Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, September 18th, 2017 - D 20 Adventure: "The Redwood Scar"

Some quick bits of personal news, then on to gaming stuff:

I am on my new work schedule starting tomorrow; I am moving back to an afternoon/evening shift, which I think will help me quite a bit. New assignments, new responsibilities, and (if I may say so) a nice raise in pay. I am expecting that my productivity will increase quite a lot; I am not a 'morning person', and being awake leter in the day will allow me to get a lot more done here at The Workbench.

We found a nice little Sony 'Cybershot' camera recently, and the photo above was taken with this. It uses the 'Memory Stick Pro' memory units, and I get something like 725 photos per stick with this camera. As a result, I think I'll be using this compact little camera for documenting games; I don't have to stop and reload sticks every 125 photos, like I do with my current digital camera.

Played in the D&D 5E campaign at the FLGS, today; this is set in the D20 "Blackmoor"series of books. We were involved in the adventures given in the suppliment "The Redwood Scar", and we managed to beat off the zombies that were menacing the village that we had been staying the night in. Had a quick side adventure from the same book, and then got the party back to the village to a place of relative safety.

I am not, I will admit, very happy with the 5e rules, but then I am not very happy with really any of the various editions of D&D that I've seen go by over the past forty years of my gaming life. I freely admit that I am spoiled by having played in the original Blackmoor setting with Dave Arneson and the original Greyhawk with Gary Gygax; their pace and ability to weave a wonderful tale really shaped the way I game and the way I look at gaming. The current incarnations of their game don;t do much for me, so I have dropped out of this group. Great players, solid GM, but all the number-crunching and calculations the rules seem to mandate are neither something I like or enjoy.

We'll see where my gaming goes, in the future; the more I get back to the basics I learned all those years ago, the more fun I and others seem to have.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Weekly Update - September 10th, 2017 - Astonishing Things Happening, Hereabouts!

Hokun - from David Allen and Howard Fielding

It's been an astonishing week in my life. As you can see from the photo, Howard Fielding has come up with transparent Hokun - something that we dreamed of for years, out at Phil's. have a look - link off to the right.

Mike Burns of Dark Fable has given some hints of what he's planning for future releases, and The Missus is already rubbing her hands with glee over them. Please see his announcement in the Updates to the 'Legend of Cleopatra' Indiegogo:

Servitors of Lord Qon. anyone?

Projects on the Workbench are hitting high gear; I've been cleaning up and re-shelving in the game room and in the workshop, and a great many projects that had fallen by the wayside are back on the front burners. My energy levels are up, the tools are sharp, and the sheet goods are all earmarked for projects. Life is good, if you asked me. I'm painting again, I'm writing again, and I am enjoying myself again. Could not ask for more, really!

My gaming is also picking up; I was in a truly great 'pulp' RPG yesterday, serving as the GM's resource base, and I had immense amounts of fun. Where it looks like I'm heading is a sort of 'resource on the hoof' role, where people can use what I know and my skills to enhance their games. I'm really enjoying this; I'm also getting asked to run games for people, and that's always a lot of fun for me.

And I start my new shift a week from tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to that as well. Thnigs are really looking up, and I'm very pleased with both that and the good mood I'm in.

Onward! :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 - Girls For The Girls!

Shield-maidens for The Daughters, others for me...

I think I can say that I had good holiday weekend; lots of stuff got done around the house, and many fun things were done on various excursions. The Workbench is still a mess, because I'm painting rather then cleaning, but that's my problem.

Lots and lots of family news; my father-in-law is out of the hospital and walking around (slowly, but he's walking), The Missus has had her annual cancer check-up and has passed with flying colors, Fifth Daughter has a 4.0 GPA and has been invited to join her school's Honor Society, and I am moving back to second shift in two weeks with an increase in pay. (Yes, we're a  little busy hereabouts.)

I am having a whee of a good time, in amongst the myriad of other things I'm up to, getting the plastic shield-maidens assembled. The girls are pretty happy with "their girls", as they call them. and I'm very happy at the quick and easy assembly work that I did. There are an immense number of variations possible with this set - Fifth Daughter calculated that there are over 103 million variations possible with one set of 24 figures, and I don't doubt her - so it took a little planning and forethought to get everything going - you get a lot of parts!

Fifth Daughter also did a little research and worked out the proportions of hair colors and skin tones that would likely be present in a selection of these miniature ladies, assuming that we're looking at a group of Viking Era / "Vikings" TV series / "Game of Thrones" TV series mercenaries / raiders / player-characters; it turns out that it's a 4:3:2:1 ration for black, brown, blonde, and red hair. Inside that spectrum, I also worked out several different shades of each hair color.

