Friday, May 29, 2015

The Marvelous Land of Oz in 25mm

Every time my family goes on a cruise, we peruse the daily activity sheet and notice a meeting or three for the "Friends of Dorothy" which is older slang used to represent the GLBT community.  Although I get the whole Judy Garland/"Not in Kansas anymore" line, a more proper Oz connection would be be the Friends of Tip or Ozma.  Even my daughter took a step back when the twist in Marvellous Land of Oz is revealed.

That being said, Marvellous is a fine book with very few repeating characters, and a more worldly feel for Oz than Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 

Two words:  Girl Armies

Lets start off with our protagonist:

Tip:

Possibly Tip, Billina, and Button Bright from the later books?
Reaper Village Children set covers a LOT of younger characters (and chickens)

Mombi:
With limited drawings in the book, I picture her as the transformed Wicked Queen in Snow White, an old hag.  There's not much of a market for that, so I recommend the witch from RAFM's Hansel and Gretal set ($6.99)

The Sawhorse:  Seriously, find some thin sticks and whittle to your hearts content.  Or perhaps you've always wanted to sculpt?  Here's your first chance...
Jack Pumpkinhead:   
RAFM $5.95
Although Jack's a pleasant simpleton, you never know when an axe would be handy. 

The Army of Revolt
My biggest worry was General Jinjur and the Army of Revolt, as well as Glinda the Good's Army of the South Country.   Who makes a wide variety of female soldiers in dresses?

Hinterland does.


Their Female Hussar line seems to vary in quality from sculpt to sculpt, but these figures look great, even if the knitting needles and mother-of-pearl spearheads need to be put away. 

For General Jinjur, I suggest using Princess Cecilie, perhaps its just the paint job that won me over, since it's nowhere accurate to the story.   
I'll need to dedicate a full post to Hinterland.  Their Female Hussars, Sailors, and Trench Raiders are all top notch!  (Edit: I already have posted about them here. )

HM. Wogglebug TE.   - If you can find a Highly Magnified, Thoroughly Educated Insect in 25mm, godspeed.  For now, I would use an over sized half circle stand-up for this peculiar gent.
 

The Gump -  Half-Cicle Stand-up, no questions asked.  Perhaps you want the Gump a 3-D stand-up for the sake of fitting the figures inside of it.
 

Field Mice   - The mice warriors from Eureka are a little big, but my obvious choice here, although you may want to file down weapons and such. 
 

Jackdaws
I had pictured far more violent birds than the small cousin of the crow I found when I started doing my research.  Since even regular crows in 25mm are not often available in bulk, I would recommend printing out a picture of a flock, mounting it on a cardboard half-circle and using it as a stand-up prop.  

Griffin (Mombi)  
Reaper Bones #77157   $7.99

Jellia Jamb (Young Chambermaid) - Internet searches netted me French Maids and Servants of Set, and I'm thinking poor Jellia isn't even between those two. 

Ozma  -   It's hard to find a princess figure that fits the future ruler of Oz.  Either there's too much magic or too much sex appeal.   Princess Elena from Reaper (02029) will have to make due.
Since she is a fairy child, using a young looking elven queen might not be out of the question either.
Interestingly enough, Elena was my first choice for the movie version of the next character... 
 
Glinda  -   I'm sticking with my choice from Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Reaper 2793
Army of the South Country - Glinda rules from her ruby palace, protected by female guards.   Feel free to use more of the hinterland figures, with different paint schemes.
The arrest of General Jinjur by the Army of the South Country
 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The History of the Gnome World Part 4: The Germans

The Germans were once the closest to the "Original" Swiss ideal.  Indeed, outside of the festival lederhosen, the average rural German dresses identically to their conical hat wearing brethren.   That may be one of the last vestiges of familiarity between the two, as outside forces have corrupted (or "advanced" the Germanic people

Pre-Gnoman
Gnome scholars believe that the early instances of Wanderlust drove the gnomes into the dark enchanted forests of Germania.  There, the communities established much more aggressive yet disciplined lifestyle to protect themselves from the malevolent faekind that live alongside them.

Gnoman Empire
Despite the great bounty the Dark Forest presented to the Gnomans, the tribes and their fairy compatriots proved a greater obstacle than anything else the empire faced.  Villages were established along the rivers and trade in resources and ideas followed.  The primitive nature of the tribes did not stunt their acceptance of knowledge, and soon gnomes were brewing high-yield beer and concocting the wildest contraptions.

The War with the Fae and the Fall of the Empire
Although there were other factors contributing to the fall of the Gnoman Empire, an war between the Germanic tribes and the Fae was one of the final nails in the coffin. 

The Fae, under some unknown influence, began pillaging tribal villages that had not been harmed in generations.  Low on resources, the chieftains begged for help from the Gnomans, but when none was given, they began an all-out assault on Gnoman lands to fuel the war effort against the Fae. 

It was a tremendous success as the questionable woodland spirits were forced to retreat further into the even darker forests and mountains of Astria and Surfia, while the peripheral Gnoman villages became Germanic.

Peaceful Age
With the fall of the Empire, the chieftains used Gnoman laws and technology to set up their own personal fiefdoms.  Rather than the canton system of the Swiss, each village ruler fancied themselves a Lord, Baron, Prince, Markgraf, or three dozen other titles.  Alliances between these changed with the seasons.  Through the entire Peaceful Age, there was never a moment of peace within the borders of modern Germany.  Someone was always feuding with some neighboring noble.  The martial prowess of the Germanic tribes was being honed into the modern military might we know today.

