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It Had To Be Felt #73: Isoyama Toshihiro

Aikido News - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 18:53
It Had To Be Felt #73: Isoyama Toshihiro
From: Jun Akiyama posted on 9. May 2021, 05:53pm
URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25859

The latest "It Had to Be Felt" essay is now available for your reading pleasure, this time on Ishoyama Toshihiro of the Iwama dojo. This essay was written by Carl Thompson. From the essay: "My first impression of him was that he was far too powerful for his size. He was reasonably well built, but there was a clear disparity between his frame, and the strength coming out of it. He would grab me so strongly that I couldn't budge, and in the beginning, I wondered if he was being a bit mean. I noticed his wrists had thick cuffs of hair. He said it was from being grabbed so hard for so many years, and joked that he wished he'd had people grabbing his hairline too."

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    [BLOG] The Scoundrel’s Progress (Helvéczia Character Generation)

    Beyond Fomalhaut - Sat, 05/08/2021 - 19:52

    First, news on Helvéczia’s progress! Production is well underway, and boxes on our checklist are ticked off one by one. It is a complicated list, but there is a point with a large “ENDE” sign, and that sign is approaching. Here is where we are:

    • The book interiors, covers and endpapers have been printed, and are at the binder for assembly.
    • The Ammertal and the Oberammsbund supplement (a 72-page A4 book with hex-level world description and a handful of adventures) is printing.
    • The boxes are being manufactured (these are hand-made by one of the last boxmaker ladies active in town).
    • The maps have been finalised, test prints have been examined, and adjustments have been made. They will begin printing soon.
    • This leaves the reference folder with the “other stuff”. This still needs to be finalised, but will be done in the next days – it is not complicated stuff.

    With all things considered, it looks like the first boxes may be assembled in the second half of May. They will not go on sale immediately. The box would be available NOW if it was in my hands, but this kind of work does take time – the increase of product complexity is not linear, but geometric. As the plan goes, I will take a short holiday in late May and early June (during which time the store will be closed), after which Helvéczia will be available. If everything comes together, a small initial batch will be sent to NTRPGCon, and the game will make its international debut there – check the Black Blade Publishing stand!

    For this post, let’s delve into the game’s character creation rules – I shall make a random character to demonstrate how the rules work, and how they are balanced between the familiar and the unknown.

    Boxed set prototype with a hand of cards

    Unless otherwise specified by some special circumstance, all Helvéczia player characters are randomly generated, and at the second level of experience. Since the game encompasses six experience levels, power differences are rarely bad enough to merit starting above second level. Enterprising NPCs can be promoted to adventurers during play (Little Juan, whose adventures we have recounted before, started his career as a servant, and rose to fame and fortune after his master, Don José Emilio de Gálvez y Rivera, had to depart with speed from the inquisitors who had wanted to burn him for practicing black magic).

    For our character, we shall generate ability scores with the 4d6, drop lowest method. The scores are always in order, but the player can select between two sets – this results in generally competent characters, but often with a few interesting flaws. We roll the dice, and get...

    • Str 16, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 9
    • Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 8

    Neither of these mostly similar sets make for flattering cads, but both are essentially qualified for any class in the game: there is no overwhelming reason not to run a strong Vagabond, or even Student (who are not as frail as D&D’s magic-users), and Father Taddeo Previti, the renowned inquisitor, had a Dexterity of 18, with an almost supernatural ability to silently appear behind someone’s back (“Nobody expects the Italian Inquisition… in Catalonia!”). For now, we will pick the second set, note down the ability score bonuses on the character sheet (more on this later), and create a fighting-oriented character.

    Our character, Pascual de Perales (name generated with this very useful random generator) shall be a Spaniard – somewhere midway between safe bets like Frenchmen and Germans, and wildcards with like Poles and Hungarians (who come with higher benefits, but severe drawbacks). The Catalonia campaign introduced several varieties of smaller groups on the Iberian Peninsula, from Andalusians to Basques and Gallegos, but for now, we shall stick with the rulebook. Accordingly, we can note down the following special abilities:

    • They receive +2 to their Bravery and Temptation saving throws.
    • In all circumstances, they must spend a quarter of their money on elegant clothing and expensive jewellery befitting Hispanic fashion.

