Monday, October 23, 2017

Playing at the World: Vintage Ad: Why Women Don't Play Wargames

The blog Playing at the World recently posted a picture of an ad that TSR used to "lure" women into the burgeoning fantasy role-playing hobby.   Vintage Ad: Why Women Don't Play Wargames:
From Playing at the World

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Brigade Models is Lovin' It!

Brigade Models over in the UK recently posted a cool new terrain piece using their 15mm products:




Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pittsburgh Gnomes

Hopefully, I'm recovering from the busiest day of the year at work, so to fill in today's session, here's a picture of some oddly placed gnomes in the Kidszone at the Pittsburgh Zoo. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

(Kickstarter) Midlam Miniatures Garden Gnomes!

Midlam is at it again with another Kickstarter that hits my demographic like a sniper:  Common (or Garden Gnomes)
A forty dollar pledge (with shipping from the UK) will get all thrteen of the sculpts.  The miniatures are between 24-28mm head to foot.

WizKids and Games Workshop Sign Mysterous Pact of Darkness

Press Release from Wizkids.com

WizKids Announces New Partnership with Games Workshop

Reveals Plans to Release New Games set in the Critically Acclaimed Warhammer 40,000™ Universe

October 19, 2017 – Hillside, NJ – WizKids, the leader in high-quality pre-painted miniatures and established board games, today revealed a multi-year partnership with acclaimed fantasy miniatures company, Games Workshop. The new partnership will extend the Warhammer 40,000 universe IP across multiple categories, including, Dice Building Games™, board games and more!

“We’re thrilled to be working with Games Workshop and the Warhammer 40,000 license,” said Justin Ziran, president of WizKids. “This beloved franchise is known the world over and our partnership will allow us to create amazing products and experiences for fans everywhere.”

The multi-year deal will span numerous categories and include the most iconic Warhammer 40,000 characters and more. WizKids will create two new board games, along with dice games based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, with additional plans to republish classic board games Fury of Dracula and Relic.

WizKids will begin rolling out the new product lines in mid 2018.

For more information on WizKids, visit: www.wizkids.com.

About WizKidsWizKids/NECA, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NECA, is a New Jersey-based game developer and publisher dedicated to creating games driven by imagination. WizKids first pioneered the Combat Dial system featured in HeroClix, the leading collectible miniatures game on the market, with over 750 million miniature game figures sold worldwide. WizKids continues to produce new proprietary game platforms and properties including the award-winning fantasy board game Mage Knight, the groundbreaking Dice Building Game engine used in the critically-acclaimed game Quarriors! and Dice Masters, as well as its widely hailed execution of Attack Wing. For additional information, visit www.wizkids.com.

About Games WorkshopGames Workshop® Group PLC (LSE:GAW.L), based in Nottingham, UK, produces the best fantasy miniatures in the world. Games Workshop designs, manufactures, retails, and distributes its range of Warhammer®: Age of Sigmar® and Warhammer® 40,000® games, miniature soldiers, novels and model kits through more than 460 of its own stores (branded Games Workshop® or Warhammer®), the www.games-workshop.com web store and independent retail channels in more than 50 countries worldwide. More information about Games Workshop and its other, related, brands and product ranges (including our publishing division ‘Black Library’ and our special resin miniatures studio ‘Forge World’) can be found at www.games-workshop.com.

So what does this mean?  What it doesn't mean there will be an availability of cheap clix-style orks, tyrannids, and eldar. It doesn't say it can't happen eventually, but a focus on board games and dice games means the clix-focus most grognards are still associate with WizKids is getting pushed further into other endeavors.  I anticipate them filling the licensing requirements for board games like Fantasy Flight had previously done. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

(RISUS - IOU) The Culligan, Man of Mystery

Another day, another billion dollars from student loans at Illuminati University.

Rayne Firewyrk, Bottled Water Hating Fire Samurai, spotted the Culligan man pushing a hand truck across campus. Knowing the horrible things that could be in the bottled water ("You don't know what's in bottled water? THAT'S THE PROBLEM!), he tried to sneak across the Pent, with a tiny bush, cartoon-style.
Yes, this is a real thing... check out Youtube.

Keith Stone sees him poorly trying to sneak across the wide-open Pent and intervened with a Keystone Light. Easily comprehending that bottled water was much more dangerous than beer, he joined the investigation. Looking for muscle to help them take down such a threat, they recruited Pepe the King Prawn and Huggy Bear, a 6'6" black mother *shut your mouth* Care Bear.  
Huggy Bear, sans his leather trench, black turtleneck, and cool hat

The Culligan went through a service entrance of cafeteria and Rayne almost made it through the closing door before suffering an asthma attack. Using his video game connections, his gamer buddy MONGO, let them in, so long as they had some sweet potato pie and come back to hang for a bit. 

"Mongo psyche filled filled with black swirling darkness."

Once they posted the discussion on Mongo's ennui, they caught a glimpse of the The Culligan dragging his hand truck down a flight of stairs. 

They finally caught up to The Culligan, who was taking his five gallon water jugs and installing them directly into the campus water supply!

Pepe attempted to dislodged the water jug and succeeded, only to have a low-lying fog seep out of the connection, knocking him out.  Huggy Bear lifted him out and Keith Stone tried to revive him with yet another Keystone Light.... in the Beer Cozy of Satan. 

Pepe woke up, mysteriously wearing thick glasses, his turtleneck and chain replaced with suspenders, his Latino accent replaced with a rare Chicago twang.

"Did I do that????" 

Pepe Urquel wanted vengeance and chased after The Culligan.  He managed to circle around him, and catch off guard, but failed to do anything.  Huggy Bear stared down The Culligan, but The Culligan whipped out a '50s style ray gun and knocked him out AND disarmed Rayne's katana.  The Culligan threw his last 5-gallon jug at a unsuspecting Pepe Urquel.  Keith Stone slid into the jug's path.  The jug hit him with a resounding thud, and Stone's body still slammed into the king prawn.  Gathering their senses, Keith's pride was the only thing wounded, and Pepe was back to his Latin Lothario ways....   

Rayne recovered his katana and disarmed The Culligan, forcing him to flee.  Another chase through the pipe-strewn basement confirmed to Rayne that he really need to work on cardio.  The Culligan was ultimately trapped in a dark and dingy break room.   In one last act of desperation, he pulled down a vending machine, which cracked open, sending dozens of 16oz bottles of water everywhere.

When the others finally caught up to Rayne, they found the floor covered with water and sliced open bottles, the cover to an air vent lying against the wall, The Culligan gone. 
A friendly delivery man, or a secret warrior of a mysterious society?
When they finally get to the surface, The Culligan's truck was gone, but a license plate vanity frame was left in it's spot...  "H2O to GO..."

...but first it was time for sweet potato pie and friendship.

GM Note:  Another online D&D session was cancelled, this time our DM was available, but the main character who was central to the storyline had a family medical emergency.  

