Thursday, May 24, 2012

Next Project - Ork Jet

When I finally get done with the Baneblade and some other projects I have on on the go (some of the 101 projects, not all of them by any means!), I will need/want another large kit to work on.  There is something satisfying about building and modding a larger kit vs. the relatively tiny customizations you can make with figures.

Thankfully, GW saw my need, and will be releasing this lovely bit of kit next month:
That's right, an Ork fighter.

The kit builds one of three options (dive bomber, level bomber, and gun bird), and seems to have a bunch of tail, cockpit, and underwing stores options.  Rumored retail price is $45, which is not too bad in my opinion for a beefy game piece like this.  I like it because it looks "real" in comparison to 90% of the stuff produced by GW these days.  (it even avoided having square edged wings!)

Planned alternations?  Reaction jet nose piece, pair of auto cannons as wing stores, and removal of the "teef" on the main jet intake cowl.  Should be a blast, and pretty quick to build in comparison to the 2+ years I have been working on and off on the Baneblade.

And I wonder if it would be possible to remake this as a locally produced Imperial PDF Fighter....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Overland Travel

Travel is one of the areas of DnD that is least understood, because few of us have traveled to distant locations on foot, or by horseback.  In this day and age of cars, fast trains, and faster jet planes, the amount of time that it takes to walk from point A to point B is not understood on an intuitive level.  Consequently all of the various rules for overland travel give very high rates of progress, and have very few encounters per day, particularly when one considers the amount of territory crossed. 

One way to handle the issue of too much  distance covered is to reduce standard travel to, say 8 hours a day, so 8 leagues, or ~24 miles. [thank you Talysman for pointing out my error here]  Pressed travel rates would be more hours per day, as you really can not hike much faster, but could do so for longer.  Horses would allow for slightly faster travel, but not if heavily loaded, and not for more than the 8 hours without running the risk of killing the horses over more than one day of travel.

A way to handle the second issue is to increase the frequency of encounters, while at the same time making more of them non-combat related.  Mixing in some mundane encounters like "peasants" or "attractive local features" allows for more creative descriptions and role play potential than "a hex of woods, no encounter" ever would allow for.

Telecanter has another way to deal with the tedium of travel, by making the upkeep and wear and tear into a sort of mini game, where the travel itself causes a sort of damage that needs to be allocated to the various aspects of travel, i.e. animals, gear, supplies.  Traveling through areas like swamps, or desert, or in the winter cold would create more damage points, which then need to be allocated to the animals and gear until they are used up/die etc.  Resting in good terrain for extended periods "heals" some of the damage.

I personally have been backpacking several times before, and it is amazing what adding a bit of altitude, 40 pounds of equipment, and reducing the amount of oxygen available will do to your endurance and your perception of the amount of ground covered.  Walking as the only means of transportation, and having to lug a hauberk, sword, and a bundle of torches to the scary cave from which no man has returned... well, that would be pretty hard on the old body.

On another note, my friends from back east are going to be in town for a week or so, and there was talk of running a game which has me thinking about deep dark places in the earth, and what creepy things may be found there. I have been looking over real-life tomb maps, and it is easy to imagine how a few pit traps, animated skeletons, or falling ceilings could make them into death traps.  Great risk for a possible great reward... sounds like a fun session to me, so we will see how it goes.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ogre v6 successful!

I passed the test, and did not buy the Ogre Designer edition.  However it looks like thousands of other people did do so, so great news.  The Kickstarter raised over $920,000, which is a tremendous amount of money for the re release of a board game!  That made the game better for everyone, by increasing the quality of the game, and decreasing the risk for STG.

Now I just have to suffer with the nagging feeling that I did really want this thing...

In any case, it seems like Kickstarter is now here to stay, and should prove to be interesting in the years to come to see what sort of projects get made following this method vs. the old fashioned "max out the credit cards and pray" method of game publication.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

My wife and I watched Conan the Barbarian (2011) earlier this week, once again thanks to the local library. [technically, I watched it, and she mostly worked on a project using her laptop]

I was not super impressed.  The story was a bit weak, and some of the action was a bit too fake or staged seeming.  The early sequences with "young Conan" were pretty good, and the bad guy was pretty menacing in that sequence.  The first bit with a "grown up" Conan gave me exactly the feel I expected from the stories I have read, replete with T&A, drinking, and enjoyment of combat.  Some of the elements were a bit off though, like dragging a boat around to use as a tent seemed a bit excessive, particularly as it seemed to be both elephant borne and pulled by slaves.  As is often the case in these sorts of movies, the technological levels were wildly inconsistent. (Cast iron and watermills with semi-nomadic fur wearing barbarians)

Jason Momoa was pretty good as Conan, giving what seemed like a closer representation to the character from the books than Arnold did.  Rachel Nichols was OK as the love interest, with some unevenness to her character depiction, resulting from script issues more than acting I think. Rose McGowan was adequate, but not as menacing as the actress who played the young character. With a box office return of about half of its budget, I expect we have seen the last of this Conan series, which is too bad, because I would have liked to see what they did with another film or series of films.

A number of visuals from the film would be good to steal for D&D games, such as a skull shaped temple on the edge of a cliff, spewing water out of its mouth. The ruined city in the hidden valley, although the ninja guardians would perhaps be a bit much.  The sand warriors poured out of a vial were pretty cool, and would definitely make for a great D&D item.

In other news the Ogre Designer Edition Kickstarter is over $500,000 as of this writing, and still has six days to go.  If you get the kickstarter backer version ($150), you get an extra sheet of counters, a box with your name on it, PDF copies of the rules, and some assorted swag.  Pretty pricey for a game I have never played... but it does look amazing.