since he is moving on the road, he is easier to find on next turn's search. (However Breeland does not come up that often, so he risks it.)

--- Individual Combat:
Legolas attacks the Olog-Hai troll (these are the tougher trolls Sauron bred that are immune to sunlight). It is: Combat 3, Moral (1), Endurance 3. Special Power: if it takes only a single point of damage in a turn, it has a 50% chance of ignoring it.

The FP plays the event card, “Legolas Attacks from Long Range”, which does 2 points of damage BEFORE the combat starts. Legolas has poor luck, and both die on the third round of combat.

Gimli gets the magic item which is Glamdring.

DPP turn:
5 Nazgul can move. N1 moves between Pippin and Rivendell. N2, N3, N4, & N5 move between Pippin and Aragorn to try to prevent them form joining up.


TURN 5:
DPP gets 12 PTS.

Event Phase:
SP draws “Eagles!” and discards it.
FP draws “Grond: Hammer of Morgoth – Siege Weapon”, and keeps it.
DPP draws: “Jointly Organized Searches”, and discards it face down. He says to the Saruman player, “That card is a good one for you.” (Either player can use it, but the DPP does not want to discard any of his event cards.) *** I was not thinking, this was a mistake. ***

Search Phase:
SP draws Eye orcs, wasted.
DPP draws Eye orcs, but they search the wrong areas.

SP turn:
First Grima attempts to slow Rohan's mobilization, and rolls a '1', so Rohan will Mobilize next turn rather than this turn.
Saruman returns to Isengard. Having ended his movement in Isengard, he rolls for Ring Lore and gets a '6' on the Sorcery table, for 3 points. His Lore Total is 6. Since this is 4 or more, the Lore Total is reset back to 0, and he draws a Lesser Ring Card.

He has created the Ring of Puissance, which gives him +1 Combat, and the ability to do magical damage. (Which can permanently harm Nazgul.) He can keep this himself, or give it to another character. For now, he puts it on.

He gets reinforcements. His Dunlending troops continue to chase the Ringbearer.

FP turn:
The FP plays, “Gondor Mobilizes”. Mordor will Mobilize on G+2 (turn 7), but Mordor will auto-Mobilize on that turn anyway.
She plays, “Misty Passes Open”. By designer errata, this also opens the pass at Mt. Gunabad, so Gimli crosses the mountains and ends up one hex north of the Framsburg location (W3007).
Pippin (moving fast) and Aragorn find each other in the hex north of Tharbad. What luck!
Boromir moves thru the Shire (but does not use the roads so no search bonus) and ends up a hex north of the Tower Hills. He is adjacent to the Tower Hill location and can visit it next turn.

DPP turn:
6 Nazgul move SW, S, & SE of Pippin.


TURN 6:
The DPP, suggests that he and the SP ally. The SP agrees.

DPP gains 12 PTS, +1 PT = 13 PTS, for allying with the SP.


Event Phase:
SP draws from the face down discards, “Jointly Organized Searches”, and sadly discards the “Araval IV Helps” card.
FP draws “Araval IV Helps and gladly keeps it.
DPP draws “An Attempt to Seize the Ring”. (This replaces “Boromir Attempts to ...” from the old event deck.)
He plays it at once.

The character with the lowest Ring Rating (Aragorn) in the Ringbearer's hex, attacks Pippin, unless he can save verses his Ring Rating. Aragorn needs a 3 or less, and rolls a '4'!

--- Individual Combat:
Pippin puts on the Ring. Aragorn can not see him and Pippin escapes.

Pippin takes another point of Ring Fatigue (only one left), and is automatically spotted by Nazgul search, until he removes it. Well there goes the idea of sneaking past the Nazgul in Tharbad.


Search Phase:
Saruman plays, “Jointly Organized Searches”. This must be played when the DPP and the SP are allied, during the Search Phase. THREE search cards are drawn, one is discarded, one is given to the SP and one is given to the DPP.

Saruman draws: “3 Nazgul”, “3 Nazgul”, & “10 Eye Orcs”. Darn, no Hand orcs at all. Studying the cards he discards a Nazgul, gives a Nazgul to himself (wasted), and the 10 eye orcs search Arnor where Gimli is.

