Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Update


A belated Merry Christmas to all.

Things have been quiet here on the old blog, due to being sick and busy all at the same time.  Rest assured that I have been beavering away at my various Deepest Sea items, and more slowly working on getting the figures painted for the game... which happens in three days!

For Christmas this year I got Dreadfleet from my wife and her family, which was an unexpected treat.  I look forward to getting it all off the sprue, and reading through the rulebook. I could not wait to see the contents though, and already had a rummage around inside.  The details on the ships are pretty amazing, in particular the sails struck me as being excellent.  Looks as if it will be a big painting project for 2012.

The second surprise, was the D&D Rules Cyclopedia from my sister. This was a complete shock, because even though it was on my Amazon list, I basically put it there for my own reference.  I have paged through it a bit, and it seems every bit as comprehensive as I expected. In fact, I already got some game ideas from it.

There are a few other minor items that I will talk about in their own posts as I get to them.

And a slightly early Happy New Year... I am sure I will still be busy in the next few days, and probably will not get back to the blog to post again this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Update

Yes, I am still alive.  With the Thanksgiving Holiday last week, and a bout of sickness at our house, I have not been online much.  While I did not get as much done hobbywise this weekend as I planned, I did manage to prime all of the D&D figures (with the help of my wife), and started to paint some yesterday.

Now I just need to paint three figures a day for the next month... so we will see how that goes.

As you are probably aware, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, we enter into the Holiday Sales season, which would be more tempting if I had not just spend so much on figures.  Nothing that should prevent YOU from buying more figures or rules though Dear Reader, so get to it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pavements

Today in my Internet wanderings, I came across this lovely method from the Lazy Forger for making streets and sidewalks, using MDF.

Here are the relevant three parts:
1. Carving the cast lines and cracks
2. Sponge Painting
3. Sidewalks and detailing



I think that this technique could be combined with my eventual plan to make a 6 foot square 28mm City fight board, by having an MDF layer to represent roadways, and indeed it may be adaptable to blue foam as well. Since I own a table saw, making the relevant cuts should be simple.

Something to think about in the future.

Also, a warm welcome to Sean Robson, who like many excellent folks, is a paleontologist.  He also has a great blog mostly aimed at D&D, and has come up with a very handy format to present adventures, which I hope to utilize when I get around to finalizing the one I am working on for New Years.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Words of Wisdom from the Family

My wife is a pretty smart person, as well as being generally tolerant and understanding about the hobby.  This weekend we finished going through the Wargames Illustrated that I got last weekend, and she said "did I remind you to renew your White Dwarf yet?"... not a vote of confidence in WI.  She finds the concept of historical gaming to be a bit more boring in general, and was not impressed with most of the photography in the magazine either. I liked it myself, but it does not seem to scratch the same itch that White Dwarf does.

She also reviewed with dismay the array of figures I got for the D&D game, and said "Isn't one of the nice things about D&D that you don't NEED figures for it?".  She is completely correct of course, and at this point it is obvious that I got a bit carried away, and have bitten off more than I can chew... not enough time to paint what I have in time for the game etc. At this point I think I am going to essentially pre-generate most of the encounters that they may have, and paint to that, rather than painting to the possibility of what could be encountered.  I have based and prepared most of the miniatures, and will prime them sometime this week... then the real adventure begins.

Also, my son, who is now 1.5 years old saw some miniatures out on the table (NPCs for the D&D game), and kept point at them and saying "man!".  He was pretty excited by them, and wanted to play with them... too early to get him a set of green army men or 1/72 figures? I am guessing yes. Maybe next year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Players guide v0.2

An update to my Deepest Sea Players Guide.  This version has prestige classes, a threat ranking, and some better explanation of how to create a character, amongst other things. The file is located here.

The threat ranking is based on the concept created by Roger here, and is located on page 29.  As always, the various silhouettes are from Telecanter, and they are highly useful.

Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reaper Miniatures

This weekend I got my Reaper Miniatures order in the mail.  I ordered the PC figures and a few monster/NPC types from Reaper, and was able to take advantage of both their free shipping, and their special October "Trick-Or-Treat" offer.  Here is what I got in my Trick-or-Treat bag:


We have a bag of candy, the Pink color paint for Breast Cancer awareness, four bottles of paint as samples, a pack of CAV branded playing cards, and my Trick-or-Treat figure.

The real Trick vs. Treat aspect of the bag was the chance to get a "treat", a figure, or a "trick".  I got the trick, which was a packaged rock.  Maybe it will be a future collectible? It is after all a one of a kind figure...


As I have mentioned before I really like Reaper figures, and I like how useful their website's figure finder feature is. (although it would be nice if there were more keywords for each figure). Unfortunately, at least in terms of this project, most Reaper figures are more in the 32mm range than in a 28mm range. Some are even pushing that, since the Dark Heaven range is fairly free form, and different sculptors have different ideas of how large a figure ought to be.


Pictured between "Franz" and "Jean" our comparison figures, we have Red Box Games, Perry Miniatures, Ebob, Reaper elf, and Reaper Gnome.  Sort of a motley crew, but I think basing and paint will draw them together a bit more.

Why only one player wants to be a male character I do not know, but it sure made figure finding more difficult.  More on that later, when I introduce the PC figures.

Now I am just waiting for bases from EM4, and we can start seeing some real progress here, and not just shots of bare metal.

Also, a warm welcome to new follower Bogus Gasman, who has a D&D blog titled "My pants are Haunted".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Perry Miniatures Review

This weekend I got my first order from Perry Miniatures.  While I certainly have more than a few figures sculpted by the Perry Brothers (more like 100s), I had never previously ordered from their own figure company.

I ordered a few figures to use as NPCs in the D&D game that I am running in January, drawing from their First Crusade line. Indeed these are figures that I am using as the benchmark for the project, because they fit the look I want so closely. In this case the figures are sculpted by Michael Perry, although most people would be hard pressed to identify between the work of one or the other of the brothers.


This first picture is our lovely comparison models "Franz" and "Jean", which you may recall are 6th and 5th edition GW figures.  As it happens they were also sculpted by the Perry Brothers (I may have missed a zero on my previous estimate of the number of figures I own that they have sculped.)  As you can see, the figure matches most closely with the 5th edition metal Bretonnian figure, which is to my mind, excellent.
 
One of the things you read about online occasionally, is that Perry figures are "terrible" in terms of flash and other clean up work.  As you can see from the figure below, there is some extraneous metal that needed to be cleaned up, but I think it was nothing out of the ordinary, and it only took a few minutes to work through the set that I got.

This last picture is of CU25, one of the only packs that does not have a picture on their site.  As you can see they are quite dynamic figures, and should look quite nice slaying orcs down in the dungeons.