Time to whip out Risus.  

The entire session was based on the first question I asked Jeff (Rayne's player),  "What does Rayne see as he's chilling on the Pent?"  

"I see the Culligan man delivering water.  I need to exact vengeance."

Game. Set. Match.

I will say that I need to make/post a few more NPCs for IOU.  I'm running a bit low after relying on them for these last two games.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

(IOU) Huggy Bear

Huggy Bear - Righteous Care Bear with Attitude
"Damn Right" (4)  - Able to persuade most people using his coolness.  Where applicable, three ladies jump out of no where, and a funk riff plays and they "Damn Right..."
CareBear Stare (3)
"What it is, Mother F'er" (2) - Intense Observation
"What is in there?" (1) Can reach into his Afro and pull random items, not always what he intended

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #28: Meanwhile, Back at the Chateau...

12 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
As the green mist surrounding Duane Alberhold's brothel finally dissipated, the entire building disappeared, leaving parts of the root cellar.  Talis Makolin, bard and lover extraordinaire, had just been chased out of the brothel by his irate barbarian travelling companion, Rolf Wolfsblood, but now he stood in the middle of the street with the party's new purchases in a wagon, and their new friend dim-witted ex-gladiator Brutus, leaning against it.

"Crud. Brutus wanna go up to Eding with me?  I guess there's plenty of room at the Chateau."

"Sure Dallis, let's go..."

With the bulk of the party missing, and many of Hydincall's wizards, alchemists, and magic shops looking for the pilfering Talis, consulting with Echelon, Carthon, Mohammad, and County Zabty sounded like the safest option.

20 HexDec 1070 - Chateau d'Echelon - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Talis and Brutus finally brought the wagon up to the Chateau and immediately informed the other party members of the situation.  Assuming that their missing companions were fairly experienced adventurers, and there were no clues as to what happened, they assumed their friends were smart enough to find a way home.  Those at the Chateau decided it best to stay there, work on improving the estate, and help Eding when needed.

The simple village of Eding...
29 HexDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The village and its surroundings were subject to days of horrible storms, plus a few tornadoes, flattening crops and causing  significant damage.  The citizenry were frightened, and many families began packing up and fleeing to Omsjik.

31 HexDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Barrack, former owner of the Blue Wizard, and disgraced militia commander, spoke to Prince William about resuming his duties as community leader, as he had under Baron Athelstane.  Prince William outright refused and their vociferous debate on the village green was the talk of the town for day.

35 HexDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Barrack had continued his campaign to help lead the rebuilding process in Eding, until one of his daughters discovered him dead in a privy behind the Inn, a dagger sunk into the center of his chest. The captain of Prince Williams' "baronial" guard, a chap named Rogard, launched an investigation. 

Echelon took up where Barrack left off and began to immediately petitioned Prince William to formally acknowledge the cleric as a leader of the village, to coordinate tending to the crops and keeping the peace.

Talis launched his own investigation into Barrack's death, but found little.

21 SepDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The weather over the past month had been most erratic, the day scorching hot, even for late summer, and the nightly storms extremely fierce, pounding the town.  The storms must have stretched up into the mountains, because cascading waters then swelled the river.  Many areas are flooded, including Lansluck, many halfling villages and Eding itself. Echelon dispatched the other residents of the Chateau to the village and the halfling towns (but not as far as Lansluck) to help as many people as possible.

Needless to say, many crops were failing at a critical time.

8 OctDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
After the flood waters subsided, a plague, probably caused by the mosquito infestation, swept through the valley.  The only man with enough true healing powers to fight the sickness was Mohammad, and he was working night and day to combat the illness.  Still more people escaped Eding.  Words like "accursed" would come out of their mouths during their farewells.

14 OctDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Echelon and Talis continued to seek audience with  Prince William about community leadership.  He had rejected every proposal presented to him, preferring to stay within the walls of Athelstane's old manor, surrounded by Athelstane's old guards.   Some of his old friends were coming to aid the village, and they were more powerful that the Chateau's roster.

22 OctDec, 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Echelon went up to the see Prince William yet again and found the townspeople revolting and surrounding the manor house.   Echelon ran back to the Chateau for reinforcements and Talis went to help William.

Talis tried not to harm the villagers too badly as he fought his way to the Prince.  Rogard was leading the revolt and the only factor keeping them from seizing them was that William's allies had just arrived they seemed better organized that Talis' group, but they had already lost two of their own to the peasants.

Talis used his magic and his blade valiantly to help save William.  The villagers torched the manor house as Talis escaped with the Prince and his surviving friends, Rurik Bloodblade, a viking warrior from Wyrmnal, Fiame, a cleric of Akana, and MacKay an aging Mymidion.

DM Notes:  Welcome back to the past in Crosedes, from the moment the brothel disappeared.  I had a few sessions with Talis and Echelon's players the week before finals and well before we started the Talislanta summer sessions.  The best part of all was that everyone kept their part of the story secret over the Summer, so when our heroes might get a chance to reunite, the updates will finally hit them like a ton of bricks.  

Prince William has been granted absolute power to control Athelstane's land around Eding by the King of Crosedes.  He might be a great paladin, but the idea of making decisions in a crisis affecting thousands absolutely petrifies him.  

William's friends, Rurik, Fiame, MacKay (and the recently deceased Billo and Travis) were the party that the Archbishop sent to recover the Bell of Chardastes after it appeared our heroes failed in their mission.  

Next #29  From Bad to Worse

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Magic: The Gathering - Arena of the Planeswalkers Board Game at Five Below.

Outside of helping Maja write an actual graphic novel using Rory's Story Cubes, it's been very light gaming-wise this weekend. 

With the kids off to an amusement parks Halloween festival with family, my wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary a day late, with childless lunch at TGI Fridays and an exciting hockey game between the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and the Syracuse Crunch. 

Unfortunately, even in our relaxed state, we're so efficient getting out the door and eating that we had 90 minutes to burn before puck drop. 

Working on a rumor I got last week, I suggested the chain Five Below, which, if you don't have girls under 13 in your house, is effectively a store where everything is five dollars or less, and 80% of the merchandise drives young girls into madness.

No need for Shopkins, cute t-shirts, and forty horrible shades of nail polish, but my wife confirmed the rumors by pointing out this before I could find it:
This is Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers board game.    Over two years ago this was solicited through the hobby store channels , and I asked two questions:  How much was it, and how deep was this getting distributed, because the company was listed under Hasbro rather than WotC.

Two years later, it's on clearance at Five Below for five dollars, well under the $30.00+ retail price I've seen on FLGS shelves. 

To be honest, even before reading the rulebook, it's not a bad deal.  Thirty plastic figures (ten of them with a "speed paintjob" from China), some battleboards, some dice akin to BattleMasters, and a shiny black d20 equals an impulse buy that might be useful. 

