Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #36: Prophecy Fills the Air

28 DuoDec 1071  -  Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
An attack on his estate by fairies and the acquisition of a series of paintings full of too many coincidences concerned Baron Echelon. With the Cult of Apotheosis just outside his borders, talking about the return of some ancient king, and paintings telling of a past as well as a future yet to come, he needed guidance.

So like any novice noble he sought advice and wisdom.

In the broom closet.

His mentor, Mohammad had lived a traumatic life, one of slavery, shark attacks, guarding portals, and his psyche becoming overwhelmed with the divine spark of the gods themselves. Legless and mentally broken, he hid inside the close confines of closet to commune with Tshang Kai Shing, eastern god of the sea and sky and shield him from the sky itself from crashing down into his soul.

He didn't even raise a hand to knock on the door as an old, tired voice came from the other side:

"I too have seen the visions, Echelon. You must embrace them, but our lord Tshang Kai Shing in his wisdom knows you must get your house in order first."

"But what does this mean??? Why am I painted on a canvas from centuries ago?"

"It is simple. Those simpletons by the lake have nothing, so they can feel the upcoming war. They just don't know what will happen. They will be wholly unprepared. You, you, and your friends are obviously the chosen ones. Your friends can help you find out what that is, while you secure your family. Stability here, and abroad, will benefit all, when the time comes. Now go away. I am tired and Tshang Kai Shing will soon request commune with me soon."

Echelon left his mentor and travelled back downstairs.  He asked for volunteers to travel to Omsjik and even Hydincall to find experts to tell them about the paintings.  Sales of all of them were approved, however someone needed to make a sketch of the painting over the mantle.  That one would stay put. 

Mellandria volunteered for the trip. Ariel agreed to show her artistic talents by sketching the painting.

"I'll go."

The chiseled bald man known as Rolf Wolfsblood stood in the archway between the kitchen and dining room, his extravagant ill-gotten furs already on, ready to leave at a moments notice. 

31 DuoDec 1071 - Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
The town of Omsjik was large enough to actually have an art community, yet many could not identify the paintings.  Many were interested, but all suggested visit Basil LeCounture at the Royal (non-magic) Lyceum in Hydincall.

35 DuoDec 1071, Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes 
Arriving in the capital and encountering mundane university bureaucracy for the first time Rolf was simply exasperated that he could not put the female scribe in charge of LeCounture's affairs through a stone wall.

The meeting with the expert was far worse than the one with the assistant! He was condenscending, pretentious, and spoke in a tone only reserve when one needed to hold his nose when using the privy after Norm's turn. Fortunately, Mellandria and Ariel could speak portions of his dialect and this sad man poured forth knowledge. The paintings had been done by a painter named Bantern in 856, to celebrate King Cesmir's tenth anniversary as King of Crosedes.  Upon the death of Cervinal I in 897, Cesmir's progeny died off and the assigned regent, Odo of Hydincall gave the painting back  to Bantern while the nobles elected a new king, Celowin the Blood-Red, the first of the current House of Silvershields.
Basil LeCounture
The last known member of Bantern's family passed away early last year, in fact it was his estate auction where Ashe had procured infamous "White Plume Mountain."

"For a steal, I should add. Most of the auctioneer's postings had the event two days later. Needless to say, that incompetent boob is no longer welcome in any portion of the kingdom."
When pressed for more knowledge on the contents of the painting, Basil had little on "Haven" and "Higher Ground."

"Both were painted much later in his life. Haven isn't a real place and the brute of the man in the center of it is completely unrealis..... ," he stopped, staring at Rolf's visage which matched the painting's perfectly.

"The White Plume Mountain is a famous volcano on the border with Aragain. If the deadly steam, choking ash, and magma won't kill you, the guardians inside will. Inside is rumored to be three weapons, the Blood-Brand, a live stealing sword once wielded by the Sorcerer-Kings of Senzar, the immortals of Prythax, and the ancient Ferasean Kings. Over-Whelm, a battle-axe wielded by the warlords of the half-dwarves of Hyperborea, and a trident named Wave, deposited by parties unknown. While not the most powerful relics, there have been rumors for hundreds of years, that when mankind is in terrible peril, those three weapons will help turn the tide. If you three are looking to save the world, you're probably out of luck. Thousands have face the mountain and died, plus who in the blue blazes of Hades knows how to fight with a tri..."

"Let me guess, you have a friend that worships a fish god?"

Departing the lyceum, the girls decided to hit the tavern, while Rolf wandered. He had found an intriguing magic shop on his previous trips to Hydincall, only to discover that Talis may have blown the place up right before Kannex had transported most of them to Talislanta.

Upon retracing his steps, he found the shell of the familiar building, singe marks still marking the stonework around the windows. The interior had been completely rebuilt, and the offices of a mercenary company filled the rooms. Some tattoos and emblems seemed familiar, and as Rolf inquired about pay and possible adventure, it finally hit him.

Everything matched the brigand Leonid's band of misfits that they had encountered.

Immediately, Rolf's hand clasped around the interviewing mercenary captain's throat and he lifted the startled man as high as he could.

"Why did Leonid have the paintings?"

The captain soiled himself, and bravado of the other men that had pervaded the building completely vaporized.

"We were paid quite well up front to take those paintings from that damned Cult of Light! Job's still open if you know where they are. I don't want to refund the Lady Celeste."

"Lady Celeste? The daughter of the Dread Lord?"

Any thought of emitting another damning word escape the captain as terror filled his soul. The barbarian tossed the captain into a pile of his own men, turned towards the door and smacked two other mercs with the backsides of his hands, sending both flying. It was time to go home.

6 TriDec1071  -  Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf had traded the cart for a sledge while on the outskirts of the capital. The snowpack still had a good week left before the thaw turned it into mud, and another cart with the gold could be obtained back in Eding. 

On the way back, they stopped at the camp of the Cult of Light. Their leader, a man who called himself Henri greeted them warmly and offered food and shelter. While Mellandria inquired about the missing paintings, Henri seemed quite open. He knew that they had been painted by Bantern and sometime after 897 they ended up in the tombs across the river. Members of Apotheosis were under strict orders to never remove any treasure, not matter how fancy, no matter how plain looking, from the tombs, yet a week and a half ago, when bandits raided the campsite, the paintings could be seen among the plunder getting carted off.

Rolf stood up, walked over the sledge, and pulled out "The Fall of Haven," handing it to Henri.

"This was the only one we found when we encountered them. Put it back where it belongs." 

The red flames of the bonfire allowed Henri to comprehend who his benefactor was.

"Rolf Wolfsblood, you are welcome here, and amongst all the noble tables of the world, I assure you." Henri declared, as he handed the painting off another cultist and they scurried across the ice to secure it in the tombs.