When the petty baronies and gran duchies were at war, they focused on their loves:

1) Beer
2) Beer
3)Tinkering
4) Sausage

The Greater Germania was known throughout Gnome-kind for their innovations in the art of brewing.

The Thirty Beers War
At the end of the Peaceful Age, two forces ruled the German people:  The German Biermakers Guild, which controlled all facets of beer production, and the Gnoman Empire of Germania, a wide-spread, but weak collection of Germanic states under the nostalgic (and non-existent) banner of old Gnoman rule.  When beer production rules threatened the general population, a number of non-aligned states took to arms to stop them. 

The Thirty Beers Wars was actually five separate wars that overlapped each other over thirty years.  These wars radically changed the landscape.  Smaller political holdings were consolidated.  War profiteers who supplied the armies held more clout than the lesser nobility. 

Age of Exploration
While other nations sailed across the oceans, establishing new colonies, Greater Germania turned inward, designing new weapons, making advances in Bier Medicine.  Gnome dissidents against the oligarchical nature of the rulers were free to relocate to other countries, and many did.

Nomepoleon
Despite tremendous innovations in steam technology and rifling, the overwhelming forces of the French overwhelmed the fractured German war machine.  Nomepoleon replaced nobility and seized business assets in an effort to subjugate the people.  Some of the stronger states became vassals to the military genius, and for all the years the French Alliance marched towards Russia, they absorbed all the knowledge of the Nomepoleonic Code as they could.  When British, Russian, Astrian, and rebel German counter-attacks finally freed the states, the old vestiges before the Thirty Beers Wars were erased forever. 

Age of Commerce
While a few of the noble houses still exist, the chaos of Nomepoleon convinced most of the oligarchs that a stable united Germany was the only thing preventing another crazed gnome from wiping their people off the planet.   Through a series of wars, marriages, and business deals over the last sixty years has resulted into a Federal system of government.  While the noble houses still make the public proclamations, it is the family businesses that make most of them in secret.    German industry is unsurpassed, German beer production is the largest and finest in the world., and the German war machine of of Blood and Sausage is waiting to be tested, after embarrassing France in the Franco-German War.

German growth has finally allowed resources to be dedicated towards colonization and the explorers have not disappointed with the scarce opportunities left.  It should be noted that the German attitude towards non-Gnome native cultures in their new colonies is beyond compare in their compassion and acceptance. 

Government
For quite some time, German government mirrored that of the Swiss, a confederation, but solely dominated by a group of princes, dukes, and other lesser nobles. German tinkerers became the great inventors of the age, creating tanks, flying machines. Freedom and brotherhood took a back seat to industrialization and capitalism.

It was plutocrats like Lon the Lunkhead who unified the German people into the Empire they are today. Lon would antagonize the remaining rival princes into warfare with each other, and when both sides were weakened, his alliance would move in to force an unequal peace, stripping the princes of their power for the betterment of the Empire.

Economics
1) Beer - The entire German society is dedicated to the production, consumption, and celebration of beer.  The most powerful oligarchs have always come from the brewing industry. 

2) Industrialized Tinkering - German Tinkers think big, and usually don't think about the repercussions of their inventions.   Germans have perfected the steam tank, flame automobile, and even aircraft.

3) Sausage - Germans love their sausage, making the wurst business the third largest sector of the German economy.  They have even managed to add gun powder to certain styles, making them deliciously spicy, as well as weapons grade shells for mortars and other artillery pieces.

Unit explanation

German Officer - most come from the noble houses, although oligarchs with too many heirs will send their younger progeny to Officer School.  Regardless of their upbringing, they are feared on the battlefield as they are trained to rip apart an enemy with their bare hands.

German NCOs - German NCO promotion may be the one last place where a meritocracy still exists in Germany.   NCOs are the finest of the German military and are renown for leading their men on reckless charges with wild abandon and living to tell about it (the NCO, not his men).

German Rifleman - For decades, the KAR98 has been the finest rifle in the world, and only within the last few years have other nations designed a comparable weapon.

Beer Stein Grenadiers - Every soldier in the German army is expected to fight, including any and all support staff.  This has lead to the creation of special teams of Grenadiers, armed only with the nigh-indestructable Beer Steins that soldiers use while on campaign.


German Peasants - To fill out undermanned units, German officers are known to conscript German Peasants to fill out the ranks.  Armed only with their pitchfork and lederhosen, they have come to be an essential part of the army.

German Bugler - German discipline demands succinct order being carried out with precision over a large area. 

German Bier Doktor - German Bier Doktors have made great advances in Hops-based medicine, and with their additional duties as barbers, dentists, and notaries, are a necessity in most large units.


Bier Nurse - There are many glorious tales of German women in battle, yet all of these brave lasses fought as Bier Nurses.  The German Stein is a perfect weapon.

Bratwurst Mortar - following the adage that everyone fights, most cooks in the army are well versed from firing explosive sausage from a makeshift mortar of kitchen supplies.

Hasenpfeffer Cavalry - German tribesfolk domesticated the bunny for war far before anyone else and their appearance on the battlefield have been known to elicit immediate surrender from their foes.

The Four Winds Myth in Germany
The Wizard is non-existent, having been "lost" during the tribal days.
Santa Claus revels in the industrialization of his toys.
The Witch holds sway in rural Germany. 
The Vampire is rumored to have considerable influnece in the cities, yet it appears that they have an aversion to beer that prevents them from subjugating the country under their will.