For five bucks, I'm surprised I only bought one.   Sure, it's toy company quality sculpts that might be a smidge small for 30mm, but I can think of nowhere else where $15 would net you six hellhounds and a vatload elves, phoenixes, and various warlords and beasties. 

I'll even try it out to see if it plays okay...

It's no Kay-Bee Toys deal for Star Wars Figures and D&D modules from the early 90's, but I'll take it.

FYI:  No Five Below in your area, I did find it online at Target for a little over $17.  Still not a bad price....

Steelstacks Gamecon - Saturday, November 11, 2017

Live in the Lehigh Valley and can't make the hike up to Mepacon?  Don't fear, Steelstacks Gamecon will take place that Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Southside Bethlehem from 12-4pm.  

Although it is $8 admission and only four hours long, it appears the organizers are focusing on as many 20-30 minute games that they can get their hands (and there are a ton!).


Friday, October 13, 2017

300K For the Gnomies!

With the help of bots from Italy, the Ukraine, and Russia, plus the views of thousans of real people, Gaming with the Gnomies just hit 300,000 page views.

I already provided by plans for world domination this year a mere two weeks ago, so not much has transpired.  My crazy busy season at work and the kid's activities have kept me from the basement, but I have gotten some time beyond my two-hour online RPG sesion in the office to work on a slew of projects.

I did take a minute to go through the blog journal, just to make sure I still had all my plans were still in the queue.

  • Adventures in Gulluvia:  The relaunch of the old weekend group on an online platform is progressing slowly, but I think I have enough options for them, plus a few scenarios from some peculiar sources.
  • 5th Edition D&D: Oh what fun it is to play a mixture of Robin Hood and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.  Falgor the Barbarian rocks!
  • My Little Pony:  Reviews of the Core Rulebook and Curse of the Statuettes are pending.  I have a little administrative work to do, but the multiple sessions at Mepacon are ready!  
  • Fall-In!:  Finally registered, room reserved
  • Pulp Alley:  It took a few days of digging through my junk mail, but I did find my Pulp Alley Lost World of Lemuria PDF that they sent directly to me.  Still planning on Season 3 of the Pulp Game to be back in "Egypt," but it's a fun campaign to run for future sessions.
  • Risus: Going through the Blogging Journal, I re-discovered the previously shelved "Planet Mirrorball."  With the cancellations of the 5e game, Risus - IOU will make a comeback after attacking the water plant.
  • PROJECT ZERO:  Super-secret project I can't discuss at all.  Only thing I'll mention has been missing my nightly writing goals of a 1,000 words a night.  Getting that corrected ASAP.
The furnace needs to be serviced, so I'll be downstairs shortly.... and revisit the painting bench.  

"The Weekend" is Moving

"The Weekend", the annual small convention held at the Continental Inn in Lancaster, PA is moving in 2018!

Calendar-wise that is.

The location and activities are still the same, but the convention will be moving from June to April 11-15, probably due to either date availability, or the grand impending return of Historicon to the Lancaster Host this July.

It doesn't affect my season hockey tickets, so color me intrigued.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Reaper Mousling Ad in White Wolf Magazine

Flipping through the Halloween issue #48 of White Wolf, circa 1994, I come away with a few things.
  1. It was chock-full of edgy, pretentious BS back in the day.  It's pretty tame compared to the wackiness at the ends of the spectrum we're dealing with today.  That is neither a compliment towards their writing, nor of the current situation.  
  2. $3.95 for a magazine was an acceptable price for a guy who just had gotten a job for minimum wage ($5/hr) at New Frontiers in the Phillipsburg Mall selling Magic cards.
  3. Ken Carpenter was one of the only reasons I read this magazine at that point.  A Fantasy scenario and a review for Legions of Steel? Totally Sweet. 
  4. A note that issue #45 had an editorial about the movement to remove lead from minis.  Oh the barbarity! 
  5. The current reviews I post from time to time or little better than the schlock review for TWERPS Space Cadets 2nd Edition in the capsule reviews.  
  6. The #3 best selling gaming product for that August was Jyhad Booster Packs.  The only two products in the top 20 that weren't Wizards, TSR, Palladium, White Wolf or FASA?  R. Talsorian's Castle Falkenstein.  I may post that list later.  
  7. It was the glorious early days of Reaper Miniatures as they had commissioned Terry Williams to sculpt some of the original Mouslings (and the long forgotten Verminites).
Dollar minis.... oh the memories....
7. The dude reviewing TWERPS Space Cadets 2nd Edition was me...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #27: Talis Makolin EXPOSED!

Talis Makolin was born in Omsjik to Yalina Makolin and an unknown father.  Yalina was an "employee" of Lady Alania's Pleasure Palace.  She was a fairly neglecting mother, and Talis, being an only child, spent most of his days around town learning a variety of skills.

Talis learned early on that he was not too keen on many physical pursuits, but enjoyed some mild academics.  He learned the rudiments of magic, but didn't put in enough time to be a full mage.

Talis has a love of gambling and women, not necessarily in that order.  There are more than a couple of children that will be born in a few months that look remarkably like Talis.

Talis loves to play the flute (especially to empress impress women).  He has a silver tongue and a clever wit, he is fairly lazy though, and will take the easy way out whenever possible.

Talis' urge to leave Omsjik is helped by the fact that his mother died last year and there are two fathers and one angry husband after him because of newborns who bear a striking likeness to him.


DM Notes: Ever since the Journal appeared and we started posting about the campaign, we've gotten a steady stream of recollections and some old material for the archives.  Back in May of this year, when I was on vacation, the very first email I got when returning from my cruise was Talis' player, Hoyce, sending me his background sheet.   The top portion above his picture was always consistent, but as the campaign progressed, he would write up Talis' opinion of the situation and his opinions on his travelling companions.  Below is his opinion of the group just after Palace of the Silver Princess.  In the next few episodes we'll be covering what's going on with Talis and Echelon while the rest of the group has disappeared to Talislanta, so this is a great place to post this.  I also have three updates that I'll be integrating into later episodes.  

Talis is remarkably happy to be alive, and greatly please to be able to cast a few spell, they will probably help him soon (Rolf won't be bursting in on him any more).  He truly wanted to stay in Haven to be a court minstrel and enjoy a life of academics, women, and pleasure.

After traveling with his companions for awhile, he has formed some definite opinions of them:
Rolf: A sneaky bastard, Talis doesn't trust him any farther than he can throw him.  Useful in combat, though.
Malorin (edit: Maloran): Talis doesn't know what his problem is.  He seems to be okay but has a poor personality. Besides, a drunk woman in bed isn't as good.
Kane:  Talis likes him.  He's a strange little man, with a bizarre culture, but overall an okay guy.
Echelon: Despite his rather pungent aroma and poor fashion sense, Talis is rather fond of Echelon. He is brave, has good sense of humor, and is a gifted priest.  If he could only loose his bizarre fixation on animals he might be alright.
Velandro: He takes that whole religion thing a little too seriously, but overall a good healer and an okay kind of guy.  Talis tries not to hold it against Velandro for getting him killed (See Episode #5).
Dag:  Talis isn't quite sure why we agreed to bring him and his family along, but at least he and his family have learned hygiene.  The Dag family is a turn off for chicks, though.
Musupo (edit: Meudsopu): Talis is amazed the old drunk didn't buy the farm earlier.  When he was sober he was useful, but other than that he was just always drunk.  Tails is upset he died before Talis could play cards with him and take all his money.

