Thursday, May 30, 2013

Games that Defined Me

So, no models ready for show yet but I had always felt this shouldn't be just a museum blog so I'm going to try to remember to blog about other stuff. My son has been tentatively interested in role playing games and that easily flipped my nostalgia button. There are all kinds of things that defined my gaming hobby as a kid and my views of fantasy, and frankly of women (which is a whole different post).

Something worth referencing is a few games, or how I was introduced to certain games, that had an impact. I don't talk much about Dungeons and Dragons on here but frankly it is my favorite game and the measuring stick I hold all other games to. Be that right or wrong it is so and this guy is part of why that is...

...he is the hero (faceless you'll note) on the cover of the Red Box set that my sister received for Christmas some year when I was around 10 (give or take). That box with it's dice was my first exposure to something this amazing and it obviously had an effect.

Well, that might not be true, actually it might have been a copy of Keep on the Borderlands and a couple old Dragon magazines, but they were close together I am sure of that.

Either way D&D was as impactful on me and it was on myriad other gamers and hobbyist. I often yearn to have been about 18 in the 1970's and enjoy the "golden age" of D&D.

That aside a couple other influences would be Legacy of the Ancients and Might & Magic.

Might & Magic (Book One Secret of the Inner Sanctum) was a game my friend Keith had on his Commodore 64  (luckyyyy) and it also amazed me. We would take turns playing with his party, which was the default party, which you can see named in the photo to the right. Crag the Hack was a mofo let me tell you he just cut down orcs and flesh eaters (aliens) like you wouldn't believe.  It was my first digital closeness to D&D on a computer (I found Wizardry much later) and it was pretty much dead on in feeling. Today we read about "open world" and "sand box" games like it's innovation. It isn't, it's an attempt to get what was already accomplish in games like this and Legacy. Speaking of which...
...Legacy of the Ancients was just as amazing even though it was the lone adventurer instead of a well organized party but THAT COVER WORK oh my goodness what a heroic scene and what the heck is that he's facing down?!

Legacy with it's inventive and what I would call submersive DRM tool in the form of a code disk with planets and precious stones let me adventure in earnest. The wilds between towns was filled with strange monsters you could eat if you had to and the sounds could put a chill down your spine. It was not a game I finished, and frankly I didn't get too deep into the story but it is one that has influenced me greatly and I would love to have a module one day that is as good as this game is.

On a sadder note apparently Mr. Jack Vance has passed away. I am not a reader of his works (yet, i'll get there) but he influenced me indirectly. The magic system of D&D (original D&D) is sometimes referred to as "Vancian magic" for Mr. Gygax being influenced by the book "Dying Earth" and the way magic worked in it. It is sad to hear of another great author leaving this mortal world.

Well, that's a post without miniatures in it and it felt good to write that. Although I should point out that in the tabs now the Grey Knights have their own page where you can peruse the entire army to your pleasure. Take a gander and leave a comment or some criticism. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the anonymous in the interwebs. Next post should have some pictures of the Great Crane, or my best attempt to bring him justice.

Oh, one more thing. Some words; impactful, gamers, and submersive. Blogger indicates the first two to not be words and I know for a Google that they are but apparently "submersive" is not a word at all that I can find. Although I would swear I have heard this word before or read it.

Either way, it is now!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Called It!

Remember this post? Probably not, doesn't matter. In it I mentioned the whole making food from nothing that happens on Star Trek... well LOOKIT!

So I guess the food replicators aren't that far away, and I tell you I would totally eat the funky Star Trek food!

And here is Nimoy rocking a leaf hat just because...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Dead are Restless (or, I painted a Reaper Bones)

So I dug into the 200 plus Bones I got to paint one and give them a try. This broke my plans but I felt after receiving them I should give one a go. This is the results...
Front, obviously.
Back, again, obviously.
If you do a little research this is Arrius the Black, Skeletal Champion from the Reaper website. Looking at the primed white metal they have on their site and comparing it to what I had with the Bones figure I can honestly say that some detail was lost. No specific "items" but the sharpness of things like the necklace were definitely lost a little. That said, in general I think it was an excellent figure and painted up quite well and easily. I completed it in a single day while working on other stuff. It is by no means a complex paint job, very much a serviceable one, but that won't stop it from killing my opponents in Warhammer as a Wight King ;) I should say that I tried to paint it from white first by washing it with black and the wash did not take. I don't know if there was film on the figure or what but I had to wash it with soap and water and then I just brush primed it black.

