Episode 1641: In-Organaic Chemistry

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Episode 1641: In-Organaic Chemistry

It would have been nice to include something about ice-nine in this comic, but the real ice IX is in the wrong part of the phase diagram. And it simply wouldn't do to have Jim make a mistake about something like that.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

aurilee writes:

I didn't really notice this in Episode III, but the actress for Mon Mothma here looks a lot like the original one from Episode VI. So much so, that originally I thought this was the original actress until DMM corrected me! Between this and the Natalie Portman/Keira Knightley wizardry that thoroughly confused me as a kid (I thought the "decoy" was meant to be a clone, since I couldn't really tell the difference between the actresses), I have to conclude that the casting team for Star Wars has access to an actual cloning facility.

On to the actual strip... Ice X does actually sound explosive, so I can understand the GM's concern. It also would be a good name for the planet, if the GM went with a more science-y naming convention for his planets, instead of the more literary style he typically goes for. Which in turn makes me wonder whether the planet has a decent supply of the shaving cream atom.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Having very little to say about the events of this comic, I thought I'd say something about the process, at least as I understand it.

You're going to try to squirt the water into space. The cost of launching kiloton after kiloton of water is going to add up. Even with a space elevator, the amount of electricity needed to send that much water up at a high enough velocity that it goes out of the planetary's gravity well... well, gravity sucks.

Okay, so this is Sufficiently Advanced Technology. You have two choices. Choice one: give it some angular momentum, and let the mass turn into a moon. Big benefit number one: your center of mass stays the same. Choice two: give it even more energy, so it is no longer bound to your planet, but is bound to the star instead. If you really wanted to hide a water planet, having it be a water moon would be a really good way to do it.

Alright, so you have all this big mass of water sent out in space. Enough water that its gravity starts to pull it together. It's out in the coldness of space, so it's going to try to radiate heat. If it was able to radiate heat out, it would cool off, and then freeze. And freezing water does strange things. The two biggest ones are, of course, (A) it floats, and (B) it gives off heat.

(B), it gives off heat, is the odd one. I was surprised to find out just how much heat is given off by freezing water. It's actually enough to melt nearby water. It's enough to support microscopic life. But space is a wonderful insulator. It's hard to radiate out that much heat (see Coruscant discussion). So your water is going to be under high pressure, without being supercold.

High pressure will force things into a solid state, by forcing the molecules together, and not giving them enough room to move freely. The free movement of molecules is pretty much what defines a liquid; high pressure restricts that free movement. But now we get into the odd thing about ice. Ice isn't water molecules tightly packed. The reason water expands when it freezes, is that the water molecules arrange themselves into rings with a gap in the middle. When you have high pressure, you can have the water unable to move freely, and not be in that ring shape.

Unfortunately, that's about where my knowledge of the different stages of ice ends. From what I understand, there's something like 10 different types of ice, with different physical properties corresponding to different levels of pressure, temperature, etc. (Whether or not the ninth stage is actually a grey goo or not will be left to books.)

So what will this big mass of water under its own pressure wind up looking like? Well on the surface, you have ice that hasn't been able to radiate off heat, at normal pressure. That's water. So you have a layer of water on the surface. As you go deeper, the temperature may rise if the sphere is contracting under its own gravity (or maybe not if it's just super-scienced into place). But the pressure will be high enough to generate the oddity of exotic ice phases at temperatures above freezing.

Will this mass be spinning? It probably will be. It will be hard to put all of that water into space perfectly aligned at its center of mass all the time. There will probably be some spin. So you have the center, solid under pressure with one spin rate, and the water liquid possibly with a different spin rate. It should essentially equal out, but you can expect nasty storms until it does. And since we are talking about a relatively short amount of time, it should still be stormy there right now.

Especially if they tried to dump a large pile of sand on top of the solid center, and are somehow hoping that sand won't be blown around the planet by the waves.

Alright. So far, this seems to be pushing the bounds of plausibility. But now we have one bigger problem.

Solar wind. Magnetosphere. Lack of magnetosphere. Presence of solar wind. That water is not going to last. Living on that ball of ice water is not going to be pleasant. In fact, the best way to be shielded from the solar radiation is to live under the water.

Imagine a giant bubble, designed to be denser than the surface water, but not as dense as the deeper water, floating down about halfway down the water. (Okay, maybe not quite that deep; The bends might be a problem.) Kind of like a giant bubble floating on top of a gas giant. That will give you the shielding from the radiation, hiding from enemy scans, and even some protection from the surface ocean waves.

