Sunday, September 29, 2013

Skills in Wizards' Realm

For those illiterate in Mystic Swamp Elvish, the tall one is Sir Tarl
Eaglemoor and the other guy is Robin Winterthorn. No, seriously.

The first page of the Wizards' Realm rulebook has a list of contents.  It's not a Table of Contents because that would require page references.  I suppose it's just as well since the errata tells us that “Pages 15 and 50 were juxtaposed in printing.”  (At least the rulebook has an index.)  About half of the skill descriptions are on what should have been page 15.  In effect, the skill listings start on page 14, jump to page 50, and conclude on page 16.  Skills are a fundamental part of a Wizards' Realm character; they encompass such things as spells and ability to use different weapon types.

I agree completely that player characters should start out weak – but not too weak – then grow in power with experience.  However, in Wizards' Realm, beginning characters are weak (perhaps too weak), but amass power at a fast rate (perhaps too fast).  We will see an example of this in next week's post.

Wizards' Realm is a level-based system, except “levels” are called “degrees.”  (Some instances of “level” still remain in the text.)  Player Characters start the game with 3 'Skill Credits' and gain more with experience.  At lower degrees, PCs receive 4 Skill Credits per degree.  Starting at sixth degree and continuing through eleventh, they get 6 Skill Credits per degree; from twelfth through twentieth, eight Skill Credits.  There are no degrees after twentieth; however, characters at twentieth level can obtain an additional Skill Credit for every thousand Experience Points earned.  Aside from gaining Skill Credits, advancing from one degree to another does not provide any intrinsic advantage to a character.  (One exception being spellcasting effectiveness – see below).  Abilities improve only to the extent Skill Credits are applied.

Skill Credits can be applied in various ways.  One Skill Credit per degree can be used to increase the value of an Attribute (up to a maximum value of 25).  So that means it takes same amount of effort (i.e., one Skill Credit) to change an Attribute value from three to four or from twenty-three to twenty-four – a linear progression.

Spellcasters can use a Skill Credit to gain a spell.  The percentage chance of effectiveness of a given spell is based upon the level of the spellcaster and the complexity of the spell.  Additional Skill Credits spent on the same spell apply a 10% bonus to the effectiveness (to a maximum of 99%).  At certain degrees, spellcasters automatically improve their effectiveness with all spells.

A Skill Credit spent on a 'professional skill' – which I understand to be any skill that is neither a weapon skill nor a spell – grants a 50% proficiency.  A second Skill Credit spent on a professional skill gives +15%; each Skill Credit spent thereafter on that skill gives +10% (to a maximum of 99%).  High (or low) Attribute values do not affect proficiency chances.  Among the professional skills, there are 'silversmithing,' 'apothecary science,' 'tracking,' 'social graces,' 'stealth,' 'detection of lies,' and...'mime.'

Finally, there are weapon skills.  Each weapon has a fixed damage value; so-called “contact weapons” also have a defense bonus and an “initiation” bonus.  (Initiative is not determined in Wizards' Realm combat, instead there is “initiation.”)  One Skill Credit used for a weapon skill gives 'half' proficiency.  A character who is half-proficient with a weapon only uses half of the damage, defense, and initiation values listed for a weapon.  With two Skill Credits applied, a character obtains full benefit from the various values provided by the weapon.  This suggests that a character without any training in a weapon disregards all values of the weapon.  With a good combat roll, such a character can still cause damage with the weapon, but the weapon's damage value will not be applied.  Once a character has 'full' proficiency with a weapon, he or she can “develop phenomenal ability” by spending additional Skill Credits.  A character receives +1 to damage (and, for contact weapons, defense) for each Skill Credit spent (after obtaining full proficiency) to a maximum of +5.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Attributes and Classes in Wizards' Realm


Characters in Wizards' Realm possess eight Attributes:  Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, Dexterity, Agility, Charisma, Appearance, and Luck.  The value of each Attribute is determined by rolling 2d10.  Page 3 says, “1d20 may also be used, but tends to give a much more random and peculiar set of Attribute scores.”  Page 4 assures us, “If some Attributes are low when you first roll up your character, don't be dismayed.  A player's character will depend on the blending of his or her several abilities. and the others probably balance the scales.”