Perry Miniatures CU25 Mailed Sword and Axemen, advancing/attacking

The figures are packed in little black boxes for each code, and this seems to be good enough for overseas shipment.  Shipping times were perfectly adequate, and the VAT rebate offset the price of postage. In conclusion, these are lovely figures that I am already planning on supplementing sometime in the future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Red Box Games

This past week I got an order of miniatures from Red Box Games (RBG).  Sculpted by Tré Manor, the Red Box Games figures are much closer to "true" proportionality, which can mean that they look small compared to other figures, and in particular have small heads (or normal sized depending on your POV).  Personally, I find the figures to be lovely, but I can see why some people would say that they do not mix with other figure lines.

In my order was the figure "Nannulf of Arnholt's Hill", a barbarian type with three different arm combination options.  He can have a sword and shield, two handed axe, or javelins and a buckler. The finish of the figure was excellent, with essentially no flash or mold lines. The thinner metal of the sword and javelins was bent, but easily corrected with a bit of gentle pressure.

Here he is shown with my tester figures for this set of reviews "Franz" and "Jean", which are an Empire handgunner from the 6th Edition boxed set, and a 5th Edition Bretonnian Man-At-Arms with Spear Champion, both from Games Workshop.


The other figures that I got were equally well cast, and I would certainly buy from  RBG again.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hobby Weekend

This weekend was great for hobby activities.

First, I got my Red box, Reaper, and Perry Miniature orders, which gave me plenty of figures to play around with.  I will be using these for my NPCs, PCs, and Monsters in the Deepest Sea D&D game I am running in January.  I have a order coming in from EM4, which has my bases, and then we are off to the races. Reviews of the figures I got are coming up this week.

Second, we went to the new Hobby Lobby store in our area.  This was the first time I had ever been, and now I understand why the folks on TMP are always talking about it. It is possibly the largest "hobby" store I have ever been to, with everything from knitting to stain glass, beads to fabric.  It has a much larger modeling section than other craft stores (including military models and Tamiya), and also has doll house, terrain, and rocket items. Since they have a weekly 40% coupon, it could be a great place to pick up tools, paint  and the occasional kit.  Unfortunately the store is a bit far from my house, so I will not be going there frequently, but it is good to know that there are options. (and they are going to open more stores in the area)

Third, I got a call from my FLGS, Great Escape Games, and they let me know that my Wargames Illustrated is in.  I had to order a copy since they did not have any in stock when I was there last weekend, but this way I can read it and decide if I want to replace my White Dwarf subscription with something a bit more historic.  I did not pick it up yet, but something to look forward to.

I am also looking forward to the long Veteran's day weekend, when aside from digging a drainage trench and putting in a french drain, I hope to get a ton of hobby work done.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eureka Miniatures

As part of my D&D project, I needed to get some dogs to serve as retainers for the PC party.  (or as wild dogs to slay the PC party)  Looking around the various dog options from the myriad of sources on the Internet, I fixed on the Eureka Conquistador dog handler and dogs set as being the best bargain, and bought it from Eureka USA (for somewhat less than from Eureka AU).  Since they have flat rate shipping, I tossed in a few other useful figures for monsters and the like, which I will not talk about now. (I was also very tempted to get a squadron of Saxon horse for my 1809 project, but fortunately sanity prevailed)

My order came very quickly, and was packed quite well. I was really quite pleased with the service that I got from Eureka USA.

The dogs from the set are great, perfect for what I want to use them for, and while they have a little bit of flash between their legs, they are cast well, and should clean up nicely. 

Not necessary for this current project, but also interesting is the dog handler himself. I had always thought that Eureka figures would be too small for use with GW figures, but as you can see from the picture below, that is not the case at all. I am quite pleased with its size and heft as compared to the smaller Bretonnian figure on the left, and the larger Empire figure on the right.  Consequently, I think it should be possible to make a small Estalian or Dogs of War force using Eureka figures, and they would not look out of place with GW figures at all. Unfortunately, I have not opened my pack of Foundry El Dorado adventurers, so I was not able to compare with those, but I think they should match up fairly well.

With my Eureka purchase, I also threw in a Venturan trooper with SAW 15mm figure for comparison purposes.  Since these are relatively new, this may be of use to someone who is interested in getting these figures.

Left to right we have a Resistant Roosters US soldier in Greatcoat, the Venturan, a late war German  Grenadier from BattleFront (Flames of War GE722), and a German anti-tank gun crew man from Command Decision (Old Glory).  As you can see the picture they are all close enough for use on the same battlefield, although, possibly not in the same squad.  
The Venturan was well cast and quite proportional, although a bit thin legged considering he has body armor on. The integral base was quite thin, and would be easy to blend in. The SAW, as you may be able to tell from the picture, is pretty clearly a SF BAR, which I found amusing. At $0.67 a figure, they are quite reasonable, and a full platoon would not break the bank.



As a concluding cautionary note, the Eureka figures do contain lead, so be sure to handle them appropriately, if like I do, you have small children.

Soon, I hope to discuss the other figures I am getting from Perry miniatures, Red box games, and Ebob.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On bases

Since I am running a game in January sometime, I need to get a bunch of miniatures bought, painted, and ready.  Since the miniatures are coming from a number of diverse sources (including Eureka, Perry, Red Box, Reaper, Ral Partha, GW, and Ebob), they do not have matching bases.  Normally, with fantasy figures, I would just go with GW style 20mm square bases, and be done with it, but I have some rather large monsters, some small guys, and a bunch of figures with integral bases.  Round bases may work better for this set, since they will blend together better.  Also, these figures are not going to fit in with  my GW stuff anyway, due to a difference in theme and size, so not as much need to worry about that I think.

Basing options are as follows:
20mm square
25mm square
20mm round
25mm round
30mm round
30mm round, dished
40mm round
25mm hex

Ideas? Thoughts?

Friday, October 28, 2011

How old is that Ruin?

I am very very slowly working on my Deepest Sea Dungeon Master's Guide, but just to prove there is something going on, here is a d12 chart for "How old is that ruin that the PCs just found?" 

I tried to go for a slightly archaeological look, with the PC party peering down through the dirt through the depths of time to the ruins.  As you can see there is a better chance of "really old" ruins than of recent human ruins, which seems reasonable.

Thanks again as always to Telecanter for the silhouettes.

I asked potential players about a New Years game, and have had positive response, so some miniatures are on the way for that, and it gives me a good goal for getting the DM's Guide and a revised Player's Guide finished.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

White Dwarf - renew or no?

My White Dwarf subscription comes to an end next issue (382 in the US), and I am seriously considering not renewing it. The usual reason is the cost of the magazine, and the new reason is my annoyance with their new delivery schedule, which means I get the magazine nearly a week after the stores do. 