Saruman casually tries to toss his Nazgul card away, but the DPP wants to look at it, and the Nazgul searched Minhiriath where Pippin is. OUTRAGE! SP says, “if you want YOUR guys to get the ring, YOU should have played this card.”

After thinking about it, the DPP has to admit the point. He got greedy about discarding events, and made a mistake. The DPP should have kept and played this one himself.

The DPP spends 1 PT to search for Gimli. He finds Gimli and captures him. A 10-4 orc counter is placed in the hex.

SP Turn:
Grima does his thing, and fails to delay Rohan's Mobilization. After some thought, Saruman abandon's his studies on Ring Lore and moves to Eldoras. Rohan's Mobilization is delayed again.
The second to last reinforcements appear.
The orcs carrying the prisoners stop beside Isengard. They can not reach Isengard without entering Rohan (which would mobilize it).

The Dunlending troops move south.

FP Turn:
Merry and Sam do not escape.
Gimli rolls a '6' and does escape. He moves one hex south and encounters the Framsburg location. (This ends his move.) He discovers a 1-5 Dwarf unit. (Wow, I'm getting all the friendly army units this game.) Delighted to find a band of his brothers, he relaxes for the rest of the week. (Being in an army hex, he is immune to Search next turn.)
Boromir moves one hex south to the White Tower location which ends his move. He gets a Monster guarding 2 magic items. Drawing from the Servant of Sauron deck, he finds the Balrog!

--- Individual Combat:
Not an ideal result. Boromir plays the “Flee Combat & Hide” event card. He evades combat, and ends his movement. If he was spotted, he is no longer spotted.
We must remember that the Balrog is unhurt in that hex. The Chit with the Servant and two Items is left face up in that hex. The Balrog card is placed face up near this hex to remind us, that it is the monster belonging to that chit.

Aragorn cries, “What have I said? What have I done? Come back! Pippin! Pippin! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!” “OK,” says Pippin. The two friends travel together towards the sea, hand in invisible hand. (There is a second event card which can cause an Attempt to Seize the Ring in the deck, so this is not a totally safe action.)

Gondor has mobilized. Faramir and his 5-7 troop move back into Gondor to the town of Pelargir. (House rule, a 2-5 infantry, and 2-7 cavalry starts in that hex. It makes no sense to me that this bridge was not defended.)

DPP Turn:
5 Nazgul fly and cover the hexes SW, S, & SE of Pippin and Aragorn. Next turn I mobilize and this game really gets started.


TURN 7:
SP ends the alliance.

The DPP gets 8 PTS.

Pippin tries to remove the Ring and does so.

Event Phase:
SP draws: “Saruman Speeds Orcs.” This one is a keeper!
FP draws: “Allies in the Old Pukel Lands”, and keeps it.
DPP draws: “Orcs Quarrel Over Division of Spoils”, and discards it.

Search Phase:
SP draws Nazgul, wasted.
DPP draws 10 eye orcs, but they are searching the far east, so no effect.

SP Turn:
Last reinforcements arrive. The Dunlending troops are too far north to help this turn, but everything else attacks Helmsdeep.

Saruman heads to Isengard to work on Ring Lore. He rolls a '2' for one point, which is added to the Lore Total Chit.

Grima has no purpose in Eldora, so he moves to Isengard. When he arrives, Saruman gives him the Lesser Ring he made.

Dunlending troops move towards Rohan. Prisoners are taken to Isengard then the orcs head south to join the attack.

--- Military Attack At Helms Deep:
Rohan Mobilizes.
The Chief of the Dunendings is leading the orcs (moral 3), with Theodred (moral 2) is commanding the Rohan forces. SP will have a +1 Die Roll Modifier (DRM).

The odds are 126:(7 x3) → 6:1 odds. The Saruman player rolls a terrible '1' which becomes a 2 with the +1 DRM, which results in 10/50. Saruman loses 16 orcs, and Rohan loses 4 horsemen.
Saruman is willing to continue the fight, but the FP declines.

FP turn:
The Western Allies Mobilize this turn and those in the East move to Thranduil's Palace, or Dale. Those in the west move to Hobbiton (Hobbiton, has a surprisingly strong force).