7 TriDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The trio arrived back at the Chateau with lots of knowledge, but minus one of the paintings.  Echelon barely heard of word, as he prepared the sledge to travel back to Hydincall with the remainder of the taxes owed.  Ashe, Mellandria, Ariel, Dag, and a recovered Babette volunteered.  Rolf advised them to make a wide berth of the Cult of Light.

After hiding the other two paintings behind a wall in the Chateau, the barbarian found his monk friend Kane, huddling by the fire. 

"Don't worry my friend, it will be warm sooner than you know."

"The cold air I do know mind, Mister Wolfsblood.  It is the dark nights that worry me, and there is much to worry about already."

"That's good Kane, for it is a time of trouble and trial.  And that's why I need you to watch over Mohammad.  Make sure he is safe and away from whatever trials await us here in the Chateau and in Eding,  His loss would crack Echelon for sure, and the pigeon lover and his man-whore companion are the only things guaranteed to keep the barony together." 

"I swear"

Next:  #37 - Crimes and Lesser Misdemeanors

Monday, December 11, 2017

Feline Kaiju Combat in 30mm

A day full of kid's basketball games, gymnastics practice, and Mrs Viscount and myself shopping and wrapping gifts was culminated with just enough snow to keep us all inside for the rest of the weekend.

... and laundry kept us occupied the rest of the time.

One silver lining was the procurement of one of ViscountEric's favorite beers:  Troeg's Mad Elf.
Yes, I'm drinking it as I assemble this blog post.  
We're still catching up with our TV (the kids do heartily approve all of the Earth-X shenanigans on the WB), but with a clean house and most Christmas shopping complete, we can go back to playing games upstairs and painting little men downstairs.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

(Review) My Little Pony: Tokens of Friendship

Getting in on the ground floor with the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game, I'm able to get each item as they come in rather than a backlog.  The good news is the first two products, the hardcover rulebook, and the Curse of the Statuettes boxed set were top notch.

The first stumble for River Horse Games/Ninja Division is their Tokens of Friendship game accessory.

The small box contains 12 purple Tokens of Friendship and a MLP: Tails of Equestria drawstring bag for a player to keep track.

The problem with the product, isn't the concept.  Plenty of pony fans will want everything to do with the game, and the idea of official Tokens will ring true to them.  The true problem is the size of the items for the $6.95 price tag.
The tiny Tokens of Friendship and pouch, with d20 from the boxed set and glass bead for scale. 
For ten clear purple plastic tokens and a small screen printed dice pouch, seven bucks seems a bit high.  Personally, I use glass beads, which you can pick up at any pet or craft store at half the price for at least double the quantity.

Despite loving the game, I have to give the Tokens of Friendship One and a half gnomes out of Five on the Gaming with the Gnomies Rating System.
There's plenty of better (and cheaper) alternatives.  Save your money for new MLP books coming down the pipeline.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Big Sigh of Relief... Maybe

I write this post directly from my desk at work, blatantly ignoring the small pile of post-busy season work accumulating in my bin.

My three months of hell known as the busy season at work are officially over.  I've got tons of clean-up work to do (and voluntary overtime), but that's just part of my job description.

The kids activities have been overwhelming us (and our cars) this Fall.  It may reach critical mass tomorrow, with three basketball games PLUS gymnastics practice PLUS a trip to Grandma's so good ol' Mom and Dad can desperately get the Christmas shopping and wrapping finished.

Needless to say, our usual "unplanned" pick-up games have not been going off, even like they did this time last year.  If it's not one of the two conventions we attended, my Monday night online 5e group that shows up half the time, or the never completed family decathalon of games, nothing else was getting accomplished.

And we haven't even gotten to the meat of hockey season.

But once we get through all of that, I see hope.

  1. I managed to review my backlog of games/ideas from the Fall, and better spread out the ideas I dumped into early 2018.  I also conducted a meeting of the minds with my core players (my girls) and they're content with my current schedule with a new season of the Pulp Game.  I did get an overwhelming vote of support for more Mouslings.  My blog hits and kids can't lie.
  2. The kids were very interested in evil wizards taking over Christmas and girls on camels who like to gamble (not sure the girls or camels gambled).  Or a Russian super-star is the only hope for Russian Christmas.  But Russia is too nice, they're up to something...  Time to paint up the shirtless Putin.  
  3. The tree is up at home, and the decorations suffered minimal damage, but the restoration projects meant my painting bench is covered in holy and tinsel.  Snow days are coming... as well a good pile of Kickstarter deliveries I'm repurposing as my Christmas gifts.
  4. A quick trip to Michael's for some supplies and I think the gnomes and goblins can come out for a Christmas game.
  5. I've got a review of Pulp Alley's Lost World of Lemuria in the pipeline, plus a few other "holiday" projects. Project Zero is still in my sights...
  6. Hopefully we have two more weeks of our 5e game before Christmas and we can get together for a big completion of the first dungeon in our BECMI D&D game. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

(Kickstarter) War in Christmas Village Sequels

Sometimes the seasonal items that appear on Kickstarter actually get made!

Last year I mentioned the small set for the War in Christmas Village.  The four figure set was funded and was actually successfully delivered.

This Christmas they're back with  War in Christmas Village Sequels, two separate boxed set.

Oh Christmas Treent, How Deadly Are Thy Branches?
She Ain't Havin' It!
Each set is availabe for $30 + $10 S&H to the US, or $55 +$15 S&H for both. 

Streets of Rome by Sarissa Precision

Sarissa Precision has recently announced Streets of Rome, a new range of laser-cut buildings designed for use with Footsore and War Banner's Gangs of Rome rules, but with plenty of utility in Ancient Rome and beyond.

Pre-orders are currently being taken, with a January delivery date. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What to Run at Mepacon Spring 2018?

If I feel like Mepacon Fall 2017 was less than a month ago, the truth is, it was!

After twelve hours of running My Little Pony with some acclaim, it's time to mix things up a bit and try to run theme events at Mepacon Spring 2018.

With a theme of "Heroes and Villains," I'm going to let someone else try and run Champions or TSR Marvel.

TWERPS: Superdudes - Society of the Legion of Super-Dudes and Dudettes.  Two hour superheroics in the theme of Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League.  Perhaps I'll try another Jeff Dee creation, Pocket Universe.

Heroclix: Ka-POW.... with Feeling! - Kids game using Heroclix mechanics, but focusing on the narrative, both story and combat. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/After the Bomb:  It would also work for the post-apoc theme a few cons ago, but this sounds like a nice 4-hour adult RPG session.

My Little Pony: Super-Heroes of Equestria 
It was a big hit last con, why not up the stats and have a whirl at super-heroes?

My Little Pony: Equestrian Adventures - Or I could just run more ponies the traditional way.