Relations with Other Nations
Swiss - in direct opposition, unless there is some overwhelming crisis that would force them to ally. The result of these temporary alliances usually result in the Germans becoming more pure for a bit, and the Swiss fighting the taint of industrialization.
French - Arrogant blowhards who deserve to live in a fetid troll cave.   Most Germans are afraid they got lucky during the Franco-Prussian War.   They may be right.
British  - A fine civilization to compete in the colonization and commerce of the world.  Many times their interests do not cross. 
Irish  -  The Germans do not care about their gods and different culture.  They fight well, and if the Germans have the right coin, they will be a vital ally.
Highlanders - Neutral/Hostile
Russians -  Vital allies to defend their eastern borders.  They do not follow orders well.
Americans- Very happy that they are separated by an ocean. 
Japanese -  These fine warriors simply request respect, and if the Swiss won't supply it, the Germans will be happy to gain an honorable ally.
Sikhs -  Too many Sikhs are sent to their death by Swiss actions, yet they are not smart enough to realize this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

GIANT SPACE CHICKENS!!!!

Because there's not enough craziness in the world...
 
Grinning Skull, through Alternative Armies, has released the Clukkatrix and the Chukk Squad, for all those people demanding to conquer the world with a chicken army.
 
£5.00
£9.00
I don't know if it's the sculpts or the paint jobs that aren't doing it for me, but that's countered by a strong desire to run Famine in Far-Go for Gamma World using miniatures

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy National Barbeque Week/Month


Some fun ViscountEric facts:

#1 For four years of high school, I was the only person in class that would recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  I was also the goody-goody who took the homeroom, attendance to the office, but at least there I knew I'd get to wander about for five or ten minutes before first period.

#2 I served in the military 1991-1999.  It was peacetime and my MOS (74D) ensured that I wouldn't be the first person landing on the beach or jumping out of an airplane (Although I would have rocked Airborne School, computer dudes are in the 'no way in Hell' part of the training budget.)

#3 The combination of political entrenchment, the twenty-four hour news cycle, and the hivemind of each that has developed thanks to the internet will ruin this country faster than any terrorist threat or invasion of illegal aliens, or people marrying chipmunks. 

With Memorial Day Weekend in the books, I can officially declare my preference for violence to those who have spent the last month posting internet memes declaring "Memorial Day... in case you thought it was National Barbecue Day."  

I believe I got the point they were trying to make by the third one I saw.  The other 7,319 were a bit of overkill.   

The fact of the matter is, the majority of these people share the post and they do nothing else in regards to the holiday, except maybe mention Uncle Larry in a story at the barbecue they're attending that day. 

There are plenty of public memorial services and parades to attend, if you wish.  That's your right to go to them or stay home, if that's your wish.  There are far too many people who are forced to suffer a bit more heartache from their friends and loved ones than usual on this day with all the added attention.  I surely wish we made better decisions as a country to keep this fraternity to fewer new souls each year.   But if you wish to spend the holiday opening your pool, travelling to the shore, or, God forbid, trying out new recipes on your grill, you should not be vilified.

Fun facts #4: Before Memorial Day was codified into the three day weekend that is the unofficial start of summer, various communities would have their own Decoration Day, laying wreaths and flowers on the graves of the Civil War soldiers for an hour or so.  A local dignitary would say a few words, perhaps some military drill and ceremony appropriate for such an occasion, and "poof" everyone would have a picnic.

#5:  National BBQ Day is actually July 4th.

#6:  National BBQ Week is THIS WEEK.  National Barbecue Month is MAY.

With all these facts, let's conclude my rant:  From an early age I have loved this country, I have served this country, and I would like to think that I'm aware of the traditions of this country more than some portion of the population. I have had the great fortune of NOT having a family member die while serving their country.   I can not imagine the loss that some people feel, and I do appreciate the sacrifices our men and women have made in defense of our great nation.

But if you want to go outside grill some meat over a flame, go right ahead and ignore those that complain.  The American Secular Patriotism has just as many hypocrites as any organized sect.

/rant off/

For the ViscountEric family, the weekend was a collection of errands, garage cleaning, and a nice dinner out on the deck on Monday of hot dogs and sausage on the grill.
Even Pippen wanted in on the action.
My wife worked on Sunday, and I was given the task of playing chauffeur for the girls to a birthday party at the Lehigh Valley Zoo.  The last time I was there, it was still under it's original name (Trexler Game Preserve). 

It was a nice time, with pizza, cake, a guided tour, and an episode of turtle painting (the turtle makes the painting). Plus, the goodie bags had free kids tickets in them, so I guess we're coming back this summer.

The girls?  They just wanted to see penguins.

Even the strange looking ones.
 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Apathy of the New Releases (June '15)

Perhaps it's the old fuddy-duddy grognard gamer coming out, but there is a ton of crap coming out.  Now, I didn't say this crap isn't going going to sell, or at least interest some people, but thanks to things such as crowdsourcing for the cottage industry and acquisitions at the higher end we may be reaching a saturation point for the brick and mortar stores.  This wouldn't be the first time this happened, in fact, it's a regular part of the business cycle.  However, crowdsourcing will allow some companies to remain in business, keeping the distribution channels clogged with product.

This month's Game Trade Magazine has a ton of August releases, most probably scheduled for, but won't attain GenCon debut.   I'm sure there's a dedicated fanbase looking for an Orphan Black board game or Doomtown Reloaded expansions, but  that's the style of the solicitations for the month.