Boromir decides he can't spend more time hunting down magic and moves thru the Shire on roads, and starts down the Greenway. (He is +2 for searches next turn.)

Rather than moving south, Pippin and Aragon move to hex W1218, and meet Araval IV (a descendant of a King of Arthedain). The event card “Araval IV Helps” is played. Pippin is given a Barrow Blade Dagger (which Pippin can use!), which gives +1 to his Combat and allows him to do Magic Damage. He gives the Map of Nurn to Aragorn. The two use their remaining movement to end up a bit south of the Nazgul in hex W1419.

Rohan can move its troops, and moves Eomer and his troop into Eldoras.

Gondor gets its first turn of reinforcements. About half of these troops go to Minas Tirith, the rest organize in Pelargir.

DPP turn:
Mordor auto-mobilizes this turn. This means that the Elves mobilize on M+3 (turn 10) and the Dwarves on M+5 (turn 12).

4 PTS are spent to move all armies on the board, and 4 PTS move N1 & N2 before Pippin & Aragorn.

The armies which are scattered about, move towards the front lines, (except the force in Umbar who stay put to protect that citadel).


TURN 8:
The DPP gains 13 PTS!

Event Phase:
SP draws: “Mind Battle: Elrond & Galadriel Distract Sauron”, and discards it.
FP draws: “Mind Battle: ...” and keeps it.
DPP draws: “Rivers Flooded”, and after thinking about it, plays it. It is not the ideal time to play, but it will slow down the ring bearer, and he wants to keep his current cards.

Search Phase:
SP draws eye orcs, wasted.
DPP draws 3 Nazgul, but it is mostly lands east of the Anduin, and it misses Gimli.

The Search deck is exhausted, so it is reshuffled.

SP Turn:
Most of the Dunlending troops join in at Helmsdeep (one group is a hex away). Helmsdeep is overrun and Theodred is captured. A 6-5 orc takes him to Isengard, a 15-5 orc force stays to hold Helms Deep and the rest of the force continues its move and attacks Eldoras.

The SP feels that the FP made a mistake, they should have retreated at once into Dunharrow, so he moves Saruman to direct the battle.

There are a number of advantages for taking the Citadel:
The fellowship player must discard an event card at Random. She is forced to discard, “Grond: Hammer of Morgoth – Siege Weapon”.
Saruman can draw an event card. Ignoring the card discarded by the FP, he draws “Misty Passes Open”.
The number of Event cards that SP can hold in his hand increases by 1.
Finally, any Hand orcs in searches get +1 strength.


--- Army Combat:
Leaders Saruman (moral 3) vs. Eomer (moral 3). No DRM for leadership, but Saruman can roll for his Sorcery and gets a '5' for a +2 DRM.
96 orcs attack so the odds are: 96:(16 x2) → 3:1 with a +2 DRM. The roll is a crappy '1'. But Saruman has a Sorcery rating (and is in the hex) so he plays the event card, “Wizards are Subtle And Quick to Anger”, to re-roll, and gets a '3'. (He can keep either result: the '1' or '3'.) The 3+2=5 which results in 0/30% losses and Rohan has to lose 5 troops.
Rather than continuing the Rohan forces retreat to Dunharrow, except Eomer who retreats a hex north.

FP Turn:
My house rules say that reinforcements can not appear in hexes with enemy forces, including inside citadels which are under siege, but Dunharrow is not under siege yet! All that can appear there will do so. Eromer joins the forces in East Emnet.
Gondor reinforcements appear. Mordor is going to start to build up, so the FP has to decide what she is going to do. Get adventurous and raid? Retreat into Dol Amroth and Minas Tirith. She knows that the DPP has the “Denethor...” event card, so maybe pull back to Dol Amroth, and cede Minas Tirith? (Each Citadel captured gives the DPP advantages, and more importantly saves the DPP time. Perhaps foolishly, Gondor heads a large force south to capture the City of the Corsairs (Umbar). If Gondor can take it, it will abandon Minas Tirith and try to hold Dol Amroth and Umbar.
Boromir uses the greenway and the Bridge at Tharbad to get within 1 hex of Aragorn and Pippin (who can't cross that river because of the “River's Flooded” event. Boromir used the bridge (and the road bonus) so search will have a +2 DRM to spot him.
Gimli continues to move north of Mirkwood and ends up a hex north of Thranduil.