    Helvéczia’s Fighter class is divided into six sub-classes, and – in keeping with the swashbuckling theme – we shall make Pascual, who seems like a bravo or troublemaker with his high abilities but below-average Charisma, a Duellist. This means the following:

    • They can transfer part or whole of their base attack bonus to AC to protect either themselves or others. This AC bonus can be granted to one person for every odd level. [Here, it is +2, and one person – either the character, or someone he is defending]
    • If it is higher than their Strength bonus, they can use their Dexterity bonus for melee attacks. [Not applicable here]
    • Finally, they receive a +2 to all combat checks. [Combat checks, or CCs, are a general action type for all kinds of “special moves” like disarming, tackling, forcing back an opponent, seizing a hostage, etc. They are played with contested attack rolls.]

    We note down this information on the character sheet as well. Pascual currently has 2000 experience points (for 2nd level), and needs to hit 6000 for 3rd level.


    As one of its points where it departs the furthest from common “OSR” systems, Helvéczia has a simple skill system. Pascual de Perales has three skills by default, and plus two for his Intelligence bonus. Since Fighters are more versatile than other classes, he will receive one more each on 3rdand 5th level. We pick the following skills, beneficial to a troublemaker:

    • Climb (Str)
    • Gambling (Dex)
    • Jump (Str)
    • Ride (Dex)
    • Science (Int)

    All of these skills are rated at a value equal to the sum of the character’s level [2] and the relevant ability bonus [-3 to +3]. In his youth, Pascual must have had some formal education, as he has a science skill... which, for added fun, we shall roll randomly from a table with a d6 and d12 (there is a similar one for crafts): a 2and 1, making Pascual trained in the useful art of Aesthetics! Note that Pascual shall not be restricted to the use of the selected skills: he can use any skill available to his class (which is “most of them”), he just does not get to add his level to those rolls. Helvéczia characters are jacks of all trades… granted, on low levels, they are also masters of none! Difficulty Classes (DCs) for most rolls are 12 (for Normal tasks) or 18 (for Hard ones).

    After these steps, we can determine Pascual’s secondary values, various stats derived from class, ability scores, and a few other factors.

    • First things first, Pascual’s hit points shall be 10 (maximum on first level – this benefit is solely for player characters), plus 1d10, plus his Constitution modifier on each level. We get: 10+2+2=14. Pascual can talk the talk and get into trouble, but he has a glass jaw. (Like all other PCs, he will fall unconscious at 0 Hp, and die at -5 Hp. There is no bleeding rule in Helvéczia.)
    • His initiative shall be equal to his Dexterity bonus, a +1.
    • His Armour Class shall be left for after picking equipment.
    • His attack bonus as a Duellist is Level*1 (other classes are Level*2/3), to which he can add his Strength bonus (for mêlée) or Dexterity bonus (for ranged attacks). Thus, we get 2+2=4 and 2+1=3.
    • Helvéczia has three saving throw categories: Bravery, Deftness, and Temptation. As a Duellist, Pascual is good at Bravery, with a value of Level/2+2, and the others at Level/2. To these, he adds his relevant bonus values (Constitution, Dexterity, and Wisdom, respectively), as well as his special bonus as a Spaniard. Therefore, we get 1+2+1+2=+6 (this is a very good value in the system!), 1+0+1=+2, and 1+0+2+2=+5. We note down the scores.
    • There is one more thing to be done here: it comes later in the book, but we shall roll Pascual’s Virtue! Virtue functions as Helvéczia’s equivalent of an alignment system. The beginning score is rolled with a flat 3d6 roll, and positions the character on a 21-point scale that goes from 1 to 21. This score describes where the character stands in the struggle between Heaven and Hell, who both have a standing interest in the affairs of mortals. Pascual rolls 12, which is right in the middle, and comes with no remarkable effects – but every virtuous or sinful deed shall be recorded in the Catalogue of Sins, moving him towards one extreme or the other, with various consequences! (See the scale in the upper right for the simplest ones.)

