Thursday, July 31, 2014

...and 5,000 Posts for the Month!

When I started blogging, I thought a couple of dozen hits per week would be great, a couple hundred in a month would be awesome!  Never would I imagine a lowly blog covering a second tier product from a small historical miniatures company (and other miscellaneous stuff) would ever get 5,000 hits in a month. 

While my annual Historicon posts drum up some traffic every July, Steve Jackson Games tweeting a link to my OGRE post has skewed all my expected numbers.  Hitting 100K views overall happened a month and a half earlier, and even as late as Tuesday, I did not anticipate 5K views in July!

Fun Fact:  Before July, I never had 4K views. 

Here's the really scary thing, the numbers just keep coming, the views have not slowed down since the tweet.  So to all you new folks discovering me, Hi!  I'll try to do better to keep you around...

So to not toot my on horn and add to my post count with filler, some tangible stuff.

While it can be a bit dangerous and a logistical nightmare, I already have a slew of posts scheduled for release through the first week of August, and that doesn't include the weekly Tuesday Hackmaster Actual Play.   I may still have 48(!) other posts I'm working on, but the problem is that I just keep getting ideas! 

I've gotten one response for the Gnomes of August campaign, but since I've already begun it, we'll carry it through.  Time to go find some maps to work with. 

As my painting recently has created more single figures than units, I'm starting the Gnome Profile series of posts.  The first one will cover Sister Maria Katerina Burritto, fame medic in the Imperial Guard of California.  Not everyone can be the Most Interesting Gnome in the World, but I'll try to cover a few of the More Interesting ones for flavor. 

I'm also halfway done painting my first Imperial Guard (of California) unit.  After that, I'll try my best to cover the other countries of North America (Quebec, New Scotland, Canada, Deseret, Columbia, Texas, The Aztexan Empire, the Indian Tribes, and even the City-State of New Orleans) and try to include a history, foreign relations, and a suggested paint scheme. 

After the Guard are done, I'll be alternating between updating the base coated Germans, and a decidingly non-gnome painting queue.   There's some sci-fi which could be incorporated into the Gnomish Space Marine concept, but it could also stand on its own.

I've also begun researching miniatures for the Wizard of Oz books.  Maja and I are already eight chapters into Ozma of Oz, so it's a perfect time to look for correct figures to compliment the Wonderful Wizard of Oz (not the movie), as well as find troops for all the armies of The Marvelous Land of Oz.

I picked up the new D&D Starter Set for Fifth Edition.  Not nearly as thrilled about it as I've seen on other blogs.  Now, I haven't played yet, but the rules look fine and seem to cover facets of all its previos incarnations.  I feel I can run the mini-campaign out of the box comfortably.  I do have some significant issues with the writing and, more importantly, the editing of the included rulebook.  I'll eventually have a review of this, but I'm planning on a super-special first game to try out the rules.

The munchkins did get to use Daddy's painting station this week to paint up some keepsake boxes for Mommy.  Maja's painting is much improved, including putting little embellishments on her box that I did not expect.  Millie got through the process without mixing all her paints in a brown/grey goop on either the box or her paint pallette, so that's a huge improve.

Soon, we'll drive those painting services in Malaysia out of business!
I think that's all.  I've got a half day of work Friday to go see Guardians of the Galaxy.  Here's hoping it inspires me to change all my plans (or not...)

100K!

Hundreds of posts, and almost five years ago, I started this blog as a way to keep track of my Gnome Wars games, role-playing, painting, and anything that people attach "-geek" to nowadays.  After all this time I'm proud to admit that I just passed the illustrious sounding 100,000th page view!

Outside of the occasional link-up to The Miniatures Page and some minor quid pro quo links to other blogs most of the views have been from a small dedicated readership, and a WHOLE LOTTA google searches.  It's still amazing to me that my #1 viewed post was a throwaway post about the Settlers of Catan 15th Anniversay set, and that was back in 2010!  My jaw dropped when the post was the #5 result for awhile on Google for Settlers of Catan.

Looking back, if you want to search for gnomes, gnome wars, mouslings/mouselings/mice warriors, the blog will probably make an appearnce.  Makes me wish I had more time to paint more gnomes/mice to justify all the views.
I'm still trying to figure out what "1 maja 8, kudowazdrj" is, as I still get the occassional search link. 

I'd also like to thank Steve Jackson Games for tweeting my "Is that an OGRE in your pocket" post.  That alone added a thousand views this month, putting me over 100K a month earlier.  Good thing I bought two copies of Pocket OGRE and pre-ordered Car Wars Classic.  No, Steve, you won't sell me any GURPS 4th Edition, no matter how many fnords you fnord  to fnord.

So, for everyone's perusal, here's a vain list of some of my posts that I still find most enjoyable.  I know I'm missing one or two (like a Tanga campaign game with the girls) but I'm nearing 1,000 posts, I'll need different material for that celebratory post.

Pull Up Your Damn Pants - My rant on the Garment-Challenged
Pop's Culture Shoppe - One Year Later  - A positive rant about how game stores should evolve
Dice Baseball  -  One of my guilty pleasures for 25+ years.
My Favorite Con I Travelled For  - It ain't GenCon or Historicon
Historicon 2011 - My Gnome Wars Game  - My Gnome Wars that didn't involve the MBA Castle
Rorke's Drift   - My historical interpretation is for the birds

Attack of the 50-Foot Princess  - Another Daddy-Daughter(s) Game
The Battle for the Hair    - A sequel to the 50-foot Princess
Runaway Princess  - A quick, fun scenario
Baconball  - Some parenting philosophy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Imperial Republic of California

(Note: In the world of Gnome Wars, there is no definitive campaign setting, simply the different nationalities of gnomes.  One of my long term projects with a very rough draft finished is an open campaign world that allows some structure for wars and geo-politics, but also allows the idiosyncrasies of a traditional Samurai warrior nation, or classic Romans wandering around, as well as allow an opening for the frog, rabbit, teddy bear, etc races to co-exist.)

Every school-aged gnome knows that soon after the American gnomes won their independence from their British overlords, the country fractured geographically in Northern (Union) and Southern (Confederate) gnomes.  This early division slowed the organized American expansion on the continent, but it did allow an open door for the Aztexican Empire.  While the Americans skirmished with natives and each other, the Aztexicans advanced north, occupying huge swaths of the west.   

California was the large territory of fantastic potential, but wholly underutilized by the Empire.  Outside of missionaries, the territory was largely populated by immigrants:  Americans making the journey overland or by sea, British from Columbia, even Japanese willing to make the voyage.  A military governor administered the territory and there were few problems, so long as taxes were paid.

After Texas won its independence from the Empire in 1838 and became a Republic, a movement grew in California to do the same.  In 1846, while the Empire was preoccupied in separate wars with Texas and the Confederate Gnomes, settlers revolted and set up the California Republic.  With no Union Naval presence along the west coast, the revolutionaries were allowed time to establish their government and reinforce their forts and loyal militias.  Outside of the scuffle to arrest the military governor, nary a shot was fired to form the new country.   San Francisco was established as the capital.


