Happy Thanksgiving!

That’s about it.
Got parts for some Quonset huts and a water tower on the build table, and finished a full-size version of The Device for working on said items.
Unfortunately, one of my Navy souvenirs (a tropical lung-fungus) lit off again last Tuesday and I’ve been down since. Pics forthcoming when I can get some more build time and/or fucks.

Also, I highly recommend spending tomorrow watching the MST3K Turkey Day marathon on Youtube/Shoutfactory.  Lord knows I’m gonna be.

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General update (BT, LotFP, RL)

Been away for a while, and while I’ve been getting a lot done in meatspace I just haven’t had the right kind of energy or focus for extensive writing these last few moons (I’ve still posted a bit on tumblr and the LotFP G+ groups, just not enough material/fucks to hack at the KB here for a while) . Not to mention, I haven’t been getting much if any table time in (although that’s changing), so there really hasn’t been much to write about.
Oh, and my fourth wedding anniversary is tomorrow.
So.. general update time.

 

On the blog front:
Went back and fixed some broken links as well as doing minor edits to a couple of posts as playtesting shakes out. Notably, Camo Specs Online (the BT color reference site) went down and had to completely restructure, so I had to fix all those links. I bumped all my drafts to the top of the queue to see what’s salvageable.
I’m also going to be revising the sidebar links and adding a few new cool people to the list, as well as removing dead sites. If you happen to see something let me know.

Kickstarter updates:
Got my copies of World of the Lost, Towers Two, and England Upturn’d. All are amusing in their own ways. Reviews as can be arsed.

Robotech RPG Tactics continues to be a mass clusterfucking event, with Palladium now weeping crocodile tears about how hard it is to make new sprue layouts while promising us the same shit they have been since Wayne stopped talking last year. Kevin got hit by a truck and people were celebrating in the comments because at least the header on the Pallladium updates changed for a week. I need to get a few more items before continuing work on the build reviews for the Archer/Spartan, Warhammer/Tomahawk, and Longbow/Phalanx.

The Skyway Project buildings are fucking awesome.

Gameplay updates:
Got my friend A. into BattleTech, and we’ve done a couple of training fights now as well as dicking around watching ’70s and ’80s Real Robot anime. Much fun was had, and BATTLETECH occurred

Ran a picaresque game with Scenic Dunnsmouth for my folks on the 4th, using the characters from the Thanksgiving game as well as a couple new rolls. It got cut off right after a Big Reveal ™, but at a place that allows adding or subtracting characters as necessary. Play report shortly, along with house rules in use.

Meatspace projects: (project logs in line for several of these)
I’ve successfully sorted nearly 20 years’ worth of loose papers – including DM notes, half-finished projects, dead campaigns, and reference files. All of my gaming books are likewise sorted. I built new display shelves for my desk out of a deceased bookcase, and I’ve cut the panels for a chemical and paint storage rack as well.

One of my friends bought a folk-banjo at an artist’s garage sale, and I’m pretty sure I can do one. So I’ve salvaged most of the materials and gotten some tools together; just need strings and elements for the neck. I’ll be blogging my progress as it goes.

Finished one large piece of 6mm terrain. It’s a busted wall based on the shore defenses in Ha Shih Dao in the first missions of Steel Battalion. I also mounted and prepped a half-dozen California Base Turrets, along with a surprise FrankenMech Mechaturm, a massive wall, an assortment of bunkered buildings based on the ERTL Space Shuttle labs and sattelites, and some Quonset huts.

Painted and/or prepped a huge number of models for the Black Widow project. Photos coming this afternoon.

Bought a hardcopy of The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and soft-copies of various BT books (IntOps, CampOps, RS:Industrials, CM:Mercs).

I’ve built up some post-apoc minis for This is Not a Test, and grabbed an assortment of terrain. I also organized and repaired/re-stored all my modular terrain systems. I have a shitload of terrain.

Finished another few props for the local theater folks, including a Kodak Brownie 1880’s model and a couple of books.

Joined the local makerspace, and I’m likely going to be teaching a class on scratch-making half-timbred buildings for Mordheim and the like. Watch this space for deets.

Thanks for putting up with my shit. Have a shiny.

Thanks for putting up with my shit. Have a shiny.

Props, general update

I’ve been hellaciously busy the last month and change. First I did a crash commission for a cosplayer friend at PAX Prime, then I got roped into working Kumoricon with almost no notice, and I’ve just finished working on Theater Artists Olympia’s reprise of their original musical “The HEAD! That Wouldn’t Die“. More on that later.

First prop: Jinx’s Zapper (League of Legends).
There are only a handful of “official” images of the Zapper, so I was forced to make do with a couple promo images that showed the handle, and what I could glean from in-game footage.

Materials:
1.5″ pipe fittings, hangar wire, 1/2″ nylon cabling, plastic, a couple found items, a soda bottle, acrylic gem, 1/2″ nylon tubing, a maple 1×2″ board, and plywood.
Jinx zapper day 3
First shot I have of the build process, taken at the beginning of Day 3. This is all the parts assembles. You can see that I’ve outlined a tentative grip shape here, as well as carving the grip shape and trigger out. All of this would have taken half an hour with a Dremel, but I was working with a shitty hand-saw and sanding blocks.