A year of White Dwarf costs $75 which comes out to $6.25 per issue.  Pretty costly per issue, particularly considering that 1/3 of the magazine is advertisements for various Games Workshop products, most of which I am already aware of, and therefore do not need to see again.  GW used to give out "free" miniatures with a subscription, and include cardstock inserts in the magazine, but neither of those seem to be the case any more.  (although I could buy a non-useful White Dwarf miniature for more money... in Finecast too)

On the positive side, I do look through the magazine with my wife before bed sometimes, and it is the one bit of "hobby time" that we can share easily. I do like some of the content lately, as it seems to be shifting back to the "useful" side of things after a year of declining content.  I have been subscribing, and collecting, the magazine for 15 years now (since issue 200!), and it would seem strange to end that.

If I did not renew my subscription to WD, I could get a subscription to Wargames Illustrated, and get either 14 issues or 12 issues and miniatures for $96.  Slightly more than White Dwarf per issue if I go with the 14 issues.  I have not read an issue yet, but it looks promising.  The FLGS always seems to be sold out of the newest issue, so it makes it hard to get, and possibly indicates its popularity.  Seems to be fairly solidly oriented at historical games, which is not a bad thing, but might lack some of the appeal of fantasy/sci fi games.

Alternately, I could just not spend the money, and either save it or spend it more directly on miniatures.  Neither of these seems as exciting as getting a magazine in the mail for some reason.

So, decision time.  Status quo, or something new?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Encounter Table - column shifting

I have been sort of quiet this week, in part because I have been working on this encounter table idea.  The concept is that your encounter table for a certain large region includes all terrain types, and then there are column shifts from right to left or left to right to show changes in conditions, such as bad weather, or other situations where a normally safe area becomes more dangerous, or a dangerous area becomes more safe. 

(click to enbiggen)


Ideally there would be a few more columns to show the differences between say, city and dangerous city, but I did not have 16 more ideas at this time!  I also used 3d6 to make it more regular, and repeated entries to make it even more so.  So there are lots of "peasant" entries. (roll on sub table).  In addition, my entries are more naturalistic than fantastic, and there is very little on there which is straight magical... which I think fits the setting.

As always the excellent silhouettes are from Telecanter.

Any thoughts?

Also, a welcome to New Big Dragon, who has an interesting looking RPG blog. (which I am trying to resist reading before publishing this post)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Deepest Sea Players' Guide

Well, after a couple months of lunchtime and some side tracking, I have at last finished the players' guide to the Deepest Sea (Located here).  This is intended for players in my Deepest Sea game, which I hope to be able to run over the holidays.  The guide has a character creation sheet, and a character sheet, as well as equipment and spell lists, a progression chart, and some "fluff" on the nations, a bestiary, and assorted other bits of information for 18 pages in total. This was created using Microsoft Publisher, and then converted to PDF.  The "art" is just placeholder art until I can draw and track down a few more fitting pieces. 

I am standing on the shoulders of giants to make this guide, with information from a number of sources, prices inspired by Rob's draft Majestic Wilderlands price list, silhouettes from Telecanter, prestige classes from FrDave, and some layout ideas from Roger's single sheet project. Many thanks to those who knowingly and unknowingly helped so far.

Please take a look and let me know what you think.  Now a short break, and then on to the DM's guide and the actual adventure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Delenda est Carthago

I finally finished reading Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles.  This book, from its title, would appear to be an overview of Carthage's development and civilization; however, the book spends far more space talking about Heracles/Hercules/Melquart and how they became increasingly conflated as time went on through cultural syncretism.  Even the actions of Hannibal are presented as attempts to use the myths of Heracles as propaganda, and less of military/logistical actions.

This book was far less gripping than Empires of the Sea, the last history book I read, being much drier, due in part I suspect to the comparative lack of information.  Where as Roger Crowley had personal diaries and letters to draw from, Mr. Miles had only second hand histories and archaeological data from which to build his story.  Regardless of that though, the style of these two books could not be more different, with Mr. Crowley putting the reader in the action, and Mr. Miles takes scholarly distance to a new height.  The book spends far more time discussing sources and methods than in explaining general history, or geographical relationships, which I think is less useful way to write in a general history of this type. It does have an extensive bibliography and end notes, which do help to explain some of the assertions made.  In conclusion, it is hard to recommend this book to those who want a mere overview of Carthage, as it serves more as an examination of syncretism in Greek/Punic culture, and its impact on the ancient world.

The Punic wars though, remained interesting even with the dry style, and now I am more interested than previously in gaming in that period (as well as reading a military history).  The early Republican Romans fought an extensive set of wars all over the Mediterranean, and Hannibal is their iconic enemy.  I think that Warmaster is clearly the way to go with, since it allows for large armies, although Hail Caeser! and Warhammer Ancients could both do a good job with the period.  10mm is far cheaper than 28mm though, particularly as there are no Early Republican or Carthaginian plastics currently in production. 

Excellently, a "Carthaginian" army is mostly made up of generic forces, either supplied by Barcan Spain, various allied Celtic tribes, or as mercenaries.  The only really unique forces would be citizens from the Punic cities, Numidian horse, and elephants.  The generic nature of the army allows for the component pieces to be used in other areas, and in other wars.  With a few additions, it could be a Celtic invasion, post Alexander Macedonian kingdom, or Greek Successor army, all fighting against a common Roman army.  Somthing to think about when I need a new project. (2030?)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warhammer Historical Sale

Warhammer Historical is having a half price sale on their books.  Unfortunately, they seem to be out of Warmaster Medieval, which is the book I am mainly interested in acquiring.  Still, this sale could be helpful to some, particularly those who are interested in Kampfgruppe Normandy, or Waterloo, which are otherwise very pricey. 

Although, Trafalgar for £13 shipped does seem like a pretty tempting deal... and I do like ships...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Earthscraper

Ever wondered where your mega-dungeons came from in your post apocalyptic setting?

Behold the Earthscraper, a giant inverted skyscraper.  This one is intended to replace the Plaza Major in Mexico City.

Just add a century of decay to this, and you have a dangerous dungeon with all sorts of treasures.  (it even has a museum at the bottom, which ought to have treasures worth seeking).

Also, a welcome to Galpy, a new follower.  Hope you see more of whatever it is you like about this blog. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Defiance Games Marine

Defiance Games, which was born from the fallout of the Wargames Factory breakup, posted a preview of their first hard plastic scifi figures.
Looks pretty good so far, and I am certainly interested in these. Those arms looks as if they would take other guns pretty easily too, so this guy could get a lasgun, or a pulse rifle without much work.  Obviously we still need to see these compared to other figures, and some of the detail of the helmet looks strange, but I am much more excited than I was previously about these.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dreadfleet

The long rumored "special September release" from GW has been reveled... and it is a Warhammer World Pirate game.  Two years ago, they rereleased Space Hulk, and I failed to get it, so I was pretty interested in this year's release.