My Want List
Steve Jackson Games
Car Wars: The Card Game ......................................................................................... $24.95
Truth be told, I only got the Car Wars: Arenas from the same-named Kickstarter.  Don't mind ordering this with the FLGS.

My Money-is-No-Object Want List
Goodman Games
Dungeon Crawl Classics: Lankhmar: Through Ningauble's Cave ......................... $ 9.99

Koplow Games
60-sided dice ............................................................................................................ $6.95
Don't know what I'd use them for, but weird polyhedral dice are always awesome.

My Imaginary Store List
Alderac Entertainment Group
Junta  ........................................................................................................................ $39.95
Junta, one of those games that never sell spectacularly, but they never die.

Legend of the Five Rings CCG:  Siege Clan War Set .............................................. $34.95

Ares Games
WINGS OF GLORY: WWI RULES ACCESSORIES AND AIRPLANE COMBO ... $69.90

Atlas Games
Munchkin Gloom ...................................................................................................... $29.95

Battlefront Miniatures
Berlin ........................................................................................................................ $20.00

Catalyst Game Labs
Alpha Strike Boxed Set ............................................................................................. $59.99
Campaign Companion ............................................................................................... $39.99
Historical - Second Succession Wars ........................................................................ $34.99

Chessex
More polyhedral, d6, and jumbo sets.  Dice are to gaming stores what the candy section at the checkout is. 

Cubicle 7
The Lone Wolf Adventure Game ................................................................................... $29.99
I've seen enough failures and failed spin-offs from Lone Wolf that , as a store owner, I would avoid it like the plague.  Special Order City has a distinct spot for games like this.

Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars Armada Home One Expansion ...................................................................... $39.95
Star Wars Armada Imperial Class Star Destroyer .......................................................... $49.95
Star Wars Armada Rogues and Villans Expansion Pack ................................................ $19.95
Star Wars Armada Imperial Raider Expansion ............................................................... $19.95
Star Wars Armada MC30C Frigate ................................................................................. $29.95
I don't have an issue with Attack Wing and other sci-fi ship based wargames, but the store outlay for Star Wars Armada is starting to worry me.   Even the plethora of crap they're creating for the Star Wars RPG is beginning to make me question the long-term viability of Fantasy Flight. 

Frog God Games
D&D 5E:  Quests of Doom V1 ......................................................................................... $39.99
D&D 5E: Quests of Doom V2 .......................................................................................... $24.99

Gale Force Nine
Lots of glue.  Personally, I haven't been a fan of their glues, but your mileage may vary.

Games Workshop
It's been awhile since GW introduced figure cases.   I still have one of two GW cases I bought around 2001-2 and I thought $45-50 was overpriced back then.  Now we're talkig $83-$124 to house your armies (the $50 version is called a "skirmish" case, so you can imagine the smattering of figures is could hold.).  Between this, and watching someone at the FLGS actually buy an $18 can of GW primer, I don't have the heart to mention insanely priced pieces of plastic, and their overrated paper weights, I mean codexes.

Hawk Wargames
Hawk Wargames is releasing Dropzone Commader, a 10-mm sci-fi wargame.  As if a new game line with 70 new products being solicited isn't daunting enough, it's in TEN FREAKIN' MILLIMETER???  No thanks, I'll pass.

IDW GAmes
Orphan Black  ............................................................................................... Please Inquire with FLGS

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-gi-oh! Dragons of Legends 2 Boosters
Yu-gi-oh! Duelist Kingdom Chibi Game Mat ...............................................................$14.99

Looney Labs
Adventure Time Fluxx .................................................................................................. $20.00

Mantic Entertainment
Dreadball Season 5 Expansion ...................................................................................... $24.99
A fifth expansion for Dreadball, with four new teams sets (and one for All-Stars) in the same month.  I'll need to see if the other shops in the area are still stocking it, but outside of a strong league play established somewhere, I doubt it.

Night Studios
Mind's Eye Theatre Vampire the Masquerade Deluxe Edition .................................... $120.00
Vampire LARPing must be alive and well... somewhere.

Paizo Publishing
PATHFINDER ADVENTURE CARD GAME: PALADIN CLASS DECK .................  $19.99
PATHFINDER ADV PATH: HELLS REBELS PT 1 - IN HELLS BRIGHT SHADOW ..... $22.99
PATHFINDER PLAYER COMPANION: HEROES OF THE STREETS   .................... $12.99
PATHFINDER ADV CARD GAME: THE MIDNIGHT ISLES ADVENTURE DECK .... $19.99
PATHFINDER MAP PACK: FOREST DANGERS ........................................................  $13.99
PATHFINGER CAMPAIGN SETTING: OCCULT BESTIARY ....................................  $19.99

PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Eris Beta V Limited Edition ............................... $24.99
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Double Action Deck ........................................... $19.99
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec GM Screen and Adventure ................................. $19.99
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Leviathan ............................................................ $24.99 
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Map Set Dropship/Freighter ............................... $14.99
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Map Set Pirate Ship/Research Ship .................... $14.99
Savage Worlds RPG:   The Last Parsec Scientorium ......................................................... $24.99

Privateer Press
I don't believe I've ever listed anything Warmachine or Hordes-related before.  Most of the stuff is in the category of "too damn expensive, except if you're customers are stupid with money."  I will however, list : 
Minion Croak Raider Unit (10) .......................................................................................... $64.99

If they're all metal and a good size, $65 is still too expensive, but it's a better value than Infinity or GW. 
Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Dragons Blister Packs ................................................................................... $4.95

Twilight Creations
Zombies !!! #14:  Space Bites! ......................................................................................... $15.99
Are there zombie sharks that Twilight Creations can jump over, because I believe they've reached that point.