Jinx Zapper day 4
Day 4.
A test design for the light-up vacuum tubes, along with fitted grips and a mounted hand-guard. The acryl gem is colored using a trick I picked up ages ago from another builder – if you put nail polish on one side and back it with something reflective, the gem winds up turning that color and sparkling. It’s basically how they make colored Rhinestones. As you can see, I mounted the rope around the wire for stiffness and shaping. I used left-over dessicant tubes from one of my medications, cut in half, as the end caps. The tube is just a placeholder at this stage, since  the one I’d glued together out of the 2-liter soda bottle was still in the clamps.
I’ve sawed off the base of the 90 degree bend, and am using it as an end-cap for the main barrel-tube. The trigger now has the knob on its end – for an up-build, I’d put some kind of knurled bead in there.

Jinx Zapper day 5
Day 5, about halfway through the workday (I took a break and took some photos). I’m test-fitting the butt-plate and the 1.5″ circular wooden plates that will hold the barrel-tube in place. The grip-plates are now stained and screwed in place, and the plastic parts and knuckle-guard are painted.

Jinx Zapper Day 6
Day 5, Final (I took this on Day 6, before I started work, hence the title). The second iteration of the vacuum tubes is in place (they failed spectacularly as well). I’ve puttied the sides of the receiver and mounted the muzzle furniture: the electrical tape is simply holding the main body of the barrel in place as the glue dries. At this point, I had also dropped rubber to start a mold of the prong I sculpted on day 1.

Jinx Zapper Final 1

Jinx Zapper Final 2
Day 6
, The “finished” Zapper without glowsticks installed. I’ve added a friction-fit center “strap” on the barrel. The copper tube though the center adds rigidity as well as serving as a conduit for the eventual lights & sounds conversion I intend to do. There are plastic spacers installed in the breech and rear of the muzzle that center the tube and have holes for glowsticks, my interim lighting solution.
The new, and final, vacuum tubes are based on short sections of copper tube, paperclip wire, wire mesh netting, and one-shot casts of found objects.
The head of the trigger guard forms a pin locking the barrel assembly in place; it can be rotated 15 degrees for maintenance or replacing the glowsticks.
The trigger itself is rigged on a return spring and wired to a simple detent switch for electrification. There is a slot for a battery pack immediately above it inside the breech housing. The grip and breech are screwed together, and the vac tubes will be screwed on as well once I rig the electric lighting.

The final product (for now)

Jinx Zapper final - Internals with flash Jinx Zapper Light Test
Top: unlighted. Bottom: a lighting test with cheap glow-bracelets.

Future Plans:
Electrify prop with flashing lights: not sure I can get a good sound rig inside it without undue expense. The vac tubes, barrel tubes, and gem will go from a steady, light-blue glow when on, to bright flashing blue-white when the trigger is pulled.
I’m also going to get a $5 ice-maker coolant hose to replace the interim rope-and-dessicant guard, and move the grip out and down slightly while sculpting the floorplate of the breech for better handling characteristics.

Washington is Burning

IMG_20150822_193559_118 IMG_20150822_194025_183Last week, we had a thunderstorm that lasted a hair under three hours over my house.
It ignited over 200 wildfires.

The Nisqually delta’s bog is burning. Our Maxfield Parrish splashes of glowing cloud have been replaced by a feeble magenta eye struggling to punch through to us. Yesterday the smoke was so bad in Seattle, you couldn’t see across the Sound, and I stared straight into the sun for the first time in over a decade. It’s like someone stole the sun and traded it out for a red dwarf. Everything smells, tastes, like smoke.

This is the worst it’s been since my great-grandmother was my age.

I’ve been on a Puzzle and Dragons/Fallout kick of late, plus doing a class in Seattle. Haven’t really had much traditional gaming-related stuff to say of late.

Went out to a concert last night with the wife and a couple of friends. Was okay, enjoyed myself. It was in a new local music venue/bar started by some neighbors.
We went mostly for the headliners, who came out of semi-retirement to play benefit concerts in Olympia and Seattle for a friend with cancer (incidentally, FUCK cancer).

Band 1 : Broken Water (local metally outfit)

Set was a little slow and poppy at first, but they broke into some excellent Doom metal and had a little jam session at the end.

Band 2: Man Date
A shitty protest-porn group. Had a ten-minute song about the WTO broadcasts, ended one song with a five-minute film of someone preaching at a pride parade. Not hard enough to be punk, but not competent enough to be anything else. We all left at some point during the set to have a drink and get some air and sorta didn’t come back for the rest of it.

Band 3: Earth
Oly boys, a Drone metal group that actually got some national recognition.

They haven’t toured in ages, so we were understandably excited. I was reading Narcosa for most of the concert. The band’s long, hypnotic fugues at brain-vibrating volumes worked quite well as a backdrop to the reading material (review later), along with the billowing clouds of cannabis wafting in through the windows from the alley outside. Surprised that there were only about a hundred folks there, but we all had a hell of a time. Ran into a guy with an Erol Otus day-glo Myconid shirt, spent some time talking about gaming and running games while high/while your players are high. Good times.