The flag of the first revolt 1846 - It has been the only flag that Califonia has ever had
When gold was discovered in the Republic in 1848, the legislature raced to establish a national police force to control the tide of new immigrants storming into the country to make their fortune.   The California Republican Guard initially served merely as law enforcement, but soon took on a more formal military role, skirmishing with with Aztexico, South Columbia, and the Mormon Theocracy of Deseret.
By the Election of 1850, inflation from the Gold Rush was crippling, and greed and corruption in the government was rampant.  Despite good efforts by a number of groups to reform the country, significant efforts were made to rig the election and exile all the other candidates who were opposing President William Idle.

Joshua Abraham was one of those candidates, running under the banner of Coastal Party.  The British-born Abraham had spent most of his life in Northern Columbia as a youth and had immigrated to California in 1848, making a killing on Latin American grain futures.  Immediately after the 1850 election, he escaped a potential kidnapping or assassination by government agents and spent the next three years on the run from them, ultimately arriving in the Belgrade, Serbia.  He allied himself with a group known as the Bulgar Legion, and with their help, the final agents were finally disposed of. 

To pay off his debt to the Legion, he joined them to fight against the Ottomans and Russians in the Cry Me a River War.    Abraham performed valiantly during the war, even becoming an officer and rising to the remarkable level of Colonel.  When the war ended, the peace treaty demanded the disbandment of the Legion.  However, Abraham had contacts with the British Consulate in Belgrade, and be it by bribery, blackmail, and powerful powers of persuasion, he convinced the British to provide transport and supply of the entire Legion to anywhere else on the globe.

While Abraham was on his adventures for almost a decade, California stayed under the clutch of greed, but some were fighting back.  Native tribes that had been in California even before the Aztexicans began viciously fighting back against miners who were seizing their lands for gold claims.  These encounters forced the Republican Guard to stretch itself thin along it's eastern border, even inciting a war with Deseret in 1857-1859. 

On September 17, 1859, the British troop transport HMS Plenipotentiary arrived in San Francisco Bay with its colors struck.  Soon thereafter, the Bulgar Legion disembarked and marched unmolested to the Presidential Manor, arrested President Idle, as well as most high ranking officials. 

Abraham proclaimed himself Emperor of California, using the Imperial name Norton I.  He officially dissolved the Senate on October 12, 1859:

...fraud and corruption prevent a fair and proper expression of the public voice; that open violation of the laws are constantly occurring, caused by mobs, parties, factions and undue influence of political sects; that the citizen has not that protection of person and property which he is entitled.

Senators and their supporters barricaded themselves in the Senate, but Norton refused the send the Legion in.  Rather, he sent a personal request to General Albert Johnston of the California Republican Guard to accept the new form of government, agree to a truce with the Mormons, and march back to San Francisco to expel everyone from the halls of the Senate.

Two months later, there was peace on the eastern border, many in the former government had been arrested, tried, and executed for treason, and Abraham was formerly installed as Emperor Norton I.


Norton immediately put for the efforts to reform the country.  The Legion and Republican Guard were combined to form the First Imperial Guard of California.  Monies seized from the corrupt officials were put to roads, buildings, and a police force separate from the Guard.  Natives and Aztexicans were given a larger role in the government, as well as being allowed to enlist in the military for the first time.  Until his death in 1880, Norton I was a beloved figure in California, leading the country into an age of peace and prosperity.

Unmarried and with no children, Norton I had set up a militaristic succession to the Imperial crown.  The longest serving member of the Imperial Guard, regardless of rank, would ascend to the throne.  Norton's immediate successor was General Ferdinand Kozovski, a member of Bulgar Legion, and an immediate friend.  He took the crown and took the imperial name Abraham I. 

To embrace more freedom for his subjects Abraham re-established the Senate in 1885, although he would have final say in all matters.   Thus the Imperial Republic of California was established.

In 1898 trade disputes with Spain and Aztexico sparked the Great Pacific War of California.  California's navy successfully seized Spanish possession across the Pacific, bombed Aztexican ports, and even scuffled with the mighty German navy (and lived to tell about it) 

By the time the Great Gnome War has broken out, the California Empire has become a blooming power in the Pacific and Far East.  The Imperial Guard is one of the finest, and possibly most diversified military units in the world and has seen action in Asia, Australia, Latin America, and throughout the Pacific.  For the time being, current Emperor Nicholas I has remained neutral with the political discord in Europe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tales of the Crescent City is IN MY HANDS!

Yesterday I received a received a very beat-up, bulging Priority Mail envelope in the mail.  Dreading the worst, I held off until everyone was asleep before opening it.  All that did was prevent anyone from seeing my Happy Dance of Joy (tm). 

The Tales of the Crescent City Kickstarter by Golden Goblin Press arrived.  Everything inside not only survived unscathed, it was beyond immaculate.

Crying poverty, I only pledged at the Algiers level, expecting the book and pdf of the five initial scenarios. 

After hitting a number of stretch goals, this is what I actually got.
  • The pdf copy of Tales.  With my aged computer, it was difficult to truly appreciate the document when I received it early, but I knew this was going to be well done.
  • A softcover book with SEVEN scenarios, a Neighborhood Guide to New Orleans, and an article on Etienne-Laurent de Marigny.
  • Access to the upcoming Legends of New Orleans pdf, which cover non-Mythos folklore in FIVE more scenarios.
  • Access to the initial 24-page scenario of the upcoming Black Goat of New Orleans campaign to be published my New Orleans Mythos.
  • An 8" x 10" print of the cover art.
  • And official Golden Goblin Press Mardi Gras beads!
I haven't even gone through the book, but I have nothing but praise for Oscar Rios and the guys at Golden Goblin.   Sure, it's not some multi-million dollar miniatures fiasco to worry about, but I've had constant communication, great stretch goals, and a physical product written, editted, printed, and shipped to my door in less than five months. 

Okay, technically the book was scheduled for delivery in June, but it's like that one restaurant in town that has service that's just a step behind, but the food is worth the wait.  Golden Goblin may be my new favorite restaurant.  In fact, I'm tempted to get into Cthulhu Invictus just so I can fully participate in their next Kickstarter in September. 

Trust me I'll post about the details when it comes closer.

But since it deserves a formal affirmation, my Kickstarter experience with Golden Goblin Press is definitely worth a five out of five gnome rating.


I will use them as the benchmark to determine whether I will pledge money on future Kickstarters.  While I can't demand perfection on any or all projects, demonstrating this level of professionalism goes a LOOONG way. 

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #7: Reunions at Califon

23rd of Nondec 1132

Upon reaching Cailfon, Ceclia immeditately inquired the fate of her friends, and got a confirmation from a preganant woman named Nina. She claimed Mutumbo and his friends had travelled north (actually west) to find riches and should be back shortly.

Cecelia stayed with Nina while waiting to confirm the party's survival.

