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.