A Quick Update

Saw my first wild weasel yesterday. Looked to be a Washington Long-tail – beautiful cinnamon color, short tip on a very long tail, and almost no countershading.

Other than that I’ve spent the last three days repairing and prepping garb for the reenacting season. Pics later, although I have a bunch of WiP stuff up on my tumblr.
(Making a “new” hat, a camp knife, and a shirt, as well as repairing a pair of pants. Other projects to follow)

Still hashing out that NPC generator, trying to create a memorable system that rolls fast enough to make something at the table. Got it down to four throws, but I think I may be able to cut it down to two or three (and one, if you need someone right now).

For the nonce, however, I’m off to a family reunion in Oregon, and will be away until at least Tuesday. Remember to hoist a glass for the fallen on Monday, and maybe tell a few stories for Granddad…

“The Forgotten”, Session 5 (Actual Play, LotFP)

Had an entertaining, if startlingly combat-free, session this week. Brother #3 (the good Doctor) managed to get a real weekend off for the first time in a while, and brought his fiancee. She’s never played, but was interested. One of the other players couldn’t make it (due to work), so she got to be hung-over all session.

As an aside:
I’m not sure if the Savage class is mechanically more attractive than the others, if it fills a particular evocative need, or if I just wrote it well, but for some reason around a third of my players in the three campaigns and one-shot sessions I’ve run have taken them (the rest are basically Specialists – there are a total of 3 Fighters and one Cleric out of over 20 characters rolled).

Anyway, brother’s fiancee set about hammering out a Savage of her own – a Polynesian shark-cultist, lost in a storm during his rite of passage, and wandering the seas as a navigator looking for home.

Andrew Wyeth - "Gust of Wind" from "The Black Arrow"

YAR HAR FIDDLE DEE DEE~!

Where we left off:
Last session, Elizabeth discovered and purchased her father’s cabin boy in a slave market, deliberately concealing her reason by claiming him as an, ahem, “lady’s companion”. She quietly questioned him in the cabin about her father’s ship’s fate. He’d been thrown overboard from the Crow’s nest during a strangely-colored storm, and saved by a hunk of planking. The Corsairs picked him up and sold him out of Morocco, and he knew no more.

During the interview, the lookout and one of the PCs spotted a lion made of hellfire stalking along the coast towards the ship; they immediately weighed anchor and bailed for the Canaries. Three days out, they overtook a battle-in-progress between a Portugese carvel and a Corsair dhow. It was not going well for the merchants, who had been dismasted. There was a short argument amongst the crew about which flag to run up before they engaged, but eventually “French” won out. The Wind of Avarice‘s crew successfully sunk the pirate dhow, but blew up one of their own swivel guns with a misfire (mortally wounding a crew-man). The pirates had just enough momentum and position to ram and board; most of the Corsairs made it onto the carvel’s deck. The PCs closed and counter-boarded, sweping the pirates from her decks. Several misfires and an extremely successful Physic roll later, they recovered a half-dozen each of guns and blades, plus 8 prisoners, and saved two of their own crew as well as a mortally-wounded Portugese. For charity’s sake, they escorted the limping carvel back into her last port-of-call (their own destination as well), pulling in in the late afternoon.

The island’s governor begged off thanking the party and paying the bounty for the corsairs they had captured, citing “important business”. The Berbers were hauled off into the dock to await trial, and our “heroes” prepared to go get unrighteously pissed. Meanwhile, Sailing-master Michel set about finding materials for repairing the Wind‘s burst seams and mild hull damage from its repeated ramming adventures, and paying the ship’s tunnage taxes.

This session:
Conceding to the general mood, I fired up my Alestorm station on Pandora, because we’re well out of the territory for Berber music.
Also, apparently Alestorm has decided that they should do some Dimmu Borgir on the side (fast forward to 4:10 for the abrupt whiplash into full-on Swedish Death mode, then at 6:20 they’re back in Scottish Pirate, and shift off to power metal in the ~6:40 range..)

As we began play, Hernando’s player was slightly crestfallen when I pointed out that they hadn’t actually committed any acts of piracy per se – just sex trafficking, slave trading, smuggling, murder, fraud, grand larceny, sales by defraud, tampering with the fabric of Reality, more murder, providing aid and comfort to a fugitive, probable accessory to regicide, incitement to riot, arson, mayhem and maiming, torture, desecration, and espionage.
In five fucking sessions, I might add.
On the bright side, they don’t have any active governmental death-warrants yet, so there’s that.

Anywho, the party immediately decided to split up, which would have been a bad idea if my random encounter dice hadn’t had other ideas. Seriously, 12 rolls and no encounters? What the shit.

• Doctor Byron: CAROUSING TIME! He burned over 400sp, making a contact with the local “crimelord” and acquiring a dose each of purple, white, and crimson lotus, a bottle of something resembling habu-sake but with a frog inside, and a vial containing a sticky neon-orange oil (a curare extract). He was instructed not to take any of them in combination, and “don’t make any plans” for the day he used the frog-booze. He also picked up a useful rumor: there’s a pirate base somewhere to the North, and they should stay outa them waters if they don’t want a fight.
He passed out drunk in the rafters of the inn, there to stay the night.