1st of Decdec 1132
To liven up the waiting game, Cecelia invited a few locals, plus a few barwenches, and threw a baby shower for Nina. Right in the mix of estrogen maximizing stories and cute bibs, the Burning Trogs finally arrived from Frandor's Keep. Cecelia and Mutumbo moved the party to the local tavern and caught up. Mutumbo admitted he was still more amazed by his first snowfall than the wacky adventures Cecelia had been through. Cecelia was sad to hear of the old group's demise, but Mutumbo vouched for his new comrades.

2nd of Decdec 1132
The next morning, Califon was aflutter with activity. A parade marched through town, and there were games, merchants, and other activities everywhere. Copious amounts of alcohol were imbibed.

3rd of Decdec 1132
The Trogs (plus Cecelia) had difficulty waking up in the morning and, in the midst of a much-needed hearty breakfast, were easy prey for the annual tax collection. "It was then that I realized why everyone was selling everything and leaving town." Drinking that night in the tavern, Cecelia offered her home in Celsior as a winter base of operations for the Trogs.

Zorin also ran into an old friend from his time as a soldier in the Gnomish City-States. "Whitey" couldn't be a more appropo name for any halfling. An albino halfling born under a bad sign, most people would look at Whitey's missing fingers and toes, nervous tics, and stutters, and frightenly active narcolepsy and chalk him up as a worthless cripple. Yet he overcame most of his disadvantages and became an accomplish mess cook and a pious warrior in his own regard. Cecelia quickly learned that despite his obvious hatred for anything remotely human, Zorin was loyal to a fault and the other Trogs knew word was more valuable than any magic or treasure in the realm. Whitey became a Trog that night. Cecelia would have to wait...

As they staggered back from the tavern that night, a small flaming object fell from the sky towards the western horizon, a bad omen for their ride the following morning back to Celsior.

GM Notes:  With Cecelia's player in possession of the party journal while he was taking night classes, the early exploits of The Burning Trogs are but distant decade-old memories.  "Whitey's" first appearance probably run similar to what was described, although his first mention was on the road back to Celsior the following night.

Whitey was Hoyce's (Zorin Redrock) first attempt at a character.  He was god-awful, as Hoyce started with 5 rolls on the disadvantage table and kept rolling the "Roll Again and Once More From Table X" results.  I need to find a copy of character sheet, but I assure you, it was so awful that I forbid him from playing him.  Hoyce's next character just happened to be the remarkable rolls of Zorin Redrock.  Whitey was not forgotten, because as soon as Zorin qualified for a sidekick, a certain deformed albino halfling and lifelong friend made his appearance.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mepacon or Fall-In? You Decide!

Going to a convention with a young family at home is tough enough anytime of the year, but with overtime and weekend hours starting in September through Christmas, it's downright non-existent.

I have enough clout and time right now to block off one weekend in October to celebrate my wife's 25th birthday (plus a two or three), as well as our eigth wedding anniversary.  In addition to that, I'd scurrying to find coverage in November to attend attend a local convention. 

Here are the options:

Fall-In! is November 7-9, 2014 at the Lancaster Host on US 30 in Lancaster, PA.  Wargaming, 90+% historical, although it would be great to meet up with the Stout Gnomes and play some Gnome Wars.    The theme this years is the Great War: Back Before the Leaves Change, and since I enjoy that time period, there should be some great games to jump into.

Mepacon 27 is November 14-16, 2014 at the Ramada at the junction of I-476/I-81/US6/US11 in Clarks Summit, PA, a hop, skip, and a jump away from Scranton.   It's mostly D&D with a lot of board games, I hang out with my clique of "old timers" who remember the series of cons in the 80's that spawned the series of cons in the 90's that spawned Mepacon.  It's my normal local con. 

What other criteria needs to be considered?  It's has been brought down from on high by my eldest daughter, Maja, that the whole family needs to go to the con.  Whether it's overnight or a long day trip is immaterial, she had so much fun at her first full con that she wants Mommy and three-year old Millie to enjoy it too!

I, being the benevolent father, will try to accommodate this either way.

I will also run something to gain free admission to the con (I am an HMGS member for Fall-In!) to help offset the shopping spree my wife will find at some point near either con. 

So, people of the world, where should I go, and what should I run? 

Fall-In! - Samoa, 1899 - Contemptible Little Armies - I ran a formal battle from the Second Samoan Civil War at Cold Wars and it was well received.  This time, I'd like some more skirmishing in a coastal village.  I may avoid American/British/German forces and tweak the rules set

Fall-In! - The Battle of Yellowstone - Gnome Wars - The story of the US Cavalry occupation and development of Yellowstone Park in the 19th and early 20th centuries, just with gnomes.  I ran this at Fall-In! a few years back and handled 10 players for an 8 player game.   My long term goal is to run this with "real" minis (and run it exactly the same), but I've got enough on my want list and painting queue to begin with.

Fall-In! - Great War - Gnome Wars - To keep with the con theme, I'd love to put together a battle around a village with infantry and cavalry, just that the cav is riding bunnies.

Fall-In! - Gnomish Space Marines/Awful Cheese Hulk - After confirming schedules, I would collaborate with my friend Mike to offer space gnomes, mice, scrunts, and squats on an alien battlefield. 

Mepacon - Attack of the Fifty Foot Princess - Burning Plastic/OGRE - A nicer version of the game I ran here, but we would stick with shoebox houses and birdhouse buildings.  Rules would combine my own Burning Plastic rules for the army men and a few facets of OGRE for the princess.

Mepacon - Cthulhu Comes to Springfield 2 - Yog-Sothoth Boogaloo - TOON -  The Simpsons meet Cthulhu in a Toon game.  I've run this on an off now for almost twenty years.  Always a full table.  NOT kid appropriate.   A few new hour-long "episodes" might need to be written.

Mepacon - "Home" - D&D - A sort of reverse dungeon using a classic D&D module everyone has owned and some Dread.  Not sure if it would be true "Basic" D&D, Classic (Rules Cyclopedia), or if I'll get enough time to tinker around with the new rules. 

Mepacon - The Pirates of Pago Pago - Contemptible Little Armies - Not that minis fare well, but take off any historical label and just have US Marines and/or British raid a "pirate lair" in a pulpy style.

Mepacon -  The Lost City - D&D - Another reverse dungeon, where the PCs are the crazy inhabitants of module B4.  The last time I ran it (using Hackmaster) I had ten players and the rowdiest table at the con.  I was thinking of either running the original plot (backwards and on hallucinogenics) or advance the story to include the far ends of the giant caverns that no one ever explored back in the day. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Darkest Star Games Kickstarter is Shipping

Recently, I've been a negative Nancy, moaning about how long some are taking, while poo-pooing the efforts of some new campaigns.   Three quick thoughts:

  1. I should be grateful that I'm getting updates and a chance to hope at all, when compared to the products like Robotech Tactics and Relic Knights.  Those were funded back in the 20th Century, or so it felt before something tangible could be sent to the backers. 
  2. Kickstarters, to me, are simply throwing support for a cool project.  If I get product, great, if I get more product than MSRP, even better.  These have no guarantees
  3. The announcement of Darkest Star Games starting to ship their KS reminds me that Golden Goblin has started shipping out Tales of the Crescent City, and with Tanner Jones and the Quest for the Monkey Stone at the printers, I am finally going to be getting stuff, although the minis Kickstarters feel like another decade will lapse.  Perhaps that's the lesson.  Be very VERY careful with the miniatures and you probably won't be as disappointed.
That is all... Carry on.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Historicon 2014 - Gnomes!!!