Next #28 - Meanwhile, Back at the Chateau

Monday, October 9, 2017

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Redux #0.3 - Prelude Baroness Cecelia Darkspruce - Twelve Years Later

GM Notes: No major progress on a relaunch of our Hackmaster game of old, but I have "updated" a few PCs to reflect the twelve years past.  There are some suprises in store for some PCs/NPCs, but "Baroness" Cecelia is pretty straightforward and common knowledge

Baroness Cecelia Darkspruce of Teleorman, 7/7 Half-Elf Fighter Cleric of Sif
circa 1148
Alignment: NG, Ht: 5'6"  Wt: 123lbs  Class: LUC, Age: 34
Homeland:  Agenmoor
Birthdate:  10 Hexdec 1113
Birth Rank:  2nd  Siblings:  1 (sister-dead)  - Parents assumed dead.
Right-Handed
Blonde hair, blue eyes
Base Movement: 12
XP: 92,757/92,757
STR   14/ 52
DEX   10/72
CON  11/77
INT    10/62
WIS   12/98
CHA  13/48
COM  16/77

Hit Points:  58
AC:  -2
Total Combat Bonus:  +3/+4 using Sonya Jr.

PP: 871
GP: 8,645
EP: 2,180
SP: 6,498
CP:  0

Weapon Prof
Longsword (Specialized)  2/1 Attacks, +1 to hit/+2 damage
Quarterstaff
Spear
Medium Horse Lance

Talents
Acrobatic skill suite
Sword Bonus

Weapons
Longsword +1 Sonya Jr
Normal Longsword with Continual Light Cast Upon It
Dagger of Flesh Devouring

Armor
Plate Mail +1
Leather +3 (for day-to-day operations)
Medium Shield

Magic Items
Oil of Slipperiness
Potion of Flying
Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals
Mushrooms of Delusion
Leather +3
Plate Mail +1
Dagger of Flesh Devouring.

Skills
Animal Handling            22%
Art of Seduction             22%
Astrology                        20%
Bargain Sense                 22%
Blacksmith Tools            17%
Civil Administration       37%
Clever Packer                 23%
Current Affairs                13%
Customs: Agenmoor       25%
Customs: Marakeikos     20%
Customs: Vlachia            23%
Dancing                          35%
Diplomacy                      28%
Divine Lore                     17%
Graceful Entrance          19%
Groin Punch                   18%
Healing                           18%
History, Local                 19%
Idle Gossip                    19%
Knowledge of Courtly Affairs  21%
Leadership: Basic          51%
Leadership: Committee  50%
Leather-working             18%
Military Battle Sense      14%
Parley                             25%
Religion: General           98%
Religion: Norse              19%
Riding: Land                   42%
Social Etiquette              27%
Survival: Desert              18%
Swimming: Dog Paddle  35%
Shaving/Grooming
Weapon Maintenance.

Languages
Elf                               100%
Trade Prythax             100%
R/W  Elven                    45%
R/W Trade Prytahx        20%

Flaws
Glutton
Right Eye Missing (no depth perception)
Right ear missing
Stutter
Tone deaf
Temper tantrum
Low pain threshold
Loud boor

Property
Baroness of Teleorman, an agricultural barony taken from the Kingdom of Vlachia in 1138.  Cecelia was named Governer-General to the territory in 1138, as she had been named in Vadevincsky, and subsequently name Baroness of Teleorman in 1143.

Aiden-Teppe in Trebeizond, an estate granted to her by the Emperor of Barthey for services to the Empire during the War with the Master. Forfeited when granted a title by the Queen of Marakeikos

The Burning Trog's Original Headquarters: a two-story structure in Celsior, now deemed a historical structure by Duke Desmond.  When full-status Trogs are in town, it is opened as a hostel for adventurers.

Awards/Honors
Rood Pegasi Arin: Norse holy medallion and cross chest ribbon, for those honored to have fought alongside the Valkyries. 
Phalera Tetracross (Giant medallion from Barthey Empire), attached to her Plate Mail +1
Civic Crown of Barthey (Gilded wreath of olive branches)
Obsidian Medal of Barthey (for heroism during the siege of Akorros), inserted inside the Phalera Tetracross
Knight of the Three Suns 1st Degree
Sylvan Sunblades 4th Order

Sunday, October 8, 2017

(Humor and Theory) D&D Group Overthrows DM

Social media has directed me to a satire article on Hard Times:

"D&D Group Overthrows Dungeon Master in Favor of Dungeon Democracy"

It's one of those items that's supposed to make me chuckle, yet part of me just goes, "You fools, you'll ruin it for all of us!"

I've never gotten the whole "Evil DM vs the players" angle, yet, at the same time, I feel the whole kumbuya Cooperative Role-Play full of nothing but "Yes-ands" is nothing more that an emotional variant of the Monty Haul (RIP).  In fact, for every "Yes-and..." campaign podcast with a cast of professional improv players where freeform play works around the plot points, there are one hundred games that are the gaming equivilant of "everyone gets a participation trophy."

Despite a very overt GM vs Player angle, Hackmaster 4th Edition did not attack the players, it focused on punishing poor logic or negative gameplay.  Even the idea of the grunge monster wasn't a punishment to over-successful players, it was a balancing act against overpowered PCs who had ransacked an underwhelming and ultra-rewarding campaign.

That's not to say that GMs should be portrayed at absolute monarchs behind the screen.  Even the filthiest despot knows how to play their populace, giving them just enough to placate their measely desires, all the while aspiring to achieve their own campaign goals.

And sometimes, the easiest way to prevent your players from grabbing pitchforks and torches is to ban pitchforks and torches from the campaign.

As graduation approached, the days of my college campaign were wrapping up, and with the ensuing release of D&D 3rd Edition, I used my GM dictatorial powers to appoint my replacement for the next on-campus campaign.  I chose Nate (Norm and Dr Millheim from the actual plays), got him set up with the rules, and some extra material.  Like a Venezualan dictator, I could fade into the next realm, confidant my successor would have some success.

It was an unmitigated diaster, no matter how much fun the players had.

I'll chalk it up to inexperience with DMing and the new system, but a fairly low-key campaign soon followed the adventures of a delusional character who believe that his wagon was a pirate ship, the steeds were his dolphin protectors, and the land the vast sea....