Savage Pulp: Pulp is the predecessor of the Comic Book/Super-Hero genre, and to run a few session of our Pulp Egypt game might be fun

Savage Mice:  Mousling running amok in fantasy.  Fun for all ages.

Pulp RPG: Warlord/Blackhawk - Perhaps the least thought through of the ideas, taking the non-spandex comics like Warlord and turning them into a four-color game.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #35: Gladestrom

27 DuoDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
As our heroes were finally together again at the Chateau, and with Lady Iris the Royal Overseer back in Hydincall, which was essentially a nod of approval by the King, it was time to break out the smoked meats, preserves, and cheap liquor.  Some real heroes dashed out to town to snag a few extra bottles of wine from the Blue Wizard Inn, so the mood was appropriately festive.

With Talis and Ariel leading the dancing with their musical selections, Dag's children backed them up adequately on percussion.  There was dancing, there was singing, and attempted canoodling between everyone in the Chateau.

And definite canoodling between Dew Xyclone, voluptuous middle-aged housekeeper, and Norm Dingleberry, everyone's favorite dwarf.

Then the fairies showed up.

Not the fairies of legend, not the cute near-pixie like beings.  These were mischievous imps, with a sparkling gold glow around their bodies.  They caused a general ruckus throughout the Chateau, emptying serving bowls, smashing plates, throwing goblets, and terrorizing one and all.

Without weapons at the ready, chairs, banisters, and frying pans were the weapons to combat the fae creatures and alleviate the damage. Soon, the remaining fairies focused all their attention on the giant painting Ashe had purchased at Hydincall auction the Summer before.

By this time, some people were able to grab formal implements of death and the surviving fairies were driven off, but not before they phased through the walls, found the cart that our heroes had liberated from brigands outside of town, and magically levitated it off the ground and took it with them on their escape.

28 DuoDec 1071  -  Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The group was in no condition to follow them in the foot deep snow into the woods and the gods only knew where.   The following morning, those not suffering from a hangover prepared to track the creatures in daylight.
Baron Echelon - Baron of Eding, Cleric of Tshang Hai Ching, owner of the fairy-attacked Chateau
Ashe - White haired Elven Ranger
Rolf Wolfsblood - bald-head, facially-tattooed barbarian from the steppes of Galmar.
Kane - Monk studying Eastern elemental mysticism of water.
Velandro - Devout Priest of Akana
Dag di Velandro - NPC - Kobold acolyte of Akana
"Baron" Felix - NPC -  Farm foreman on the Chateau.

There were no tracks or dust from the fairies themselves, but stealing the cart proved their downfall. Under normal conditions, the levitated cart would have hovered ten inches or so above the actual ground, but the magicks did not take into consideration the foot of snow laying on top of it.  The fairies escape had created two obvious wheel ruts into the first few inches of snow, providing an easy trail to follow.

The trail led them off the estate, and into the sparse woods, finally ending at a long abandoned house, an empty cart sitting outside.

The fairies did not appear like they wanted to parlay and the party showed them no mercy.  Upon searching the house they found the paintings... and a gruesome sight.

Many men, some still with weapons in hand, had been killed and partially devoured.  They recognized some as the few of the brigand Leonid's band that they had fought off the day before (and obtained the paintings.)  With a little reconnoitering, they found the old path the former inhabitants used to reach the main road, and they dragged cart with the paintings back to the Chateau, reaching home just before nightfall.

After dinner everyone examined the oil paintings sought by fairy, brigand, and adventurer alike.  All of them appeared to have been painted by the same artist, or at least the same style.
  • Founding of Crosdes with King Cesmir  Gran Duke Cesmir Repitllius of Ferrand accepts the Crown of Draloite from the Archbiship of Hydincall in the Year 846.  Cesmir's skin is painted with a odd scaly technique.
  • The Fall of Haven - A bald headed barbarian in a chaotic overgrown castle stabs a giant ruby with a magical knife.  The red ruby light and shadows makes elaborate patterns over the barbarian's face. 
  • Taking the Higher Ground - A lone warrior in a tattered green cloak trudges up a steep embankment with a stream gurgling below him in the valley.  His eyes burn.  
The group was shocked to see the familiarity of the subjects.  King Cesmir was a known historical entity.  A bald barbarian with shadowy facial tattoos and a possible elf with battleworn Elven Cloak looked way too similar to Rolf and Ashe. 

Then little Timmy, all ten years of him, looked up at the huge painting hanging over the mantle in the Chateau and gasped.  What everyone remembered as three generic adventurers pointing at a mountain spewing a cloud of steam appeared to have transformed into something a bit more... realistic. 
The mountain was still spewing steam, but the surrounding mountains were quite distinguishable.  The generic adventurers were quite detailed.  Ashe, Norm, and a trident-holding Echelon were staring at the mountain, and what every though were trees near them now were other adventurers, including a man with an outrageously big hat (Talis actually blushed upon his realization).

This new discovery left many unsettled.  Rolf tried to find a quiet spot amongst the bedrooms to make sense of everything, when a closet door poked open and a brown-skinned man's head emerged.

It was Mohammad, Echelon's mentor, who was magically scarred by channeling divine energy from his god, Tshang Hai Ching.  He spent most of his time mumbling prayers inside cramped, safe spaces, like the few closets in the main Chateau.

"Rolf, what is of the matter?"

"Hey Mo, just more of the usual craziness.  The chateau got invaded by fairies and now all the old paintings have us painted in them."

"Hmmm... take me to the stairs so may peek at them."

The barbarian lifted the legless priest into his arms and allowed him to peer around the corner of the stairs at the painting over the fireplace.

"Oooooooooh, I see.  Take me back to my prayer room."  Rolf obliged.

"Rolf, the fae only show you what you are not willing to see normally.  You must figure out what this all means for you." 

DM Notes:  This week's adventure was Gladestrom from Underworld Publishing.  The details are lost to memory, but it did involve fairies, paintings, and the big reveal as to the importance of the painting Ashe bought in Hydincall and gifted to Echelon.   Like the other Underworld product I used previously, Harbinger of Darkness, no legal pdfs are available and copies on eBay are way too expensive for such a mediocre module for me to plot a more exact recollection.

While the conversation between Mohammad and Rolf may not have happened exactly at this place and time, the wise words of the legless, agoraphobic prophet of the eastern god of the sea and sky will become more important as time goes on...

Next #36 - You're a Goddamn Legend!

Monday, December 4, 2017

(Kickstarter) Those Dam Goblins by Fail Squad Games

5e modules are a dime a dozen on Kickstarter.  How does one stand out among the crowd? 

If you're crazy and attract my demographic, you take an older OSRIC/1e module, center the rules around Labyrinth Lord, making both the BECMI and 5e crowds happy it's compatible. 