    We’ve got Pascual, now it is time to give him equipment. At the beginning, he has a set of inexpensive clothes, and 2d6 golden Thalers or equipment to the same value. As a Duellist, he is also entitled to one weapon of his choice. We roll 3+4=7! There are options to take out a starting loan at a sympathetic banking house like the Fuggers, Die Gebrüder Lehmann, Rotschild & Söhne, or Goldmann-Sachs, for those who enjoy paying compound interest on relatively short notice, but this will be enough to get by. We will convert our Thalers to 70 Pfennigs for ease of use, and start shopping.

    • For his free starting weapon, Pascual picks a spadroon, a good fencing weapon: it only causes 1d6 damage (plus the Strength bonus), but it has a good critical hit range (18–20/*2), and it grants +2 to Combat Checks, which will be Pascual’s forte!
    • From the 70 Pfennigs, Pascual also equips himself with a cloak and a main-gauche(parrying dagger): both of these function as armour, granting him +2 AC each. We can now count Pascual’s Armour Class: 10 plus Dex bonus plus armour type, making for 10+1+2+2=15. Later in his career, Pascuall shall try to get his hands on a cuirass, but so far, so good… These two items only cost 11 Pfg, while the cuirass would set him back 15 Th!
    • A gun would come in handy! Pascual can still afford one pistol (40 Pfg), with two pouches of powder and shot (20*, 6 Pfg). Firearms are “first-strike” weapons, requiring precious combat time to reload, but that initial shot can be decisive. Pistols do an impressive 1d10+ damage (meaning the 10 will add an extra damage dice), and have a critical of (20/*3). They take one round to reload.
    • Pascual only has 11 Pfg left. He passes on a handful of grenades (“Some day!”), thinks about taking that loan, then settles for minor personal effects: a feathered hat (5 Pfg) to look like a semblance of a gentleman, a deck of cards(2 Pfg, but they pay for themselves!), a haversack (1 Pfg), and a wineskin filled with wine (1 Pfg). Having only 2 Pfg left in this world, sufficient for four days of poor room and board at some low-class inn, Pascual now has sufficient motivation for embarking on his adventures, and getting more money... at gunpoint if n-eeded be!

    The reader might note an “X” in the second column. This is for encumbrance values: characters can carry one object (or a logical combination of small ones) in one slot, and depending on Strength, some may be crossed off – Pascual can carry 15 items on his person, but Szymon Czarniecki, a much weaker Student with a Strength of 7 (-1) would only be able to carry 12.



    All that remains are background details. In Helvéczia, it is recommended to give your character a brief and to the point backstory – perhaps a paragraph to establish the hero or heroine – and let the rest emerge over play. It never hurts to have that persona (Pascual is a violent and charmless bravo, but more smart than one might assume), along with a sampler of past sins or good deeds. Since Pascual’s Virtue is average, he might not have done anything bad, or he could have just been a person of extremes – which is what we will go with:

    Would you buy a used
    glaive-guisarme from this guy?Character notes:

    "There is no greater teacher than Life; and this was the wisdom Pascual de Perales followed when ending his studies and embarking on a life of swordfighting, highway robbery, and daring escapes from places where the previous two had proved unsuccessful. After a misadventure with the stagecoach of a great hidalgo named Don Alejandro Luís de Santillan, he thought it better to leave his native land, and head for the lands of Helvéczia, where the Law shall rarely follow."

    The Catalogue of Sins: 

    –1 point: Plundering the Inn of the Barbican
    –2 points: attack on the stagecoach, and killing the bodyguard
    +2 point: defending the peddler from the guards
    –1 point: robbery at gunpoint

    Pascual is now ready for his first adventure!

    In my experience, explaining character generation for Helvéczia takes longer than actually doing it, especially after the first PC or two (initial character turnover can be rapid). Of course, the process above only applies to player characters. If he was a throwaway NPC, here is how the Gamemaster would stat him:

    Pascual de Perales: Duellist 2+2; AC 15 (Dex, cloak, main-guache); Atk +4 spadroon 1d6+2 (18–20/*2, +2 CC) or +4 pistol 1d10+ (*3) [1 r]; Spec attack to AC [2], +2 CC; +5/+3/+5; V 12; 2 Pfg, powder&shot*20, wineskin, cards.