It was Steve (Echelon, Ozark, and O'Hara from the actual plays).  Nate gave his ideas carte blanche.

Never give carte blanche rulings on Steve.  Give him the rope, but make sure he knows it's around his neck before letting him loose.

And on the opposite side of the equation, in a future Risus IOU session, I let the entire group go wild after the asking one new player one simple question to start the session "What does your character see in the field."   Chaos ensued, but the answer allowed them to run rampant in a fish bowl while the ocean surrounded it on all sides.

Now that this sad little rant is over, back to our regularly scheduled programming.... hopefully.

Friday, October 6, 2017

(Risus) The Texas Roadhouse Massacre

Another semester at Illuminati University starting, the almost smooth Keith Stone was taking some air after his latest conquest.  Across the Pent, he spied Professor Pittleman hovering down the sidewalk towards one of the science building.  Then, all of a sudden, *poof*, he was gone!
Inside the building, Professor Pittleman's new assistant was waiting outside the Physics lab.  It was unsure why Student Affairs gave a music major a job in a particle accelerator lab, but new Freshthing Walken the Minotaur was ready for anything.  Already confused that an exotic bush was navigating the Pent in a miniature hovercraft, he was flabbergasted when the creature simply vanished from his view.  Frightened, yet emboldened, the minotaur dashed down the stairs and out towards the Pent.

Keith Stone could barely believe his eyes with the disappearance of his friend, and as he jogged over to the stop, was even more distraught when he spied a minotaur in a Blue Oyster Cult t-shirt charging him!

Walken took notice of the imminent collision and changed course, gracefully avoiding the Light Beer Connoisseur, only knocking off his hat with a whip of the tail.  Keith Stone didn't believe the Professor disappeared willingly anymore than he believed Walken was a minotaur, and decided a drink was in order to clear his mind.  He invited Walken to tag alongside with him, stole a campus police golf cart, and drove off-campus to Texas Roadhouse.  Walken discovered he passes out from motion sickness, but a quick brew in the Keith's Beer Cozy of Satan reinvigorated him.

Inside the Texas Roadhouse, they discovered an odd sight:  A pirate dancing on the mechanical, all the while wielding scissors against the waitstaff.

As always, Keith smooths over the misunderstanding, and Scissorhand John joins the drinking foray.
After a few hours of Keystone Lights, Tater Skins, and Cactus Blossoms, the server presented the bill, and the pirate made a mad dash out the door, "Because that's what pirates do at restaurants!"

Walken chased after the pirate, pulled out his fife and played a pirate song that lured Scissorhand John back into the Texas Roadhouse, where all was forgotten again and drinking resumed, along with a desire for Karaoke.

The minotaur got up to sing, and pulled out his fife and cowbell, ready to do a soulful rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from Titantic.  But to his surprise, the Karaoke dude put in the Chilean Wind Chime version, forcing him to make some musical changes.  In the end, the restaurant erupted, Walken got some middle-aged groupies, but lost his cool with the ladies and promptly blew chunks.  Keith Stone promptly grabbed a vintage atomic spittoon from the floor to block the gastro barrage.  The combination of the minotaur vomit and tobacco juice being broken down by radioactive decay forced the device to go into meltdown.

Despite having no experience in nuclear sciences, Keith Stone prevented the strip mall from becoming a radioactive wasteland, thanks to the Beer Cozy of Satan, some Keystone Light, and the peanut shells that littered the floor.

He then ran off with two of the middle-aged women in the stolen police golf cart to his dorm room for 45 seconds of pleasure.

Without even realizing their swill-drinking friend was gone, the pirate and the minotaur were accosted by a swashbuckling gelatinous cube, William Cosplay.  He was an officer with the Cosmic Police with a warrant to arrest Scissorhand John for illegal temporal movement.  As the strangely acrobatic cube pursued the pirate, he knocks into another patron, forcing him to spill his beer.

Scissorhand John had angered the immortally badass Snake Gandhi, who was simply trying to enjoy a relaxing evening of friend pickles and a porterhouse t-bone.

Snake Gandhi was wiping the floor with the pirate with simple fisticuffs, but when he decided to pull out of one of his two invisible katanas with laser sights, Walken could take no more.  He dove in front of the Hindu badass and blocked the see-through blade with with his cowbell.

The resulting explosion took weeks to piece back together.

*The minotaur was last seen walking alongside the highway, the restaurant's Karaoke machine in tow.
*The pirate was last seen in a psych ward, suffering from complete amnesia, watching the movie Dodgeball over and over again.
*Keith Stone checked off "3-way w/ 2 MILFs" off his semester bucket list.

.... and in the rubble of the restaurant, Snake Gandhi kicked through the rubble, only to stop in utter surprise and pick up an illegal wrist chronal navigator.

Scissorhand John was a time-travel pirate, after all...

GM Notes: I absolutely adore the 5th Edition D&D online game I play in Monday nights, but for the last two weeks, scheduling has been a nightmare.  Between work and family obligations, the GMs has had to cancel enough sessions that I got my Risus: Terraforming Mars game finished. Two weeks ago, the GM had to bail last minute, and I commandeered Steve, Nate, and Chris to run this session of IOU.  

Fun fact:  I've got a rant about open-ending, cooperative role-playing coming up this weekend, but with this dropped on me at the last minute, I figured I'd get Keith Stone, Walken, and Professor Pittleman together before we figured out what direction the session would go.

Then Nate (Prof Pittleman) mysteriously dropped off the Skype call, and couldn't be reached by any means for around ten minutes.

Knowing Nate's history with Skype is worse than mine, I made the executive decision to simply made the good Professor vanish into thin air and proceed from there.  So, when Nate finally reconnected, the other two were already heading to Texas Roadhouse. 

Insert Nate Character 2.0:  Scissorhand John:  Time-travelling pirate I made up from a news story awhile back.  

And if you notice the final line of this post, we had scheduling issues this week as well, so there is a part two (and a Nate Character 3.0.  This time he made up his own at the start of the session.)

No spoilers, but a part three is definitely a possibility. 

Next Up: Culligan, Man of Mystery!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Playtest the Newest Edition of Illuminati!

Steve Jackson Games is updating their classic Illuminati for the 21st Century.
Through October 31st, players can download the Rules Sheet and Playtest game components and send feedback through their playtest forums on their Illuminati page.

Thus far, the biggest change is the obvious removal of Government and Communist factions.

And those Russian Political Hackers are bad-ass...

(Kickstarter) Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse RPG

Apparently the Kickstarter developers are smelling the extra overtime in my paychecks, because October has simply overwhelmed me with campaigns that hit my odd demographic hard.

Derek A Kamal has launched a campaign Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse a tabletop roleplaying game where players make mice characters, found their club, and hit the streets.

These are mice with the gusto to build their own motorcycles and set off into an intimidating world where they are outsized, but never outclassed.

(Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse) uses the rules of Fate to tell stories about the drama of city mice and their motorcycle clubs. It's an RPG that works best with 2-5 players (plus the GM). It's fit for episodic play (sessions last about 3-4 hours) and epic campaigns!

Your stories are set in Thunder City, USA, a fictitious city of the real world. For small creatures existing in a place which doesn’t belong to them, these stories will be filled with the drama of their lives, and the trouble, both inside and outside, of a biker gang. Will your gang be Robin Hood-like doers of good, springing cheese from unwatched refrigerators and delivering it to needy widows, or will you be thugs and thieves exploiting the weak? Your mouse, your bike, and your gang all belong to you and the stories you tell at your table.


Alright, already!  Take my money and give me the pdf!

Visit Wroclaw's Gnomes!

Buses and Bedhopping has an enjoyable quick article and gallery on the various gnomes populating the Polish city of Wroclaw.


Alright the official guide to the gnomes call them dwarves, but we know the truth, don't we?


Thanks Mike Lung for the link.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

(Kickstarter) Baby Bestiary 2018 Calendar

Andreas Walters, known for the Baby Bestiaries through Metal Weave Games, has launched a Kickstarter for the annual installment known as the Baby Bestiary 2018 Calendar.

Now, I'm usually the guy who snags up new calendars in February when they're on clearance for a dollar, but one signficant fact made me take a look at, and support the project.

The artist is Travis Hanson, famous for such works as comic Bean, Tanner Jones and the Quest for the Monkey Stone, and Life of the Party.

(Kickstarter) Mini-Gangs Skirmish Game

Curtis Fell at Ramshackle Games is at it again.  This time, it's Mini Gangs, a sci-fi skirmish game with minis, designed to appeal to new or young gamers, casual players, and even hardcore fans of the genre.

$100 US


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #26 (Talislanta) Getting Back is Half the Trip

2nd of Laedis, 151 N.A. Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
After Kannex the Wizard recovered from his fainting spell, he almost instantly returned to his jovial demeanor.

Everything was finally set.  The components, the accelerants, the amplifiers, and the stabilizers were all set.  To transport the entire building and everyone in it back to Hydincall, he would take days to prepare the grounds.  Some of the ritual designs needed to be placed under the house, so digging started immediately.  

9th of Laedis, 151 N.A. Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
At breakfast, Duane handed the following letter to Rolf Wolfsblood.  

Dear Rolf, 
I have very much enjoyed our time together on this world of Talislanta.  You are a fantastic warrior and great ally, but I fear reliance on Kannex to get you home has made you easily distracted   I know you have tried to be part of the Thrall families to hone your warrior spirit, but do not forget your adventuring family, which got you where you are today, for better or for worse.  

By the time you have read this letter, I have finally made contact with my patron and have left to where I need to be.   I wish I could take all of you with me, but there is only space for my possessions, including the four gruffans, my little pony, and Quaally.  I wish my transport was much bigger on the inside.

I shall see you again, Rolf.  I just don't know where and don't know when.

-Norm Dingleberry

14th of Laedis, 151 N.A. Pleasure House of Duane Alberhold, Cymril
After twelve days of prepping, the grounds around the brothel were finally complete.   Duane hosted one last evening for their clients and many went in Cymril to purchase various items: from trinkets to oddities to commodities to resell back in Crosedes.

Our four remaining heroes, Rolf, Ashe, Babette, and Kane helped Kannex double and triple check the ritual.  Rolf stayed on the porch while the rest funneled into the brothel, so he could thank Kannex in private...

"...if this works, of course."

With the barbarian sitting on a chair on the porch, staring at the wizard intently, Kannex began the ritual. There were lights, glowing auras, and sounds no one had ever experienced before.   As the wizard continued his incantation, a round portal appeared, exactly as he showed them previously, except this one began to grow in size.  As it reached the peaks of the roof, the portal turned over onto itself, then arched over the brothel.  Finally a haze of familiar green smoke poured from the base of the building and obscured everything as the portal flipped again and moved down towards the ground.


Rolf woke up with a face full of sand on a deserted beach.  He never seen any body of water larger than a lake, so he assumed the endless expanse of water in front of him was an ocean.  His weapons and a few key belongings he had kept to his side during the ritual, were still with him.

He stumbled off the beach, and after a few hours of wandering, found a small village.  He walked into the local inn, threw some of the oversized gold lumens on the bar and demanded, "A Mead, an ale, and how far is it to Hydincall?"

Five Days Later, Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf entered Hydincall with just a nip in the air.  He would need furs soon enough, but for now it was still far warmer than a Fall on the steppes.

He found the brothel, exactly where it should be.

The Brothel.... Back in Hydincall
Inside the brothel, wine was flowing freely for everyone.  Some of the girls were showing off their trinkets, like it had been a long vacation and they grabbed souvenirs on the way home.

Finally, one of the girls looked over toward Rolf at the door and gasped.

The room fell silent.

Rolf stared out into the crowd. Taking a deep breath he pulled out his Thrall greatsword and uttered only three words:

"Where.... are.... they?"

DM Notes: There you have it, the Talislanta Summer Arc/Campaign.  Pretty routine adventures culminating in the dramatic return of the group to the larger party.  Except very, very little of this scenario transpired at the gaming table.  Norm did disappear the same way he showed up, although claims of a blue privy appearing near the brothel can not be substantiated.  

Since this concluded in the Summer of '99, I haven't run a Talislanta game since, and that's a shame.  The system is smooth, the magic system allows for great power... with chances of catastrophic disaster, and I would definitely run it more Conan style than I would two decades ago.  

Now, Rolf and the Brothel appear to be back in Crosedes... but where is everyone else?

You're going to have to wait on those answers, as we turn towards those adventurers who didn't travel to Talislanta.  Time to synch up the timelines and get back to full sessions very soon.

Next #27 - Talis Makolin - EXPOSED!

Monday, October 2, 2017

(Kickstarter) Frank Mentzer's World of Empyrea

Very little in the Fantasy RPG genre tickles my interest anymore, especially when it comes from the Johnny-Come-Lately mentality.   No matter if it's 5e, OSR, or something in the middle of the F20 strata, the demand for $20+ books that I would barely look at if they were cardstock and typeset, and one-fifth the price boggles my mind.

But when you throw in the name Frank Mentzer into the mix.

Frank's World of Empyrea Kickstarter looks like a sure thing.  A long-running campaign with some Greyhawk roots, but the serial numbers filed off.  A veritable "super-team" of writers and support staff to flesh out this massive boxed set.  Heck even the maps have that Greyhawk feel, with a little Known World influence.

But I realize that the market has changed.  If Frank had somehow gotten this printed in the days between Gary's removal from TSR and the Rise of 3rd Edition, it would have been a generic setting without stats and we would have eaten it up.  Now, they have to cater to the diluted masses, including statting out for TEN game systems.