DPP Turn:
A full 13 PTS, so 4 PTS will be spent to move all armies on the board. 2 Nazgul move onto the Location south of Pippin, and 1 Nazgul move onto Boromir and N1 moves to command the armies facing Faramir.
The units in the south appear in (or move into) hex E0638.
No attacks this turn.


TURN 9:
The DPP gains 10 PTS.

Event Phase:
SP draws: “Tom Bombadil Intervenes”, and keeps it.
FP draws: “Morgul Blade”, ugh! She keeps it. Fortunately she won't have to discard it any time soon as her hand is small.
DPP draws: “Strider Hides Party”, and discards it.

Search Phase:
SP draws Nazgul, wasted.
DPP draws 6 ST of Eye orcs, which searches north and east. Gimli is in this area, so 1 PT is spent to search for him. It is hard to spot a single dwarf with 6 orcs and they miss him.

SP Turn:
Argh, another hard choice. Use Saruman to reduce Dunharrow(1), work on Ring Lore(2), or move closer to the Ring bearer(3). Moving to Isengard helps both 2 & 3, so Saruman decides to do that. The Chief of the Dunlendings will handle the Siege.
Troops move into Dunharrow. However, Eomer is loose with the East Emnet troops, so I can't strip Isengard or Helms Deep too much.

Saruman rolls a '3' on Ring Lore and his Lore Total is now 3. Next roll is sure to make a Lesser Ring.

--- Army Combat:
The Chief of the Dunlendings (moral 3) attacks Theoden (moral 3).
90 orcs attack which results in odds 90:(30 x3) = 1:1 odds. SP plays “Orcs in State of Battle Frenzy” so he will have a +3 DRM. The attack roll is a 4 +3 = 7. Rohan loses one leader, and 30% of its force.
Eowyn was too brave, fighting at the front; we will miss her. Rohan loses 5 infantry & 3 horse.

FP Turn:
Gandalf the White comes back! He appears in W3013 on the east of the mountains. He moves south, and ends up in the hex north of Lothlorien's magic hex.

Gimli enters Thanduil's palace and is given some Lembas. This does not end his movement, so he moves a hex south west.

Boromir, Aragorn and Pippin join up, exchange magic items. Pippen ends up with the the Barrow Blade, Mithril Mail, and the One Ring. Aragorn has the Map of Nurn and the Fine Shortsword. Boromir gets the Lesser Ring of Eregion (+2 MA) & Lembas. Then they move into the Location hex. Two Nazgul get a free search.
The good guys avoid the search, and encounter the location chit in hex W1721. It is a Servant of Sauron and a magic item.

--- Individual Combat:
It is a Were-worm (mentioned in the book, “Adventures of Tom Bombadil”), which attacks the party. It has Combat 4, Moral (2), and Endurance 4. Aragorn will fight it. Aragon has poor luck and is killed but does it 3 damage. Boromir picks up the map of Nurn (currently the only way they know into Mordor), and abandons the Fine Shortsword. Boromir attacks the Wurm and kills it, but takes 3 wounds in the process. The magic item is Galadriel's light, which gives a way into Mordor, so the Map is discarded.

Moving N1 south pretty much nixed the chances of capturing Umbar, but at least the Witch King is not dogging the steps of the Ringbearer. Faramir moves his force north to the town of Pelargir.

In Rohan, Eomer collects the last of the reinforcements and considers attacking Dunharrow. The besiegers are doubled for the terrain, and he would have 1:3 odds with no tricks. Eomer decides to capture Eldoras, where he will have the defender's advantage, and moves in 76 troops there.

DPP Turn:
The DPP spends all 10 PTS this turn moving Nazgul. N2 & N3 move to W1820. N4, N5 & N6 move to W1724 to block access to the next location.



TURN 10:
The DPP gains 9 PTS.