• Hernando: Has been feeling increasingly itchy since he read a certain book during the Forgive Us run. He unpacked the Black Eagle, determined to use a combination of threats and a crowbar to extract magical knowledge from it (Bonus points for roleplaying a fighter with a tragically low Wisdom, I suppose). Unfortunately, after a badly-failed saving throw, he passed out; dreaming of a great black eagle with the face of a man ripping at the top of his skull, he took a couple points of Wisdom damage. Waking up, he wrapped it in an iron band, roped onto the steering-anchor, and hucked it into the harbor. This is clearly going to go well for him..
He awoke covered in fur, and spent most of the morning shaving.

• Brygytte: Got tanked, got into a pit-fight alongside Ol’ Roy, and won. Down 3 HP, up 300sp (mostly in jewelry and small coin). She came back to the ship shortly thereafter: during the fight, she’d heard rumors of mysterious stranglings each night in the town. All were known “trouble-makers”, but no-one on a ship or outside the town’s walls had been taken. No-one was sure who the culprit was, though all and sundry believed that deviltry was afoot *gesture to avert the Evil Eye*.

• Elizabeth: Tapped one of the remaining whiskey-tuns, leaving with a cask of whiskey, and bought a chicken. She asked one of the local urchins to take her to the “most respected grandmother” in town, but the urchin (blowing his reaction roll) decided to take her to the most-feared grandmother – Mama Odie’ – before fleeing. Mama was currently preparing to cast a divination for a strapping young Polynesian man; Elizabeth hailed him in (almost) his native tongue, and asked after his business. They chatted briefly while the houdoun did her thang, coming up with the prophecy “Travel with this woman, and you shall find your long-sought home“.
Elizabeth then made offerings to Mama for guidance; one set of boxcars later (given her CHR and gift modifiers, it was more like a 15..), and after providing the priestess with a “thing of him” – E’s father’s diary – she began casting the ritual again.

Seek the Violet sky.
Offer the sky a fish, and a bird to the sea.
Lay eyes on no man
for a night and a day.
The place you seek you soon shall see

The business transacted, Mama Odie proceeded to get roaring drunk, offering Elizabeth an interestingly-filgreed skull, which she claimed was a trapped spell (a scroll of Palsied Affect). Elizabeth returned home at a “seemly” hour, and slept the sleep of the non-damned.

• Two sailors disappeared during the night.

Re-united in the morning (well, other than Byron’s drunk rafter-sleeping ass), the PCs discussed their next course of action. Hernando, Brygitte, and the silent Polynesian grabbed a few samples of the furniture they’d jacked from the thieves’ guild in Tangiers, looking to sell it off at the sugar plantation outside town. On the way, Byron noticed that the workers appeared to be restive – bunching into small groups, working very slowly, and talking amongst themselves a bit much.
After being rudely rebuffed by the butler (“We don’t accept *sniff* peddlers here, sirs”), they managed to hail the young bounder in charge from the yard. Following another very positive reaction, he offered to buy their furniture and whiskey, and sell them un-processed cane at a very favorable rate – provided these charming adventurers gave him their tales. Cue in-character exposition to get brother’s fiancee up to speed… “Alonso”, the given name of the young master, seemed particularly interested in their harrowing and almost completely false account of their escape from  Marseilles (which also omitted their wizardly encounters in that city, and the other magic items they’d acquired).
Byron recognized the gentleman as being an agent of the Queen of France, in this Portugese port, and offered to discuss “personal matters” with him in French. After the PCs alerted him to the brewing unrest, he requested that they take a letter to his “associate” Bernardo Larriva, in a small tower on the northwest of the town.
Brygitte and the Polynesian returned to the ship to organize a working-party, quietly preparing the ship for action under cover of unloading the cargo.

Bernardo turned out to be a ferrety, whispering man with sharp white streaks in his red hair and many dueling scars – including a ragged slash across his throat. He accepted the letter and informed the PCs that they’d “know when he needed them”. He also passed a successful Sleight of Hand roll…

The night passed rather uneventfully, though one of the lookouts sighted three black sails coming from the Northeast, which slipped around a headland in the early morning.

Items of business:
• The governor is probably butthurt about several minor diplomatic insults.
• Slave revolts gonna slave revolt.
• The ship’s crew is perilously short of extra hands, and she still needs to finish her repairs before leaving “civilization” (such as it is).

GM tracking info. Feel free to disregard.
Price index:
Rum, other alcohol up 20%. Food down 10%. Luxury clothing down 12%. Luxury furniture up 10+%. Others as Rural or rolled as necessary.