It wouldn't be an HMGS con if there weren't gnomes!   Again, thanks to Gaming with the Gnomies' awesome Mike Lung for providing the pictures (save the first one on this post).

First off, let's here it for more gnomes in non-Gnome Wars games.  The Mad Quest for the Orb of Power game looked to be the fun non-historical chaos love to to play in.   Don't know the manufacturer of these gnomes, but they're simply fantastic.

http://misternizz.wordpress.com/

 And now back to our regularly scheduled Gnome Wars games.

The first session on the MBA board was the classic Allies Kick the Germans Out of the Castle.  The Allies succeeded in kicking out the Germans and successfully defended against the German relief column.
Sikhs and Bears, Oh my!

German reinforcements

The Allies crossing the river to assault the castle


The second game was a continuation of the first.  Allied gnomes had to hold the castle from a German counter-attack, all the while an Allied relief column was coming from the opposite end of the MBA board.
Swiss coming out to defend the castle walls


Germans and Russians hunker down before the assault
 The Allies were victorious again, pushing away the German attack.

Saturday night's game was a gnome znombie game on the MBA Middle East table.   Players got to assemble 5-gnome teams with the objective of reaching the helicopter in the middle of the board to escape.  Unfortunately, there was a large group of Sikhs guarding the landing pad and things got brutal.  To add insult to injury, the Baby Milk Factory started leaking a strange yellow cloud....


Gnome Cultists Prepare!

So that's how they add the extra DHA in the formula!



Get to da choppa!!!
The ones who didn't make it on the helicopter will either have to fight... or die

Friday, July 25, 2014

(Kickstarter) Band of Gnomes 28mm Rules and Minis

With most Kickstarters, I'm almost surprised by their appearance.  There are a few I learn of early and get excited with anticipation.  The Band of Gnomes Kickstarter was one of them, and I believe that excitement was misplaced.

Let's break this one down to Pros and Cons

PROS
  • They're gnomes *checks name of blog*.  That should be enough
  • The designer of the skirmish rules is Andrea Sfiligoi, award winning game designer, known most for Song of Blades and Heroes
  • Very affordable pledge levels.  Whether it's the book, the gnomes, or the terrain, every pledge level provides a sizable discount from the MSRP.
CONS
  • KS Presentation - Here's the concept art for the figures.
  • Let me roughly sketch a body and put a pointy hat on it?  C'mon!   Even worse, I can only describe the terrain piece sketches as identical gelatinous cubes! 

    I don't need finished product, but for a third Kickstarter, I would expect real pictures, concepts, heck, even a size comparison of the one figure they post next to any other company's product.

    I'll watch it, but I'm none too impressed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Female Soviet Snipers and the Marvelous Land of Oz

I've previously written about using miniatures/wargaming in the Wonderful Land of Oz.  So far I've only  managed to cover some of the movies (The Wizard of Oz, Oz: The Great and Powerful, as well as Legends of Oz: Dorothy Returns).

Since we've moved into the new house, I've also made it a nighttime routine with my eldest daughter, Maja, to read a chapter from the actual books.  We just happened to finish The Marvelous Land of Oz and while I try to compile and research, I really hit a major snag with two organizations:  General Jinjur's Army of Revolt and Glinda the Good's Army of the South Country. 

The uniforms for both armies are well detailed in the book, the troubling issue I have is that both armies are totally comprised of girls.    Don't get me wrong, I love the storylines, but the issue is, how many companies make 25mm minis of women dressed like this:



I did find a few female "historical" minis, but these are a bit unflattering (i.e. way too much T&A for any game, much less one based in Oz). 

I would easily accept the WW2 female Soviet uniform, if someone manufactured them.  I'd even change the guns to spears or knitting needles, depending on the army.
Picture from laststandonzombieisland.com
Gnomies of the World, I need your help!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #6: Shadows Over Celsior

A day late with all the Historicon hub-bub, but here we are...

11th of Nondec 1132 - Barony of Celsior, Kingdom of Marakeikos
Cecelia Darkspruce was a battle-hardened warrior priest of Sif, travelling across the continent to find her friends.  Tales and rumors had led here to the town of Celsior, a larger trade town still a day's ride away from her final destination of  Califon. After checking in at the town gates, she settled into a local tavern and attempted to relax. Just after dinner, a member of the baronial guard entered the tavern, requesting Cecelia by name. He escorted her directly to the baronial manor.

She personally met Baron Desmond Celsior, who requested assistance in dealing with a local hobgoblin tribe that was enroute to them.  All she had to do was stall the hobgoblin king, until the baron was ready.  Stalling was much easier said than done, as over one hundred hobgoblins peacfully marched through the town gates and stopped at the front doors of the manor.  When the hobgoblins pulled swords and waved spears to demand entrance, the baronial guard fled in panic, leaving Cecelia alone.  With the king mere inches away from her face, Cecelia put the King to sleep (GM: a lucky Command spell) and prepared for a glorious death.
Just then a giant red dragon swooped over the roof of the manor and began to kill the hobgoblins catching a few fearful citizens in the frenzy as well!  Cecelia attempted to converse with the creature, but all it was interested in was death, so she tried to oblige it with its own.  After trading some blows, the dragon flew off, leaving many parts of the town in flame. 

Fearing attacks on his life, the Baron requested Cecelia stay and protect him with the same bravery she exhibited at the manor door, as well as helping extinguishing the surrounding fires. 

Cecelia got nary a wink of sleep, as strange shadowy forms kept appearing inside the manor and attempted to reach the Baron.  Cecelia journal notes killing "...two vampires, a ghast, and a bunch of hobgoblins, not mention a large giant thing and a rhino that chased me around the castle.  If it weren't for the help of "Speckles, the Baron's dragon/dog thing, I surely would have perished."   The Baron was saved, the assassinations thwarted, and negotiations with the hobgoblins the following morning proceeded brilliantly.

12th of Nondec 1132
Cecelia grabbed some much needed sleep, and by the time she awoke, the hobgoblins had left (fled was a word heard around town) and Baron Desmond annointed her "Heroine of the Barony."  For her service, she was awarded a house in town, so that upon her visits, she could be comfortable, when she wasn't defending the realm.  It had received some minor fire damage from the dragon attack, but it looked nice "for a small house to maybe start a temple or something."

Over a few days, she took the time to furnish the house with the basic necessities, hire a trustworthy fellow "Walter," as caretaker while she was gone, complete with a fund to pay the taxes, and she has off again to finally reach Califon.