Event Phase:
SP draws: “Eagles!”, and keeps it.
FP draws: “Strider Hides Party”. Keeping it she discards “Morgul Blade”, and hopes the DPP misses it.
DPP draws: “Black Birds”, and discards “Sub-Commander Shows Initiative”.

Search Phase:
SP draws Eye Orcs, wasted.
DPP draws 3 Nazgul, which searches east of the Anduin. Gimli is in this area, so 3 PTS is spent to search for him. N7, N8, & N9 drop in for a visit. He dodges them in the woods.

SP Turn:
Saruman finishes his second Lesser Ring and has created a Ring of Endurance. The character wearing this ring, ignores the first point of damage / round in Individual Combat. Nice! The Total Lore chit is set back to zero.

Isengard is very lightly defended, and the horsemen in Eldoras can now reach it in one turn, so 3 orcs from Helms Deep move to Isengard to beef up the defense. There are still 17 orcs in Helms Deep, but there is no leader. An attack by Eomer may well have the advantage. SP debates attacking Eldoras, but decides to try to finish off Dunharrow.

--- Army Combat:
Both leaders are moral 3 so no bonus there.
Odds are 108:(12 x3) = 3:1. The die roll is a 4 → 10k/30. The attacker loses 10%, has a leader killed, and the defender loses 30%. SP and DPP leaders are not killed in army combat, so that is OK. SP loses 11 orcs. The Rohan forces lose 4 troops, and decline any further rounds of combat.

FP Turn:
Gandalf moves thru Lorien and picks up Anduil. The turn that Gandalf enters Lothlorien, the elves Mobilize. Coincidence? I think SO.

Gimli moves uses Lembas to the Location, Rhosgobel in Mirkwood in a single turn. He finds a Location Event. Looking up the Location for Rhosobel (the abandoned home of Rhadgast the Brown), he has to fight 2 spiders. If he wins, he gains 2 magic items.

--- Individual Combat:
Each Spider has Combat 1, Moral (2), Endurance 3. Special Power: if they hit, you are paralyzed and are treated as if you are dead. Someone else must step up and fight them. If all characters are 'dead' then the spiders eat you all. Gimli is in deep trouble, he is by himself! One hit will kill him! However, they are only rolling 1 attack die and Gimli rolls well, killing both without taking any damage. A very nerve wracking fight!

Gimli finds a Numenorian Broad Sword (+1 Combat, Magic Damage), and some Elven Rope. Gimli has too many items, so dumps the Elvish Spear.

Boromir and Pippin move to W1924.
Does Eomer attack Helm's deep? After some thought, she decides to risk it.

--- Army Combat:
Eomer has a 3 moral, verses no leader, so he will have a +3 DRM.
51 troops attack so the odds are: 51:(17 x3) = 1:1. Eomer rolls a terrible '1' → 4 which is a 20/20 exchange. Rohan loses 11 troops, and 4 orcs are lost. The FP could sure use some event cards that help her army combats.

Well, the Rohan turn was disappointing. However, Gondor is in worse shape. Anything put in Minas Tirith will likely be slaughtered (because of the Denethor event card), but if too little is put in, then the city will simply be overrun. After much thought, ('thought' sounds so much better than 'dithering'), she does not move her troops, but instead plays an event card, “Mind Battle: Elrond & Galadriel Distract Sauron”. This costs the DPP 2 PTS, and he won't have enough to do much this turn.

DPP Turn:
The DPP only has 4 PTS left. Two Nazgul (N2, & N3) will move W1925, in front of Pippin & Boromir.


TURN 11:
The DPP gains 8 PTS.

Event Phase:
SP draws: “The Shadow of Sauron!”, and discards “Tom Bombadil ...”.
FP draws: “The Ring is Heavy” and keeps it.
DPP draws: “Time Passes With Elves: Healing Rest”, and discards it. This card is playable by any player (it delays the fellowship as well as healing them), but he has better cards and everyone is past the 4 elf havens.

Search Phase:
SP draws 8 Hand Orcs, excellent! (+1 orc because of the extra citadel.) There is Gandalf in Fangorn, and Pippin & company in Endewaith.
Ignoring Gandalf, all orcs search for the ring. The SP plays, “Werewolves Track Scents” (which gives the Search roll a –2 DRM). There is a capture attempt! Pippin is captured, Boromir escapes. An 9 ST orc counter is pulled out of the change pile, and placed on Pippin. (Pippin can not put on the ring and escape because he only has one Ring Fatigue left.)