Attribute scores are modified based upon the character's race.  There's a distinct difference between the Free Peoples and the Forgotten Kin.  There are no negative Attribute modifiers for any of the 'Free Peoples' races while most of the 'Forgotten Kin' races have a net modifier of zero or less.  The only exception are Goblins; they receive +1 Dexterity and no negative modifiers.  Interestingly, humans have +1 Constitution.  Elves get a bonus to either Intelligence or Charisma.  Dwarves Dwergar get a choice between +1 Strength or +2 Constitution.  Hobbits get a bonus to both Dexterity and Luck.  I think that Hobbits are designer Cheryl Duval's pet race; the Hobbit depicted above, Pandro, is her character.  The poor Bogeys have a -2 Charisma and merely +1 Agility to compensate.

Various Attributes combine to determine a character's other abilities:
Attack Number – Aptitude with offense in combat.  (Strength + Dexterity + Agility)
Defense Number – Aptitude with defense in combat.  (Strength + Constitution + Agility)
Survival Points – “[T]he amount of damage your character could withstand.”  (Strength + Constitution)
Power Points – Endurance for casting magic spells.  (For 'normal' spellcasters:   [Constitution + Dexterity + (10 x Intelligence)]  For 'Wizards':  [Constitution + Dexterity + (20 x Intelligence)])
Power points must be calculated for all characters (“All characters have them”), even though only spellcasters actually use them.  With regard to Attack Number and Defense Number, page 4 says, “you may figure that a total of 36 or better reflects well on your combat ability.”  This may be discouraging for a player who wants his character to be a Warrior.  Regardless, page 4 also lets us know that:
A particular feature of Wizards' Realm is the fact you are not limited in your choice of a character profession by minimum requirements to qualify for the particular class Class which appeals to you.
There are three classes and a variety of sub-classes.

There are five sub-classes under the Warrior class.  Two of the sub-classses are 'no-frills' in my opinion.  For the Ranger and Martial Artist sub-classes, players are encouraged to pick appropriate skills from the skill list.  That's it – just recommended skills and nothing else.  Berserkers, on the other hand, can go into a “battle-frenzy.”  This means they ignore wounds until the end of combat and get an extra attack per round (or two extra attacks if not defending).  The downside is that they must make an Intelligence saving roll “to resist battle-frenzy in a given combat.”  There are no other limitations; Berserkers use the same experience progression as 'normal' Warriors.

The Knight-Trenfher sub-class is the Wizards' Realm version of paladin.  Their experience progression is somewhat more difficult than a typical Warrior's and they are expected to demonstrate “those qualities of goodness to which he or she is committed.”  A Knight-Trenfher provides his or her travelling companions with +1 Luck.  Does someone travelling with two Knight-Trenfhers (Knights-Trenfher?) receive +2 Luck?  For that matter, does each Knight-Trenfher get +1 Luck because of the other Knight-Trenfher?  Aside from the Luck benefit, a Knight-Trenfher obtains “a noble and intelligent steed” upon reaching the fifth level degree of advancement.  The last Warrior sub-class is the Anti-Paladin – essentially a Knight-Trenfher devoted to evil.

The Spellcaster Class has four sub-classes.  The 'Draoi' – which Google translate says is Irish for 'wizard' – are the equivalent of D&D druids.  “The only circumstances in which a Draoi will condone the taking of a life is in the just defense of another life,” according to the rulebook.  Also, “Draoi have a great affinity with wild animals, each developing a special bond with a particular creature – his totem.”  The actual effects in terms of game mechanics are not disclosed.

Page 14 suggests that each Spellcaster sub-class has certain favored spells.  Does this mean only the Illusionist sub-class can cast illusion spells?  Does it mean any Spellcaster can cast illusion spells but that Illusionists have some sort of advantage?  Again, the rules fail to enlighten.  At least Necromancers seem to have a monopoly on revivification magic.

The final Spellcaster sub-class is Wizard which – appropriately for a game called Wizards' Realm – is the most powerful character vocation.  Suitably, Wizards have the most arduous experience progression.  They get a boatload of Power Points more than regular Spellcasters (as noted above) and they have less of a chance of failure when casting.  This is because a Wizard's “genetic structure has created a natural recipticle (sic) for Magic.”  Only half-Elves can be Wizards and only one-out-of-four half-Elves “ever show the potential for wizardry.”