Zombies!!! Jr. .................................................................................................................... $24.99
I spoke too soon...

USAopoly
Munchkin Zombies:  The Walking Dead Expansion ........................................................ $10.00
Based on the comic series, not the TV show.

Wizards of the Coast
Magic the Gathering: From the Vault: Angels ................................................................... $34.99

Wizkids
DC Heroclix:   Supermand and Wonder Woman Earth 2 Wonders of the World ............. $16.99
DC Heroclix:   Superman Dice and Token Pack ................................................................ $ 9.99
DC Heroclix:   Wonder Woman Dice and Token Pack ...................................................... $ 9.99
DC Heroclix:   Superman and Wonder Woman Booster Bricks

D&D Attack Wing Green Dragon ....................................................................................... $19.99
D&D Attack Wing Ogre Mage ............................................................................................ $19.99

Sunday, May 24, 2015

(Kickstarter) Netherworld's Edge: Keystone

The world of mice miniatures looks to expand even further with the ZombieSmith and Flytrap Factory's Netherworld's Edge - Keystone Kickstarter campaign.

Pledges for figures start at $40, which includes a print copy of the Netherworld's Edge - Keystone rule and a warband of your choice.






 
I do enjoy the pirates and Black Cowls, but the other mice (and mercenaries) look a bit odd.
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

(Kickstarter) Replacement Card Game Boxes and Storage Units

I'll admit that I am horrible with my card games.  My set of Mag-Blast, circa 1999, suffered a long, slow death in my car over the last few years.  Some editions of Fluxx just did not make it through the move to the new house (some of that was initiated by small children, but still...)

I'm surprised the idea of Replacement Card Game Boxes and Storage Units hasn't been addressed so well up until this point.


While they're not cheap, this is a nice capital outlay for your games collection.  If you collected multiple editions of games like Fluxx, a few of them are bound to be disintegrating, and this is a great way to protect them AND store them in way that's better than the stack o' games on the shelf or in the corner. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hackmaster GM Screen

Trying to clean up another library disaster last night, and I pulled out my 4th Edition Hackmaster GameMaster's Shield


It's seen plenty of wear and tear over the years and is still in great shape. 

There may be GM Screens that are actually hard plastic castles, but this is the ultimate screen for useful information.  Come on, it's not just three panels, rather multiple panels that fold out and two panels that flip up to house the d10,000 critical hit charts.   I did put velcro on mine to keep everything neat and organized.
from https://melsmifgames.files.wordpress.com
Fun facts about the stickers:  All of them were given to me by my player Kelley, who played Gwendolyn the Druid.  The "Warning: Protected by the Master" sticker showed up while we were in the middle of X4/X5 (The Desert Nomad modules) and the screen became far more ominous from that point on.   I've always assumed it was a legitimate electrical warning sticker (Protected by a Master switch/fuse/etc), but I've never found it anywhere else.  I got this more than a decade ago, and it looks far more professional than any "custom" stickers available today.  Suggestions and hints would be appreciated.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

CoC #27 Masks of Nyarlathotep #7 The Aftermath of Misr House

When we last left our investigators, they infiltrated an estate and ran afoul in plenty of directions.  The resolution of their actions would be almost as convoluted.

March 15, 1925, 3am
Chief Inspector James Barrington, Egyptologist Randall Ward, and American grad assistant Anthony Parks all tried to walk out the front gate of the estate. only to be accosted by... Inspector Daniel Bragan of Scotland Yard?   It appeared that Barrington's trusted associates, who had commandeered the group cars to stake out the truck at the Blue Pyramid Club weren't as trusted as originally thought.  Knowing that Barrington's requests were far above anything previously asked of them, and watching Barrington slide into a mania over the "Egyptian Murders," they decided to tail the detectives tailing the truck.  They stashed their vehicles and stopped the delivery truck when it tried to leave the estate.  An Egyptian driving a truck full of drugged and bound English citizens was enough to take further steps.

The rowboat containing Professor Steven O'Hara (Columbia) and parapsychologist Nathaniel Millheim was discovered on the rocks on low tide nearby.  They were detained as well, but their hypothermia forced medical attention, and they were transported to the nearest hospital.

A bewildered but otherwise serene Joshua Wanisko was found near the obelisk, surrounded by a number of shackled Egyptians in various states of dying or succumbing to madness.  The inspectors quickly rounded up any able bodied Egyptians running around the estate.

While Barrington and Ward had found the priest hole, the Scotland Yard detectives found a different secret passage on the other side of the fireplace.  Some sort of twisted workshop lay beneath and a number of cells with beaten prisoners

March 16, 1925
All investigators are questioned.  Steven leads the group through the worst of it, claiming depravity from the Egyptians and not mentioning a hint of the Mythos.  Ward proves quite troublesome to Scotland Yard, as his memories of the past two months seemed to have vanished.

March 17, 1925
Professor Bob Wintermute (Miskatonic) arrived at the hospital.  Bob was found, staring off into the waves, by a fisherman  and he took Wintermute to a village doctor, who after two days, got him to the main hospital, where the others were.  The small yacht he was "sailing" in was property of Mr Edward Gavigan.