Ship’s armory (not including PC weaponry):
2 swivel guns, 8 breeches (requires 10 shots’ worth of powder per shot)
1 light cannon, with 20 balls (requires 25 shots’ worth of powder per shot)
3 linstocks
9 50-shot casks of gunpowder, plus 30 shot’s worth in an opened cask
Four-stone-and-five of lead
10 match-lock calivers and muskets (all loaded and prepped)
2 flintlock pistols
100 feet of match-cord

Current haul/cargo status:
~50gp worth of silk clothing, packed in chests (2500 silver shillings) (smuggling hold)
20t of unprocessed sugar-cane (20 gp/1000sp)
1t of grain and biscuit (1gp/50sp)
1 tapped tun of fine whiskey (smuggling hold)
1 untapped Tun of rum
4 bottles of good French wine (sent as a “tip” by “Alonso”)

1 curious eikon of Solomon, adorned in Arabic characters.
1 magic bird, who is apparently a giant asshole.
1 sheaf of extremely incriminating blackmail papers on assorted Tangierines
1 sheaf of accounting records for the Tangierine theives’ guild.
3 charts of assorted clarity and value; one appears to be a treasure map pointing to a location to the NW of the island they’re currently docked at.

Coffers:
70 pieces of gold (3500 sp)

Crew (current, reflecting casualties and roster changes):
Captain Hernando Velasques
Doctor Wm. Byron
Quartermistress Lady Elizabeth
Sailing-Master Michel St.-Jourdain (NPC, 2nd-level Specialist with 5d in Sailing-craft, 3d in Languages)
L’t. of Marines Brygitte Benoit (Henchman)
Cabin Boys Ol’ Roy and William Holt (official position: Catamite to ship’s quartermistress)
Marines – 1 1st-level Specialist, 1 1st-level Savage (both currently unnamed ><)
Sailors – 19 able-bodied, 3 wounded.
Civilians – Malika bint-Gifar (wife of Hernando, NPC, 0-level Specialist or is she?)

Just got Lusus Naturae (LotFP)

I backed this a year and change ago on Kickstarter. The pdfs just went live on Drivethru RPG for fifteen bucks. Review forthcoming as I read – watch this space for more.

In penance for my sin of crass hyping, please enjoy this perspective map of mid 17th-century Paris.map - 1600s - Paris

Transports for Star Trek: Attack Wing (WiP)

So, Attack Wing is one of the better games Star Trek has ever gotten. It’s far from the best simulation, but it certainly scratches the fleet maneuvers itch in a way that ACTA and FASA don’t. Plus it has all-canon ships, post TNG season 1 (where FASA stops) and Animated Series (where ACTA/SFB stop). Yes, its action economy is fucked, and yes, Secondary Weapons are broken. It’s still fun to play, unlike Star Fleet Battles, if you have more than one ship. And let’s be honest, FASA’s non-canon designs are by and large complete shit.
Update: now with 200% more pictures, so you can see what the fuck I’m talking about.

FASA Ambassador top

The FASA Ambassador, designed in the middle of the second season of TNG.

Hey, that doesn’t look so..

FASA Ambassador sideOh Lord. Kill it with fire.
But today’s post isn’t about FASA, nor ADB’s “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” approach to game design. It’s about expanding Attack Wing a little.

Almost all of the STAW scenarios and OP events are based on episodes or movies. This is great if you’re a Federation player, but it eliminates many of the “classic” naval wargame scenarios. We only see a freighter in use a handful of times, for example, and a full-scale convoy attack is basically Right Out. Unless Worf needs to suffer, anyway..
One of the first problems you run up against while making freighters is the maneuver dial. Usually ships are either fast or extremely maneuverable, with Red maneuvers serving as a sort of half-assed choke on your Battleships turning like light cruisers. Freighters, on the other hand, are usually utter pigs. I realized a few days ago that the Mini-Clix dials I talked about in my Proxy Dials post would actually handle them fairly well, since they only have 12 slots.

My current test dial

My current test dial

This puts freighters at a nice, predictable 6″ average move. To put it another way, it’ll take about 5 turns of play (given a standard-sized board and set-up zones) to get a freighter off the other side of the map – or about 3 turns if you start in the middle. So, we’ve got their general piggishness and a basic parameter for the game length set out.

Cargo and Upgrades:
Thematically, Attack Wing is all about the upgrades. With that in mind, transports have a new Upgrade type: <cargo>. Some Cargo is free, others cost SP to field. If the ship successfully disengages as noted in the scenario, you gain extra Victory Points as noted on the card. If your opponent destroys or captures the ship, he gains the VP instead. The Convoy Attack scenario gives the Defender bonus points which must be spent on Transports or Cargo Upgrades (other Upgrades, if available, are paid out of your regular points allowance)

Captains with [Elite Talent] slots may not be assigned to a freighter. Nor may they be assigned any Admirals or Resource cards. Sorry, guys, they know as well as I do that’s a bad idea.

Current tentative cargoes:
Contraband – prevents attack cancelling, high VP award.
Grain – Tribbles are hilariously dangerous. Low VP.
Medical Supplies – “good guy” powers will leave you alone sometimes. Dice roll or Action? Average VP
.
Arms shipment – put a secondary weapon face-down under the card. Discard both during any Attack Step to attack with the weapon at Range 1-2, regardless of the Range printed on the card. Enemy gets the VP if you use it, High VP.
Q-Ship – Moderate SP cost. Adds AD and a shield.  No VP.
Bulk Goods – can discard to ignore a hit or crit, but the enemy gets VP for it. Low VP
Troop Ship – Add a “Boarding Party” to your ship for free, regardless of  the ship’s Upgrade limits. Instead of Discarding the Boarding Party, you Disable it instead. Average VP

===Ships===
All ships have a 90 degree forward arc unless otherwise specified. Most are in the “Light Cruiser” weight range, which means 1-2 Agility and ~3 Hull.

