Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dungeons, Dragons, Toy Soldiers, Computers, and Life.

I am not dead.

This could be called another "ubiquitous not dead post" but it isn't. I'm actually going to update you on a few things.

Firstly my computer is a goner so I can only blog when I have a work PC to do it on and then I usually don't have the time to upload pictures much less edit them just a little bit to make them less bad. I am still painting though and when I can finally do some blogging of the pictures I will be able to provide a small gallery of finished work :)

Secondly I've been organizing an Adventurer's League at the LGS every Sunday night for over a month now and it is surprisingly time consuming. In general the running isn't bad but prepping a new module every week is a little more work than you'd normally think it to be. It's been a positive experience in my opinion although at times the players tend to wander off track. I'm used to running more open environments than the modules provide so that can prove a little difficult but so far we've not had any significant breakdowns.

I really like 5th edition of D&D, I feel like it's the best of the spirit of 1st edition (and the origins of the RPG) combined with good mechanics from 3rd edition that have been reduced in complexity. One of the greatest aspects is the new artwork style which is a little less fantastic. I know that may seem odd for a fantasy RPG but I've always been one that feels the game should be firmly set in some form of reality to make the fantastical just that. Plus the artwork is truly more gender realistic. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with beautiful women in artwork but if she is a fighter going into a dungeon full of danger then I think she'd cover up well.

That being said, wtf is up with the halflings?
Is there a reason they decided to give them such huge heads and tiny feet?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lords of War (oh and not my work)

If you have read a lot of my posts you know that I certainly do not mind obtaining models that someone else painted well and adding them to my collection. I am always willing to recognize they are not my doing and my Ultramarines have 3 units that come to mind that aren't painted by me although they were touched up to bring them into line with the 3rd company.

Well I have finally obtained my first Lord of War model for 40K...a nicely painted Hellhammer!

Forgive the pictures, but I still do not have my personal computer and I am using my phone to get pictures taken.

This fine model was painted by my friend Grady, well all except the turret mounted on the left side; the blue one. That was lost in the dirt for  year in his yard then amazingly resurfaced. He traded the model to me because he didn't really want it anymore and I didn't have any LoW's so I was super happy to get it!

This beautiful beast will be the primary offensive weapon of my Planetary Defense Force for my Ultramarines. I had decided their uniforms would be plain gray with a single blue shoulder pad to indicate their link to Ultramar.

Just by wonderful coincidence he had painted is primarily gray and the one turret was unpainted allowing me to put the blue in place that needs to be!

This is a monster (obviously) and I look forward to fielding it as the points are preventative (it's less than 600 I think). I would love to get a battle report in with it!

I've been working on other things too and you can expect to see some more models go up soon as I can. There will be Germans, there will be space ships, there will be monsters. :)

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with this. Life has slowed me down, but it has not stopped me!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stone Giant, Bears, and Roman Auxialry Cavalry

Been a while since my last post but as my personal computer is bombed out right now and I have to make due with the work lap top when I can and I am also still learning to use my new phone for pictures I'm lucky to be able to get anything done!

And I just got off a 48 hour stomach bug, which was terrible, almost as bad as the kidney stone incident.

So I have been working on the hobby when I can and I  got a few things done I'd like to share. First an easy drop...
My ongoing historical collection grows with a unit of Roman Auxiliary Cavalry. This brings my Roman army to four units, three of which are foot soldiers. If I keep it up I should have the Roman and Celts done in, say, 2020. I based them for Neil Thomas' rules but this ended up making them pretty tight on the base even though it looks good still.

Also I finished the first in a slow to build series of painting classic fantasy box sets. I was lucky enough to obtain a bunch of them a couple of years ago and have been wanting to gently dip my hands into that collection and put a brush to them. First up is the Dragon Lords Stone Giant set.
This box set was released in 1985 as part of their "Giant's Club" and it came with what was either an insert or a backing that was held in place by the plastic.
I suspect this was on the back of the box this side out.
A little bit of a map and some information about Stone Giants on the flip side.
This piece of map went together with the other Giants Club map pieces to make a full map which is kind of cool in my opinion. Inside the box is what you see pictured above and I was fortunate enough that my set had all the pieces: Giant (with separate hand holding club), two bears, and stone marker.
The giant is a very nice piece and I think I did him some justice. I tried to stay to just earth colors and passed on applying tattoos or tribal paint at my wife's suggestion. He is a solid looking giant ready to blast someone with a two ton boulder. He has a couple pieces of jewelry which the box kind of depicts as stone jewelry but on the model wouldn't work so well so I went with some raw gold hoops.

His two bear buddies. Nothing like a stone giant AND two bears just looking to eat you for lunch! The bears are nice quality bear miniatures, something you wouldn't normally have in a dungeon collection but just as frightening to put on the table. Could also double as a ranger's companion or a shape changed druid easily enough.

Lastly there was this plinth, monolith, marker, road sign?

This was a little decoration placed with each of the Giants Club box sets. It named the giant (obviously) and had runes and faces on it. It also had a "G" for Grenadier but somehow I totally messed up photographing this and didn't get that.

I have several more Dragon Lords box sets and a few old TSR ones as well. I am going to get to them slowly but I like the idea of putting paint to these and maybe getting a chance to use them in a game!