Araby Djinn powered ship
Skaven "ship"
Fighting it out on the battlemat with some skull islands
Here is what Games Workshop has to say about it:
Dreadfleet is a boxed game for two (or more) players that includes everything you need to make war on the turbulent seas of the Warhammer world. At your command are two fleets of ships - the Dreadfleet led by the Vampire Count Noctilus, aboard his gargantuan sea-hulk the Bloody Reaver; and the Grand Alliance commanded by the Pirate Captain Jaego Roth, who recently stole the Heldenhammer - the pride of the Imperial Fleet, and one of the largest galleons to ever sail the high seas.

As your ships engage in furious battle, it's down to you, the fleet captain, to make important split-second decisions. Do you bring all guns to bear on the closest enemy warship, or do you sail into position for a furious broadside? What happens when the warship catches fire, or worse, the powder kegs ignite? Exactly how much punishment can your warship take before it sinks without a trace? Are those Undead seagulls or flying piranha fish? And, when all else fails, do you have the courage to ram your foe, board their ship, and engage them in a duel to the death?


This boxed game contains:

98-page Rulebook
Seascape Gaming Mat
10 Warships
10 Scenic Bases
7 Cog Auxiliaries
1 Dragon Auxiliary
1 Dirigible Auxiliary
7 Islands
5 Shipwreck Pieces
3 Sea Monsters
5 Treasure Tokens
12 Dice
1 Wind Gauge
2 Ship's Wheels
1 Navigation Rod
10 Warship Cards
55 Damage Cards
40 Fate Cards
12 Auxiliary Cards
10 Wound Cards
11 Miscellaneous Cards


For $115 in the US, it unfortunately does not rise to the level of product I expect for that price.  At $50 I would be very interested, but at double that price... not as much.  I am also disappointed that it is a "Grand Alliance" styled game, where each race only has a single ship, which means it is certain that there is a race you are not interested in.

Pity.  Maybe next year will be the year that they rerelease Warhammer Quest.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Character Sheet

Building from my one page character generation, I have been working on a character sheet.  The concept is to have everything that a player needs on one sheet, and further, all the "core" data needed to play in a single quadrant of the page.

I still need to work on the "fluff" quadrant, which is pretty basic right now (and fairly unattractive) .

Other design choices:
Silver pennies are the main coinage used in the Deepest Sea, so instead of a box to track GP, we have S/d/cp
Retainers are placed on the character sheet
Encumbrances are handled by lines in the item list, so that a character loses one move (5 feet) for every two lines filled.  Heavier items take up more lines.
Spells, skills, and such like are in KSAs

Anyway, here is what it currently looks like:

Let me know what you think.  Any suggested refinements?  Improvements?  Something I forgot?  Would it be useful for new players?

Also, welcome to new follower Lum. Hope you see some stuff you like here!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Passage

The Passage: A Novel

I finished reading The Passage yesterday.  A newer book by Justin Cronin, it is an account of what happens when a "vampire" virus is found and released by the US government in a near future setting (2016?).  The first part of the book is concerned with collecting subjects for the testing, and then as things inevitably fall apart, what happens to those who survive, and their decedents, leading up, as all modern books do, to the inevitable sequels.  Over all it was a fairly interesting book, and one that fans of the end of the world genre may enjoy.

I do not want to give away too much, but it does have some great ideas for Post Apocalyptic gaming, and some of those could be  adopted for more sci-fi type games too, just replacing the virals (as the vampires come to be known) with very strong aliens, or genetically modified soldiers.  The post fall fortifications in particular are very interesting, and could be easily extended to, say, zombie gaming.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Perry Miniatures

Perry Miniatures, the company founded and run by the Perry Brothers, has a modern new website

The most exciting aspects of this are that the company appears to be VAT listed, which means those of us located outside the EU save 18%, and it has more pictures of miniatures, some of which have been for sale for some time without any official pictures, as well as pictures of the 3ups for future plastic work. 

Most exciting is this splendid example of the future Men At Arms sprue for their Renaissance range, which will have Flemish/English/Italian and German armor styles, as well as separate horse armor and a ton of weaponry.  Certainly one to look out for in the future, and they should make perfect WHFB DoW knights.


New website, 18% discount... sounds like a good time to make an order right?  And I will be getting that per diem check soon...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Foamular-tastic!

A chance glance at the Lead Adventure Forum subforum Workbench, led to the discovery that I can in fact buy extruded polystyrene in California, and better, locally!

Owens Corning Foamular sheet insulation, available in varying thickness, can be had at several local Home Depots, just not the one right by me.  As you are probably aware, this stuff is great for terrain, model building, and terrain building, as it is fairly strong, easily worked, and takes textures well.

Unfortunately the 2" thickness is a bit pricey, at $25 a sheet, but on the plus side I would only need two sheets to populate my currently strictly theoretical 6'x6' table.  1" is far more reasonable at $13.67 a sheet, and the thinner sheets are in a similar range.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Character Generation

I have been toying with the idea of running a Deepest Sea game over the holidays (Christmas and New Years, not this upcoming holiday weekend).  Doing so would entail creating a packet of material suitable for gaming neophytes and those with a ton of D&D experience, although mostly from newer editions.  The handout packet would be the players' guide for setting and would be ~20 pages long in total.  Character generation would be one of the pages in the handout, and would have a matching character sheet to make things easy.

Above, for your consideration is a draft Character Generation sheet that I have created in MS Publisher. [click to enlarge]  Please note that it uses the wonderful silhouettes created by Telecanter for a little atmosphere.

What do you think? Is this sufficiently useful for both newcomers and those with significant experience in newer editions?  Suggestions for improvement? (aside from cleaning up the statblocks)  Any obviously missing items?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ebay score

I am currently working on a night goblin regiment (painting at work during lunch!), and as you might know, every night goblin regiment needs some lurking fanatics to keep away the heavy cavalry.  Not being a fan of the current (costly) plastic fanatics, I looked over to Ebay, and happened to find this:
 

Seven old lead fanatics, which I put in a super low bid for and won! (winning bid was less than shipping)  They got to me very quickly, and are now enjoying a bath in some Simple Green.

As a side note, I intended to post a picture of this directly from my phone, but was not able to post MMS messages to blogger, so here is one from Ebay.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This is a test, just a test

an attempt to post by phone

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Forge Beasts

Noisms has a post about using the Forge to create monsters for your game (or just for fun, because monsters should be fun).  Basically you go to the Forge, hit up "beast forge" and create some monsters.  You can redo the words until you get one that seems plausible/interesting/scary, and then you blog about it.