The third Wizards' Realm character Class is the Adventurer.  Page 14 tells us, “Some of the more familiar sub-classes in this category include Thieves, Traders, Clergy, Physicians, Alchemists, Armourers and Courtesans, but the possibilities are endless.”  Again, these are 'no-frills' sub-classes; you choose what you think are appropriate skills and that's the extent of a sub-class.  Adventurers have the exact same experience progression as Warriors.  You might think that Warriors possess some sort of combat advantage over Adventurers and that Adventurers have some sort of non-combat advantage over Warriors.  You would be wrong.  In Wizards' Realm, the difference between a Warrior and an Adventurer is the word that's listed next to “Class” on the character sheet.  Presumably, a Warrior would put more emphasis on combat skills, but both classes have identical access to the same mix of skills.

At the very least, the writers/designers could have established some kind of skill choice ratio, like Adventurers must have two non-combat skills for every combat skill and – likewise – Warriors can only have one non-combat skill for every two combat skills.  Since all characters have Power Points, why not let Classes other than Spellcasters use them?  For instance, Warriors could use Power Points to re-roll combat rolls or to perform special martial maneuvers while Adventurers could use Power Points to modify (non-combat) saving rolls or something similar.  This would make the Classes truly distinct.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Races in Wizards' Realm

For the Mystic Swamp Elvish illiterate,

that's 'Darkmoon' on the left and 'Shadow' on the right

The Wizards' Realm™ Fantasy Role-Playing Adventure System offers an assortment of player character races (or “The Sondry Folk” as the game refers to them).  There are the usual fantasy types, “the Free People – the humans, elvenkin, dwarf-folk and hobbitry” – yes, shameless hobbitry.  There are also “the so-called Forgotten Kin...orcs, troll, goblin and bogey” or – as I like to refer to them – marginalized humanoids.

“Humans are considered the most adaptable of all the Free Peoples...”  Yeah, you know the drill.

Dwarves are officially called “Dwergar” and they “tend to be swarthy, with glittering black eyes and hair that may be of any color at all.”  And the traditional Dwarf - Elf antagonism?  According to page 7...
     It is said that in the Dawn of Days, the Elves alone knew Magic and taught ir but sparingly to those deemed worthy.  The tales tell of a clever dwarf-lord who by his cunning learned the secrets of an Elven mage and used this lore to weave spells into his weaponcraft.  The Elves have never quite forgiven this trickery.
Elves are divided into “several kin.”  The Shee are bog-standard fairies.  The nocturnal Danaan are most like typical RPG Elves – forest dwelling and magically inclined.  The Katani also dwell in forests but are nomadic.  They have “little use for magic” and focus instead on martial disciplines.  The Fingolan elves “are a people of the daylight and open places.”  As such, they lack the night-vision of the other Elf-kin.  Many Fingolan elves live among men.

There are several Hobbit types, including river-dwelling hobbits with beards – doubtless patterned after Tolkien's 'Stoors.'  In Wizards' Realm, there are nomad clans of hobbits.  The villainous 'Black hobbits' are said to be an “off-shoot” of the nomads.  “Black” refers not to their coloration but to their vicious disposition.  (Black hobbits also appear in Tunnels & Trolls.)

Page 9 tells us that bogeys are a...
...tall, hardy people with deceptively benign dog-like faces...[and they] are a tribal and primarily hunting folk.  They range up to seven feet tall, with brownish-yellow coloration, sparse reddish hair, and small, glittering black eyes.
Comments regarding the bogey ethos were provided in last week's post.

Orcs are generally cruel and “live in a strict, militaristic commune.”  Also, as stated on page 9,
they stand as tall or taller than humans.  Their coloration ranges from pale to dark through several unwholesome shades, with lambent red eyes and great yellow teeth.
Goblins in Wizards' Realm are herbivores...“cultivating mushrooms and cave-grown roots.”  However, since they use wolves as guards and mounts, goblins must provide them with meat.  Goblins have red or yellow eyes and “coppery skin with unruly black hair and beard.”