Hopefully my next post won't be so far out, but you never know, life is unpredictable right now :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dungeons in RPGs

So I've mentioned before I'm an "old school" role player, which isn't to say I only play older rpgs (when I play rpgs at all which is rarely) but I mean my mind is set in the way that RPGs where first conceived. I think there are a few different aspects that can classify you as an old school gamer but with RPGs I think the primary indicator is how you look at the dungeon.
 It feels to me that modern dungeon modules are on rails. They have a specific guided nature with few choices and almost seem to hold your hand. Maybe it's just my experiences though. I am not a fan of Pathfinder but everyone I know plays it and I play occasionally with a group who are playing with the Pathfinder Society rules and they use modules that fall in line with that system. These modules always feel small, linear, and a little less exciting than you'd expect things with titles like "The Frozen Temple" to be.

To my thinking, and how I run, is that the dungeon exists and the players are invading it. There is no clear path through it, all of it is dangerous, and the players are going to have to figure out how to loot it without dying...or dying as little as possible.
Dark Souls and it's predecessor and sequel both tap into this. The world exists regardless of the character you play and it is not going to be gentle to your invasion. I think role playing dungeons should be the same. They should be built with excitement, danger, and treasure in mind. Let the players find it. Stop holding their hands. Give them a sword, a spell, and a torch and let them be either wildly successful or just lucky survivors. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Game Night and 5,000 Points

Yesterday was my game club night and I got to do something I rarely get to do, I got to put on the table all of my painted Ultramarines in a face to face duel with all my painted Necrons. It was a sight to behold...
...this shows only part of the game off screen right is a contingent of armor and a Stormtalon bringing some firepower. Also, two units of terminators with accompany characters (librarian and chaplain) haven't entered into the fight yet. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Agony in War Games

I used to play a lot of Warmachine, I loved the game. I was the first in my city to buy it and I got many friends to play it. Now I just find it a repeated practice in frustration and agony. Last night I played a game of Hordes with my Trollbloods against my friend's new Skorne army. It was 35 points and this was the build:

Madrak Ironhide
Dire troll mauler
2 Impalers
Full Kriel stone bearer unit
Fell caller hero
Rorsch & Brine

Makeda and the Exalted Court
Basilisk drake
Bronzeback titan
Molik Karn
Titan gladiator
Paingiver beast handlers full

Ever since MkII I feel as if this miniatures war game has become something else. I find that my units don't perform well and are outclassed by units of similar cost with much greater abilities.

I also find I am in a sharp strange minority here. Feels like this...
...actual game play!
It may be I just don't jive with this game because every time I've played it since MkII, when I can actually finish a game, I feel "unpleased". I know that isn't a real word and I just made it up but it applies. I never feel like I got anything out of a battle. I just feel mauled completely. I don't even get to do any mauling really.

The past game is a prime example of this. We played it to conclusion even though I killed only a single model on his side, a single pain giver who got caught in Rorsch's thrown stick of dynamite. I tried some stuff;

  • Brine charged Molok, had to reroll a lot, missed with everything by 1 hit. He was completed boxed the next turn without Molok even having to spend all his fury.
  • A total of six thrown spears from the Impalers, 3 or 4 hit, only 1 did any harm although it was a critical slam. 
  • Tried to charge into melee with my DTM, didn't make it, got counter charged and completely boxed the next turn.
  • Charged the bronze back titan with my fellcaller just to try, did nothing even with hits. 
My friend won the game by acquiring 8 control points by the end of turn four and I had 3 control points. I had an Impaler left, Madrak, the KSB unit and my Fellcaller hero. 

My frustration stems from the following; the Dire Troll Mauler is a great piece and is 9 points. The Bronze Back Titan has everything he does, plus counter charge, and an extra attack, and a couple other powers for 11. 2 points really isn't enough for me to compensate for that. 

Don't even get me started on Molok, or Makeda's spell that just let everything add a dice of damage. 

I know I could play what I have better. I'm not dumb. But the game does not encourage me to want to play better. I feel that so long as you keep buying the new models, you'll win, and if you play your old models. You'll lose.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Origins Aftercon

Sorry I didn't get much blogging to you. I tried, but I had trouble facilitating it through my phone and my sons wouldn't get off the computer for nothing, also I was tired a lot. According to my pedometer I walked 85 miles in the days of the convention over the 60 hours I recorded. So not like I was hauling or anything but it was no stroll either.

Anyway, on with the picture show...
GAMA is a great organization to volunteer with for many reasons, one is the sweet play money they give volunteers that can be used like cash in the convention and with some local businesses. Here I am flipping my swag around!
This is my friend Erik, I grabbed him to send a picture to my wife to which she replied "So you get to hang with vikings, nice!"
Some of the exhibitor retailers bring some really nice hand crafted items, many are pretty pricey also but if steam punk cosplay was your thing i'm sure this would be a prize to own. 
The guys who make MERCS had a very nice demonstation set up with this sweet 3-D terrain. 
Foam weapons to beat the crap out of your friends in style and monies. 
AEG's set up was literally right in front of the security kiosk I sit at. We had at least ten people as where they were. 
Sergeants is a great miniatures-board-card game that another friend William bought while he was there. We were playing it at midnight on Friday. I played Germans and couldn't hit the broad side of a Brit. In two turns I had one dead, one pinned, and two wounded out of seven soldiers taking to the embarrassing.
This is yet another friend, J.R., who entered the costume contest. He made this from scratch but the judges though he bought it in a store...what store sells these?!
My Sons got the goggles they have wanted since last year. 
My wife got a hold of them at home ;)

She is going to kill me if she sees this picture on this blog.

Seriously, I leave my stuff to you 35 readers.