So here are my four:
Dead Flesh Lizard:  A small lizard with a nearly translucent skin.  Some think that this is why they are called "dead flesh lizards", however; the truth is that they collect meat from dead creatures to make their nests, several lizards working together to create a large pit under the earth where their eggs are laid.  The stench of this is can be extreme, and just as the smell fades, the eggs hatch and the rotten liquefied flesh is eaten by the young lizards. [Adventurers walking on the surface have a chance of falling into the nest, and take d4 damage from the bites of the lizards before they flee. Hoard class I, nests may be detected as traps, or avoided all together by parties with dogs]

Plains Basilisk: Thought by the most erudite scholars to be a sub-species of the common Basilisk, the Plains Basilisk is generally larger, leaner, and longer limbed. [move of 100'/30'] Their color ranges from the usual Basilisk Brown Green, to a nearly tan color.  During the summertime, when they are most active, they can be seen stalking prey from patches of long grasses, or sunning themselves on rocks or termite mounds. In the winter, they generally hibernate for weeks at a time.

Unlike a common Basilisk, the plains Basilisk keeps no den, and therefore has no hoard worth speaking of.  However, its the powder made from the large scales of its neck are considered to be an aphrodisiac in some quarters, and the most depraved will spend unimaginable sums for this powder.  [this powder is inhaled, and causes partial petrification of extremities lasting d6+1 rounds]

Hill Wallow Shrimp: The Hill Wallow Shrimp is a parasitic shrimp carried by wild or domesticated hogs from wallow to wallow. They are occasionally collected by enterprising adventurers and sold in jars to bored elvish children as "ocean apes" complete with little wooden kingdoms, and halflings find them to be delicious.  [If the adventurers consume the Hill Wallow Shrimp in any quantity, either by drinking the water, or by eating a cake of the shrimp themselves, they will have a small chance of contracting lycanthropy from the experience.  In addition, wallows in the wild are protected by Giant Boars 1/6th of the time, who come charging out of some nearby brush if the PCs stop too long by the wallow]

Ebon Hair Willow: The Ebon Hair Willow is a particular type of tree linked to a particular type of Dryad. The tree from afar looks like a normal weeping willow of dark color, however; once it is examined at close range, it is noted that the branches and trunk are the color of bone, and the leaves are instead long black hair twisting and turning in a wind that no one can feel.  Touching the hair brings out the dryad, who is chaotic and hideous to look at.  She is as white as bone with long black hair, and seeks to destroy those who disturb her slumber.  She uses her charm ability to make the party fight amongst themselves, and pulls the weakest into the tree, which reacts with a bone crunching shudder. The hair of the tree is used by necromancers to bind the bones of skeletons for rituals, and is highly sought after, both by those who want the hair, and those who wish to destroy the tree and with it, the dryad.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prestige Classes Old-School Style

FrDave had a great post recently about a way to incorporate prestige classes.  Essentially, he moves prestige classes to entry at fourth level, so that a character has to survive and be a hero before he is able to select some of the more obscure classes.  FrDave also comes up with some interesting specialist classes as the prestige class, for example healer for cleric.

Musing on what he had posted, I thought of the graphic below, which essentially shows a decision tree of the various "career options" that a standard human has.  I am no Telecanter, so it is a bit crude.

[Apologies on the format, but I knocked it out in MS Word, and then cropped a screenshot to get this image]

Obviously this needs some work, but I think it gets the concept across. It could be modified to show the classes allowed in YOUR world, and with a better presentation, could have all of the spell levels and skill information included as well to allow for it to be a one stop visual representation of player classes.  You will note that in the cleric and fighter rows, I started to go that direction, so it shows the XP and HP of each character level.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stellar Adventure

Last night I finished reading Exiles of the Stars, by Andre Norton.  This is the second book in her Moon Magic series, and like many of her books features an outsider dealing with issues relating to separation and growth, while overcoming the immediate problem. It is set in a far future, where Free Traders are contracted to move cargo from one primitive planet to another

Reading this book, I was struck by how much the story and setting would suit an Old School sort of game.  Everyone is fairly low powered, death is imminent at any time, and classes are at once rigid and generic.  Solving mysteries and exploring maze like ruins are key, and the risk of being overtaken by those with magic (esper) powers is ever present. This started the creative juices flowing, and I started thinking about a sandbox game set in a vaguely Norton-esque universe, with the Star Patrol, Free Traders, Combines and Guilds mucking it up for the little people, and howling wilderness worlds loaded with Forerunner treasure, monsters, and secret pirate bases.  Atomic rockets, blasters, stunners, fliters, tape computers, and all the good stuff.

Thinking about how such a game would be run, I immediately thought of Stars Without Number, the 0D&D based space exploration game from Sin Nomine.  Since the rules in PDF are currently free (at the link above), I had a bit of a look through, and they seem pretty workable.  The game uses 3d6 for skill checks (in a similar way to d20 games).  Interestingly, a professional published version of this game is coming out soon from Mongoose in September... something to watch for.  I think I will post more of a review of the rules later, once I have the chance to read them more thoroughly.

Friday, August 5, 2011

More on FFG's X-Wing game

The Hopeless Gamer has some pictures of the prototypes for the new X-wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games.  Seems to be using a pilot card and stats on the base and a damage dial and turn/movement templates. That is pretty component heavy for a miniatures game, and may lead to the table looking pretty cluttered. On the plus side, the components all look very good, as is expected from FFG.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Star wars Games!

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) just announced that they are releasing games set in the Star Wars Universe.  Wizards of the Coast gave up the Star Wars Universe license last year, and there was much speculation that FFG had picked up the license. Two games have been announced, a Star Wars card game (is this the third one?), and more interestingly, a miniatures based dogfighting game called X-wing.  Figures for this game will be prepainted, but still, it should be interesting to see what comes out. 

More games will be announced in 2012, and the message specifically mentions a new RPG.  It will be interesting to see if it is compatible with the previous three versions of role playing games, or if it is completely new.  So watch for more exciting news!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pro Gloria Miniatures

I probably would have noticed these figures earlier if I had been to the Warhammer Empire forum lately, but a new company (to me at least) called Pro Gloria, has just released some lovely HRE civilian figures, sculpted by Paul Hicks!

Very exciting, and not too expensive either, at €5.95 per pack.  There are currently four packs, and hopefully there will be many many more. These figures will be excellent as NPCs for WHFRP, or for Mordheim type skirmish games.  As an aside, the paint job on these is by Andrew Taylor, and just look at that herald... he has a double eagle under his arms... amazing.

Sometime in the future, I need to get these figures.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Miniature Wargames

Miniature Wargames, a magazine "published continuously since 1983" now has an online electronic version, and you can read a free issue of it here.