GM Notes:  The adventure I ran Cecelia through was out of some Polyhedron issue that has since escaped my possession.  Just about all of the monsters mentioned were some odd shadow creature, of which I've completely forgotten who or what created them.  To be honest, I don't think Cecelia ever did either.  Luckily she survived the night, and a long friendship with good Baron Desmond Celsior was begun. 

NEXT:  Part 7:  Reunions at Califon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Historicon 2014 with the GwtG Intrepid Reporter

The minor fact that I was absent from Historicon this year, doesn't mean I won't be posting pics and commenting on it.  For we here at Gaming with the Gnomies, had award-winning Gnomie Mike Lung at the con, and he brought back pictures to shove in our faces and go "Ha-ha!  I was there and your weren't!  Nya!"

Mike had a long weekend and is very tired.   I'll give him a break on the teasing.  

Disclaimer #1: I only asked him for pics of certain games and his discretion for anything else.
Disclaimer #2: All pics are distance pics done with a iPhone and I did not add the ones that proved he had a bit too much caffeine at the con.

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz:  Dorothy Surrounded by British Winkies
The Wizard of Oz game was the one of the games that really stood out in the PEL, and Mike told me it was a big disappointing, with Napoleonic figures and a definite lack of flying monkeys.  Guess I'll continue my quest for movie and book appropriate figures (Army of Revolt I'm looking at you!)

US in the Philippines
More US in the Philippines
The Philippino War looks much simpler than I had imagined it, but it's inspired me to add to my existing Spanish-American/Samoan Civil War collections.  Woo!
Looks like the same Trench Wars game I played at Cold Wars

Great War - Assaulting the Trenches
What everyone (including my guy) was talking about was the All Quiet on the Martian Front Battle of Memphis.  Twenty feet of tripods and frantic humans trying to hold the half-built wall. 


The Memphis Wall and the unfinished section/trench to the left

Originally posted on the Alien Dungeon Facebook page.  Share!
Token Gnome Wars Picture
I posted the last two pictures together for a reason.  According to the folks at Alien Dungeon, the little boy and the father in the Battle of Memphis game not only held the center of the table, but when the wall was breached, the young man destroyed the science tripod, thus preventing a Martian victory and saving the day for mankind!

According to my sources:
"I forgot to mention that little boy in the final pic and his Dad are now big time Gnome lovers.  They played in both of Jim’s regular games and had a great time.  Both were super nice, and the young man was really excited by the whole thing…but in a good way." 

You couple these two cases with the HAWKS Armies for Kids Project and I think, if we continue down this path, the future of the hobby will be in good hands.  Kids playing social activities?  Parents and children playing together?  I think these kids will do alright...

There's also a nice YouTube Video of the con from the guys at Warlord.  Gnome Wars gets some respect around 17:00 or so.

Monday, July 21, 2014

HOME-storicon 2014

For numerous financial, family, and transportation reasons, there was absolutely no way I was making it to Historicon this year.  However, one of the reasons was my wife working both Saturday and Sunday, so that translated to a positive:  a weekend of Daddy and the girls always turns into gaming fun.

First, I went to my FLGS to act as my dealers area.

Luckily I placed a special order so I had some material for the weekend.


My Magic cards were more of an impulse buy, first pack in five years... d'oh!
Friday turned into a bust gaming wise as my eldest daughter, Maja admitted "I don't want any rules tonight." That still didn't mean we didn't have fun outside with dinosaurs for two hours.
Coming soon to SyFy...
Saturday morning was the opposite of a con day. We slept in late, had a pillow fight, and my visions of kids with car races, or princesses being rescued or rescuing others from the clutches of the evil Blue Martians were dissolved into a mixture of hours of basketball and volleyball outside, mixed with air conditioned jaunts for Scooby Doo and the WWE on DVD.

Sunday turned into the real gaming day, because after church and brunch, my buddy Brian came up for the afternoon.

We finally broke out OGRE, took a few seconds to go over the rules (90% of which was finding where the rules for hitting treads were), and Brian schooled me with the first Ogre power sweep left that I have ever seen.  It apparently had the AI of Barry Sanders as it juked, jived, and eventually ran over my units.   I demanded a do-over, but Brian had already set up the next game.


Brian had still had a copy of Star Trek Attack Wing in the shrinkwrap and it was as good a time as any to open it up and try out the quickstart rules.  The components were solid and the counters were nice and thick.  The quickstart rules brought back all the naval games I've played, although I fared much better with a Klingon Bird of Prey versus a pre-Dreadnought destroyer.

We also ripped open his copy of Zombie Dice, by Steve Jackson Games. Ridiculously simple, so much so that I pulled a TV-Zombie Maja to play with us. In the second game she pulled off an incredible win, rolling three brains (with two shotguns already) to streak past dear old Dad in the three-player game. It was great fun to hear her say, "Oh no, I lost all my brains again," over and over again.

BRAAAAAIIIIINNNNNSSSS!
For the finale, we broke out the gnomes,  for a Gnome Wars battle of the little talked out Austro-Serbian War of 1914.  We actually used the Four Armies Campaign Generator program on The Miniatures Page for table set-up (and a healthy dose of Maja helping us "decorate").   Like most of our games that day, it was a terribly lopsided affair, but nevertheless we recorded the result and are ready for the next game in two weeks.
Battlefield Objectives by Maja
As much as I would have loved to go down to Virginia and catch up with friends I only see once or twice a year and play in some awesome games, I'll take what I can get at home.  The bathrooms are cleaner, I avoided getting cleaned out of the dealers area, and despite my dog's barking trying to recreate the usual noise problems, I have plenty of Yuengling Summer Wheat to offset that, and already paid for.

UP NEXT:  Hopefully, Gaming with the Gnomies' intrepid reporter Mike Lung will send back a report on his trip to Historicon.  I did specifically ask him for a few pictures of some of the more unusual games that, as I expected, haven't been covered in the other blogs.

UP AFTER THAT:  I did get some painting done over the weekend, so I may introduce the world to Sister Maria Consuela Bananahammock Martinez.   Some call her a penitent pawn of the Vatican.  The First Imperial Guard of California calls her a lifesaver.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

(Kickstarter) Trench Worx Tanks of WW1

Over the past two weeks, the new laxity of Kickstarter's campaign rules have brought out a pile of steaming crap.  Originally it was just an upswing of garbage phone game apps, but recently it has encrouched to "buy me a computer so I can game online/create videos online/just give me money.

One moderately refreshing Kickstarter in this sea of garbage was Trench Worx, Tanks of WW1.  It looks solid, the initial run is three tanks of varying costs, and you can save a couple of bucks by buying in bulk.