“The Trollock...are a people with pride and honor, after their own fashion.”  By way of description, page 10 tells us that...
Trolls are large, bulky, powerfully-built folk, with huge ears and noses and tough leathery hide.  They grow to six or seven feet or more in height...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Inspiration: Curiosities of the Icelandic Sea

Islandia; Abraham Ortelius, circa 1590

Here we have a map of Iceland created by Abraham Ortelius in the tail end of the sixteenth century.  More information than you could possibly want about this map is available here.  Ortelius displays various nautical features – most of them 'sea monsters' – and labels each with a letter of the alphabet, 'A' through 'Q' (excluding 'J').  The reverse of the map provides information regarding each of the entities so labelled.  In the descriptions below, italicized text represents a direct quote from Ortelius' material; everything else is my commentary.  For terms of measurement, it is assumed that one 'cubit' is equivalent to 18 inches while one 'ell' equals 4 feet.

A. NAHUALIf any man eat of this fish, he dieth presently.  It has a tooth projecting ten-and-a-half feet out from its head.  This tooth has the same anti-poison properties as the Unicorn's horn.  This monster is 160 feet in length.  We know this creature as the narwhal; however, narwhals do not grow to such lengths, their teeth do not possess any unusual properties, and consumption of its flesh is not typically fatal.

B. ROIDER – This is a fish 520 feet in length, which hath no teeth.  The flesh of it is very good meat, wholesome and toothsome.  The fatte of it is good against many diseases.

C. BURCHVALUR – This creature hath his head bigger than all the body beside.  It hath many very strong teeth, whereof they make Chesmen or Tablemen.  It is ninety feet long.

D. HYENA or SEA HOGGE – Ortelius refers us to Olaus Magnus for information.  According to Olaus, this monster has “four feet like a Dragons, two eyes on both sides of his Loyns, and a third in his belly inkling toward his navel.”

E. ZIPHIUS (perhaps XIPHIUS, the sword fish) – This is an horrible sea monster, swallowing the blacke seale at one bitte.  Rather than the swordfish, science equates this 'monster' with Cuvier's beaked whale.

F. ENGLISH WHALE – It is 120 feet long.  It hath no teeth, but the tongue of it is 28 feet in length.

G. HROSHUALUR or SEA-HORSEIt often doth the fishermen great hurt and skare.

H. WHALE – Specifically, the greatest kind of Whales, which seldome sheweth it selfe.  When it does appear, it seems more like a small island than a fish. It cannot follow or chase the smaller fishes, by reason of the huge greatnesse and waigth of his body.  Nonetheless, it is able to catch fish and sustain itself by a naturall wile and subtilty.

I. SKAUTUHVALUR – This fish is somewhat like a ray or skaite but an infinite deale bigger; it seems like an island when it appears and it overturns ships and boats with its massive fins.  It is altogether full of gristles or bones.

K. SEENAUT or SEA-COW – These gray creatures sometimes leave the water and feed on the land as a herd.  They are able to live in the water by virtue of a little bagge hanging at their nose.  Should this bag break, they live upon the land as other cattle.

L. STEIPEREIDURA most gentle and tame kind of whale; which for the defence of the fishermen fighteth against other Whales.  It is forbidden by Proclamation that no man may kill or hurt this sort of Whale.  It has a length of at least 150 feet.

M. STAUKUL or SPRINGUALIt is so called of leaping or skipping.  It is a very dangerous enemy to seamen and fishers; and greedily seeketh after mans flesh.  It has been known to stand all day upright upon its tail for reasons not established.

N. ROSTUNGER or ROSMAR – This creature is somewhat like a sea-calfe.  It walks on the sea bottom with its four, short feet. His skinne may scarcely be pearced with any weapon.  It sleeps for twelve hours at a time in a curious fashion – hanging by his two long teeth from a rock or cliff.  These teeth are at least four feet long, but the length of his whole body is 56 feet.  Rostungur is Icelandic for walrus.

O. HUALAMBUR or SPERMACETI PARMACITTY – This is a semiliquid, waxy substance found in the heads of Sperm Whales.  It was much sought after by whalers.

P. TREES – These are tree trunks which have been pulled up from Norway by force of winde and violent tempest.  After being tossed to and fro and passing through many stormes, they are eventually cast upon the Icelandic shore.