Later that day, the mutilated corpse of Gavigan was found near obelisk, in a spot within plain view of multiple Scotland Yard officials from the moment they had reach the estate days before.

March 19, 1925
The investigators were released, but not before being questioned a second time.  Barrington was told that his "wild tendencies" based on his cohort's testimony will force him to retire early, or be summarily fired.  Barrington is given enough respect from his peers to learn ahead of the papers that some of the prisoners in the cells implicated Gavigan specifically, and an investigation of the Penhew Foundation found hundreds of artifacts and relics which were obtained illegally. 

Wintermute also discovered that Scotland Yard contacted Miskatonic Univeristy, and asked many questions regarding their professor.  Magically, his line of credit associated with his house, was destroyed. 

March 20, 1925
The investigators are given 48 hours to leave England, even though their friend Brian Nichols was still missing and, if alive, presumably roaming the streets of SoHo in the rain.   They sent a quick wire to Jonah Kensington at Prospero Press, letting him know that there was great progress in the books both Wintermute and Millheim were writing.  Kensington replied with great encouragement, but no financial support.

March 21, 1925
Joshua wired Richard Carrington, wealthy chemical manufacturer (and his employer).  Upon receiving his telegram and arranging a call from the States, Carrington became very interested in assisting the group and opened up his own line of credit to them, using Josh as a primary contact.

They group is off to Egypt, even though they could be missing HUGE pieces of the puzzle.

After trying to use Joshua as a victim of a horrible predicament last session, I attempted to use his connections in a positive light.  Carrington was set up as a wealthy patron back in Suffer Little Children, but all the investigators from that session have either gone mad or into semi-permanent retirement.  I had set up Joshua as an employee for Carrington Industrials because it fit his profession, and it would be an interesting connection to the other characters to say the least.  

They decided to shelve Barrington and let him live his dishonored retirement.    Despite pondering calling in the Greek archaeologist or the infamous Turkish librarian, Brian settled on playing Yaleshia, the belly dancer, for the next session.  She too would be fearing for her life, possibly looking to escape England. Plus it would be good to have at least one character who spoke Arabic as they journeyed to Egypt.

Our Investigators travel to Egypt... or something like this.
 Next: Episode #8 Beware the Zionist Conspiracy

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In a Backyard Far, Far Away

There's a lot of garbage art floating around the internet, but sometimes, an artist just gets it.
 
Artist Craig Davison perfectly encapsulates what it was to be a Star Wars kid in the 70's and early 80's.   
 
The trash lids for a TIE fighter is simply brilliant!
 
 
 

 
Going through his collection, he also covers ninja turtles, gremlins, and the old standy-by, the wild west, with absolute glee.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What Should I Run for Mepacon Fall 2015

So, a mess of work and family functions forced me to first cut short my visit to Mepacon Spring 2015
and ultimately cancel what little I could get to.

The Fall version of the convention will not suffer the same fate!   My assistant is already scheduled to work the weekend and I've scrapped any chance to visit Fall-In! the weekend prior.

While I haven't talked over anything with the con staff, let me assume that I will be working inside the Kid's Track for convention events.  Sure, grown-ups can play too, but there's a large contingent of 7-12 year-olds that need to be placated less than the adult Magic or 40K tourney players.   This also allows me to bring my eldest daughter, Maja, to her third convention, and keep an eye on her at the same time.

The last piece of the puzzle.  The theme for the convention is Star Wars. 

Let's figure out what I should run!

Star Wars RPG Jr (West End d6) - "Where's Lando"  An even simpler version of d6, perfect for ages 6 and up.   Pre-ESB Cloud City.  Bounty hunters have arrived and are tearing up the joint.  Who are they looking for?  And where's Lando?   Six Players

Star Wars RPG Jr (West End d6) -  "Attack of the Droids (Working Title)"   A droid army has attacked Cloud City!   Can a bunch of kids find the secret base and stop them where the adults could not?  Six Players

Gnome Wars -  Battlerama  - I've run Gnome Wars plenty of times at the con, both historical and non.  The non-historical games always get players, despite the fact that both have gnomes on the board.

Gnome Wars - The Battle of Yellowstone -  I've run this at Fall-In!  with great success.  The game covers the US Cavalry's management of Yellowstone National Park from  1886 until 1918.  Not only does it handle ten players, but each player's faction runs a solitaire sub-game to keep them busy.

T.I.A.R.A - The Search for the Tiara of Ninja Awesomesauce! -  T.I.A.R.A. has been a very fluid set of rules I've used with the girls over the last four years to cover role-playing.   It's a great "yes" system that will allow for some crazy mixture of Disney Princesses, Warhammer goblins, ninja turtles, and perhaps a few Samoans in a magic-fueled Pulp game, or even an ongoing story throughout Friday and Saturday. 

If I decide to avoid the kids track, let's try something different:

Contemptible Little Armies -  Second Samaon Civil War:  I've run this at Cold Wars satisfactorily.    British, American, and Samoan Royalists versus Samoan Rebels (and a few fictional German allies for fun)

Diplomacy -   "Terminal Velocity" Diplomacy  with each round getting shorter and shorter to fit a four hour time slot. 

Call of Cthulhu - Attack of the Reptile Bikini Women... in 3-D!!!  Fun, B-Movie style CoC mixed with Texas Fried Rock.  Completely stealing this from an issue of Worlds of Cthulhu magazine.

