Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Miniatures - painting the easy stuff

Battle of Five Armies terrain bits

I've been dealing with a flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands that is making it difficult to do  a lot of detail painting. I still do okay with block painting and drybrushing, though, so I decided to knock out a few terrain bits while I'm waiting to see the neurologist.

These are the ruined buildings that came with the Battle of Five Armies game from Games Workshop. I managed to get a copy of the book, the large modular hills, and the ruined buildings recently. I'm planning to put the armies together using some 10mm metal models from Pendraken, Copplestone Castings, and Kallistra. That has to wait until I get the rest of the queue of unpainted models done.

I put these together and stuck them on some 60mm x 60mm and 30mm x 60mm bases from Litko. I glued on some ballast with PVA glue and then added my typical sand and gravel mix. I painted them with acrylic craft paint and sealed them with my normal Plaid matte sealer.

These will see plenty of use for Warmaster and BoFA games. I'll also be able to use them for other 6mm and 10mm games.

I'm still working on a few regular figures, but they're taking a lot more time. I'll post some pics soon of the progress so far. Even with the slowdown, I'm still keeping pace with my model a day challenge. With these seven pieces, I can afford to not get anything finished until the beginning of May!

Models finished so far this year: 126

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tarnhelm's Terrible Truth

So I downloaded a copy of Tarnhelm's Terrible Tome from Randall Stukey's RetroRoleplaying blog. I haven't gotten very far into it, but I love what is in the Introduction:
So, if you believe that the rules changes in this booklet would turn a game into “not really 0e,” don’t use these rules. However, please don’t try to convince others that games using these rules would have normally been considered “not really 0e” back in the 1970s when 0e was standard version of the game -- as that  is nothing but revisionist history.
Well said!

Random inspiration

Tonight on G+, Keith Davies pointed to a post on his blog of 500 Random Old-School Adventure Sites. It reminds me a bit of the results from the various old-school adventure title generators that were hitting the blogs a couple years ago. I decided to use the list as inspiration for a quick exercise. I took the first eleven entries and wrote a quick paragraph about each one as fast as I could.

Here's what I came up with off the top of my head:

1. Skeleton Jars of the Bridal Perches

Kenku use the hollow bones of their ancestors as jars. They keep the spiritual essence of the ancestors in the jars. The spirits are released as part of the mating rituals that take place in the sacred bridal perches.

2. Deceitful Breeder of the Unfinished Cradle

The deceitful breeder is a succubus that impregnates herself to produce manes demons or demonic larvae. The unfinished cradle is actually a temple to a demon of lust that will be born when enough mortals breed with the succubus.

3. Chaos-Simulacrum of the Undead Prince

An ancient prince has been cursed with undeath. He still rules a lawful principality until someone creates a magical clone of him. The magical clone, of course, is absolutely chaotic and seeks to destroy the prince.

4. Mantis-Tribe of the Skeletal Mummy

A tribe of thri-kreen is led by an ancient thri-kreen mummy.

5. Sinister Abbey of the Poorly-built Galleon

This one doesn't work for me. Maybe an abbey built on the site of a shipwreck or an abbey founded by a pirate turned cleric?

6. Bandit Troll(s) of the Death-Yeti

Himalayan-inspired trolls or ogre magi that worship an undead yeti as a god. They raid caravans to gain goods and beings to offer in sacrifice.

7. Draining-Forge of the Howling Apparition

An ancient dwarven forge is haunted by an avatar of Abbathor, the dwarven god of greed. The avatar has been bound to the anvil in the forge. It drains power from any living beings or enchanted items that enter the area. It can be temporarily mollified by deliberately casting beneficial spells on it.

8. Resurrected Cleric of the Madness-Cairn

A cleric was driven mad during his trip into the underworld. After resurrection, the cleric builds a cairn that reproduces the horrific things it encountered. Now the cleric draws adventurers to the cairn to face their penance.

9. Mutation-Wheel of the Horned Wizard

A mutated, Warhammer-style wizard creates a magical device that draws Chaos energy into itself. People are strapped to the wheel and tortured while the Chaos energy mutates them. The wizard's servants just captured the party...

10. Harmonic Dancer of the Industrial Bridge

A standard bridge fight against a clockwork shadowdancer that creates its own music and casts spells like a bard. The shadowdancer can control sections of the bridge to trigger traps or drop opponents into grinding gears below.

11. Bone-Bazaar of the Eye-Globe

A beholder that collects and sells magical bones.

Some of these are a bit of a stretch, but they could probably make a good adventure or two with some work. Anybody else want to take a stab at it?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Trimming the feed

A few days ago Google announced that Reader is going away on July 1st. At first I was a little peeved that they would get rid of something that a lot of people (including myself) use regularly and doesn't seem to require much support. Then I gave up and started looking around for alternatives to replace it.

According to a bunch of articles, Feedly is getting a big bump in traffic from Reader subscribers jumping ship. It looks like there are a lot of tools there and the site certainly integrates across platforms, if that's your thing. I don't really need anything more than a place to read the blogs I follow, so it seems like a lot more than I want to bother with.

The Old Reader, on the other hand, seems to have everything I need and not much more. I can subscribe to a feed, group things in folders, and keep track of what I've read and not read. They offer an import feature if you want to transfer everything from Google Reader, but it is taking them a while to catch up with their own increase in traffic. At the moment, there are literally thousands of people in the queue before me, and I don't expect to see the import for a couple days yet. So I'm going through my Google Reader, checking the blogs I have followed and moving them into Old Reader.

I'm sorting things a little better and clearing out the dead blogs as well. Over time I have accumulated a lot of subscriptions. Unfortunately, with the advent of G+ and the shift to posting in communities there, a lot of bloggers have fallen silent. So I am clearing them from my stream. If it looks like they might come back, I'm adding them to my "Maybe Dead" folder.

In a way, getting rid of Reader is turning out to be a good thing for me, as it is forcing me to do some spring cleaning on the blogroll. That in turn is helping me cut down on the time I spend managing the feed and focus more on creating things for my own games. We'll see how it works over the next couple months.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Slowing down

The last couple weeks I've slowed down quite a bit on the painting due to a flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands. I've had to wear braces on both of my wrists, and the loss of feeling in my fingers makes it difficult to hold my brushes.

Instead of painting, I've been working on some campaign background for a B/X D&D game I'm running every other Sunday. I don't really have much to publish yet, as the characters haven't done much but charge into a fortress and slaughter the front-line orc guards. Once they explore a bit more, I'll put some details here.

I've also been working on the first version of the rules for my dinosaurs and army men game. I want something that is simple to play, involves throwing a lot of dice, and can handle using all kinds of cheap figures you can find at a toy store or dollar store. I'm hoping to have enough written to put some beta rules up here over the weekend.