Q. ICE – Great heaps of ice brought hither with the tide from the frozen sea, making a great and terrible noise; some pieces of which oft times are sixty feet.  In some places white beares do fitte closely, watching the silly fish which heere about do play...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wizards' Realm

In his Heroic Worlds book, Lawrence Schick has this to say about Wizards' Realm:
Fantasy system with a simplified, back-to-basics approach. Character creation employs a class-and-level system; classes include wizards, spellcasters, knights, and anti-paladins. The combat system is quite simple. Includes maps, a sample town, and an introductory scenario.
Schick also has this to say:
Fantasy system heavily inspired by D&D and set in a saccharin fantasy world where the worst you can say about the monsters is that they're naughty. The main city is such a terrible place, it's called “Mousehole.” The rulebook is printed sideways in a barely legible “script” typeface.
Both descriptions pertain to Wizards' Realm; however, the latter appears as the entry for a different game – Wizards' World – which immediately follows the listing for Wizards' Realm.  Perhaps Schick inadvertently switched the descriptions?  Well, no.  While Wizards' World has an introductory scenario (of a sort), it lacks maps and a sample town.  Also, the combat system for Wizards' World is no simpler than that for D&D.  So, we have two different descriptions for Wizards' Realm and none for Wizards' World.  (By the way, Wizards' World is available for purchase from Lulu.)

Schick makes no claims to perfection, but this Wizards' Realm/Wizards' World error highlights the problem of relying upon the information he presents in Heroic Worlds.  The first description is an even-handed and accurate representation of the game while the second description is laced with derision.  In which other entries does the opinion of “grumpy” Schick prevail over that of “professional” Schick?  What other entries are actually descriptions of completely different games?

Aside from being mean, the second description is wrong on several points.

The remark “heavily inspired by D&D” is one of disdain.  Yes, with regard to Wizards' Realm, the remark is true, just as it is true for many fantasy games from that era (especially from small publishers).  Wizards' Realm isn't any more derivative of D&D than other games of its class.

Rather than calling the Wizards' Realm setting “a saccharine fantasy world,” I would say “an intentionally nondescript fantasy world.”  Like any proper role-playing game, Wizards' Realm provides the GM and players with “latitude in shaping the world...”  The meager background that is provided is rather bland with a 'Tolkien vanilla' aftertaste.  Admittedly, the presentation of the game is sometimes 'cutesy.'  For example, two of the sections of the book are “Monsters 'n' Critters” and “Coin o' th' Realm.”  I'm not a fan of the 'cutesy' presentation, but I don't think it causes the setting to become “a saccharine fantasy world.”

I honestly don't know how Schick developed the notion that “the worst thing you can say about the monsters is that they're naughty.”  Here is a passage from page 9:
     Since a show of weakness is considered a sign of cowardice, bogeys often fight with an animal fury, and will choose to die on one's own sword rather than be taken a prisoner.  The lone bogey-man is then a most dangerous foe, for he will fight to the death over the smallest conflict.  Such beastial [sic] rages have given rise to the erroneous rumors of cannibalism and other outrages ascribed to their kind.
The above paragraph does not convey “naughty” to me.

The sample town (not “The main city”) provided with the game is named Mousehole, “pronounced `muz'l´ -- only an out-of-towner says `mouse-hole!´”  Of course, nothing prevents the GM from changing the name if so desired.  Sometimes, real-world place names are silly, so I would be disinclined to change it.  Besides, there has to be a reason it's called Mousehole; that reason could easily become the basis of an adventure.

Although the cover of Wizards' Realm is displayed in a 'portrait' orientation (see image above), the internal pages are presented in a 'landscape' orientation (or “sideways” as Schick has it).  The 'typeface' might best be described as no-frills, sans serif electric typewriter circa 1981.  It is most certainly not “script” and legibility is not an issue.  That being said, marginalia appears throughout the book in the form of “Realm elvish” – a substitution cipher of 'elvish' symbols.  This is certainly illegible in that it uses a non-standard alphabet – even the book refers to it as “gibberish” – but this is merely occasional marginalia, not the main body of the text.

Wizards' Realm was published in 1981 by 'Mystic Swamp' and written by Cheryl W. Duval, Niels Erickson, William G. Murphy, and Clifford Polite.  Alas, Schick neglects to list Ms. Duval as a creator in the Heroic Worlds entry, even though Wizards' Realm credits her for “original concept” in addition to writing.  If Schick is to be believed, a second, 'ring-binder' edition was released in 1983.  I suppose that's a 'binder with rings' as opposed to 'in the darkness bind them.'

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What is your Action Guide Style?