You also follow Fail Squad Games' lead and make sure it's named Those Dam Goblins
 There's a dam... and goblins.  Pure genius.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

(Review) My Little Pony: Curse of the Statuettes Boxed Set

Even a casual reader of this blog will notice that I perseverate on My Little Ponies a bit more the average middle-aged gamer, yet I do not consider myself a fanatic Brony  It simply boils down to:

A) I'm a father of two young ladies and have watched a LOT of MLP with them, new and older episodes.

B) The idea of a properly licensed property getting a solid treatment away from the traditional gamer demographic is fascinating.

C) River Horse Games produces some ridiculously nice material, and I've already sung praises for the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game hardcover rulebook.

Upon churning out a high-quality rulebook, they moved onto a bugbear for most game companies, the RPG boxed set.

A quick time to wax nostalgic.  Many players of Dungeons & Dragons have found memories of the RPG boxed set.  For some, it was a starter set to learn how to play the game.  For others, it was how their cherished campaign setting game packaged.  Sometime in the 90's, the concept of the boxed set faded from production schedules, the chief excuse was the prohibitive cost to produce such an item.

I don't know exactly how River Horse Games/Ninja Division has done it, but they've released the My Little Pony: Curse of the Statuettes Boxed Set for the low price of $25.95!

While it's not jammed pack full of stuff, it does provide everything a beginning MLP gamemaster would need to run a game.  Let's start from the outside and work our way in.
The Box!:  I've owned many RPG, boardgame, and wargame boxed sets, and the box containing Curse of the Statuettes is in the top echelon for quality.  The 9" x 2" x 13" has thick, sturdy walls and shouldn't have blown out corners like the boxes of old (subject to the machinations of the adult/child who owns it).

Dice!:  The box includes a tradition assortment of polyhedral dice for the game (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20).  Bright solid colors, nothing fancy, but fancier official dice are also available on the website.

Character Sheets!  A pad of character sheets with stock Pegasus, Unicorn, and Earth Pony profiles, as well as blank sheets where you can draw your own picture.  When I used the pad for the players of the convention games I ran, it took two sessions to realize the they offered  male (red border) and female (purple) profiles.

Storyteller (GM) Screen!:  The true treasure of the boxed set, the trifold Storyteller Screen is a sturdy piece of construction.  The game itself isn't nearly as complicated as other games, but it is nice to have a map of Equestria, the equipment list, and a further explanation of how to use Tests and Tokens of Friendship.

Curse of the Statuettes!:  The centerpiece of the boxed is Curse of the Statuettes, a 48-page softcover adventure.  It follows up on The Pet Predicament in the main rulebook and takes the player's ponies on a cross-Equestria trip into the Badlands to find out what happened the Mane Six (the main characters of the cartoon, for those who are unaware.)  It's well-written, details the motivations of the important characters and outlines the stages of the adventure in ways that suits both new players of any age and experienced gamemasters.  The plot is a mixture Old West and Pulp Archeology, with a fix classic Dungeon Crawl tropes thrown in for good measure.

The most amusing portion of the book to an old grognard like myself is the inclusion of random encounter tables and FLAVOR TEXT (parts of the adventure that should be read to the players verbatim.).  It suits the adventure perfectly.

I've had the pleasure of using the character sheets, dice, and Storyteller Screen when I ran multiple sessions of the game at Mepacon this past month. The character sheets were a hit with young and old, the dice seemed to roll high right when the characters needed them to, and the screen was an excellent quick reference and shield for all dice and miscellaneous accessories (I improved the sessions at the table, so I had only a few written plot points jotted on index cards that I hid from the players' views.

In the grand scheme of gaming, a boxed set is best represented by its routine utility, and Curse of the Statuettes has it in spades.  Lots of basic accessories for gameplay, plus an adventure that would normally fetch $15-20 as a standalone item?  In a sturdy box?  Sign me up with a Five out of Five Gnomes review!

For a good look at the items within the boxed set, outside of the stock photograph provided, check out Equestria Boards on Amino.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

(Kickstarter) Mouse Adventure by Cartoon Miniatures

With everything going on, the fates are pushing me to look into Mouslings/Mice Warriors again with the recent Kickstarter launch of Mouse Adventure by Cartoon Miniatures

The pro: The figures are highly detailed 28mm resin and are really quick striking.

The big con:  A set of six of them with shipping from the EU to the States averages out to TEN BUCKS a figure. 

I don't think my utility with these figures will justify a Games Workshop price or a lmited edition, plus they appear to be around human-sized for 28mm. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

(IOU) Owen Humprie

Owen Humphrie
Owen is a theater major and inspiring actor. He has had some walk-on one lines in some cheap movies being made locally, and has been an extra in several as well. Owen is willing to do what it takes to get that big acting job. He’s very handsome and athletic though his resume lacks. He has a drug problem. He often likes to use the “don’t you know who I am” line and drops names of famous people he has met in passing, embellishing the story to make it sound as if they are good friends.

Struggling Actor with an Eidetic Memory (4)
Able to remember anything he has seen or read, this helps Owen memorize his lines and pass his classes.

I Do My Own Stunts (3)
Owen tries to get the parts by selling himself as an all around actor” being able to not only act, but is willing to do his own stunts for the authenticity of the film, and help save the director a bit of money as well.

Drug Addled Thespian (2)
Owen doesn’t feel pain from the drugs he is taking and his tolerance for anything unnatural in his body is high requiring him to take more than the normal person. Downside is he needs his fix. Each day he goes without his fix he loses a D6 from any cliche.  Once any cliche reaches zero, his sole focus is getting a fix any way he can.  If a second cliche reaches zero, he passes out.

Master of Disguise  (1)
Being an actor he can quickly change roles and costumes to become who he needs to be. Failure means he resembles a cross dressing Bugs Bunny that only a nitwit could fall for.   If this cliche drops to zero as a result of his drug addiction, he actually gets +2d6 to the base role for seeking drugs only. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #34: The Baronial Envoy

The eccentric cleric Echelon has been named the Baron of Eding!

Sometimes there needs to be accounting in games, especially when the Barony lay in ruin for months.  Taxes still have to be collected!

15 DuoDec 1071 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Baron Echelon and a group of his "closest associates" were already off to the halfling villages to collect the back taxes that were never collected after the death of Lord Athelstane, many months prior.   Many friends and staff were busy doing their daily chores.

The taxes of Eding and Lowdale were easily collected and ready to go, and Echelon felt it best to get a proper accounting of the capital "city" to Hydincall while they were still trying to square away the outlying territories.

Leaving for Hydincall with the taxes:
Lady Iris - NPC -  Former peasant hero of Eding, Red Knight of Crosedes, and attache to King Nevin.
Mellandria - Mage and baronial scribe, finding the new Baron to be quite irresponsible.
Ashe - White-haired elven ranger of the pine barrens.
Carthon - NPC - Echelon's right-hand man at his Chateau.