Two major problems that prevent me from pledging: 
  1. There are plenty of companies already pumping out FTs, MkVs, and A7Vs- in resin or resin/metal
  2. The prices are already comparable, and already in stock.
Perhaps the 46 backers, as I last checked, are unaware or don't care about those facts, but the campaign met it's goal, so godspeed...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gnomish Wanderlust

In the world of Gnome Wars, there are simply different nationalities, with different strengths and weaknesses.  Outside of a tiny bit of flavor text under a nationality's section, very little is described about their history, political motivations, etc.   I think this was originally done to (a) save space in the book and (b) allow for some freedom to play.  However, as more nationalities came out, some common questions kept getting asked:

How did this nationality come to be?

How do they normally react to the other nationalities and vice/versa?

Whether you wish to play a detailed "Modern" campaign, write a fleshed out history of the race, or even ponder an "ancients" game of Gnomans vs. Celts (Irish), I've used The Wanderlust as an explanation for all things gnome.  Heck, I use this to justify any and all other creatures on my personal gnome world (teddy bears, frogs, mice) that may not be official Brigade Games/Gnome at Wars figures.


IN THE BEGINNING:

There were gnomes.

They were cute lovable woodland creatures who lived in quaint homes and frolicked with the animals.

But like all creatures granted with intelligence, the gnomes eventually learned and began working with nature than working within.

Even the Swiss, who closely resemble the primitive gnomes of antiquity, focused on cheese making, mining, iron working, and tinkering. 

The Wanderlust
From time immemorial, gnomes have gone through a cycle of behavior modern gnome psychologists have only called The Wanderlust. Gnomes by nature are a very community driven, yet insular race. Many times gnomes will not regularly deal with a neighboring tribe or village unless it involves trade, festivals, or some dire need.

Every generation of so, The Wanderlust, a strange desire to go off and see the world, affects a certain percentage of gnomes. They will drop what they're doing to travel out of the cozy confines of the village,whether by foot, water, or air. However, the further the gnomes travel, the more likely they will find a comfy spot and settle down for a bit.

The Return: 
After an undetermined period of time, some of The Wanderlust gnomes will be affected by the reverse phenomenon, The Return. Gnomes attempt to return to their home villages as fast as they can Upon their return, many tell of horrible stories of what is beyond the safety of the gnome village. Even for those who tell of positive experiences, those are misunderstood and added to the legends.

The Prison: 
The after effect of the Return has been dubbed The Prison. With all the strange tales and anxiety over the outside world, gnome elders, led by the wizards, effectively shut off all communication with other communities. This crackdown would go on for another undetermined period of time, usually a half a generation. By then, gnomes of average levels of curiosity have built up the courage to explore again and meet the old friends and trading partners. The distant lands, however would be forgotten a few years later, the cycle begins a new. It is unsure as to how many generations of gnomes went through this.

To see this in action, check my History of the British Gnomes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Apathy of New Releases (Aug '14)

I'm not quite sure if it's the world slowing down finally, the regular painting time, or the fact that I can barely keep up with my wife's honey-do list, but life is almost peachy.  Then again, it could be the allure of escapism a local game store has. 

Despite the title of this monthly post referring to the absolute lack of any new product coming out that interests me, when I swing by my FLGS on Friday, I should have THREE different products waiting for me!  I might be part of the some small demographic finally!

Let's see how this month's solicitations fall...

My Want List
Steve Jackson Games
Car Wars Classic ................................................................................................................... $19.95

The spoils of the OGRE Kickstarter begin to roll into the distribution channel.  I pledge that I'm going to play the %@!% out of this.


My Money-Is-No-Object Want List
Crush Games
Yardmaster  ....................................................................................................................... $19.99
Yardmaster Express ........................................................................................................... $14.99
The train enthusiast in me was very intrigued by the Kickstarter campaign but didn't pledge.

Eagle Games
Cheesonomics - North American Edition ............................................................................. $84.99
Eighty-five bucks for a card game about the cheese industry?  If I hit the Powerball this week, color me intrigued.

Pelgrane Press

Trail of Cthulhu: Dulce et Decorum est ....................................................................... $19.95
World War I Cthulhu adventures?  Tempting...

The Imaginary Store List
Alderac Entertainment Group
Cypher ................................................................................................................................ $9.99

Atlas Games
Ars Magica 5th Edition: Mythic Locations ............................................................................ $29.95

Catalyst Game Labs
JARL: THE VIKINGS TILE-LAYING GAME .................................................................. $39.99
SHADOWRUN RPG: ALPHAWARE SERIES - MAGIC AND GEAR CARDS .............. $  9.99
SHADOWRUN RPG: SPRAWL SITES - CORPORATE HIDEOUTS ............................. $24.99 SHADOWRUN RPG: HELL ON WATER PAPERBACK ................................................ $12.99

Cryptozoic Entertainment
DC COMICS DECKBUILDING GAME: RIVALS - BATMAN VS THE JOKER ............ $20.00

Days of Wonder
FIVE TRIBES: THE DJINNS OF NAQALA  ..................................................................... $60.00

Diamond
Christmas is coming, and if you want your coffers getting fat, you should be looking into a little holiday diversification.  Alliance/Diamond are certainly not foolish to offer more and more of this stuff as we move into Fall.  I just hope they curtail it during the slow months, less GTM becomes a version of Previews Jr.

Big Bang Theory: Bazinga 12-inch Clock

Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars: Empire vs Rebellion Card Game .................................................................... $12.95
Star Wars Dice Bags  (Boba Fett, Empire, Rebel Alliance, and Stormtrooper) ................. $  7.95 each
STAR WARS X-WING: VT-49 DECIMATOR EXPANSION PACK ......................... $39.95
STAR WARS X-WING: YT-2400 FREIGHTER EXPANSION PACK ....................... $29.95

Far Future Enterprises
Traveller 5 RPG:  Starships and Spacecraft 1 .................................................................. $20.00

Fireside Games
Munchkin Panic .............................................................................................................. $39.95

Flying Frog Productions
SHADOWS OF BRIMSTONE CORE SETS
City of the Ancients ........................................................................................................ $99.95
Swamps of Death  .......................................................................................................... $99.95
While "Unspeakable Horror" games tend to sell regardless, mixing it with Old West is not the direction most people take.  A fast-paced, cooperative board game with two different core sets for a hundred bucks apiece?  More research is needed before I would order a copy for the imaginary store.

Gale Force Nine
BATTLEFIELD IN A BOX: BATTLEMAT ASTEROID BELT 36 INCH X 36 INCH .. $39.99

D&DNext:
Bard Spell Deck  ............................................................................................................. $12.99
Bard Token Set   ............................................................................................................. $12.99
Druid Spell Deck ............................................................................................................. $12.99
Druid Token Set .............................................................................................................  $12.99
Monk Token Set ............................................................................................................. $12.99

Tyranny of the Dragons: Blagothkus ................................................................................. $50.00
D&D - Proving PT Barnum right and making advantageous capitalists happy everyday.

