Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fair Warning! Big Essay On The Way! - The Weekly Update, April 24th, 2018

Setting sail into new seas...

What a difference a week makes! 15: of snow on the ground at this time last week, and now it's all gone. I, for one, an delighted!

In domestic news, Fifth Daughter has now finally and completely moved out, and we have our house back entirely to ourselves for the first time in a decade. The quiet is deafening!

I am in the throes of getting the game room ready for the 5e game this weekend, and I will have photos and a report for everyone afterwards.

The title of this little placeholder refers to an interview I'm doing, during which the question was asked "So, what is your play style?" I'm trying to formulate a coherent answer to that, and you'll be seeing it as a series of pretty long (and hopefully interesting!) posts later on this week. Until I finish typing, you may want to have a look at my YouTube channel - link on the column opposite, down near the bottom

Back shortly!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

On Hold - Weekly Update - April 15th, 2018

Yep; that time of year again...


The local situation, this morning...


Everything is on hold, this weekend. We've had about 14" of snow over the past day, and the van refused to start due to blowing snow getting under the poor old thing and getting the wiring wet. We've been putting a tarp ober it to help with this, and it worked fin during the last storm we had. It didn't save the day this time around, so the van is off to the shop to get dried out.

Fifth Daughter's move into her new home has also been delayed, but she's only got one load left so things will be clear by the weekend. I have gotten the game room clear of debris, the workshop and laundry sorted, and we're on track to have our first guests in the game room (in several years) at the end of this month.

Life goes on, just wetter and slower...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hoist By My Own Petard - The Belated Weekly Update - Monday, April 9th, 2018

Temptation, on the hoof (as it were)

Pandemonium reigns, here at The Workbench; Fifth Daughter is moving out, into her new townhouse with her fiance. It's been a long process, as the poor old van has not been running reliably; it will start just fine if the weather is dry, but gets sulky if it's wet. At 338,600 miles, it probably has every right to be, and our mechanics (who have been looking after the old beast for over a decade, now) have advised us to not put any mode money into the van and advised us to simply get a tarp to throw over the van when it looks like rain.

So, we did, and it works just fine. Had some snow the past couple of days, and wrapping the van up worked perfectly.

Anyway, there's one last load due to go out the door, and then The Missus and I get our house all to ourselves for the first time in over a decade. All of the boxes and tubs that we've been living out of now will go back into what used to be 'the spare room' and we're going to be able to do a lot more with our live sin very short order. And, to be honest, a college student is a pretty large expense; our annual disposable income is going to effectively triple, which means that we can do a lot of the things that we've always wanted to do - but didn't have the money for.

TRE Games, for example, now has some very useful wagon kits, which I saw at the FLGS; they are not yet up on the TRE website, but I'm sure he'll be happy to sell them to you. (Tell him Chirine sent you.)

And, also to be honest, the timing of all this could not be better. Due to an event being run at the FLGS, the D&D 5E group that I play in / co-GM is going to be held here at the house in our game room the end of this month. Aside from the usual 'panic factor' of getting everything ready, this will be a historic moment - it will actually be the very first time a real D&D game will be played here since we moved in over thirty years ago.

I'm sort of assuming that we'll still be in the midst of the D20 "Redwood Scar", so I shall dig out a nice forest for the game table and set out the scene the way I usually do. We'll see how it goes; I will admit that I'm looking forward to it.

And I got an interesting question in over the transom, with a request to do an essay on my game style. So, that's up next, as soon as I proofread all the typos... :)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Play Style: Gary Gygax - The Weekly Update (3) - Monday, March 26th, 2018

Still a classic RPG movie, I think.

We've come full circle in my gaming life, to Gary Gygax. This is actually the hardest post to write, as I have a lot less gaming 'face time' with Gary then I had with Dave and Phil; I really on saw him at conventions and after TSR stockholders' meetings, where I had been sent by Dave to annoy the Blume brothers with questions they they didn't really want to answer.

For Gary, I used to suggest an animated short film, "The Duel", as an example of Gary's skill at taking a premise and running with it. He was very, very good at this, and you were careful as a result. He was, I think, the 'middle ground' between Dave and Phil, with a little of Dave's 'improv' style and some of Phil's 'grand historical epic' school. He was very good, very quick, and very literate - the much-discussed 'Appendix N' was a list of the books and films that had inspired him, and it's still one of the best introductions to the genre that I can think of.

Which leads us to the two 1980s "Conan" movies. Yes, they both do have issues, but I think they do serve as example of what playing with Gary was like. A straight-foward tale of adventure and derring-do, with a dash of romance thrown in every now then to remind you why you were out having an adventure and why there were other things in an adventurer's life then loot.

If you have the time, get a bucket of popcorn, and sit down in front of the biggest screen you can find and watch "Conan the Barbarian: and "Conan the Destroyer". It's all about a couple of parties of adventurers off on quests, which is the heart and soul of this RPG thing we do.

Questions? Thoughts? How can I describe this better?

Play Style: M. A. R. Barker - The Weekly Update (2) - Monday, March 26th, 2018

Even more epic, 'cause it's historical...

Continuing in our EPIC! vein, gaming with Prof, Barker in his Tekumel. Again, I used to suggest a video, this one about the siege of Jotapata:


Being in the legions, back in the day, we did a lot of this kind of thing. But, as Phil's campaign matured, we spent more and more time in the culture and in society. Enter the historical epic of the Maratha soldier, Bajirao:


Phil loved this kind of thing, and regularly borrowed from 'real' history to fill out his 'created' history of Tekumel. As this story is a little more complicated, I'd suggest this review of the movie:


And again, a little taste; The Queen, Our Hero's wife, is not delighted by her husband's falling in love with another woman (even thought she's a princess from the next kingdom over from her own) but when the court exiles the new girl to the courtesans' quarters - which is an insult, frankly - the queen steps in and invites the princess to join her, thereby making the princess her friend, ally, and co-wife:




(Please note: you don't need subtitles; the acting is that good.)

This movie is Phil, at his best: Action! Adventure! Romance! His creation of Tekumel has been described by some gamers as "weird and inaccessible", but I disagree; this is all Phil, all the time, with all the life, love, excitement, and detail of something he'd been working on since 1948.

Sharpen your tulwar, get into your armor, and let's have an adventure! There's treasure to be found, battles to be fought, friends to help, mysteries to be solved, kingdoms to be won, and dreams to be dreamed!