Federation:
Bradford-class tug. 15 SP. 1A/1D/3H/2S; [cargo] x3. “Evasive Action” and “Battle Stations” actions. AKA “Ptolemy”-class. You may notice that this is basically a demilitarized Miranda-class. This is entirely deliberate.

The original, unfinished shooting minature of the Bradford

The original, unfinished shooting miniature of the Bradford

Antares-class drone freighter. 10SP. 0A/2D/2H/2S; [cargo]x1. “Evasive Action”. Special: This card can be used without a Captain, with an effective Skill of 1. Flip over any Critical Damage cards that reference injury to the Captain or crew, and ignore their effects. This ship always ejects the Warp Core in the case of a Warp Core Breach effect.

Ortho shot of the original Antares (there's also a Miranda-class variant of the same name)

Ortho shot of the original Antares (there’s also a Miranda-class variant of the same name)

Klingon:
Heavy Freighter: 22 SP. 2A/0D/3H/3S. [cargo] x2. “Cloak”, “Sensor Echo”, “Target Lock”, “Evasive Action”. 180* Forward arc, no rear. The White 2-Left Turn and 2-Right Turn maneuvers become a Red 3-Left and 3-Right  This is almost a warship. Almost.

tumblr_nap4cjny6H1tch951o1_400

Independent:
Tuffli-Class Transport: 18 SP. 2/1/4/2; [cargo] x3. “Evasive Action”.

Not a Klink heavy frieghter

Not a Klink heavy frieghter. Totally. It’s, like, way bigger you guys.

“Hammerhead” Deep Space Frieghter: 10 SP. 0A/2D/1H/1S. [cargo] x1. “Evasive Action”. (this is Batris’ ship from TSFS).

Christopher Lloyd said blowing this sucker up was one of his favorite parts of his favorite role

Christopher Lloyd said blowing this sucker up was one of his favorite parts of his favorite role

Ferengi:
For 5 SP, you can exchange any of the original Upgrade slots on a Marauder for a [cargo] slot.

Bajoran:
Bajoran Medium Freighter. 15 SP. 1/1/2/3; [cargo] x2. “Evasive Action”.

Shot of the troop transport filming model courtesy of Drex and Greg Jein (used w/o permission and all that)

Shot of the troop transport filming model courtesy of Drex and Greg Jein (used w/o permission and all that)

You may notice that Wizkids  fucked up, and labeled the transport as a fighter. The Bajoran  fighter looks like this:

same source as above

same source as above

Dominion (Cardassian):
The Dominion can use the Tuffli-class, or the Bajoran Transport, without Faction Penalties.

Still working on a Romulan option.
I’m open to comments or suggestions, so let me know whatcha think.

Images used without permission for the Fair Use purpose of education and review.

Update: Robotech RPG Tactics corrections

According to the email I got from Palladium, their omission of various cards (see link) from the boxed set was deliberate. They have, however, made those cards and the missing Malcontent and Artillery cards available on DrivethruRPG for free. They’ll also be putting them up on their website “soon”.

They’re also working to make the Orguss Destroids and fighters slightly more builder-friendly, which is promising on the “later units” front.

Gaudete!

Have a joyous day on this, the High Feast of the Incarnation. Feast to the death of winter, and to the birth of the Redeemer.

Booyah!

The Death Frost Doom update just went live. Off to snuggle with it in a corner.

Family Fun (Actual play)

Ran a game this week! AND I finally killed one of the bastards – even if the Cleric managed to save him shortly thereafter.

I was down in Oregon for my cousin’s wedding (glorious: the groom wore a Regency riding-coat, purple silk waistcoat and cravat, and pulled it off), and crashed at my sister’s place for a few nights.

We wound up with almost the entire family around a table for the first time in ages (missing 2 brothers due to work). It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had to run 8 people at once. Fortunately, we had a fairly sober table (‘cept for the drunken goat and his pet Irishman), which made things much easier. The game itself continues to run fast and clean. I tested out the LotFP fast-roll sheets (see the house rules link, above), which worked like a charm; the equipment lists continue to be a sticking point, however, and I think I may just need to set up some of my patented “Generic Adventuring Packs” on 3×5 cards again. More on that later. Still, I actually had players deliberately minimizing their gear to avoid encumbrance penalties, buying pack-animals, and using their remaining gear and weapons in much more creative ways. Guns continue to be a huge hit with the players, and a great deal of fun to manage; strategic misfires changed the outcome of several fights. I found a few minor points on the gun sheets I need to clean up and make clearer, so those will be addressed soon.   The players also continue to avoid spellcasting like the plague*, making me a sad monkey. Time to break out the wizards…

*Current total of characters rolled up for my games: 6 Specialists, 5 Fighters, 2 Savages (both shamans), 1 Cleric, and 0 Mages.