22 DuoDec 1071 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
After a brief audience with King Nevin, who appreciated the effort and wisdom of Iris and Echelon, advised quartet to simply deliver future taxes to the treasury.  The group found wisdom in the King's words and departed for some tavern-hopping.  The encountered the female bard Ariel again, and she agreed to join the at the Chateau.

Lady Iris bid them adieu.  It may have seemed that Echelon was flying by the seat of his pants, but most new nobles do exactly that, she assured the party.  Good friends make good decisions.

27 DuoDec 1071 - On the road back to Eding, Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
Along the way, Ashe's brother Binklen showed up out of the blue.  After twelve years!   Ashe was simply dumbfounded and couldn't get a word out of his mouth.
Binklen, Ashe's Brother
But the Cult of Lake Apotheosis (or Cult of Light) ambushing them changed that.    Their numbers were adequate, but their tactics crude and the four were able to dispatch them with little alarm.   The retreating cultists shouted at the adventurers, calling them heretics, demonspawn, and brigands....

The last name made sense about an hour or so later when actual brigands tried to parlay what little the group had and it devolved into a melee.  Ashe slew the brigand leader, Leonid, and the brigands scattered, leaving a canvass covered cart and a tired mule.   The contents inside the cart were oil paintings, not unlike the one Ashe bought the Chateau many months ago.  Leaving the interior decorating to the Baron and his staff, the crew headed back to the Chateau with the cart.

Upon returning to Eding, they reunited with their friends and discovered Babette had given birth on the 22nd... to twins!  Two healthy boys (with ever so slightly pointed ears) named Yuri and Darius.

After two hard months getting the new Barony on track, and most of the taxes delivered, it was time to celebrate their good fortune.

GM Notes:  Being Baron isn't the glamorous job everyone thinks it is, and being the friend of the Baron, even less so.   

Here begins another spotty run of journal entries, as different party members come on go, journal entries are very self-centric, and in some cases, completely omit important plot points (see the upcoming episode #35 as an example.)  *Minor spoilers* The paintings in the cart are somehow important, yet the next journal entry after Babette having twins is Rolf heading to Omsjik to inquire about the paintings, completely failing to mention the bombshell that occurred in between.

Another storyline that gets swept under the rug is Ashe's brother Binklen.  For the record, he's offered a small room in return for work on the Chateau.  Until he's brought up again, let's simply assume he's tending livestock, chopping wood, and catching up with his brother.  

The final forgotten storyline is Babette.  The thief had survived Talislanta, but her player dropped out soon after the Fall semester started up.  She will pop up from time to time, but most of her life will be dedicated to her boys.  

Next: #35 Gladestrom

Monday, November 27, 2017

This Was Madness, This... Was... SATLOF!

I'm sure we've had worse months that this November, but it's flipped us for a doozy.

With everything else happening, the normal holiday bum rush of activity has us going into a tizzy.  To top things off, my 25th high school reunion was scheduled to take place this past Saturday, and having missed my 20th, I felt some obligation to attend.

But there is always SATLOF.

Back in college, my roommate Steve (known for Professor O'Hara, Fonzie, and Echelon) introduced our extended group to FATLOF, the Friday After Thanksgiving Left-Over Feast.  He and his high school friends would get together on Black Friday, bring some leftovers from the previous day's festivities, and eat too much, imbibe a little trash can punch, and play some games.  Our social group, The Society of Neffs, ultimately adopted the same concept on Saturdays, hence the SATLOF.

For nearly two decades, we have kept that date open, as the one time our college friends, as well as extended friends and family, may have a chance to meet up and reconnect.  The festivities have moved south over the years, now occurring in Nate's home in South Allentown.

We got to the shin-dig just in time for food to served, and despite a few cancellations due to picking up the Post-Thanksgiving crud, I was happy to see my friend from high school, Scott, decide to eschew the reunion for SATLOF.

The trash can punch has gone away to give actual children fewer reason for Children & Youth to show up, but there was a fine collection of micro-brews from Old Forge Brewing in Danville, PA that offset the desire to fill a container full of fruit punch and any cheap liquor available in a plastic container.

By the time we got food in our bellies, caught up on everyone's situations, and redirected the kid's pirate game (which was really a LARP) away from the basement bar, it was time to breakout a game.

Steve made the choice easier by breaking out yet another Kickstarter find:  Family Plot, a puntastic card game.
We caught up on some LARPs some of the guys were writing/running, discussed our current group's online game debacle, and then realizing that our incompetent segment of the group at large is far more advanced than we think.

We also learned of the Narwhal Song.... and that companies make Christmas decorations with these elusive Arctic sea mammals.
I've already been informed that the 30th Reunion will take place on SATLOF 2022, so I have four years to get the other missing members of the group to SATLOF, before I may have to take a year off.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Apathy of the New Releases (Dec '17)

ViscountEric's Want List

My Money-is-no-Object List
Khepera Publishing
Atlantis: The Second Age Adventure Anthology ........... $19.99

Legion Supplies
Hello from the Otter Side
Card Sleeves, Deck Box, and Playmat.  I don't know their prices and I don't play Magic much anymore, but that's a definite impulse buy waiting to happen. 

Dice Rendezvous with Randomness (Regular Edition) ............................ $39.99

My Imaginary Store List (The Pegleg Gnome)
ALC Studio
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal Board Game ...............  $50.00

ARC Dream Publishing
Delta Green RPG:  Extremophilia .................................. $19.99
Delta Green RPG:  Observer Effect ............................... $19.99

Avalanche Press
Great War at Sea:  Rise of the Dragon .......................... $34.99
Panzer Grenadier: Maple Leaf Brigade ......................... $24.99
Panzer Grenadier: River Fleets ..................................... $34.99

Baksha Games
Get Me a Fresh Brain ..................................................... $19.95

Dragon Ball Super
Boosters and Special Sets

Catalyst Game Labs
Battletech: Battlemech Manual ....................................... $39.99
Battletech: Technical Readout: Succession Wars ..........  $39.99
Shadowrun RPG: The Complete Trog ...........................  $44.99

Creative Goods Companies
Catan "It's Pronounced Catan" T-Shirt ............................ $28.00
Available in Adult S-4X

Days of Wonder
Small World: Sky Islands Expansion ............................... $34.99

Fantasy Flight Games
Eldritch Horror: Masks of Nylarathotep Expansion .......... $49.95
Star Wars Destiny:  Boba Fett Starter Set ....................... $14.95
Star Wars Destiny:  Luke Skywalker Starter Set .............  $14.95
Star Wars Destiny: Rivals Draft Set ................................. $14.95
Star Wars Destiny:  Legacies Boosters ...........................  $ 2.99