I'm not running playtests of the Gnomish Space Marine RPG.  I need something bigger than running games of my cannibalized homebrew sci-fi system of choice.

And now for something completely different:

Painting Clinic:  How to Paint a "Three Foot" Figure.  The con already has a free paint-and-take and the guys who run it do a good job, but they only have so much time for each person.  This would be open to ages 10 and up and cover how to turn basic block painting into a beautiful figure... from three foot away.  I think I can wrangle some figures for ad space or something close and it would be a great  two hour session.

(Kickstarter) No Thank You, Evil by Monte Cook Games is Now Live!

I recently alluded to Monte Cook's latest Kickstarter project, an RPG dedicated for younger kids.  Now I can attest that No Thank You, Evil! is officially live.


My initial curiosity was quickly dampened by the pledge levels.  The basic boxed set is $40, the Kickstarter exclusive "Box of Awesome" is $70 (S&H included for each).  The pdf is a bit pricey at $20, but that includes the rules, printable character sheets, and the adventure book. 

I'll personally tinker with T.I.A.R.A. some more

 

Former Eureka Teddy Bear Update

It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since Mike Broadbent's Teddy Bears left the Eureka stable to a private individual.  But thanks our intrepid Gaming with the Gnomies reporter and all around nice guy, Mike Lung, we've dug up the big fat skinny on the limbo status of the Teddy Bears' future.

Per this article on TMP, the gentleman in question works for the UN and is currently "stuck" in Iraq.   Sculptor Mike Broadbent assured everyone that once he out of there safely, the gentlemen would begin production of the line again, as well as add to it.   Of course, that was March and he was rumored to return in late April, but it does give us a little bit of hope.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Outdoor Survival: Florida Edition

I dragged myself into the office today to deal with three team members outs, hundreds of e-mails to go through, and a half a dozen reports that never got finished last week.  It must mean one thing:  I have returned from vacation.
 
After a few years of cruises to soothe the savage beasts, my wife decided to plan an entire week around the Disney parks in Florida. She snagged up a six-day passes they day before Disney put their annual price increase in, and arranged to share a condo with her cousin and her family.  Two Fridays ago we loaded up the van and made attempt at a convoy with the family for the 18+ hour drive to Florida.
 
First, my complaints:
  • Florida needs to be nuked from orbit.  Between local drivers that made Pennsy drivers look like considerate experts, and a genuine lack of a work ethic if you don't have a mouse-related name tag, I found nothing native that was worth saving.
  • The only thing keeping me from nuking Florida from orbit:  Wawa (with Yuengling) and I have a few transplanted relatives that live in the state and I don't want them to die.
  • All stereotypes are originated by some misguided generalization based off of a small portion of that population.  Walk around Disney for a day, and you'll find those people. 
  • Outisde of the folks at Wawa on US192, a Denney's outside Savannah, and a great Bob Evans in Fredericksburg, Virginia, we couldn't get decent food service, whether it was delivery, restaurant, or fast food. 
  • I'm not a proponent of eugenics, but if we were to begin forced sterilizations and lobotomies, owners of selfie sticks should be the first group. 
  • The stretch of I-95 between Fredericksburg and Washington DC is so ill-conceived stretch of road imaginable.  The hotels around the Fredericksburg Convention Center during should provide a special room sign for any yankees staying the weekend, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."   I've been stuck on the Garden State Parkway in the middle of July with no air conditioning and had a more pleasant experience.
Normally, I would have included my reading list and such beforet the trip, but in hindsight, it was smart to omit it.  Between 87% of the driving and twelve hour days at the parks, I just didn't have energy for more than collapsing in the shower and putting my feet up.
 
I did play one late night game of Magic with my wife's cousin's son, but that was a lot of proxies for a tired mind, and Maja did teach everyone Zombie Dice.  Another vacation, another unloved copy of Settlers of Catan.
 
My only reading I managed to do is skim over the copy of Savage Showdown I printed up before we left.  This should work for the skirmish campaign that I'm planning for the summer, although I may scale it back a bit more, or steal a few pieces to add to T.I.A.R.A.
 
So, what did I think about the vile lands of the mouse?
 
In order of preference:
 
#1 Epcot:  Epcot surprised me, not because I liked it, but that my wife and kids LOVED it.  We did get stuck on Spaceship Earth for ten minutes.  
 
Announcement:  "Our time travels have been momentarily delayed."
Maja:  "Did Doctor Who break the TARDIS again?"
 
A ten-minute rainstorm shutdown TestTrack, and people leaving the dry confines of the line to go out into the rain got us thirty minutes closer to a very cool experience.  The kids loved Nemo and the aquarium and THE LAND gave us plenty of time to sit down. 
 
We had already spent hours more than we had scheduled there, so we figured we would casually glance through the World Showcase and head home.  With storm clouds brewing on the horizon, I spied a shop called The Toy Soldier, and in my one truly selfish moment, decided we should visit it. 
 
I was quite miffed that there was an extensive selection of Doctor Who, Sherlock, Beatles, and Rolling Stones gear inside, but not one single toy soldier.  There was, however, a "cast member" stamping kid's passports for the United Kingdom in the back of the store.
 
Perhaps we can discover information on the Carlysle Expedition here?
And with 75 minutes before the park was to close, we began a mad dash to get the girls' newly purchased KidCOT passports stamped at all eleven countries in the World Showcase.  While I don't understand the appeal of watching a show like the amazing race, I now appreciate why people participate in it.   By the time we got to Morocco, all of us were running to each nation, finding the KidCOT center, and dashing out.  It was the greatest family activity of the entire week, getting stamps, dodging rain drops, and overflowing with enthusiasm. 
 