1) D&D 5E
2) Pathfinder
3) Runequest
4) Savage Worlds
5) Dungeon Crawl Classics
6) Castles & Crusades
7) Swords & Wizardry
8) Hackmaster
9) D&D BECMI
10) D&D 1E/2E

I've already expressed displeasure with the system dispersion with Talislanta: The Savage Lands, which was reaffirmed by their recent announcement to drop two of the five systems from their production schedule.

This is somewhat different, as the systems will be built into the boxed set, rather than separate printings. And to make a comparison to cars, most would not only be GM products, but just different Chevy models.    Sure, Runequest is Peugeot, Savage Worlds is Kia, and Hackmaster is a relaunch of the Saturn line, but the rest were pretty easy to convert between the others.  Heck, some are essentially the same model, the only difference is an Oldsmobile or Buick logo.

As much as I jumped with glee with the early announcement of this Kickstarter, I have a library full of material that I've barely scratched the surface on, so a $70 investment in a campaign world I probably won't use (much), doesn't seem practical.  My game worlds will never be professionally published, but they are mine, and that's all that matters.

Company website http://worldsofempyrea.com/

MechDaddy

Have a new infant in the family?  Still have some time to put together their Halloween costume?

MechDaddy can inspire you to greatness!



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Next Year's Projects

Like clockwork, my followers know that October 1st is the first day in my gaming calendar.   It's time to assemble a rough framework of plans and projections for the next twelve months (Oct 2017 - Sep 2018).

Gnome Wars: It's the original inspiration for the blog.  It doesn't generate as much traffic as other games, but I assure you, I will make a concerted effort increase my writing for, and play more games of, Gnome Wars this year.

The Pigeon God Continues...We're less than halfway through my college AD&D campaign. Somehow, things are going to get even weirder. After I finish up the last four or five episodes that aren't pending a Tuesday release yet, I may go into even older territories.  Even if it's not too long, a recollection of the high school and army campaigns into the new maps and geography, with some indexes might help .

My Girls:  Their little worlds right now are all about school, gymnastics, and Dad yelling at them to keep their rooms clean.  Maja's asking about questions about my "grow-up" games with my friends, so I believe I've snared her.  I think I could have done better playing games with them last year, but they're happy, and that's all that matters.   Activities with the girls:
  • My Little Ponies:  It's glaringly obvious that Ponies will dominate next year.  Seeing if Maja gets her friends excited about it will be fun to observe.  
  • Savage Worlds/Showdown:  The third season of our Pulp campaign will probably kick off in the Winter.  
  • Mousling Fantasy! Still figuring out if this should be less Savage Worlds and more like MLP.  
5th Edition D&D: Monday night is when I lock myself away and actually play an RPG as a player.  The online experience seems to fit the feel of 3.5 to 5e, where eight hours of online play in a month might equal a regular four-hour face-to-face session.

Other RPGs on Roll20:  I don't think I can squeeze in another session during the week without my wife pondering divorce, but filling in for cancelled 5e sessions will reduce the stockpile of game ideas, even if it's two or three a year.  If something befalls our 5e game, I have Adventures in Gulluvia (Red Box D&D) hiding in the wings. Or, perhaps we can do a four-hour online sessions on Sundays, like we used that long year ago.

Hackmaster on Roll20:  The "Journal" has allowed the Burning Trogs Redux to pick up steam.  Scheduling might be its downfall more than anything else. Nothing solid yet, but we've waited this long, we can wait awhile longer.

Call of Cthulhu:  A year hiatus has closed the door on the Masks campaign, but the next storyline will always be in the wings.

Of Mortals and Men/Song of Blades & Heroes:  If I can assemble the larger figures for my "Mousageddon/Ratnarock" game, I'll need a few sessions to familiarize myself with the rules.   I've seen children my kids' ages playing Song, so it can't hurt to try a few skirmishes.

Samoa:  Definitely on the back burner, but always in my heart.

Conventions:  Fall-In! (Daddy-Daughter Weekend-Players), Mepacon Fall (GM) Cold Wars (Guys Weekend - GM), Mepacon Spring 2018,   Birthday Weekend (To Be Revived?)   The Weekend (per the request of my wife), Historicon (Back in Lancaster!), possibly more?

Painting:  I'm thinking bulk projects (units not individuals figs) will keep me occupied.
  • Frost Giants:  Already in the queue.  
  • Gnomes:  Another adequate years painting one whole gnome unit.  More Germans, then everything else hiding on the shelf.
  • Martians:  the bin o' GW/Heartbreaker goblins I've snagged on the cheap is calling my name, and the paint schemes I have for them are fairly unique and inspiring. 
  • "Urban Egypt":  The Pulp Game needs a few pieces of terrain finished before season three is ready to launch.
  • Plus everything else that will distract me (OGRE Miniatures, I know you will taunt me so...)
Purchases: 
  1. Must clean up the want list.  Simply taking care of my Bones, Brigade Games, and MLP RPG items will drop the list by a third and not completely clutter my painting bench.  
  2. Better Storage (and Waterproofing).  A little re-organization with new bins (especially for play mats), and some Dry-Lok for the Kriget Rum will ensure the basement collection is a little bit safer.  
  3. Minis:  More Gnomes to fill in the unit holes, but the rest are strangely similar to last year's list:  Brigade Arabs, Tin-Soldier Mexicans and Sengalese Askaris that I never got around to purchasing.  Plus I anticipate a small Pulp Figures order once next this year's Movember charity figure is announced.  
  4. Kickstarters:  No big Kickstarters in the near future, and with since my anticipated ones last year turned out to be pretty lackluster, I'll budget somewhere in the range of $200-250 for what catches my eye.  
  5. RPGs:  Still haven't picked up Bubblegumshoe.  An actual 5e Player's Handbook might be a practical gift on my Christmas list.  Anything beyond that will be what I can find at the HMGS flea markets or Mepacon's auction.  

    Saturday, September 30, 2017

    2016-17 Year in Review

    Like a weird government agency, I track my gaming progress from October of one year to September of the next.  Don't ask why, it's just the way I've done things since I started.  Too late to change now.

    The Blog
    This year was full of milestone's 250,000 hits (mostly non-Ukrainian-robot humans)  and 2,000 posts overall.

    The Top Ten Blog Posts of the Last Twelve Months 
    #1  (Review) Lettow Vorbeck by Decision Games     (Reviews)
    #2  Pre-Cruise Post                                                   (General Blogging)
    #3  Fall-In! 2016 AAR                                                (Conventions)
    #4  (Kickstarter) Rifts Board Game *CANCELLED*  (Kickstarter)
    #5  Donald Trump: Presidential Nilbog                      (Risus)
    #6  New Pulp Arrivals at the Kriget Rum                   (Pulp)
    #7  That Silly Dog (Pulp #1.9)                                    (Pulp)
    #8  Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming  (Blogging)
    #9  Don't Miss the Boat (Pulp #1.10)                          (Pulp)
    #10 It Crashed Upon the Desert Sand (Pulp #1.11)   (Pulp)

    Seriously, if I knew there were  that many multiple chit-based wargame news aggregators that created legitimate traffic, I would have reviewed the game months earlier.  I'll also make a note that 90% of the traffic for the Rifts Boardgame Kickstarter has come since they cancelled it (and I noted so on the post).