The players, in order of seniority:
• Malcom O’Maihle, Irish Whitesmith (Specialist). Notable items: cold iron dagger, tinsmithing gear, and Oliver the English Goat (“Called him that so I could beat him without feelin’ too guilty”) [Dad]
• Guysponge Fourpwood, Mighty Pirate (Fighter). Notable items: Fat sack of cash, Kettle Hat, Pig Latin proficiency. [Sister #1]
• Arturus Falconwrath, Dilettante and Upper-class Twit (Specialist). Notable Items: Elspeth the Camel-sheep (a pack-llama), Rifled carbine, attitude, disownment from family. [Sister #2]
• Giselle, Venetian whore Spy (Specialist). Kelptomania, hourglass, lockpicks, other tools of trade. History with “Arturus”. [Wife]
• Matahi, South-Seas Harpooner [Savage]. Taboos out the ass, shark-tooth sword, flensing knife, harpoons, the Arm of Zotz (God, I love that spell), assorted shaman’s tools. [Brother #2]
•  Kerwin, German Jäeger [Fighter]. Uniform, rifle, one of the only German-speakers in the party. Excellent character portrait. [Sister #3]
• Rajahan, Persian mercenary [Fighter]. One of the few players who brought shelter. Someone’s going to sleep way better than the rest.. [Sister #4]
• James, Cleric. Had Holy water and a good old “Holy-water sprinkler”. Only PC with a shield or armor heavier than a buffcoat. [Brother #4]

Plus one character who went unplayed due to its owner deciding that bed was the better alternative to math.

Scenario: Players are shipwrecked on the Isle of the Forgotten; items are what they’ve managed to salvage/lay claim on. The party were on two separate ships, both wrecked in the same storm, and of several differing religions, which I forsee making life interesting if we pick these poor bastards up again.  Mild spoilers for “Better Than any Man” below the cut, so if you still haven’t read it, go get it. (I re-skinned the Farmhouse complex from BTaM on the fly into a recently-raided Polynesian village.)

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My apologies for waiting so long to update.

I’ve been struggling to come to terms with a major change in my health, and several family tragedies of varying scope. I just haven’t had the resources, mental or physical, to deal with the net for a while.
Regardless, my Battletech project is ongoing. Johnny Clavell’s Rifleman is basecoated, and I’ve got the minis chosen and basecoated for the Haseks, Santander’s Killers, and the Black Widows. Pics when I’ve got something worth showing off.

I’ve also been drawn in by Star Trek Attack Wing. Why do I always have to fall in love with the unsupported games? :b
The system’s got flaws, most glaringly in its field-of-fire rules and blatant Federation favoritism (although I suspect that’s Paramount’s fault – I have a whooole rant on that that’s fodder for another post). Still, based on my playtests it runs fast and fun, and it’s nowhere near as shitty as the Clix game (nor as abandoned as ACTA..). Cash and time permitting, I should be able to get into the tournament the LGS is having in two weeks. Here’s hoping for a Saber and a Constellation
I’ve also been rebuilding/painting/mounting Clix models, and kitbashing some of the more obscure Feddie ships together for my own purposes. I also have a master-list of the Trek ships and the wargame systems which have rules for them, with some proxy suggestions. That goes up once I’m done transferring it from my meatspace clipboard and clean it up a little. Finally, I’m in the middle of a comparative photoset of two Miranda-class Light Cruisers, one basecoated black and one white. Intermediate steps will go up on my tumblr.

To sum up: Life has sucked recently, but I’m sick of letting that run my life. Time to start moving forward again.

Even if that will be on crutches for the foreseeable future.

June Fair, or How I Spent My Weekend

Got dragged out to Port Gamble for June Fair this weekend. No photos, since I don’t bring cameras to SCA events – just doesn’t seem right.
Had a lot of fun, although I thoroughly embarrassed myself at the butts – hit a rather large target only once at ten yards. Daddy needs some practice and a decent bow. On the other hand, I managed to cook some absolutely stunning pork chops and pretty good hash.
I also managed to get a young Hebress away from the apprentice scribe (who was illuminating some practice capitols), answer said lady’s questions about script and tools, and got to play with one of the master-scribe’s quills and walnut ink for my troubles. Paper was modern, and a little too thirsty, but her tools were a pleasure to use. Also got an offer of paper for my book-binding; this means I really do have to get on the stick with my press and scribal gear.

Only one of our Society friends was on-site, alas, but we might run into some more at the Honey War this month.

It looks like we might be putting together a house. Brother #3 is going full-on Viking (~6th century), as is a friend of mine from Sakuracon; wife’s brother is undecided, but his woman is very much for the idea of something “flowy and Roman”. Brother #2 is gearing up as a Byzantine of a similar era, which is utterly in keeping with the concept of a Vyking crew. Wife tends toward the 14th century.
Me? I like mid-17th century, which is slightly out-period. Could probably get away with late 16th, however, and Lord knows I’m comfortable in a Norse craftsman’s garb. Regardless, I need to get set up to start competing and maybe even find a master.

Short update

Spent all day yesterday at a craft fair. Didn’t make much but at least we covered costs for some household crap.
Trying a new mold-throwing method/style. More news and photos once the second pour cures tonight. I’m also cutting wood for a map-box to accommodate my spare BT maps.