At 9:00pm, The IllumiNations: Reflections from Earth fireworks show was beginning, and we only had one country left: Canada.  Once we finally found the location at 9:05, we arrived to an empty room, and two Canadians trying to go home.  But true to their genetic make-up, they reopened their supplies for the final stamps of the night.
 
Mission Accomplished.  We slept like rocks that night.
 
#2 Magic Kingdom:  The girls are four and six, so we spent three days here.  Princesses and other characters were the order of the day for one day, but we discovered Millie was tall enough for Splash Mountain.  Millie loved Splash Mountain so much we went on it six times.
 
My wife, not a fan of heights or getting splashed, was not such a fan...
We did have a breakfast in Belle's Castle (overrated and horribly overpriced) and the girls got to go on every ride they wanted at least once (Maja's favorite, ironically, is Space Mountain, on the opposite side of the park from Splash.  She got on that three times.)
 
I never did get to the Hall of Presidents...
 
#3 Animal Kingdom:  The safari is well worth the wait, but we skipped out on their  Junior Woodchuck nature version of the Epcot passport.  Asia felt so dirty that I expected scenes occurring from the Hangover 2.
 
Again, we were foolish to block a small amount of time for our last day for this park, so after some much needed time inside for the Finding Nemo: The Musical, and some ice cream, Maja and I attacked Expedition Everest three times (twice via FastPass) before we left the Disney property for good.
Maja is a fan of the Yeti
 
#4:  Disney: Hollywood Studios:  In another five years, I may want to revisit this park.   The girls aren't interested in Indiana Jones, Star Wars, explosions, and Maja was too small for the Aerosmith roller coaster, so it was lots of long lines for kids rides, shows, and Disney Jr stuff.  The line was quite manageable for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, so we did get on that a few times.  My wife hated it.  Millie was done with it after two rides.  I found it mediocre after the first try.  And Maja, she loved it to death.
 
After a week in the scorching Florida heat, we all felt like Maja looked at breakfast in Georgia on Saturday morning.
Maja, star of the Hangover 4
The wife is looking into possibly a cruise with our friends Wooly and Jenny for the next vacation... in 2017.  Thank God.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wizard of Oz Diorama at ReaperCon

I'm still pouring over pictures of the painting competition at ReaperCon.   Years past I just glanced over the fabulously painted entries, but most didn't pique my interests.  Thanks to the continue proliferation of bloggers, there are dozens of pictures of figures at different angles, and more and more catch my eye.

From the ReaperCon site, here's the fantastic concept for Dorothy's arrival in Oz by Martin Jones. 


But why wasn't the Kansas portion of the house done in Sepia?  I kid, I kid. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gnomish Space Marines Development Notes #3

Still powering through dozens of emails and more than a dozen voice recordings I've made over the last three months, a very personable podcast I call "Deep Gaming Thoughts with Eric on the Drive Home from Work."  Outside of some questionable terminology given to other drivers, I usually just try to verbally arrange my gaming thoughts.  The Gnomish Space Marine RPG was one of my more prevalent topics, and these recordings were why I got so much done with it before I needed to cancel the first public playtest.  So, going back to the development notes:

Day 7
To quote someone I don't want to quote, part of GSM is about being awesome.  No scratch that, it's the potential of awesomeness.  A brand new GSM should be able to hold his own against a "normal" civilian, or group of civilians, but it takes experience (and a suit of power armor) to be aweseome.

Weapons fire should be BASE + Cover Modifier + Range Modifier + ONE Situational modifier.   Equipment modifiers for the weapon would be calculated into the base on the character sheet, even for different firing selections (long range scope,automatic fire, etc).  Should be plenty of space for the status of each firing option on the character sheet.  Easier than looking it up.

Melee:  Needs to recreate bar brawls and ritual combat.

Gnomish Space Marine:  +2 Strength, -2 Agility +1 Man Dex (Tinkerers and Weaponsmiths)
Aggression as secondary stat, like Terrestial Knowledge or the inverse of Wil (Wil of 6 is Aggression of 4?)

Skill/Ability/Weapon/Melee Checks should all fit on a single page quick reference sheet.   By the fifth turn of a combat session, I want a new player to be able to operate in a combat round without any hand holding .

Survival rolls
Encumbrance?   Something is needed more than hand waving.

I want to be able to put this on Google Docs, allow access to it and be accused of stealing from nine different game systems.

No telepathy/psionics rules.  Start with a fully decked out combat squad.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Six-Squared Studios

I'm surprised and slightly ashamed that I haven't given a full-blown shoutout to Six-Squared Studios, outside of their Kickstarter campaign.  Headed up by Kevin and the Canadians of the Stout Gnomes fame, they produce mdf bases, river tiles, and other accessories in resin.
 
The 6"x6" river tile system is just over $4 USD a tile, and the other resin accessories are equally inexpensive and awesome.  Here is the Pig Pen kit ($17.99CAD, $14.99 USD) 
Painted

Unpainted Kit

Thursday, May 14, 2015

More Flying Monkeys

Another dive into the email archives, this time our trust GwtG Contributor Mike Lung suggesting alternative manufacturers for flying monkeys.

Flying Apes and Flying Monkeys from Ral Partha Europe




Bombshell Miniatures