DPP draws 3 Nazgul, but none of the areas searched have fellowship characters.


SP Turn:
Saruman plays the event card, “Saruman Speeds Orcs”. This speeds his own troops and characters by MA 2, and slows other character's armies and characters by 2 for this turn, within an area.

The orcs holding Pippin rush towards Isengard ending on the road, one hex south of it.

The troops in Helms Deep can't move, but 15 points Dunlending forces from Dunharrow move in to Pippin's hex to protect them. The troops in Isengard also move into this hex along with Saruman & Grima.

The rest of the force in Dunharrow attacks.

--- Army Combat:
The two leaders cancel out, so 96 orcs and Dunlendings attack. The odds are: 96:(8 x3) = 4:1 odds.
The die roll is a 3 which is a 10k/20 so 10% of the orcs die (and the leader but the SP ignores that), and 20% of the Rohan forces die. 9 orcs and 2 Rohan troops die.

--- Individual Combat:
Saruman attempts to Seize the Ring. Pippin attacks with the Barrow Blade, but Saruman uses Sorcery.
Pippin rolls well, and does 2 damage to Saruman (even after the Saruman's Ring of Endurance), but is killed by Saruman.

Grima picks up the Barrow Blade and the Mithril Mail. There are 31 ST of troops in the hex.

A great turn!

FP Turn:
The 3 remaining members of the Fellowship continue to move south.

She debates attacking Saruman with Eomer's force, he outnumbers them 2:1. However Saruman has +2 moral and using his magic, he will have an average +3.5 DRM. Eomer feels he has no chance and so attacks Helms Deep where he has a significant advantage.

--- Army Combat:
Eomer has +3 moral. He attacks with 39 troops, the odds are 39:(13 x3) = 1:1. The roll is a 4 → 7 which does 80% damage to the orcs, and no damage to Rohan. 10 orcs die, only 3 left.

In Gondor, Minas Tirith is abandoned. The event card “Denethor Peer into Palantir...” is just too powerful. Everyone runs back to Dol Amroth. (Actually they pull back to Linhir (W3132) since that is out of range of the Mordor mega stack and Minas Tirith can reach it this turn. They will reach Dol Amroth next turn.) Denethor runs off with 4 horsemen just in case we need a weak leader sometime.
(Also, this will make it easy for the DPP to reach Saruman.)

DPP Turn:
Only 8 PTS this turn. 4 points are spent to move all armies and a couple of Nazgul. Over 250 ST moves into Minas Tirith, over 170 ST of troops Pelargir. N2 joins the troops from Rhun, N1 moves to Minas Tirith, and the Mouth of Sauron moved to Pelagir.

The FP has lost a citadel so the FP must discard a random event card. They lose “Strider Hides Party”.
The DPP gets to draw a card and draws “Striders Hides...”. The DPP can hold one extra event card, so he does not have to discard this one.
Further the DPP gains +1 Shadow Point per turn, (to a maximum of 13), per citadel.
Finally, orcs from searches get +2 ST.

A great turn! Now just kill an upstart wizard and take the Ring!


TURN 12:
The SP offers to ally with the FP. She asks, “what is in it for me?” SP offers to let the two hobbits go, give the FP “Eagles!”, and not attack Dunharrow for at least 3 turns. “We both need to prevent the DPP from wiping me out and getting the Ring”, he coaxes. The FP considers for a bit. If the DPP attacks the SP, the Gondor troops might become useful. She agrees to the alliance.

The event card is handed over at once.

The DPP gains 13 +1 (max 13) = 13 PTS.

Nazgul #9 switches over to allegiance to the SP.

Event Phase:
SP draws “Cirdan Uses Rod of Ulmo”, and keeps it.
FP draws “Sauron Employs a Palantir”, and keeps it.
DPP draws “Dain II Helps Fellowship”, and discards it.