Content wise, the magazine is quite nice, with several articles that would interest most miniature wargamers, although with a mainly historical bent [appropriate given the assumed audience].  Several articles have sharp maps, which help to explain the battles or terrain discussed in the article.  The article on Pavia is particularly of interest, as it covers the history of the battle, as well as explaining how to refight it in a fairly rules generic way.

The software used to present the magazine is pretty slick, and allows for easy manipulation of the "pages", which can be viewed larger than life size [allowing you to see how dodgy tabletop quality paint jobs are at 500% of life size].  Some of the hyperlinks in the magazine can be clicked, and the overall presentation is quite nice.  There also appears to be an option to download a printable PDF, should you want to take the magazine away with you.

At a cost of £29.5 per annum, it is a substantial savings over the print edition, which is apparently a staggering £75 for rest of the world subscriptions. However, even this price seems a bit much for me, as I am both a Luddite and quite tight when it comes to this sort of thing.  So not for me, but you might find it interesting, and should certainly have a look at the free issues.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scratch Built Galley

Now, I am no Tony, but I think I had some success with this project.  A bit of background, a while back, I finished reading Empires of the Sea, and got inspired to look into naval gaming with galleys.  Finding that the available options for galleys were rather expensive, I thought I would try my hand at scratch building a galley.  Following some Internet research, I decided to base the scale on the size of a common Popsicle stick, which happens to be 1cm in width.  This translated to a ship of around 8.5cm in length for an approximate scale of 1/510.  This size also fits neatly on a plastic credit card, which I happen to have a ton of from gift cards and hotel room keys.

After a few afternoons and evenings of work, I had the following results:

Needs, paint, but I think it is on the right track.
I think that I can create more of these pretty quickly, which would be good, since there were over 400 ships at Lepanto...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Skaven for sale

Blog follower ZeroTwentyThree is regretfully selling off his Skaven.  Do take a look, he seems be a great painter, and needs the money.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Painting at work

I have a new job (same company), and with that came an office.  Consequently, I have been thinking about painting on my lunch break, now that my geekery would not be on such public display.  Looking through my "in progress" figures (1000s), I have plenty to work on.

Any thoughts on this?  White collar job, so paint spills would be bad.

In other news, I finished Knight and Knave of Swordsby Leiber, which was frankly rather poor.  The amount of on camera sex, and "edgy" sex, was astounding, particularly in comparison to the other books.  The last "adventure" is basically a series of voyeuristic vignettes, in which our heroes are completely passive. Certainly not recommended. Pretend that Faf and the Mouser just rode off into the sunset or something.

I am now reading the first book of the Elric collection (Elric the Stealer of Souls), so we will see how that goes.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

40k with lego

This is a bit more advance than when I played with legos as a kid...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Embedded - Dan Abnett

Embedded (Angry Robot)
Note that this gun is completely wrong

Last night, I finished Embedded by Dan Abnett. I turned to my wife and said "well that was annoying", so yes, typical Abnett end.  However, let us start at the beginning.

Dan Abnett is well known to many as a writer for Black Library, the Games Workshop imprint, in particular for his Gaunt's Ghosts series of books, which follow a particular regiment of Imperial Guardsmen around a lengthy crusade.  This is a near future book, or at least appears to be at first.  Set on a colony world, this story has a burnt out and jaded reporter arrive on planet with an interest in stirring the pot for more stories.  There is a small insurgency underway on the planet, and after a few disappointing inquiries in to the real cause of the conflict, Falk (the reporter) has his consciousness placed in the mind of a soldier about to go in to the conflict zone.  The soldier gets shot in an ambush, and Falk must blend his skills and knowledge with those of the grunt he is stuck in to get home.

Overall the book is interesting (aside from the abrupt end), and has several situations suitable for gaming, as well as technologies which are interesting. Soldiers are armed in a manner easily accommodated by most skirmish games, and infantry tactics, when seen, are similar to modern warfare.  Several of the scenarios would be interesting for, say, platoon level games like StarGrunt, and others would work better as skirmish games with individual reactions (Eyeburn ridge).  So for gaming purposes, this book is good, even if it is not great for endings.

Next up is Knight and Knave of Swords, the last of the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books.  Hobby wise, I am working on a scratch build, which is actually going rather well.  More on that as it gets closer to completion.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maps the Carmen way

Carmen's Fun Painty Time! has a nice little tutorial on making a map using Photoshop elements.  Often I struggle with various open sourced software, and here is a little tutorial that makes the comerical products seem so much easier...  I assume having artistic skill helps a bit too (you no doubt recall my crude efforts in this area)

Anyway, here is his very fetching final product, a wastelands area map, which would be perfectly servicable for a miniatures campaign, or a roleplaying exploration map. Throw on a hex grid, and you are good to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Empires of the Sea: Renaissance Galleys

I finally finished reading Empires of the Sea, by Roger Crowley yesterday.  I own this book, so I have been interspersing it with library books, as it has no due date.  This book is a cracking read about the very narrow period starting with the Siege of Rhodes (1522) and concluding with Lepanto (1571).  During this period, the Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer the whole of the Mediterranean, and was apposed at times by a Holy League comprised of Spain, Venice, and the Papal State.  Each of the three main Christian powers had their own interests, and the League fell apart several times before successfully defeating the Ottomans at Lepanto.  This battle cost the Ottoman empire nearly its whole battle fleet, and most importantly, all of its experienced sailors (nearly 30,000 men were lost).

The book itself is very gripping.  Mr. Crowley describes the various battles in detail, using letters and memoirs of those involved to get the feel of combat.  You can feel the exhaustion and elation of the sides during skirmishes, and the horror of  battlefields awash in blood.  Mr. Crowley also describes the political machinations of the various League partners and the Ottoman court, so you get a feel of why certain outcomes were achieved. I highly recommend this book. (it also has 83 reviews of 4 stars or better on Amazon)

Reading this book has really stoked my interest in naval battles for this period, and I looked first at Langton miniatures, which are truly lovely (and exacting).  However, at £7 for a single 1/1200 galley, it would be extremely costly to do much more than a few ships per side for a skirmish.  Lepanto had over 200 ships just on the Christian side... so another direction will have to be taken.

First rate galleys of this period were fast narrow ships made solely for combat, with 24 or so oars per side, each pulled by three men (mainly slaves).  These 144 men were the motor that moved the ships in combat, as sails were rarely used. Ships had an array of heavy prow cannon, and were also armed with smaller guns on the bow, then were packed with missile armed troops (mainly arquebusers, archers for Turkish Ottomans), and further packed with heavily armored infantrymen.  The goal in battle was to ram another galley, and send infantry over to capture it, meanwhile pouring on the supporting fire from the missile troops.  Don Juan's flagship, the Real, had many hundreds of men on board, and during the battle of Lepanto, both flagships had constant reinforcements from the embarked infantry of other galleys.