Flying Buffalo
Tunnels & Trolls: Japan Adventures ................................ $15.95

Games Workshop
Astra Militarum Codex HC ............................................... $40.00
Eldar Craftworlds Codex HC ............................................ $40.00
Realm of Battle: Moon Base Klaisus ................................ $80.00

Goodman Games
DCC: 2014 Holiday Module Trails of the Toy Maker ......... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics #7: Reliquary of the Ancients .......  $9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics #8: The Data Orb of Mankind ....... $9.99
Tales from the Magician's Skull #1 .................................... $14.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: 0-Level Scratch Off Character Sheets .. $9.99

Grail Games
King's Road ......................................................................... $39.99

John Wick Presents
7th Sea RPG 2nd Edition - The Crescet Empire ................. $39.99
7th Sea RPG 2nd Edition - Lands of Gold and Fire ............ $39.99

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:  Extreme Force Boosters
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:  Wave of Light Structure Decks

Mantic Entertainment
Dungeon Saga: Eye of the Abyss ......................................... $49.99
Dwarf Steel Behemoth ......................................................... $49.99
Undead Revenent King on Undead Wyrm ........................... $49.99
Terrain Crate: Bundle ........................................................... $470.00
Terrain Crate: Gang Warzone ............................................... $79.99
Terrain Crate:Forgotten Foundry .......................................... $39.99
Terrain Crate: Ruined City ................................................... $149.99

Conan: The Barbarian HC ...................................................... $19.99
Conan: Book of Skelos HC .................................................... $19.99
Conan: GM Screen ................................................................. $25.99
Conan: Tile Sets (4)  ............................................................... $25.99 each
Conan: The Mercenary ........................................................... $19.99
Coriolis: The Dying Ship ........................................................ $14.99
Space 1889: Venus .................................................................. $34.99
Star Trek Adventures: These are the Voyages Vol 1 ..............  $37.99

Pathfinder ACG: Occult Adv Character Deck 2 .................... $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: AP - War for the Crown Part 1 Crownfall .. $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Taverns.......... $22.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip-Mat: Bigger Bridge .............................. $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: Map Pack Starship Decks............................. $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Pawns - Bestiary 6 Box ............................... $44.99
Starfinder RPG: AP Dead Suns Part 4 - The Ruined Clouds... $22.99

Pelgrane Press
13th Age RPG: Bestiary 2 HC ................................................. $44.95
Trail of Cthulhu: Cthulhu City HC .......................................... $34.95
Trail of Cthulhu: Out of the Woods ......................................... $24.95

Reaper Miniatures
The Bonesylvanians are available at $2.79 apiece.  It also appears they're releasing the graveyard, the mythos, plus a few other add-ons from the last fulfilled Kickstarter

Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Magical Mess ......................................................... $29.95

Troll Lord Games
5th Edition Adventures - A12: The Paladin's Lament ............... $9.99

Twilight Creations
Zombies!!! Bag o' Zombies: Dogs (100) .................................. $12.99

Wizards of the Coast
Magic The Gathering CCG:  Masters 25

Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol ........................................ $19.99
D&D Fantasy Miniatures: Icons of the Realms Monster Menagerie
Plus a ton of Deep Cuts, Pathfinder, and Nolzur's Marvelous Unpainted Miniatures.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Let Us Don the Gnomish Headgear

The kids got me a new hat last weekend.  I appreciate that they couldn't wait until Christmas.

It shall to fair and fitting to wear it around, as today is SATLOF (Saturday After Thanksgiving Left-Over Feast) which I am bailing early on family functions and skipping my 25th High School Reunion entirely to attend.

Eat copious amounts of leftovers, imbibe beverages to your appropriate level of responsbility, and play a game or two!

(Kickstarter) Starbowl Revival Fantasy Football Figures

I'm not a Blood Bowl player, but I understand the simplicity and attraction of the GW game.   It seems that every week, some bloke is trying to crowdfund another team for the greater community, and most surprisingly meet their goals.

The latest that I've seen that actually tickled my fancy is the very unsubtle Starbowl Revivial Miniatures for Fantasy Football by Rykar Jove
The team seems to be completely fleshed out, with star players, coaches, tokens, etc. and the prices are comparable with other teams.  Plus the theme is outstanding.

Friday, November 24, 2017

(Kickstarter) Flash Gordon RPG for Savage Worlds

It's a bad week for Kickstarters I should otherwise love.  It must be the upcoming holidays blues.

Shane Hensley and Pinnacle Entertainment Group have recently launched their Flash Gordon RPG for Savage Worlds.

I'm thinking the Savage Rifts Kickstarter hit my sweet spot.  The softcovers/pdf from Savage Rifts for just over $30 hits that middle ground between Flash Gordon's $20 pdfs and $45 (+$9 S&H) for the limited edition hardcovers. The baubles, add-ons, and trinkets do nothing for me.  

Black Friday Combat

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5e and the Online Thespian Generation

An article over at The Verge is connecting the rise of 5e and RPG liveplays, largely the popular video and live streaming actual plays found on YouTube and Twitch.

I can't argue with that.  If the new (and returning) generations of players are making D&D have its most profitable year ever in an Amazon-related world, it makes sense that they are turning to online instant gratification.  In part, it's solid entertainment value, but it's also the "How do we play this thing?" that we grognards with the blue ink module maps and cheesy dice in the boxed sets longed to have answered in our early days.

The problem, of course, is that these players are being deceived.  Despite all the plot-driven fantasy storylines, the angst-driven brooding, the old school renaissances, and the indy-press revolutions, unless you and your friends are a bunch of improv masters, voice-over actors, and card carrying members of SAG with wicked editing skills, your weekly sessions will than likely carry out like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off running a combat.

Having just been to a convention with plenty of old school and new wave gamers in attendance, I'm quite certain that many were fans of the liveplay series, but very little of their own pedestrian games would warrant their own camera and Twitch channel.

That includes all the My Little Pony games I ran on the Kid's track.  There's 30 seconds or so of video of me running one of those sessions, and despite my 25 years experience and the session being entertaining for all the players, I'm not setting up my own channel to broadcast future MLP games.

I am biased towards the radio-play style that traditional podcasts present gaming sessions in.  There are two things, however, that I keep in mind when listening them.  1) Audio editing can turn enjoyable games into gold, and in reverse, a lack of it and kill a game with promise.  2) The traditional players from podcasts like Skype of Cthulhu are always going to sound like their struggling when put up against professional improv players from the Campaign Podcast.

I always hearken back to a phrase I used repeatedly on this blog, "I'm not the demographic they're targeting." 