In Gregory L. Kinney's World Action and Adventure role playing game, 'Action Guide' is the equivalent of Game Master.  In the Official Guide, Kinney discusses the various Action Guide 'styles' or archetypes.  They include The Technician, The Executive, The Director, The Delegator, The Developer, and The Dictator.  Now – if it were me – I would have used 'The Decider' instead of The Executive and 'The Designer' instead of The Technician because alliteration makes everything better.  Also, I probably would have used 'The Definer' instead of The Dictator because it sounds nicer.  Rather than re-word Kinney's descriptions, I present his own words.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's 2013, Do You Know Where Your Cyberpunk Is?


The Future Ain't What It Used To Be (Part II)

Johnny Silverhand

In 1988, R. Talsorian Games published Cyberpunk, “The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future.”  What is meant by “Dark Future” is the near future with rampant social decay and technology.  How near?  How about twenty-five years, a quarter of a century?  That ought to be long enough to posit credibly a cyberpunk dystopia.  Of course, that means the “Dark Future” is now.  Although many might consider the present to be 'dark,' it's certainly not cyberpunk dark.  While it's still 2013, it may be entertaining to take a look back at a look forward to now.

Cyberpunk was designed primarily by Maximum Mike Pondsmith, a storied game designer who was inducted into the Origins Awards Hall of Fame in 2006.  He remains involved with the latest iteration – Cyberpunk 2077.  The first edition of Cyberpunk has come to be known as Cyberpunk 2013, in reference to the date of the setting.  Only two years after 1988, the second edition was published.  Not mush had changed, but the date of the setting had become 2020.  Apparently, thirty years – rather than twenty-five – was a more appropriate distance in time for the setting.

Welcome to Night City is the 38 page sourcebook included with the initial game.  It is this book – having the subtitle A Sourcebook for 2013 – that provided the inspiration (and material) for this post.  Pondsmith intended for Referees to use their own cities as the location for their adventures and Night City was presented to demonstrate “the feel, not the substance” of a Cyberpunk setting.  Realizing that not all Referees would live in a big city, the book provides a map of a Night City that could be used as a substitute for the urban challenged.  With a nod to one of the founders of the cyberpunk genre, the Night City map shows the W. Gibson Memorial Freeway, even though the reports of Gibson's death seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

Here are some highlights from the past two-and-a-half decades:
1990Fall of South Africa.  There is little or no communication from Southern Africa for the next four years, although terrible atrocities and genocidal wars are reported.  (Fortunately, the end of Apartheid was not so violent.)
1991 Gorborev regime purges last of old Soviet hardliners.  (Well, the year is right, but everything Soviet was purged.)
1992 – ...the Euromarket, is formed...A common currency unit, the Eurodollar, is also established... (Well, the eurozone wasn't established until '99 and the euro didn't enter circulation until '02.)
1996Lawyer Purge:  irate citizen (sic) lynch hundreds of crimal (sic) defense attorneys.  (Good times.)
1997Mideast Meltdown.  Tensions in the Middle East escalate to nuclear exchange.  Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Chad and the Arab Emirates reduced to radioactive slag.  World oil supply reduced by half.
2000 – Wasting Plague hits the U.S., Europe, killing hundreds of thousands.
2004 First Corporate War
2007Second Corporate War
2008An orbital war begins between “Euros” and the “Yanks”, until Luna Colony massdriver drops a rock on Colorado Springs.
Communication technology has improved dramatically since 1988.  Let's see what the sourcebook says.  “A [postage] stamp in 2013 costs 75¢.”  (Yay!  We're saving 29 cents!)  Check out this thing called a “Fax”:
This is the letterwriting mode of the future...You may type your letter in using the keyboard provided, have it scanned from your own laser disk, or use the built in scanner to “read” any typed letter.  The faxed copy is then transmitted by wire to a local post office in your destination area, where it is automatically typed off, inserted into an envelope, and delivered by letter carrier to the mailbox.
Golly!  Newspapers now make use of fax technology; they are printed for customers directly from 'newsboxes' for 1¢ per page.

Cell phones have a convenient size, but memory-autodial can be expensive!

By the way, today Rachael Tyroll filed with Arasaka Security Corporation her report on the 'Iron Sights' Booster gang that Arasaka bankrolls (for now).  (Rachael Tyroll / Rachael Tyrell – get it?)
I guess Rachael doesn't have spell-check

Another example of “let's change a letter so they won't sue us:”