Here are some links I found surfing around:
http://stokesinternet.com/games/rengalleys.html
http://gonsalvo.com/reports/galleyho.html
http://www001.upp.so-net.ne.jp/a-sasano/english/e-galley.htm
http://www001.upp.so-net.ne.jp/a-sasano/english/e-galley_design.htm  

Next up is Embeded by Dan Abnett, which ought to be interesting.  I wonder if he can avoid having his usual ending in a non-GW book.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mongoose and Star Fleet Battles

Now that is a teaser poster.
You may have already read about this, but Mongoose and ADB have a new agreement for Mongoose to produce miniatures and an ACTA variation for the Star Fleet Battles universe.  Much like Klingon Armada, this new game will use the Star Fleet Battles background and ships with a different "engine" to handle the actual game play and fleet construction. The new ships will form Starline 2500, and will be computer designed 1/3125 instead of the 1/3700 scale used by the existing (rather poor looking) hand sculpted ADB ships. Ships will be cast in resin.

As I already have a micro machine based fleet of feds, Klinks, and Romulans (in the usual varying stages of construction), I am not particularly interested in their replacements.  I am however interested in remodeled versions of Kzinti or Gorn ships, which should be far sharper and more attractive.  Yet another rule set for this setting is puzzling, but it may be more playable, and anything that drives interest would be great. [this would make four official rule sets using this background]

On a blogging note, you may not have noticed this on your own blog, but my site views have exploded in the last week or so.  While I would like to think I am just that popular, I suspect that it is some sort of counting error... in any case I am already over 1200 views for this month, double my previous high.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1/285 Cityscape

This morning on TGN, I saw GameCraft, a company I had previously never heard of, has released a new set of laser cut mat board building ruins in 1/285. [which, along with 1/300,  is often called 6mm]

I must admit, they look pretty attractive:
They do have the issue of course of being pre-contemporary ruins, but that might not matter if you are doing WWII, or some sort of primitive sci-fi future (such as 40k, where all technologies that are not weapons related seem to be 1940s standard).  I have used heavy card stock terrain before, which is similar to mat board, and it worked pretty well.  I think that if you based these models that they could last quite a while.  However, $20 does seem a bit much for card, even in this quantity.  Their resin kit for $13 seems like a better deal in some regards, and the resin would be more durable as well. Still, more terrain options is good.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The cost of figures

Inso had an interesting post this morning [his evening] talking about the cost of the hobby, which is something that I think many are thinking about lately, with price rises and the shift to resin as metal prices increase.  Games Workshop figures seem to have yearly price rises of at least 10%, and single figures are now well into the double digit price range.

As I mentioned in a comment on Inso's post, I could never buy figures again, and still paint for years and years, but higher prices do prevent me from starting new things, and in some cases filling in old projects.

Here are some comparisons, prices in USD, converted at £1.645 per when necessary (VAT inclusive, since I can not remember which companies are too small to be listed).

10 GW Space Marines (plastic): $37.25
10 GW Imperial Guardsmen (plastic): $29
10 GW Wyches (plastic): $29
10 GW Firewarriors (plastic): $29.13
10 GW State troops (plastic): $24.75
10 GW Free Company (plastic): $17.50 [if this box is ever canceled, I am buying five more]
10 GW Iron Breakers (metal): $49.50
10 em4 troopers (metal): $21.06
10 Copplestone Neo-Soviets (metal): $27.97
10 Perry Crusaders (metal): $17.82
10 Perry Mercenaries (plastic): $7.40
10 Hasslefree Adventurers (metal): $69.91
10 Hasslefree Grymm (metal): $57.58
10 Old Glory Pikemen (metal): $11.66

Analysis:
Building a full platoon or a full regiment, of around 25-35 figures, is going to be expensive going with anyone other than Perry.  Better detailing is going to cost more, particularly from some of the smaller, more "boutique" companies (Hasslefree in particular). Also, looking over this list, one begins to see the appeal of going to 10-15mm. (10 GZG figures cost a mere £5, £5.75 for a full unit of 10mm Copplestone Fantasy).

In a bit of amusing news, while reading about the Tomb Kings in the latest White Dwarf magazine, my wife stated that she would play Tomb Kings if she ever had an army.  She then proceeded to suggest that I sell all my Eldar (as of yet unbuilt, mind) in order to finance this project.  I think that is both good news (interest in collecting an army), and amusing, as it shows her continuing hatred of the "big helmets".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome news

Dropship Horizons, the emanate closure of which I reported in my last blog post, has been saved by a crew of new authors.  I think it is a measure of the original author that it took seven people to replace him.

Also, I got the check from the county for Jury Duty, and now I just need to figure out where to spend it all...

Friday, June 3, 2011

May

Well, May is over now, and with hardly a post from me.  I went from the A-Z challenge of posting six days a week to, well, to just posting six times. Sort of shameful really.  I guess to a certain extent I was a bit burnt out on the blogging thing.  Despite the lack of new posts, I still had 469 views in May, which is somewhat astounding, although lower than April.  Hopefully June will be better in terms of posting content.

In other blogging news, Dropship Horizon, the premier source of news for 15/18mm scifi figures and gaming is going dark, due to shifting interests of its author.  This is a real shame, as the site was seen by many as a driving force for them getting into 15mm, and was in more recent times breaking news about new figures and games.  Hopefully this will alliveate my interests in getting a couple of platoons of 15mm figures from GZG... or not. Those second edition NAC and UNSC figures really are great, and I will get that jury pay check sometime soon.

As mentioned recently, I have been working on the Baneblade, and have also been researching what sort of detailing could be added to the base model.  This is probably why it has taken me so long to build the darn thing, but I want my model to be unique, since it is a centerpiece model (that is until I get three more super heavies and make a full company of them).  More on that as it is built.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Still more on Citadel "Finecast"

Popped into my FLGS today (to get a birthday present for a friend), and while I was there I took a look at the finecast figures they had on offer.  I must say, they did look very sharp and cleanly cast, although it was a bit of a shock to pick up one of the new clam shell packs and notice that it did not weigh anything really. The prices are way out there of course, particularly for older models, such as the Green Knight, which was $38.  For a model sculpted in 1997.

CMDante has a great little review of a figure that he picked up, and as a "trusted reviewer" I think that it cements my opinion that the figures are fine... just costly.

In other gaming news, I managed to work a bit on the Baneblade last night (at the instance of my wife, who said "you are always talking about modeling, so do it"). 

Friday, May 27, 2011

More on Citadel "Finecast"

A few reviews have started to sneak out for the new Citadel "Finecast" figures, which as a refresher, are new plastic-resin castings of the old metal figures from Games Workshop.  No figures are supposed to be released until tomorrow, 5/28/11, so getting a review out ahead of time is pretty surprising.