What could have been cool a decade or two ago has now vanished from my horizon.  Celebrity gamers (save the game designers themselves) loose their fascination with me, especially when the meat of many of those games is so dry.  Whether its failing to grok Fantasy Flight Star Wars dice, or belittling a setting like Rifts when their own personal favorites fall equally flat in execution, I can only hope the players at the online table have a good time.

So whether you're playing 5e, Pathfinder, or PotA, enjoy the gameplay, and try not to overdramatize the game when a simple 5-ft move or a timely punch in the face will do.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

(Kickstarter) Ducks Lost in the Dungeon of Doom IV: Quack Keep

Some things are great concepts, but are a little harder in ther delivery such as Darcy Perry/Star Hat Miniatures/5th Wall Games and Miniatures Ducks Lost in the Dungeon of Doom IV: Quack Keep.
The core of this campaign is in three parts.  First, an adventure module Quack Keep by the famed Jennell Jacquays riding on her on a slightly warranted professional theme that she "was pretty much labeled as that designer and artist who did the ducks."

Second, is a re-offering of the original five duck miniatures from the Dungeon of Doom III Kickstarter with five new duck characters rounding out the final portion of the offering.

I like them all, but after finally figuring out the conversion for  Canadian Dollars, Euros, and British Pounds, converting from Kiwi Dollars (with the even with Kickstarter's help) is hurting my tiny brain.  It takes a bit, but the ten dollars for the pdf of the module and six dollars or less per figure (plus shipping and handling from New Zealand) isn't too bad. 

Ballad of the Pigeon God #33: Dag and Brutus Have an Adventure

10 DuoDec 1071 Village of Welldale, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Dag - Kobold acolyte of Akana.  Dutiful husband and father of two.
Brutus - NPC - gigantic, but not-to-bright ex-gladiator who is loyal to the Heroes of the Chateau d'Echelon.
Norm Dingleberry - Nose-picking Dwarven Warrior
Echelon -  Only the current Baron of Eding.  Nothing special.  Eccentric cleric of a distant eastern god of the sea.

Dag DiVelandro - Kobold Warrior of Akana
DAG WRITES IN BOOK.  Yaah!!!  I ate bird
too day Big man is here.  Calls me Bag and Sag.
Jeny hate Dag.  Jeny is magistrate.  Lookin for
sherif.  Go to Lowdale.  To Welldale.  I ride with
Dwarf.  He Smelley.  AAHHHH! Srceam of little guy.
Cursed town.  Scary.  Wierd peopLe.  Sand and
Magic.  Lady at well casting magi.  Bye sade lute
man!  WELL DRY.  THUD!  Little Girl!
Smelly House.  Broker House.  Norm falls in Hole.
Echemon fall to.  DAG HELP TO.  Talis Strong!
Back to town.  Bad spider hurt DAG.  Screams.
Echemon fly from hole.  All is Good?
Me Lost!  Oh Well... Bye bye!!

DM Notes: The biggest issue I had compiling this was that  it was written out of the journal, creating trouble placing this in chronological order.  The page was pretty snug in the pages that should make up episodes #35-37, but that creates some paradoxes.  Placing it during the "Baronial Duties" arc of the campaign is certainly more historically accurate.  

Couldn't tell you what the actual adventure was, but any excuse  for the simpler life in the halfling dales (Lowdale, Welldale, and Elmshire) that are under the jurisdiction of the Baron of Eding were fine with me.  Most visits to those villages were self-contained scenarios, with only the slightest drizzle of campaign continuity.  

Two more notes:  Dag is the most virtuous, most heroic character in the campaign.  He starts out as a terrified kobold, trying to hide, then defend his family.  He moves onto to comic relief and the role of the group's cute puppy, his family acting as a companion to Timmy.  Here, he's back to comic relief, being run by Velandro's (his lord's) player, but he's relatively effective.  

Second, Brutus is a one-trick pony NPC that rarely got mentioned in the journal, but he should have.  Ex-merc, ex-gladiator, picture Razor Ramon from wrestling, but with a heart of gold.   He was a bit of a simpleton that always got people's names wrong (hence Bag and Sag references above), but in world of spider-people dopplegangers, his loyalty and skill with a sword were unquestioned.  
Give him some chain mail and a bastard sword, and you have Brutus.
Next #34 - The Taxmen Delivereth

Monday, November 20, 2017

(Kickstarter) Russian Village from Things From the Basement

Tales From the Basement has produced some wonderful laser-cut buildings and accessories, but now they've launched their first-ever Kickstarter for a Russian Village. 

Whether you want the full set for $220, a mix-and-match for at least $100, or a mix-and-match starting at a buck (plus increased shipping), there are plenty of options to choose from.  

The Russian cabins are calling my name, but the campaign ends a week before Christmas.  

(Review) Games and Stuff, Glen Burnie, Maryland

The girls had yet another long-distance gymnastics meet this past weekend, and with my wife's transmission debacle for the last meet (over Fall-In! weekend), her subsequent new car, and the offer of staying over at some relatives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C, I knew I couldn't resign myself to just watch the dogs and rake some leaves. 

As is the family tradition with the drives below the Mason-Dixon line for meets, my wife always needs to acquire three things at a store the en route to the hotel (or her Aunt and Uncle's place for this event).

  • Hair ties
  • Hair spray
  • White socks
Just hitting the early dinner rush passing through Baltimore, my wife asked for dinner recommendations (insert the couple's who can't choose meals meme of your choice), and I decided to take an exit towards Glen Burnie and see where we ended up for food, and a drug store for the supplies.  

After meandering on the highways a bit, we got off, noticed a few fast food joints, and investigated a strip mall.  Initially, I was delighted to find a Dollar General for the supplies, but as I navigated around the tight little parking lot, an adjacent sign caught my eye:
Imagine it dark, and the green letters with a neon-like glow to them.
While my wife took Millie in Dollar General, Maja and I investigated this strange phenomenon.  Upon entering, we were hit by this sight:
Sweet Freakin' Jesus, I've reached the modern gaming Nirvana.

We were met by stacks of some the more recent board/card games releases, but that first rack in the front of the picture are all family games (re: normal games that mundane people can play and not get weirded out.)  The only two things that the well-visited store didn't seem to have that people inquired about?  Rubik's Cubes and Sorry, and unlike most FLGS, it wasn't that they didn't normally stock it, it was that they were current sold out and getting more. 

Keeping a close eye on an equally excited Maja, we began to explore, and found the biggest permanent set-up for mins-painting that I have ever seen. 
An actual permanent painting/modelling center. 
The minis section occupied the entire right third of the store with GW, Warlord, Malifaux, Battletech, Infinity, Star Wars, Frostgrave, and a host of other lines.  Everything well stocked and with easily visible prices. 

I peaked through the double doors of the storefront to find a gaming area of equal.  Plenty of room for wargames and CCGs, but the thing that caught my eye was the permanent counter where tourney organizers/judges could sit and take care of everything.