    Hp       14

    You will note that the translation is not entirely accurate – some things are simplified or omitted – but the Gamemaster, who has to move several characters in the game, shall surely appreciate the simplicity!

    Pascual de Perales -- character sheet (0.1 MB PDF) 

    Hex map test prints (GM/player)

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Law, Chaos, & the Weird An OSR Commentary With Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters By James Ward

    Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 18:04
    " Mythic epics are the driving force behind fantasy role playing games! Castles & Crusades is no exception. Here for the first time C&C branches out into the ether and brings you OF Gods & Monsters a book we guarantee you ll want and use. Written by James M. Ward this book stands along side the Monsters & Treasure as a tremendous resource for adventure and fun. James M. Ward returns to a subject Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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    Hooked on You by Kathleen Fuller Giveaway

    Moogly - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 15:00

    Hooked on You is a new book by Kathleen Fuller – a “sweet and delightful small-town rom-com” that centers on a local yarn shop! And in addition to a lovely story, the book includes a pair of knit and crochet hat patterns – and the crochet version was designed by me! Get a peek inside...

    Read More

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    Sentinels Comics RPG Session 3: "Demons from Never"

    Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 11:00

    Roll Call:
    Blur: Amnesiac Speedster!Fibbit: Manic Pixie Extradimensional Dream Girl!Infranaut: IR-Powered Celebrity Hero!Il Masso: The Rock-Solid Hero of Little Italy!

    Supporting Characters: Moonshadow

    Villains: demons from Never (first appearance); Dark Duplicates (cameo)

    Synopsis: Fearing another attack on Zauber, Action Jack accompanies him to the hospital while his companions stay behind to try to sort out why this happened. Fibit appears with a speedster in tow, confident she's found their missing teammate. The others don't remember a missing teammate clearly, but don't think that teammate was Blur if there was one. Blur doesn't know why she's here or where here is, but she goes with it.

    Fibit tries to read the mysterious book and discovers it isn't really a book at all. It's a multidimensional object whose 4D cross section looks like a book. In any case, she senses it won't help them at this time. They decide to investigate the air gallery/museum further only to see an apparition of a woman.

    It turns out this is a thought-projection of Moonshadow who was looking for Zauber. She asks for the team's help in protecting a family in suburban Ravenwood who is beset by demonic entities from a place called the Never--a realm outside of time of conceptions never realized. She uses her power to transport them.

    In the house, they find reality warped in the master bedroom. A couple and their young daughter are sleeping, obviously to the demonic creatures that attack the mental shields Moonshadow has erected. Moonshadow explains the girl is her younger self and that she is from a parallel world.

    The group destroys the demons, but Moonshadow tells them more will return. There is something malignant in the Never, and it appears drawn to the psychic potential of her younger duplicate. She believes it may be related to Anachronus somehow.

    The team agrees to enter the portal and find the source of the malevolence. This find a strange maelstrom of floating shapes, and half-real ideas.

    Suddenly, I blast strikes near them from a floating asteroid overhead. They look out to see five sinister looking superhumans.

    "Anachronus sends his regards, " one of them sneers.

    REVIEW: Dalek Universe 1 – You won’t want to miss this!

    Blogtor Who - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 07:00

    David Tennant is back as the Tenth Doctor! With Big Finish Productions. Battling Daleks! But there is also a feel of the 1960’s about Dalek Universe 1… Dalek Universe may be the title of this set, but it is more of a wider celebration of Terry Nation’s ideas and influence. The Tenth Doctor teams up […]

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    Riding on the High Cha'alterral - Saving Cha'alt Session Report One & Review

    Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 03:10
     So let's dive right in on this from the beginning, DM Ricky had grabbed my copy of Saving Cha'alt a day or so ago. I had bought the pdf two days ago & had it printed out. DM Steve & Ricky brought another player over Charlie to meet up. And the rest of gang filled in after six or so tonight. I have no idea who but someone started saying we ought to be riding the high Cha'alterral. An obvious takeNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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    Session Report Zero - High Tech Mysticism & High Caliber Adventure - Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars By Jason Vey & Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door

    Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 19:33
     So today we've  gotten the chance to put into practice some of the things we've been talking about here for sometime. And this goes back into a whole cloth other direction in today's game session or one shot. Or should I say the Connecticut one shot. In 1919's Connecticut in the little town of  Bingham tucked in the  Northwestern hills the residents  are stumped by the disappearance of twenty Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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    DC, June 1980 (part 1)

    Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 14:30
    I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of my 7th birthday in February 1980.