The new figures are now packed in a larger clam shell blister, with a color picture of the figure in front. All the bits are now on a sprue, which I assume was intended to cut down on "pulling" costs and also helps to keep the figure squared in the box.

This review, on Dakka Dakka, points out some of the flaws and benefits of the new material, specifically that it is indeed light, takes superglue well, and has sharp detailing.  Unfortunately the cast quality seems to be poor, with some serious damage to some of the (optional) parts.

This review states that the figures are pretty much the same in terms of quality as they were in metal... just with a higher price.

Another in German

Not very excited about this change, and still disappointed in the price increase.  Hopefully I will be able to check some figures out in person at the FLGS, and see for myself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

GW News II

As you may recall from just yesterday, Games Workshop has restricted sales out of the EU, and has created "Finecast", which is widely expected to be resin replacements for metal miniatures (at a higher cost, of course).

Today, the news is that GW will further restrict their "rumor" information down to a week prior to release, which will mean that White Dwarf will continue to report on items after they are released, and further, that there will be a price increase in the US and Canada, to the tune of 18%-20%.  Some of the older figures have had a pretty continuous price increase, for example Catachans (which I have about 100 of ), have gone from $22 for 20 to $58 for 20 in a ten year period. (263% increase)  So that is fun. 

All of this negative GW news should not really impact my spending on GW, since I have only been buying a couple boxes a year, and, well I have somewhere on the order of four more armies still in boxes anyway... it does however increase my interest in buying figures from other companies though.

Speaking of which, in a bit of positive news, GZG's online shop is back in action after a five month down period. If you have not checked them out before, you should.  GZG is the maker of Stargrunt II, Dirt Side II, and Full Thrust, which are all excellent games, and they have a wide assortment of miniatures to support those games.  Their newer 15mm figures for Stargrunt are particularly interesting, and at a mere £2.5 per pack, a company worth is affordable too!  I just have to tell myself that I do not need any more figures right now...

Monday, May 16, 2011

GW news

Everyone's favorite company, Games Workshop, has decided to restrict UK retailers from selling outside of the EU, so that means no more cheap figures sent abroad to folks like me.  This is particularly important for those in Australia or NZ, who pay ~40% more for the same figures.  They may be able to buy from the US, or get their packets sent to a UK freight forwarder.

On top of that, the rumor about GW switching to resin may be true, and of course with an accompanying price increase.  Resin figures interest me very little, since my (limited) experience with resin is that it is more brittle, flexible, and overall less durable than metal or polystyrene.  Increased prices mean I will continue my streak of buying no GW metal figures, which is a shame, because there are some that I really love, and would like to get.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Extremely Topical

Osama Bin Laden's compound in 1/285.  I think I would have shot for 15mm myself (~1/100), since it seems more game-able in a larger size. Still, speedy work there.

Also, I have jury duty this week, so I am both away from the computer, and reading more than usual.  Got through most of Path of the Warriortoday.  We will see what happens tomorrow, when the trial starts.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April Roundup and some Stats

Well, that was fun.  Working through my little universe from A-Z was an interesting challenge, and hopefully entertaining as well. Results wise, I added some followers (thanks!), and went from 400 page views to ~650 page views in a month, so it was pretty successful on that measure as well.  The blog had some more international readers, including a number (or one frequently) from Iran, which is surprising really.  I made it over 100 published posts, which is easier when you add so many in one month. I will put up an index page to the A-Z posts sometime soon, which will also be useful as an index to the greater Deepest Sea project.

It is a pity that Blogger does not break down the US by state, because it would be interesting to see where everyone lives. Similar issues for other large countries I guess.

My most popular post continues to be my Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WHFRP ) Estalian figure, which of course has nothing to do with D&D or the A-Z challenge, but remains very popular on image searches.... I really ought to retake that picture.

So what is next for the blog?  Well, it feels strange to go back to my slow posting routine, so I will try and think of something to keep it up.  Any ideas?  Are there gaps in the Deepest Sea information that you would like filled in particular?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zagyg

Z is for Zagyg in the twenty sixth and final installment of the Deepest Sea, A-Z.

Zagyg is the legendary first Titan, or in some versions, the first magic users amongst the Titans.  In any case, he is credited with teaching the other Titans magic, and luring the Elves into slavery.  The first he did by learning from demons, and then using the power granted by subjugating the demons to influence the other Titans.  The Elves he lured by the sheer magnetism that magic held for them.

Zagyg's reign lasted for centuries, and then he departed.  Not much is known of this period, but the wisest of sages, those who have read the Titan scrolls, or explored the depths of the long abandoned, but not empty research pits, say that he left, alone, and walked back to the legendary city in the far south that the Titans came from.  The Empire sent expeditions after him in its early years, hoping to thus end the Titan threat all together, but none ever returned.  Occasionally their bodies are found frozen in sea ice, mangled and screaming in terror.

Over time, most forgot the name of Zagyg, but somewhere, somewhere in the cold of the southern pole, he might still carry on as a lich, still consorting with demons, still wresting a little bit more magic out of a universe which commands him to die.

Next time, a roundup of the A-Z project, and a review of the results for April.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yeomen

Y is for Yeomen in the twentyfifth installment of the Deepest Sea A-Z.

Yeomen are a rank of society between the nobility and the common peasant.  They own land which they derive income from, but are not nobles. In most countries they make up the upper class of villages, together with artisans and petty clergy.  Typically they are more likely to be selected by the baron as a bailiff, or elected by the other peasants as reeve, depending on the system used in that area.  The amount of land owned varies, but is typically more than any one peasant would work, meaning that their family is at least twice as prosperous as a common peasant.

Yeomen typically have military responsibilities to the baron, or to the kingdom.  What this entails varies from area to area, but typically they are required to be trained with a bow, and often have other weapons on hand.  When the baron goes to war, yeomen are required to accompany him, although they are often paid waged for this service, beyond some basic defence of the barony. In Brémdy, where the population is wealthy and many rank as yeomen, some even own armor and horses, and serve as secondary knights, in support of the nobility, who maintain better equipment and horses.  In this role, they are often called "sergeants".   In other kingdoms this term is used for yeomen who lead small groups of men.

In a city, or large town, the term yeoman is not often used, as few own land, and instead all are ranked as burghers together.  Naturally, some are poor, and some are rich, but in general all are wealthier than serfs in the small villages, and all have more cash at hand, even if it is only a few coppers.  One's job, or guild membership becomes more important in determining relative social standing, although this does tend to map out to wealth as well.

The ranks of men:
Slave
Indentured man
Serf
Free Peasant
Yeoman
Squire
Knight
Baron

Tune in Saturday for the final episode of the Deepest Sea A-Z, with Zagyg.