Games Workshop
Rant time (as usual):  There's no new solicitations, just "Offered Again" (O/A) that didn't make the last book.   This month's are the Citadel Paint sets.   When the core paint sets give you ten paints, a brush, and probably a "how to" book included for $45.50, I need to question GW sanity, but not their greed.  The Dry Paint Set?  10 for $42.00.  The Hobby Starter set with 13 paints, some tool, a brush, and glue?  $75.00!  The Layer Paint Set is almost affordable at $75.00 for 20 paints, but the Shade Set is madness at $36 for 8!  Remember folks, these are the 0.4 (that's four tenths) ounce bottle that GW is hawking nowadays, the smallest quantity and the most expensive jars/bottles in the business!   And unlike most companies, where a paint set might net you 10 bottles for the price of 9, some of these box sets are the same price if you bought the items piece meal!

My foray into Army Painter notwithstanding, I'll stick to 90% of my paint supplies being Americana Craft paints for $1.49 for two whole ounces, and a few Howard Hues one ounce jars.

As you were.

Mongoose Publishing
TRAVELLER 2300AD: FRENCH RM ADVENTURES ................................................ $34.99
TRAVELLER 2300AD: THE GRENDELSSAGA .......................................................... $24.99
TRAVELLER: ADVENTURE 3 - TRILLION CREDIT SQUADRON........................... $24.99
TRAVELLER: BOOK 1 - MERCENARY SECOND EDITION ................................... $29.99
TRAVELLER: SUPPLEMENT 13 - STARPORT ENCOUNTERS ............................... $24.99
TRAVELLER: SUPPLEMENT 14 - SPACE STATIONS .............................................. $24.99
TRAVELLER: SUPPLEMENT 15 - POWERS AND PRINCIPALITIES ...................... $29.99

and a number of strange miniatures (even stranger than the Relic Knights stuff next to it), but this one caught my eye:
Pandalope The Panderer .................................................................................................. $9.95

Words Escape Me....
Osprey Publishing
Bolt Action:  D-Day to Germany ......................................................................................  $29.95
LAND OF THE FREE: WARGAMES RULES FOR NORTH AMERICA 1754-1815 ..  $34.95
The Story of Santa Claus .................................................................................................  $14.95
Don't put this one by the Pokemon cards...

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Class Decks ......................................................... $19.99 each
(Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Sorceror, Wizard available)
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Tempest Rising Adventure Deck ............................$19.99
Pathfinder Adventure Path:  Iron Gods Part 3 - The Choking Tower ........................... $22.99
Pathfinder Cards: Iconic Equipment 2 Item Cards Deck ............................................. $10.99
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Ships of the Inner Sea ................................................... $19.99
Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Corridors ................................................................... $13.99
Pathfinder Mummy's Mask Adventure Path Pawn Collection ...................................... $19.99
Pathfinder Monster Codex ......................................................................................... $39.99
Pathfinder Player Companion: Advanced Class Origins ............................................... $12.99
Pathfinder Tales: Nightblade PB ................................................................................. $  9.99

Palladium
Rifter #68

Steve Jackson Games
Revolution!: Anarchy Expansion ................................................................................. $24.95
Tile Chess .................................................................................................................. $29.95

Warlord Games
Dear Warlord Games, 
Please provide a decent discounting structure, so the retailer doesn't end up with a reduced discount, and I would promote the crap out of your product.  Every item has a picture and it looks great, but no pricing.  Yes, that's an issue with Alliance, but it originates from you. 

Wizards of the Coast
Magic The Gathering CCG: Khans of Tarkir
I liked the Japanese themed sets, so Mongols (?) should rock even more.  Oh yeah, with this all store bills are paid for in September.

Wizkids
ATTACK WING: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS WAVE TWO EXPANSIONS
DC HEROCLIX: THE FLASH
DC HEROCLIX: THE FLASH - THE ROGUES FAST FORCES PACK
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS DICE MASTERS: 90-COUNT GRAVITY FEED DISPLAY
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS DICE MASTERS: STARTER SET
STAR TREK ATTACK WING: EXPANSION PACKS

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Home-storicon

This weekend is Historicon down in Fredericksburg, Virginia.   Between new home finances, car issues that are not condusive to a five hour drive, and my wife working the whole weekend, the con is a definite no-go.  Of course the previous words wife working the whole weekend provides the solution.  Grab your dice, kids, it's Daddy-con, Home-storicon, er... we're playing a lot of freaking games over the weekend, girls.

I'll see who else can come up, but I anticipate some racing, some Candyland, some TIARA, and perhaps some Gnome Wars recreating the Serbian-Gnomish Wars of 1912-13. 

If I get time to work a few more items off my honey-do list, I'll set up a little diorama to recreate the latest news from Gnome Europe.  If not, I'll put some items in my painting queue behind my Gnomish-Americans.

Any takers?  Just let me know.

(Edit: After taking a walk over to the deli on the square, I picked up the first of hopefully many I will use for one of my weekend projects with Maja and Millie.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #5 Sorority Girl Confidential

When we last left Cecelia Darkspruce, Half-Elf Fighter/Cleric of Sif, she had been picked up by squad Valkryies.  She and her horse were transported to Valhalla.  She was told that her friends were take part in great peril, but she was too important to risk it. 

1st of Octdec 1132 - Valhalla
While the time in Vahalla seemed to last forever, the skirmish with Sif and some unrecognizable beast men took a little over a month of real time.  The Valkyries repaired her armor and dropped her off at Pojunct Lock.   She couldn't find anyone, so she went looking for work.  There was a peculiar posting outside the ramshackle tavern for employment opportunities at "Dalmar Manor" in Saltmarsh.  Could it be?  Dalmar alive?

9th of Octdec 1132 - Village of Saltmarsh, Kingdom of Crosedes
Cecelia arrived at Saltmarsh, and luckily no one remembered her from the group's previous visit.  Dalmar Manor was the name of the old haunted house along the shore that the group had anticipated investigating, before the Thundarr the Half-Ogre got angry and picked a fight with the entire militia. 

Inquiring at the manor, she found out that Dalmar had died defending the village against pirates (Are you sure, this is the same Dalmar Sworin?), leaving a pregnant wife and friends, including Thundarr the Barbarian (Dalmar hated that barbarian, plus a pregnant chick?  Can't be Dalmar).  They told her a story of how they were all under the spell of a Naga who lived outside of Orlane.    Dalmar broke free first and as the others shook its influence, ambushed the Naga and resettled in Saltmarsh.

At dinner, a message addressed from the Red  Wizard on Anon-Maxis arrived addressed to Dalmar.  Cecelia decides Dalmar is "away" and recruits Thundarr to escort her to the Red Wizard's "Summer" Tower..

17th of Octdoc 1132 - Undisclosed Location, Crosedes
The Red Wizard's "Summer" tower, looked to be in a constant state of repair, with old scaffolding surrounded by newer ones in some sections.  The Red Wizard was looking for Dalmar to seek out a metallic mineral "Mythrrl" that comes from the remains of falling stars. Such an act was tricky to normally accomplish. However, there were a certain series of tombs rumored to possess a map to a "Graveyard of Fallen Stars".  Cecelia and Thundarr ventured to a oddly normal graveyard with a few out of place crypts.  One tomb was protected by a very powerful ghost of the deceased, but Cecelia used the power of Sif to dispel the specter.  The map was recovered and the she headed back to the Graveyard of Fallen Stars.