As for the cleric? Still in the Tomb of Giants : /

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Choir of Menoth

These guys have been done for a while but I haven't gotten around to photographing them until just now. It isn't the best picture work but it should get the point across so to speak.
I haven't put anything on the scrolls yet but when I get some time to steady my hand then I'll put something on them. I think these are the best Menoth models I've painted so far. I started a Menoth collection to try to learn to work with white better and so far it's been an up hill battle. These are the first of the models that I didn't prime white and that may have something to do with it. I have never done well with white primer so maybe I should stop screwing with it huh? I think i'll line up a unit of exemplar cinerators next so I have some offensive infantry in my force.

On the Dark Souls front my Cleric is still stuck at the bottom of the Tomb of Giants. The inability to tie the skull lantern to my belt so I can use my shield is extremely annoying. : /

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Orks with Guns

So it's been a while since I've posted some models. Mostly because I am having trouble getting to take pictures but today I have a picture I took a while ago to post here and just remembered I had it. I have a nice sized (over 1,500 points) Ork army that kinda sprang full into being from trades when I first got back into 40k. I like Orks simply because of all their awesome story and the models have a certain zeal about them that stick in your crawl.
This is my first unit for that army, a test unit you might say. Originally I was going to go with Goff Orks but my friend is going with Goff Orks so I decided to kinda go my own way. Yellow is a color I am fond of and with the Orks it by no means has to be clean and perfect. This is a small unit to start and I think they turned out just fine, but I don't know what to call the tribe yet.

On the Dark Souls front my level 51 cleric is currently stuck in the Tomb of Giants and boy does it make me want to strangle someone.
I worked my way down to the bottom of this place WITHOUT the skull lantern or any other light source. I did this because I was told there was a skull lantern at the bottom which was great and I found it. Then I went deeper and found the fog gate that is sealed by a "Great Lord" and now I have to climb back out of this place! Oh my goodness it sucks because it's filled with giant skeletons (go figure) and they are exceedingly hard to fight when you can't use your shield and can't see in the dark when you do : /

Displeased with that on so many levels.

Hopefully tonight/today I can get a picture of my finished choir up. They came out exceedingly well and i'm excited to share them with you. Hopefully this weekend I can get a game in, or even better do a battle report with all sorts of pretty pictures!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ray Harryhausen R.I.P.

There are a handful of individuals I credit with defining my views of fantasy and how I see the world of the fantastic in my mind.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Ursula K. Le Guin
Robert E. Howard
E. Gary Gygax
Larry Elmore
Jeff Easley

...and Ray Harryhausen. Who arguably was the first to establish my interest in the genre through his fantastic animations in film, especially the Sinbad movies.
He passed away yesterday, which is a shame that another wonderfully influential person of the genre is gone but he lived a very full life from what I can gather.

That list above is growing shorter. It really makes one feel their age doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

...Steven was more than I could handle...

...a dozen plus fights later that dragon is still clinging to the tower wall and lost about 8k souls trying to beat him. I tried several variants in armor and weapons and several different tactics but none of them were effective. My best assault was with my +5 divine mace (two handed) and my full suit of chain mail (+8 body armor even) with my steel helm. That time I did a little over 600 hit points to him which is a solid 25% of his life but he is still too strong for me. His attacks seemed really erratic and I couldn't get predict him at all.

Out of frustration I left and went else where and discovered Sif which proceeded to kill me. I got into the forest hunters covenant and put on their ring...that was also a let down. All the enemies I was summoned to vanquish were high level PVP players and I just got beat over and over again. I thought I'd be fighting NPC challengers not players who have tooled up for PVP and are invading just to get those fights. Also Mr. ZenCvalera it cannot be thought of anything more than poor sportsmanship to send someone an xbox message calling them pathetic. You are what gives online gaming a poor name.

Things got better...
...and this came in the form of beating the crap out of some giant cats...
...easily some of the most strange looking creatures in this game (I know some people are gonna disagree) I think its the hair that puts me off. Something between bed head and porcupine and it just made me all crawly. I had encountered it (them) earlier and almost had it killed when its two buddies jumped me from behind. Ah the Dark Souls learning curve. Anyway I came back prepared and killed them all. I love killing the mini bosses they give you a boost of much needed confidence.

With that confidence I went for some blood... I brought a heaping bucket of defeat to Chaos Witch Queelaag. I had been down to the bottom of blight town before (oh gosh how I hated that place) and saw Queelaag's lair from afar but I didn't feel up to the challenge so I went back up to fight other the dragon and so forth. After meeting defeat at the hands of the dragon and Sif and anything else big I ran into I decided to go back and beat on her for a while.

Well it turns out I was over prepared (in context to Dark Souls) and beat her my first try...alone...which I think is pretty good. I burned through 7 estus flasks and the fight probably took 5 minutes but it was a solid victory and really boosted my good mood :)

I don't know if I'll get to play tonight. But I do need to get some pictures up here rather than rant about this promises though. The allure is strong.