Ten quatloos says that the movie did not go to this much thought on the issue.

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1640: All We Hear is Radio Jar Jar

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1640.html

Episode 1640: All We Hear is Radio Jar Jar

If there's ever been a more contradicted phrase than a GM saying "You can't", then we're not sure what it is.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

If they are talking about moving the water from one planet to another, then there is another possibility for the missing planet. It might not be in the database as a water planet.

One possibility is to look for the planet "Newer New Netherlands". If it is having water deposited on it, then there should be some sort of warp portal on it that leads to another water world. One of these two is likely to be the water planet that has the Imperial data facility.

But please, please tell me that they did not actually have an Imperial combat droid calling the Rebel base in the actual movie.

Actually, this is horrible for security purposes in so many ways. The Imperial combat droid could have a secure hypervisor that is reporting back without the primary operating system even being aware of it - we've had viruses and root kits like that today.

In fact, this seems like a really good idea for the Imperial forces. Give some sort of technology to the enemy, have some type of virus hidden in that technology, wait for it to get used in the enemy facility, and then unleash the sabotage.

Call it... "Sucks-Net" :-).

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

And now Sally gets to talk to herself!

Toprawa it would seem, is a combination of Naboo and Kamino's water. Which would make it a little harder to find since it probably won't be in any database under "water planet" unless it's extremely recent.

I'm imagining Cassian starting up some old version of Encarta and searching for "water planet", then getting frustrated that he has to buy a new version just to get the latest information on water planets.

Also I assume "water planet" is an official scientific term in the Star Wars/Darths & Droids universes.

— aurilee

Transcript

Episode 1639: Missing: the Point

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1639.html

Episode 1639: Missing: the Point

Okay, quick quiz. Name:

  • The ice planet.
  • The swamp planet.
  • The city planet.

Exactly. Rule of science fiction: There's exactly one type of each planet.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

aurilee writes:

The flying whales are Sally-canon? I wasn't aware.

So the planet Darth Vader was on was Kamino, which means it wasn't actually completely smelted? Looks like Bodhi's out of the loop again.

It's kind of sad that Sally's creation was destroyed though. I hope she gets some joyous revenge. Possibly by making the GM's life miserable?*

* Don't actually try to ever take revenge on a GM. They will take revenge on you in retaliation. And they are way better at it than you.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Oddly, 584 says that Naboo was the planet that was smelted down. And David tells me that this is not a mistake, that my confusion will resolve in the next comic.

Chirrut is absolutely correct: the stuff happening on Polis Massa is a side track, a diversion. And Cassian is correct in that we don't know where it is yet.

Clearly, what we really need to do is find some sort of planetary database, fly in, use it to locate Toprawa, and then we can go in and locate the Peace Moon plans. And we even know of such a database. It's on Toprawa.

Wait a second...

On a different note: Sally's line would imply that simply by changing the name of a planet, or just simply calling an existing planet by a different name for your reports, you can completely hide it. That would be as crazy as saying that you can completely hide what city you're in just by using a different name for it... oh wait, that's actually happened.

And the clone trooper facilities - wouldn't it make far more sense to convince the enemy that they should use clones for their war... oh wait, they actually did that.

Actually, don't we see Kamino later on in the Disney CGI TV shows? No longer full of water, with one remaining Kaminoan trying to guard and hatch a Queen Egg, with the implication that that could revive the race? (Never mind the question of loss of genetic diversity, that's more detail than Disney cares about).

I guess this comic isn't so far off from reality/canon.

[Ed: It seems that Keybounce has temporarily confused Kamino with Geonosis.]

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1638: Me, Myself, and I, and Yours Truly, the Royal We, the Perpendicular Pronoun, and None

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1638.html

Episode 1638: Me, Myself, and I, and Yours Truly, the Royal We, the Perpendicular Pronoun, and None Other

When providing background information about events that PCs have been involved in, it's often a good idea to remind the players more or less subtly that they were involved in those events. Probably less subtly.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

When someone is playing more than one character at one time, there's always the possibility that they will get that extra vote in to encourage the party to do what they want to do. As a GM, what are you supposed to do?

Well, one option is to just let them have the extra vote. After all, the other players will be aware of horrible disastrous ideas.

In this case, they want to consider going to Toprawa to get the Peace Moon plans, and they want to go to Polis Massa to stage an ambush. Last time, they were talking about splitting up and doing two missions.

But now? Both of Jim's characters want to do the same thing. If you're running two characters, and they're doing different things, no problem. If they're doing the same thing?