26 of Octdec 1132
The Graveyard came to be a giant crater site.  A mine had been built within it, but it had been overrun by goblins!  Through hit, smash, and run tactics, they dispatched most of the goblins with little trouble.  They managed to secure about two pounds of Mythrrl from the site.  Upon leaving the crater, they noticed a small cottage just on the edge of the forest.  Upon further investigating the door to the cottage was chained on the outside, to keep something IN.   Thundarr snapped the chains and inside they found a lone dwarf, working franctially at a forge.  Despite freeing him from his shackles, the dwarf stayed, saying that "it wasn't finished."    From out off the normal chimney in the cottage, a witch appeared, violently angry, but oblivious to the half-elf and her half-ogre friend.  She demanded the dwarf's work, but he protested, claiming the "coin" wasn't finished.    Raising her hand, the still-molten coin flew out of the forge and into her palm, painfully searing into her flesh.  Cecelia and Thundarr attempted to intervened, and when that drew the attention of the witch, green electricity formed around her hands.  Bolts of this green energy arc from her towards the duo, but, for some reason, the dwarf jumped in way and took a tremendous shock.  He hit and the ground, and the witch disappeared just as fast.  Cecelia did everything she could, but could only manage to revive him enough for a few dying words.  He warned that the coin was very powerful, but very raw, as he did not finish it. The woman must be stopped!  His brother, if found, could forge another coin to defeat her!  "With that he died, and I found my cause for living, the cause Sif saved me for, to save the world!"

32 of Octdec 1132
Six days later, Cecelia may have had change of heart as they arrived back at the Red Wizard's tower.  They got paid for the Mythrrl, split the proceeds, and Thundarr bid her adieu to go back to his new family at Saltmarsh.  For Cecelia, "...I needed to find my friends or at least what happened to them."

10th of Nondec 1132
She rode hard for days, finding nary a clue to the status of her friends.  She passed through Agenmoor quickly, Drow magic pervaded through much of the forest, old friends were long gone and familiar places overgrown with evil.    She travelled across the southern lands of the Empire of Ras-Prythax. In the werewolf and vampire infested lands of Vlachia, she encountered a group of Nubian performers who had travelled with Mutumbo!   They had split ways with him in town called Califon in the Kingdom of Marakeikos, only a half week's ride away!

Next:  Episode #6  Shadows Over Celsior

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pastor of Muppets

Let us travel back in time, when Elmos ruled the Earth.

There was once a time, somewhere between post-high school and pre-adult responsibility, when my friends and I would pile into vehicles and take road trips to cons.  I don't really know how we survived the trips, much less not contracted ebola from the sanitary conditions of some of the places we stayed.   We did some crazy things:  getting hung upside down in a sleeping bag out a hotel balcony yelling "Mothra, Mothra", off-roading through well-manicured university grounds,  eluding the police, and and even transporting underage girls to Canada (we were 19, they were 17, still frowned upon).

There was one constant:  Elmo.

My buddy Wooly was looking for a giant stuffed Cookie Monster for some crazy reason, perhaps to balance the feng shui of his parent's basement.  No Cookie Monster could be found, but he did find a 30-inch tall Elmo. 

Our normal con road trip was five plus long hours from Easton, Pennsyvania to Buffalo, New York to attend the University of Buffalo's UBCon.  Great con, great co-eds (the girl's volleyball team always had a game that Saturday and they always went to Burger King, in uniform), and when the Viscount is in charge of navigation and we're cheap dudes who don't want to pay tolls on the NY State Thruway, it's a long leisurely drive on the Southern Tier Expressway (NY17 - Nowadays most of it is I-86). 

And who had his head out of the window, waving frantically, and usually uttering sometime at the top of his lungs?

Elmo, that's who.

Circa 1996
We scared old people, made carloads of girls follow us, and made biker gangs question our sanity.  God might be your co-pilot, but back in the day, Elmo was ours. 

Elmo made an appearance at my friend George's wedding to his first wife.  There, the kids in attendance practiced their curb stomping and moshing with him. 

He frequently had a seat of honor at various festivities (see pic above) and never threw in a cent for all the beer he drank.

Once, at Origins, he lept into hotel shower while the President of Global Games was showering.  He was also in bondage gear, Elmo, not the dude. 

As the years passed and responsibilities accumulated, Elmo grew more and more faded.  I can't remember what happened to our little travelling companion, but I hope he's cruising America's roads in the back of a Jeep, giving passer-bys the Muppet finger, partying to a level only matched by Snuffalupagus

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Paint Station... OF DOOM

My family has been moved into our new house for a month and a half, the two-car garage can finally fit one car in it (until we take care of some issues this afternoon), and I've already painted, by my definition, a full unit?  I think I might like it here...

With the Gretchin (Blue Martians) I gave myself some self-imposed pressure to finish them.  Since I've had the next unit in the queue for a year and a half, the impetus isn't quite there.  It was rather refreshing to put the brush down after just starting to block out the first color on the base coat on all of the figures.

At the old house, where things were stored willy-nilly depending on the whims of the residents, there was no more organization than what I could muster for the hour or two of painting I got on the dining room table.  I believe I finally unpacked the last of my random bottles of paint (or woe be the boxes with winter clothes and my wife's wedding gown) and brought them all downstairs.  With the full unfinished basement  at my disposal, save a few tubs of kids clothes in a crawl space, it was time this evening to set up some semblance of a painting station.

Since was an impulsive effort, I did no research into "proper" paint organization, although I admit I saw Evil Bob mention it yesterday in a Facebook post.  Unlike most gamers, I have a huge supply of pink paint at my disposal.  Chalk the up to two girls who are due another afternoon of painting.  Sunday, I hope.



Nothing too exciting here.  Flipped over my paint carrying bin upside down and color coordinated them, pinks and purples in the back, tans, grays, and more common colors in the front.  In front of the bin, I lined up the mandatory colors (white, black, etc) so they're easy to reach.  Still haven't put away the Army Painter paints from the Martians, and the metallics are near the glue.   Once I clear up bin o' miscellaneous stuff to
the far right, I'll put together another flocking bin so the vitamin and pill bottles of ballast will go.

I also realized that I've accumulated a few "reserve" bottles of paint in my time as a painting vagabond.
Since I primarily use Americana and they're on sale dirt cheap, it makes sense to grab a few extras here and there.

Burnt Sienna
Crimson
Primary Blue
Snow White
Black (3x bottles)
Deep Midnight Blue (2x bottles)
Harbor Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Bright Orange (2x bottles)
Neutral Grey (2x bottles)
Tan  (2x bottles)
Bittersweet Chocolate (2x bottles)

At worst $30 worth of paint at full retail.  If it was GW paint, the sheer volume of it at their rate could afford me a new army... or three.


Let's see if it helps...