Search Phase:
SP draws Eye orcs, wasted.
DPP draws 10 (+2) ST of Eye orcs. Gimli is in Rhovanion (Wilderland). 1 PT is spent to search, but Gimli avoids the patrols of orcs near Dul Guldur.

SP Turn:
N9 moves to Isengard.
A little bit of counting shows that there is about 400 troops in Gondor which could visit Isengard very soon. SP has about 125 troops left. Tripled in Isengard, it could take a while for the DPP to break in, and every turn delay gains another Nazgul. Alternately, I could move with my army around the map, and have the DPP chase after me. Actually, that sounds cool, let's see if he can catch me.

For now, all my troops retreat, to Isengard. (Those trapped in Helms Deep can leave because, hey, we are allies.)

Having abandoned Helms Deep, an event card must be discarded, “Misty Passes Open”, and the hand size goes back down to 4.

Saruman is in Isengard, so he works on Ring Lore, rolling a 6 for 3 points. The Lore Total is now 3, the next roll is sure to create a Lesser Ring.

FP Turn:
The Dwarves mobilize.
The FP has regained Helms Deep so she gets a draw of an event card, and gains, “Rohan Mobilizes”. My adjusted event card gives 5 extra troops scattered around Rohan if Rohan is already Mobilized. The FP plays this, gains the handful of extra troops, and she discards the card from the game.
All troops (except a couple too far away), run into Dunharrow. Gandalf reaches Eldoras and in passing takes the magic item. It is “Small Shield”, which allows you to ignore 1 point of Character Combat damage per turn. (Hobbits can use this item.)
Merry and Sam are released, and they run to Dunharrow as well.

Gondor troops finish retreating to Dol Amroth except Denethor and his Palantir and a 4-7 army troop who heads east.

The Dwarves start moving towards Hobbiton in the west, or Thranduil's palace in the East.

Boromir reaches a new location (Lond Daer), and it is No Effect. Nothing happens.

Gimli moves past Dul Guldur and enters the Brown Lands.

DPP Turn:
If I charge after the Ring with every troop I have there are intact Gondor forces and almost intact Rohan forces which can chew at weak spots. However, I can afford to lose a few citadels, if I can take the Ring.

4 PTS are spent to move all armies.

The troops currently in Gondor move up the road towards Rohan. The two groups join in the forest with the Servant of Sauron symbol on the road. 104 ST moves to Minas Tirith from places in Mordor.

The Easterlings attack Brand in Dale.

4 Nazgul are moved. N1 moves to Dale. N2 moves Minas Tirith. N3 move to the big army on the road in Rohan. N4 moves to Dol Guldur. Finally the Mouth of Sauron moves to the Black Gate and the orc leader Gothmog is in Minas Morgul.

--- Army Combat:
Lord of the Nazgul (moral 4 + 2 for Sorcery) verses Brand (moral 2) = a +4 DRM.
Odds are 26:(13 x2) = 1:1 odds. The roll is a '5' → 9 = 80% loss for the good guys. Brand retreats a hex north east toward Dane II and his dwarves.


>>> END OF TURN 12 <<<
          

AFL trade period 2019: Tim Kelly to West Coast, Stephen Wells says Tim Kelly is worth more than two first-round picks   

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West Coast will need to come to the party if they are to secure gun midfielder Tim Kelly during the 2019 trade period, with their current draft haul insufficient to please Geelong.


          

Cosmic Mix and Jacinta's HOT New "Electric Universe"   