    Batman #323: Cat-Man puts Batman and Catwoman in an almost 60s TV show death trap, which they escape. Cat-Man's potentially magical cloak seems to heal Catwoman's fatal-at-any-moment illness no one ever seemed to name. Weak sauce, Wein and Novick! Nice Aparo cover, though.
    DC Comics Presents #21: In a story by Barr and Dillin, we get an appearance by Captain Comet, comics' first identified mutant superhero (as far as I know). Another mutant tries to steal Captain Comet's powers out of jealousy in an elaborate plot.
    Flash #283: This issue is like a Silver Age throwback complete with a title page and a silly villain like the Rainbow Raider. The Flash triumphs by using his power creatively, though, which is kind of cool.
    Ghosts #86: Three sort of novel ghostly stories of revenge. These stories drive home how much the ghost story (at least as DC does it) often involves the murderer dying in the same way as their victim. The Kashdan/Yeates story "The Phantom's Last Act" has the twist of the killer acknowledging the ghost's existence, but not being afraid of it due to its incorporeality, then panicking when it threatens to reveal his secret in a halogram display, and getting himself killed.

    G.I. Combat #220: One thing I've noticed about these Haunted Tank stories: the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart shows up less than you might think from the name of the strip. In these 3 stories written by Kanigher and grittily rendered by Glanzman, the crew play host to a no-nonsense Soviet Major who happens to be a woman, they are forced to haul a big gun for the Germans to keep Belgian hostages safe, and they run into Rock and Easy Company on the way to Bastogne. There are a lot of cameos in these war books. In other tales, Kanigher puts a plug in for the indigenous people of a Pacific Island (if with a cringeworthy portrayal) as a warrior gets the better of both the Japanese and American invaders, and Haney and Caliva tell the life story of a G.I. canteen.
    Jonah Hex #34: Fleisher gives us another story of Hex's Civil war past, this one revealing how he was the one that killed Stonewall Jackson in a friendly fire incident at Chancellorsville. The only problem is Fleisher told us a couple of issues ago that Hex left the Confederate Army right after the Emancipation Proclamation, and so shouldn't have even been there.
    Justice League of America #179: Conway's creation, Firestorm, gets to join the JLA. He immediately gets into trouble crossing a disco super-model vampire, the Satin Satan!

    Secrets of Haunted House #25: A criminal and a vampire (who apparently doesn't know how her powers work in some crucial ways) try to make it across some really hostile wilderness in a weird story by Catherine Barrett Andrews, Stuart Hopen, and artist June Lofamia. The second story was written by famous letterer Todd Klein and has art by von Eeden. It's one of those typical "trying to escape Destiny only leads you to do the exact thing you were supposed to do" yarns.
    Superman #348: Conway and Swan deliver a pretty nonsensical tale of an old Native American who summons an extradimensional storm monsters with some sort of alien artifact. Neither the monster or the artifact are ever explained, but hey, Superman tosses them both into another dimension where they're somebody else's problem, I guess, and gives the old guy a regular rock as a replacement. Problem solved!
    Weird War Tales #88: Fleisher and Ocampo deliver a problematic story about the Seminole Wars where the U.S. can't defeat the tribe because they have the fountain of youth to keep their people young and healthy. It all ends in tears though as a would-be white savior you turned on his unit gets killed by his commander who then destroys the sacred waters, dooming the Seminole. Alligators get him in the end, though.
    Wonder Woman #268: Animal Man is still guest staring, but now they're in France fighting some ridiculous assassins. 

    High Tech Mysticism & High Caliber Adventure - Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars By Jason Vey & Law vs Chaos with the Weird

    Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 05:44
    " The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death.Part Two, Ch. 4"On the Road (1957) Jack Kerouac Now we've talked frequently about the modular nature of the various OSR clones on Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Final Score – Blake’s 7: Avalon 2!

    Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 18:30

    It’s a meeting of criminal minds in The Worlds of Blake’s 7: Avalon 2, due for release in June 2021 Surprise! It’s Bayban, back a little earlier than you might have been expecting. As a juicy appetiser to his own box set, due for release in December 2021, Colin Baker’s man at the top of […]

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    The Legacy of Lum The Mad & Leuk-O In Greyhawk & The Wilderlands of High Fantasy

    Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 15:36
    There are ton of thoughts roaring through my head today after speaking with DM Steve & DM Ricky. One of those was looking over notes from 2019 concerning our Godbound/Cha'alt game campaign. Some of this goes all of the way back to our 2019 Victorious rpg campaign. That morphed into Godzilla 1889 & then bled into Amazing Adventures. The real question was, in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy was Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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    The Lone Centurion Volume 2: Camelot – Arise, Sir Rory!

    Blogtor Who - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 07:00

    Sir Rory to the rescue! The Lone Centurion is back in Volume Two: Camelot, due for release in July 2022 The theme for the second volume of full-cast audio adventures for Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) has been revealed. While Volume One took the Lone Centurion to ancient Rome, Volume 2 finds Rory in the court […]

    The post The Lone Centurion Volume 2: Camelot – Arise, Sir Rory! appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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    It! The Terror from Beyond Space 1958 film adapted for The Cepheus Engine's Hostile Rpg Setting

    Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 06:03
     The Martian Reptilian is a horror from some unknown star system that crash landed on Mars or perhas a mutated survivor of some lost Martian civilization. The xeno reptilian as it has become known is a strange abomination like exotic hybrid of the Reticulan Xenomorphic & some unknown alien life form. The creature shares many of the xenomorphic biological & ecological traits. This includes an Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Task Force delivers strategic plan to address global ransomware problem

    Malwarebytes - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 19:52

    The Ransomware Task Force (RTF), a think tank composed of more than 60 volunteer experts who represent organizations encompassing industries and governments, has recently pushed out a comprehensive and strategic plan for tackling the increasing threat and evolution of ransomware.

    The report, entitled “Combating Ransomware – A Comprehensive Framework for Action: Key Recommendations from the Ransomware Task Force”, which you can read here [PDF]  advocates for “a unified, aggressive, comprehensive, public-private anti-ransomware campaign.”

    The purpose of creating the document seems to be threefold: first, to educate the targeted reader—in this case, policy makers and industry leaders—about the dangers of ransomware; second, to call for unification amongst organizations to collectively beat the ransomware enterprise; and third, to guide organizations and governments on action items (48 in total) they can pursue to disrupt the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model and extensively lessen the impact of current and future attacks.

    “This is great news and sorely needed,” says Jerome Segura, Director of Threat Intelligence at Malwarebytes, in an email. “One key aspect is, of course, international cooperation (or the lack thereof) which has proven to be a key reason why many criminals from Eastern Europe can continue their business without real fear of prosecution.”

    Ransomware: a threat to national security

    Ransomware attacks had been popping up left and right, even before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into cybersecurity efforts of many already challenged companies and industries. Ransom demands inflated steeply through the pandemic, and the money raised appears to be being reflected in increasing innovation and sophistication.

    The report quantifies the impact of a ransomware attacks with some startling statistics. According to the RTF the average ransom payment in 2020 was $312,493, an increase of 171% over the previous year. Perhaps even more costly and damaging, it puts the average time it takes to fully recover from a ransomware attack at just over nine months.

    Ransomware statistics collated by the task force (Source: The RTF Report 2020)

    Note that these are average numbers, which means that there are cases when organizations have dealt with much longer downtimes and paid far higher ransoms (demands go into the tens of millions) to get their businesses back up and running as quickly as possible.

    Gone are the days when threat actors behind ransomware campaigns targeted organizations they thought had the means to readily cough up money to meet their demands. These past few years, ransomware gangs have become more opportunistic, perhaps comforted by the wide availability of ransom insurance. They have deliberately targeted networks and breached systems of vital infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, local governments, and nuclear plants, knowing full well that they may be putting lives at risk.