The middle third of the storefront could be called a safe space for beginning Warhammer moms.  The previously mentioned traditional games, stacks of non-threatening board games, and a few racks of pop culture tchotchkes and small games. To be truthful, if the Warhammer mom brought a younger sibling, this a varied and amusing version of the candy rack at the checkout that's right behind it. 

The register area was huge, with two registers and an entirely separate area for CCG singles.  I counted at least five employees working the store: one running the wargaming tournament in the back, two alternating the register, one handling the CCG singles crowd, on one fellow who's only job was to give a friendly, but passive greeting to new customers a few moments after they entered the store, and possibly be empathetic enough to those who really had a questions/interest/problem he could help out with.  For most customers, we were given a smile and a hello, and we were left to wander the store unmolested.   

The left third of the storefront is dominated by a fantastic RPG section that realizes that there have been a LOT of games made alongside D&D, and has been given the proper space.  It was the first time I could peruse a few lines in a store-environment, such as a wide array of Trail of Cthulhu products.  In fact, a number of items just solicited for next month's Game Trade Magazine are already on the shelves. 

Intermixed with all the next books was a fair collection of used or even vintage RPG material, much of it priced in the reasonable middle ground between Noble Knight prices and local con dollar auctions. Nothing was a bargain, but most items that caught my eye gave me pause to consider a budget on a return visit. 

To complicate matters for any future finances, was a section of used board/wargames. 
A used section with solid prices 
Again, nothing was dirt cheap unless it was clearance, but the prices were acceptable.
Any store with a copy of Elfquest gets kudos by me!
My wife and Millie returned, got to gaze in wonder and bewilderment all their own, and we left with some Pokemon cards for Maja and single pack of Magic for myself.  I couldn't justify adding more books to the shelves, or minis to the table, but by golly, there was opportunity.  

I don't give out five out of five gnomes for many game stores.  Pop's Culture Shop up in Wellsboro, PA was my first because it was the perfect mixture of small town gaming store that could cater to tourists and non-gamers as well.    

Games and Stuff is the realization of that type of shop in an urban setting.  I counted somewhere between two and three dozen walk-in customers and they accounted for a constant and varied amount of sales.  There was always someone checking out at the register for 30-40 minutes of my stay.  Let me rephrase that to all the other local game stores that focus on their in-store gaming and gamers.  While the tournament people played in the back, all of the store's revenue was getting generated by other people. You can have it both ways if you're willing to invest the time and the inventory.  

Or perhaps Games and Stuff should just be a template that other FLGS can aspire to be and still maintain their own identity.  

My wife's first words to me when she came in summed up my opinion of Games and Stuff:  "This is exactly the store you would have if you could open one yourself."  

I could only nod and giggle... and give them Five out of Five Gnomes.

Games and Stuff is located 7385 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard Suite G
Glen Burnie, MD 21061.  Their phone number (410) 863-7418.

And to finish up the reason for our meandering, we found an acceptable IHOP, visited the relatives the girls earned two golds, two silvers, and a host of lesser awards at their meet, and we managed to stop at Primanti Bros. in York for a great lunch before returning home.  After back-to-back con weekends and car problems, this was a great family weekend.  

Those leaves will wait until December. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How Do You Teach Gene Simmons?

Last week was Open House at the kids school.  We have the beneift of living in a great school district, so events like this over-attended to an extreme.  Back in the day, my Mom could handle the open house for both my sister and I, but here it's seems required to have Mom, Dad, all kids, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Sid, and everyone who ever babysat the children... and all of them come in their own car.

We snuck into the school in the last twenty minutes, got all the expected accolades for our kids from the teachers, and got out before anyone noticed the PTA fundraisers.

The high point for me was spotting Millie's 1st Grade "When I grow up" story.  While they encourage the children spelling however they can sound out the words, I find it amusing that she replaced "kids" with "kiss."


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Steve Jackson OGRE Minis Kickstarter Snafu

With the OGRE Minis Set 2 recently launching, it was amusing and reassuring to get the following regarding certain pledge levels from Ogre Minis Set 1:

Update #69

Nov 16 2017
We Goofed!
Posted by wolf90

As many of you have already noted in the comments and on the forums, we have made an error in shipping some pledges. Those of you that backed at the Veteran level have ended up with not one, but two copies of Ogre Sixth Edition and Ogre: Operation 218. In our zeal to get the game into your hands as soon as possible we shipped that part of the reward at the end of last year. Somewhere along the line the fact that you had already been sent those products got lost in translation. We then sent you a second copy of these games with the Ogre Miniatures Set 1 shipment. Whoops!
A number of you have offered to send the second copies back to us. Although we deeply appreciate the sentiment, that is neither necessary nor desired. Our error should not be your problem. Please keep the games.

That said, a couple of you have suggested an idea that we would like to pass along: seeing as we are entering the holiday season, complete with the exchanging of gifts, we would ask that you consider passing the game along as a gift to another. It could be a family member; a gaming buddy; the cute guy that lives in #203; a school or town library; a senior center; the pediatric ward at the local hospital; or any of a gazillion other options. We love our game and we know you do as well. Consider spreading that love, and helping others to appreciate the game as much as we do, rather than simply posting it for sale online. In this manner our gaffe is redeemed into a worthwhile endeavor.

Ogre, and gaming in general, is a social activity. Everyone wins when more people take the time to play some games. Perhaps that was the plan all along . . .
- Drew Metzger

While Steve Jackson Games can absorb the double-shipment far better than many Crowdfunding companies, it's nice to see their response to the effort and the general promotion and caretaking of the hobby.  

Sherlock Gnomes (2018) - Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures

This would not be proper blog about gnomes without linking to the trailer for "Sherlock Gnomes."
Working on the stats for Squirrel Camo now.

Friday, November 17, 2017

(Kickstarter) Kids on Bikes RPG

A love for Stranger Things and Eighties nostalgia has made the "Kids on Bikes" trope a actual game genre, so it's no surprise to find such a blunt title used in the Kids on Bikes RPG: Strange Adventures in Small Towns Kickstarter, recently launched by Infectious Play.

Kids on Bikes is a 60 page, rules-light, fast-paced storytelling game in the spirit of games like DREAD, Perseverant, MONSTERHEARTS, and other great indy titles. Kids on Bikes is perfect for game nights in which you want to get a game in RIGHT NOW. 

(Kickstarter) Acheson’s Kongo-Afrika

Acheson Creations LLC has teamed-up with Two Hour Wargames to bring their new Fortunes Won and Lost rule book to life on the game table.

Kongo-Afrika is 25-28mm accessories for adventures in Africa, including animals, river boats, and natives. There are a few sets available to save money, but for a $10US base pledge to cover shipping, everything can be done a la carte.