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itunes pic
CD Cover "Jacinta - Electric Universe"! Club Chaos October 24 – 27, 2008 Mixed and produced by DJ Johnny D (all rights reserved) Club Chaos Set 1 1. Laura Izibor – From My Heart to Yours (Mac Project Club Mix)( Atlantic USA) 2. Juan Magan & Marcos Rodriguez – Bora Bora (Asere Music Int’l Blanca y Negro Spain) 3. Pain & Rossini vs. Alex Guesta – Dreams (NuStar Records Italy) 4. Sharam – get Wild (Album Version) (Yoshitoshi Recordings USA) 5. X-Press 2feat. David Byrne –Lazy 2008 (Moto Blanco Radio Mix) (Skint UK) Club Chaos Set 2 1. Levi 5STAR feat. Michelle Martinez – Third Time (Sahve Radio edit) (Denim Rec. UK) 2. Steve Murano – Own Way 2008 (Housework edit) (Toka Beatz Germany 3. Vinylshakerz – Hypnotic Tango (Soft Mode edit)(Ministry of Sound, Germany) 4. Soulcatcher feat. Amanda Wilson – Falling for You (Spin Records, Netherlands) Club Chaos Set 3 1. Jacinta – Electric Universe (Chunky Music USA) (World Radio Premier on Studio 1) 2. M@D – The Concert Medley (7 Nation Army) (Michael Mind Big Room House edit;Italy) 3. Sasha Angel feat. Lara Zola (Keep Shining) (Shining Star –Gusto Records UK) 4. Afrojack & The Party Squad – Drop Down (Do My Dance) (Digidance The Netherlands) Club Chaos Set 4 1. Lobo Ismail – One More Night (Alex Gap Radio edit) (Andorfine Records Germany) 2. Calvertron vs. Majestic MC – Gimme Da Mic (Ministry of Sound – Data Records UK) 3. Spoon, Harris, & Obernik – Baditude (Dave S, Paul H, Sam O – Toolroom; UK) 4. Karanyi feat. Judie Jay – Libido (UK Radio edit) (CLS Music Hungary) 5. Nicola Fasano vs. Yoshimoto – Been a Long Time (Jolly Roger/Sound Of Pirates Italy)
          

Wentus Blues Band & Duke Robillard – Too Much Mustard! (2019)   

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Artist: Wentus Blues Band & Duke Robillard Album: Too Much Mustard! Genre: Blues Rock Released: 2019 Format: MP3 / FLAC Quality: 320Kbps / Lossless Size: 136 MB / 410 MB Tracklist: 01 – Stayed At The Party 02 – 2:19 03 – Judgement Day 04 – First We Take Manhatten 05 – She’s A Killer […]
          

Iowa 2019 Liveblog   

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Iowa 2019 Liveblog Seth October 5th, 2019 at 11:30 AM
Let them eat cake. [Eric Upchurch]

Iowa Links: Preview, FFFF Offense (chart), FFFF Defense (chart)

The Law: As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.

New features this week: Judgment.

How to use: You can + and - comments by clicking either button then clicking the comment you want to moderate. You start with 100% health and Level 1--if you get +'d you can gain levels and post more quickly.

So the liveblog doesn't become a deluge, the frequency you can post is limited by the blue bar—your "mana"—that gradually recharges. You spend mana every time you comment, the mana cost at that moment depending on your level and how fast and furious the comments are flying.

Link for those who like it in a new window: https://www.kibitz.io/mgoblog/football/

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zh2oson

October 5th, 2019 at 1:58 PM ^

This liveblog is the Harbaugh/Gattis of liveblogs. Why do I have to log in with an email EVERY DAMN time I close the window on my phone?

Did Dave Brandon design this?

CarrIsMyHomeboy

October 5th, 2019 at 1:59 PM ^

Shea sucks, but let's not forget the lessons of RR and Hoke: (a) it can *always* get worse and (b) sometimes your best case scenario is unacceptably bad.

I think it's likely that Milton just isn't far enough in his development to even be equal to Patterson's level of bad. Maybe DMc can be better. Maybe. His health is so important for the season.

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Blue Vet

October 5th, 2019 at 2:14 PM ^

I came late to the party so I'm toggling between the second half and the taped first half. Just saw Collins' 51-yard reception / rebound. Wow!

And now Patterson running 15 yards for a first down. Wow!!

 

          

10/7/2019: NEWS: DRUG POLICY/OPIOID OVERDOSE EPIDEMIC   

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The Liberals pledge $700 million in additional funding between 2020 and 2014 to expand access to drug treatment and to combat opioid and meth addictions. The party will help provinces expand communitybased services, build more in-patient rehab beds,...
          

10/7/2019: NEWS: COST OF LIVING   

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The Liberal plan is to reduce personal income taxes by raising the personal exemption to $15,000 from $12,069, saving the average Canadian $292 and the average middle-class family $585. The party takes aim at cellphone bills, promising that increased...
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