    Organizations who refuse to pay the ransom have then to deal with the data leaking that will inevitably follow; the delays caused by identifying and fixing the problems that allowed the ransomware gang into its systems; and the cost to undergo crisis management efforts and generally getting back on track as quickly as possible, while also increasing their overall cybersecurity posture. On the other hand, organizations who do pay the ransom get to spend millions of dollars, too, on top of the ransom payment and still aren’t guaranteed to get their data back, or a speedy recovery.

    Ransom payments may then used to fund criminal enterprises that, for example, engage in human trafficking, terrorism, and “the proliferation of mass destruction”. But perhaps the most damaging of all is that ransomware attacks can sow doubt in the minds of the public towards public institutions.

    To add salt to the wound, ransomware threat actors do this from within countries that are turning a blind eye to, or even encouraging, these cybercrime campaigns. They are safe havens where gangs know they won’t be charged, prosecuted or extradited for their actions. It is not difficult then to see why the RTF urged its audience to “raise the priority of ransomware within the intelligence community, and designate it as a national security threat” while advocating the use of “criminal prosecution and other tactics”.

    Core actions organizations and governments must take

    Although there are multiple steps recommended in the report, the RTF prescribes that these steps should be viewed and considered part of a bigger whole as they were each designed to complement and build on each other.

    According to the report:

    “The strategic framework is organized around four primary goals: to deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategy; to disrupt the business model and reduce criminal profits; to help organizations prepare for ransomware attacks; and to respond to ransomware attacks more effectively.”

    To see the necessary impact against the ransomware enterprise, the task force stresses the importance of adopting these steps as soon as possible, with continuous coordination among the involved parties at a national and international level. (The RTF has proposed that the US government take charge in international coordination efforts with its partners.)

    Among its priority recommendations, the RTF proposes that greater prioritization be given to an intelligence-driven anti-ransomware efforts; mandatory reporting of ransomware attacks and the creation of Cyber Response and Recovery funds; the development of a framework to help organizations prepare for, and respond to, ransomware attacks; and greater regulation of the cryptocurrency sector.

    Among the action items to be done, these are the five most urgent, according to the Ransomware Task Force. The rest are supporting actions that strengthen or lead to the fulfillment of these five. (Source: The RTF Report 2020) About the RTF and other anti-ransomware efforts

    The Institute of Security and Technology (IST) is the host organization that launched the Ransomware Task Force four months ago in December 2020. Before this, significant efforts have been made by organizations within or associated with the cybersecurity industry in combating ransomware.

    In January this year, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched the Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Campaign where it focused on educating the public and private sectors on anti-ransomware best practices and what tools and resources to use to mitigate attacks. CISA’s one-stop page for everything one needs to know about ransomware can be found on this CISA ransomware page.

    In July 2016, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre joined forces with other law enforcement bodies and IT security companies to launch No More Ransom (NMR). Similar to the above mentioned efforts, NMR also aims to help victims recover their data without shelling out money. They do this by collating decryption tools for ransomware families, created by cybersecurity volunteers. You can learn more about No More Ransom by visiting its official website.

    The post Task Force delivers strategic plan to address global ransomware problem appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

    Categories: Techie Feeds

    High Tech Mysticism & High Caliber Adventure - Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars By Jason Vey & Original Dungeons & Dragon's The Underground & Wilderness Adventures

    Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 15:53
     We should be wondering tonight, "Is there a world?" But I could go and talk on 5, 10, 20 minutes about is there a world, because there is really no world, cause sometimes I'm walkin' on the ground and I see right through the ground. And there is no world. And you'll find out."Is There A Beat Generation?" forum at Hunter College, New York, New York (8 November 1958)Jack KerouacSomeplace along theNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Patons Striped Hourglass Basket

    Moogly - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 15:01

    The Patons Striped Hourglass Basket is a smart and functional crochet container that is useful in every room of the home. Perk up your houseplants, organize your ornaments, and manage your mess with this free crochet pattern – video tutorials included! Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Yarnspirations, all opinions are my own.  Haute Home...

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    The post Patons Striped Hourglass Basket appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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