Well, it really depends on the party, and on the players. If the players are okay with it, it might not be a problem.

Heck, I've run four characters at once in a single party. Of course, I was the only player. (And I took my spell books in with me. And 30 days worth of rations. And I had a cleric to cast summon food and water. Etc. I wasn't going to let a big pile of traps stop me, and I could go as slow and methodical as I wanted since I didn't have another player to bother me.)

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

Mon Mothma! The whole gang is here! I missed my favourite valley girl.

Are we sure Sally never got to talk to herself? I'm almost certain Jar Jar got to talk to Yoda or Threepio. I mean, Yoda definitely did talk to himself at some point, possibly even on-screen, but I'm sure Sally's characters interacted at least once.

[Ed.: Actually, yes, we're pretty sure about this. Jar Jar and Yoda have interacted, but Yoda was played by the GM at the time. (If we're wrong, we're sure someone will let us know.)]

— aurilee

Transcript

Episode 1637: Two PCs in a Posse

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1637.html

Episode 1637: Two PCs in a Posse

When it comes to rules lawyering, being technically right is far superior to being merely conventionally right. Being right according to the spirit of the rules is all well and good, but nothing can touch you when you're right according to the letter of the rules.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

aurilee writes:

Let this be a lesson to all GMs out there: think very carefully about every rule you make. The PCs will either exploit it, or dedicate themselves to working around it. If you aren't okay with both happening, just don't bother with the rule.

In this case, Pete saw the rule as a challenge. So he found a way to work around it, much to his satisfaction.

Jim on the other hand, is exploiting it (but without the deliberate thought that most players would put towards such a task). He's using the rule to get away with splitting the party, and getting to have two separate adventures.

The GM was clearly okay with Pete's reaction to the rule, because he saw Pete having fun, and it wasn't that bad for the GM to work with him having a familiar like Baze.

Jim's reaction sadly means more work for the GM. Twice the work in fact. Maybe more because he'll probably need to flesh out Bail's party with more NPCs.

If he had just kept his mouth shut about that rule though, he could have avoided it all.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

...

So you're going to split the party before you even get started?!

You're going to run both at the same time, and you're probably both going to die at the same time.

Well, they never said it was one per session. Just that it was four in four sessions.

Have I managed to predict anything in this movie correctly yet?

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1636: A Plagiarism on Both Your Houses

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1636.html

Episode 1636: A Plagiarism on Both Your Houses

Most of the dialogue and events in Darths & Droids is not really based on actual games we have played.

This strip, however, most definitely is.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

A recheck of Episode 680 shows that Bail Organa is going to set up an ambush on Polis Massa. But Episode 679 tells us that Bria is also going to Toprawa, and will suicide to avoid capture. Finally, 681 tells us that that's four characters in four sessions.

If Jim starts running Bail Organa now, he won't be running Bria when she suicides.

Unless Bail Organa dies first, and Jim has to re-run Bria.

And by the way, what's with all the non-handicapped access compliant buildings? Has anyone ever heard of an elevator? We've seen lifts on space stations, why not on ground buildings? And if that building really is as tall as the tiny little stuff in the foreground makes it seem, wouldn't that building collapse under its own weight?

I better stop before I get into the heat death again.

— Keybounce

aurilee writes:

Jim doesn't even remember Bail Organa? But he was so cool and edgy! Poor GM can't catch a break.

On the other hand, Bail Organa is now here! I also wasn't expecting to see him pop up, and now we get the Jim version too!

— aurilee

Transcript

Episode 1635: Don't Go Off Half-Choked; or: One-Trachea Mind

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Episode 1635: Don't Go Off Half-Choked; or: One-Trachea Mind

or: We Shall Redouble Our Title.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

aurilee writes:

Of all the things Vader would be concerned about, I never thought efficiency would be one of them. With the amount of employee-slaughtering she does, it certainly doesn't give one a sense that she cares how much effort, employees, Force usage etc. goes into any one particular goal.

My guess is that Krennic will fail despite the re-doubling, and this will make Vader rethink the whole "holding back to increase efficiency" thing, and we'll get the Force Choke-happy Vader of the next film.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Well, err...

Okay, so anyone that has seen the movie knows I did not get the plot twist correct this time. Again.

But it looks like this is where Padmé learns the importance of warning chokes.

This looks like the classic movie Vader from Episode IV. Choke someone badly, without killing them, "do not disappoint me again".

— Keybounce

Transcript