    You'll notice one glaring ommission on a top ten list from a blog called Gaming with the Gnomies.  No Gnome Wars (Save the inclusion under the Fall-In AAR).  To be honest, I've got the same number of posts year-to-year and a consistent ammount of traffic to those posts.  It's just that my other posts are seeing an increase in traffic year-to-year.  The views on a "good" gnome post equal the average views of any other topic.

    The Best Laid Plans that Didn't Pan Out:
    Mousageddon:  I had planned a grand Mousaggedon kid's game for Cold Wars and Mepacon, but the fates did not favor that.  Then I slotted it for November, and between minor kerfluffles with Fall-in! con staff and the latest Reaper Kickstarter, my personal passion for the project waned.

    The FLGS:  While it's nice to have two FLGS in the area, most of my game purchases are still at cons and online.  I went two for four with special orders at one store and I just don't get over to the other one often enough to follow through with the orders.  I've been working up a dual review of the stores on my drives home.  I just haven't had the time to type it up coherently.

    Cold Wars 2017   - Messed up weekends plus kids gymnastics meant I skipped my favorite con, where a childless ViscountEric can act like a childless ViscountEric.  Already working on next year.

    Highlights of 2017:

    THE JOURNAL!: The true brightest star of the year was the shocking discovery of the players' journal from my college AD&D game, which ran from 1998-2000.  It was missing random entries, abruptly stopped just prior to the final run towards the climax, and was written in multiple character perspectives, but I've cobbled that together for The Ballad of the Pigeon God.  Its re-appearance has sparked my interest in my homebrew World of Georic.  Whether I act on my desire to play more is a whole different story entirely.

    Since the initial discovery, even more material has been unearthed.

    Live N*de Video Chat:  Can't wait to see what garbage traffic those words pick up.  ViscountEric has expanded his online footprint with some gaming over at Roll20.  It started as just some 5e as a player to bide the time, but two hours into that campaign and I already added placeholders to run games.  Plus it's a great venue to try my sillier or stranger concepts Two sessions of Risus: Terraforming Mars was just the beginning!  Actually running Illuminati University, has a long hiatus was a feather in my cap.

    Fall-In 2016!  - Another weekend with Maja, filled with Gnome Wars, painting, and swimming at the hotel pool.

    Mepacon Fall 2016  -  My "Cthulhu Comes to Springfield 2" relaunch of a time-honored con game failed to garner any players, but my first-ever kids game (Mouslings!) worked fairly well. I did get to jump into a Cthulhu Dark Ages game and finally learned Fiasco.  Maja had a great time as always.

    Mepacon Spring 2017 - I did get an afternoon reprieve from the girls gymnastics so I could travel to Scranton and cosplay as an actual paying attendee!  Ran into an old classmate from high school, got interviewed by the local paper, snagged up some cheese and gravy fries at Chick's before the caravan of cartwheeling girls finally got home that night.

    "The Weekend" 2017  - My true mixture of family vacation and gaming worked out well.  Got to physically hold some Hinterland figures, then get them slaughtered by dervishes. 

    Kickstarters-
    Pyramid of the Lost King and the Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter arrived after significant delays!

    Song of Blades: Axe and Brimstone  -  Arrived. Great Halflings
    OGRE Miniatures - Set 1  - Delayed, but coming to America
    Jet Bike Construction Kits  - Arrived
    Psi-Paladins and Techo Barbarians 28mm Miniatures - Arrived
    Talislanta: The Savage Land - Delayed
    Pizza Dice - Delayed
    Cat-Men and Dungeon Scenery - Arrived
    Reaper Bones 4  - Pledge Manager for a year just started.  A buck reserved me Wave 1 shipping no matter what I decide on.
    OgreZine!  -  I can afford three bucks for more OGRE stuff
    Macrocosm - Legion of Steel - Processing.

    The Kid's Painting!  . 
    A twice flooded basement and crazed gymnastics/baseketball/life schedules for the girls has curtailed their painting projects.

    My Own Painting
    I'm as scatterbrained as always with my projects.  Lots of pulp figures got finished, dominated by, erm... Pulp Figures.  I finally finished a German Gnome unit, plus I have a good chuck of my Blue Martians/Goblins/Monkey Men done.

    Games
    Savage Worlds of Showdown:  The Pulp Game completed Season Two, a journey to the Lost World.

    Family Games:  With our schedules, we had a little dust accumulate on our pile of family games, although every time one of my friends came over, Maja was quick to whip out Dungeon Roll or Car Wars the Card Game.  The big successes for the family that games together front were Rory's Story Cubes (a successful diversion on our Bahamas cruise),  the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game, and like many things this year, an amusing Family Decathalon they we just can't finish.

    2017 Gaming with the Gnomies Awards!
    Best Kickstarter:  Song of Blades: Axe and Brimstone  Kudos to many of the smaller Kickstarters who arrived on time.  I may not use the actual rules for the setting, but the halflings are great figures that I can use in the Mousling games, plus it arrived EARLY.

    Worst Kickstarter:    Pyramid of the Lost King.  When comparing the logistical nightmares of millions of pieces from China for Reaper's Bones 3 and complicating delays of a lone man producing a book, I'm actually giving the massive project the benefit of the doubt.  Given that I had written it off as vaporware, I was amused that it actually saw the light of day... if you paid printing and shipping costs for it.  I will say that it is on my pile of products to review and might garner some positive marks for content.

    Best Game:  Rory's Story Cubes.  The concept was an instant hit, and be it five minutes or even a half hour, the girls have made some great sessions.

    Best RPG:   My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria - It's not only the first game my daughter Maja is wildly excited about, making up new Pony characters whenever she gets the chance, but she actively wants to run this game, which gives me as trepidation as the first day of driving lessons, many years from now.

    Best Minis:   While the Axe and Brimstone Kickstarter produced some great models, the Reaper Bones 3 items I picked a la carte through the pledge manager were right up my alley to paint up.
    Stormwing
    Mystic Circle
    After years of gnomes and mice, the big models were a pleasure to paint. Storing them, on the other hand, has been problematic.

    Best "Other" Purchase:  Going through my tiny list of purchases this year, my biggest "other" gaming purchases have been a few forays into the jungle known as Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Sure, our one cat puked all over the jungle cloth I used for the lost world game, but I have a surplus of felt for roads and terrain at a fraction of the cost of the "good" stuff.  I might even venture some Pony-themed cloth for all the MLP games I'm running at Mepacon.