To add to the fun, my co-workers all encompass this same spectrum, so I was able to match hair colors to skin tones all across the range - the paints I have in stock are certainly getting a workout. I, as well as the Daughters, are very happy with the result - a bunch of very fierce and determined women from a broad spectrum of humanity. And, as a result, they all look en masse like all the extras ever hired by a motion picture or television producer for their big-budget epic.

In short, my girls are happy, my Missus is happy, so I'm happy.

By the by, I was also reviewing some of my old blog posts on miniatures, and I realized that I hadn't done the one I promised on why I get the miniatures I do, and how I paint them. So, that'll be next, with photos of examples...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Weekly Update The Second - Sunday, August 27th, 2017 - Interlude Two: The Game of Daughters

The box art, which doesn't do the figures justice

You get three of these sprues - 12 figures

You get two of these sprues - 12 figures

Every two weeks, I take my Fifth Daughter up to The Source Comics and Games so she can buy her bi-weekly ration of comics. As mentioned a while back, she also picked out some Dark Sword Miniatures figures for herself and her next-oldest sister; their older sister, as well as their two more senior sisters, already have personality figures in the collection for use in my campaigns. (1)

So, we were in the FLGS yesterday to get her comics on the way to getting the weekly groceries when we spotted two boxes of these plastic figures from Shield Wolf Miniatures on the shelf back in the plastic models section. Readers will recall that I had, on a previous excursion, cleaned out all of the Ancients figures from these shelves at the urging of the Missus, who felt that if I was going to do the 'Legend of Cleopatra' I'd better get it right - or she'd tell Phil on me, and he'd summon the Curse of The Mummy, or Cursed Hippos, or Something; Phil was, let us never forget, an unabashed Ancient Egyptian who took the Roman conquest very personally. Hence the Workbench being aswarm with the various Macedonians and Romans that I have been working on and mentioning in these pages.

Fifth Daughter saw these really quite nice figures - the box art does not do the very crisp and clean casting any justice - and dropped a heavy-handed hint that she and her sister would be very pleased if they had armies of their own; their older sister is more of a classical mind, and has laid claim to the wonderful Ral Partha Amazons that I got back this past spring at Cinncy Con. You can see the three packs I got at:

Her younger sisters seem to resent this martial minature supremacy to some degree, and - being an indulgent parent (and, to be frank, on the theory that Phil first elaborated as a rule of campaigning: "If they're carving each other up, then they'll be too busy to carve you up.") - I got the two boxes on offer and then went to get the groceries.

Much delight with these figures, even with them still on the sprue! We've always needed some ferocious women warriors to go with our fierce Nluss menfolk, and these ladies will certainly fill the part. They'll also serve equally well as other warriors in other settings, like Blackmoor - we do see visitors from there in Tekumel, remember - and they may make an appearance in the 'Legend of Cleopatra' game as mercenaries from the Land of the Amazons, which any educated Greek or Roman knew was just the other side of the Black Sea.

These figures have some novel features in their construction, as they have separate backs to their torsos; these can be exchanged for the hooded cloaks as well. There are also lots of different parts and options, which means that no two of any of these figures will look the same after I get done with them. I'll also do a little 'kit-bashing' as well, so as to get some left-handed figures, but by and large these figures are so well-done that I expect to have very little to do besides glue them together and paint them.

EDIT; Added link:

I have no idea what they're all plotting, but I do expect some miniatures gaming in the best M. A. R. Barker tradition is about to occur. If First Son-In-Law asks for some classical Chinese troops and Second asks for Native Americans from the Great Plains, then I'll have a family campaign on my hands...

Not that I'll mind, of course! :)

Footnote 1: Yes, it's complicated. First Daughter is also the most senior, followed by Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth in order of arrival. Third is the oldest, followed by Fourth, Fifth, First, and Second. First was the high school best friend of Second, who introduced Third to her husband (Second Son-in-law); Third is the sister of Fourth (who is married to First Son-in-law) and Fifth (who introduced First Son-in-law to Fourth Daughter) - they all arrived as a 'package deal'.

And yes, I do have a big white board to keep track of all this.

The Weekly Update The First - Sunday, August 27th, 2017 - Interlude One: Family News

First up today, I have good news and bad news. My beloved father-in-law had his surgery Monday, and is doing just fine; he'd had a series of nasty falls and broken bones over the past year, as well as other health issues, so things were a little dicey heading into Monday's proceedure. All is well, though; he's out of the hospital and into a managed care facility; we're very pleased with his progress!

Sadly, at the same time we were all in the surgery family waiting room, an old friend of my Missus' family was in the ER with a very severe cardiac event. She did not survive, I am very sorry to have to say. We were at her visitation last night, and saw all of my wife's childhood friends.

In other news, I am delighted to be able to report that my Fifth Daughter, currently the Daughter-In-Residence, is a straight 'A' student at her college and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. We are all very, very proud of her, as you might imagine!

More in a moment!