ECCC 2014 (Panels)

Emerald City Comicon is my relaxation con. I love being able to just be an attendee, and there are a lot more people I have the time to enjoy talking shop with.
Sorry, Sakuracon, but our support for tabletop games and model-building kinda sucks. I also don’t really get to see panels (or anything) that happens before 7PM at S-con, I’m too busy down in my troll-hame under the stairs.

This year I didn’t get to see all I would have liked at ECCC; Tudyk’s panel was choked with bodies and had people still lined up halfway around the 6th floor wating for an opening. Just wasn’t worth it. Still, the ones I hit were more than worth it, especially for the commentary on acting strategies and goals.

Oh, and a language warning: Both I and Mr. Perlman say “fuck”. A lot. Now then…

First off, as a public service announcement:
Stop fucking asking about what voice acting is like. I’ve only done classes and I can tell you: boring. You sit in a booth and get fed lines and direction through headphones. If you’re really lucky and doing a dub, they’ll project some footage for you to work to. Otherwise, it’s an entirely masturbatory exercise: you’re in there by yourself, having a moderate amount of fun but wishing there were other people there, and you can do it with no pants on. Yes, working on video games is basically voice acting, and no, it’s not going to change based on how much you liked the game.
I have now saved you, and all the rest of us at Q&A panels, a good 5-10 minutes that can be used for interesting questions.

Dwight Schultz:
IMG_20140328_130909_303
Friggin’ hilarious panel. Lots of interesting little tidbits.
Apparently he actually got fired from the A-Team before the show was picked up, but he turned out to be one of the most popular characters in the pilot during test screenings, so they re-hired him and fired Tim Dunigan (who was replaced by Dirk “that “r” should be a “c”” Benedict). Also, Whoopi Goldberg actually got him into Trek: he commented once that he loved the show, and a script showed up with his name on it not long after – no audition, just “come on in”. He auditioned for a part in a new Peabody and Sherman cartoon the Monday after the con; I hope he got it, I love his voice.

Nichelle Nichols was amazing. None of my pics came out, and due to a self-induced scheduling error, we only got to see half the panel. I was not pleased with myself.
Still, we walked in on a proposal on-stage, at the end of which she turned to the girl and said, “Honey, this ring has been on my finger for over 50 years and I just about said ‘yes'”. She spent about 1/2 her time on-stage rambling about how awesome the space program is (while repeatedly apologizing, and being told very loudly by the entire auditorium to keep going..).

Right after her was John De Lancie. Now, everyone has a different personality on-stage; Nichelle was relaxed and chatty, Perlman was a little uncomfortable but clearly having fun, Dwight was pretty much joking around and nerding it up with us and talking over his career with the MC. De Lancie? He walked out owning the stage. The MC quickly got pushed aside, and he commanded that frigging hall for an hour.
At the end he told a story about his work on The Wild Thornbirds that managed to be dirty as Hell and still age-appropriate for the audience (because ponies). Also, he apparently shot the brony documentary specifically as a “fuck you” to Fox News, and didn’t initially know that Discord was going to be Q – just took the spec script and thought it was funny. The day the episode came out, he got ~400 emails, and he’d already forgotten he’d done the job..

Love his face.

Love his face.

Speaking of ponies, at one point two little girls (sisters) came up; he hauled them up on stage and asked them what their questions were..

Mr. DeLancie, who's your favorite pony and why?

“Mr. DeLancie, who’s your favorite pony and why?”

Oh, he tried to blow her off as politely as he could – “I didn’t really get to meet the other actors, I don’t watch the show..” and the like. Turns to second sister:

*about to cry* Who's your favorite pony? T_T

*about to cry* Who’s your favorite pony? T_T

“Right, you’re not going to let me get away with this, are you. Let’s say Fluttershy, because she taught me about friendship” *entire room erupts in cheers and applause*.

I also got more background on the Doug Drexler incident (his blog is dead now, sadly). See, Doug’s first day on Star Trek was Q-Less.. which was being shot the day before Thanksgiving. Doug was coming off of Dick Tracy, as a make-up guy; John, meanwhile, was being filmed “naked” (in a jock) on the bridge of the Enterprise, as Q’s been stripped of his powers. Apparently the makeup on DeLancie’s ass was running, “because olive oil soap really works..”. After he’d taken a shower with shitty dishsoap, they re-situate him on his little cart.  This was Drexler’s first day, and Midnight is fast approaching. They call in Drexler to patch the makeup mess on John’s arse; the director shouts (as Doug is dabbing DeLancie’s ass-crack with a cotton ball soaked in foundation)  “Ladies and gentlemen, Oscar winner, Douglas Drexler!” (killing the room). But.. well, the straps on the jock are screwing up the shot, and they only have an hour left at this point.
So he ditched it.
Apparently the take was perfect, and done much sooner than the previous ones…

He also talked a good bit about “Alien Voices”, his other misadventures as Q, and getting into acting.

IMG_20140328_163528_911Sonoda Kenichi. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-
ahem.
This is the entire reason I sprung for tickets. The man is one of my artistic heroes; his body of work includes both of my favorite mangas and one of the first mecha shows I fell in love with.
There were only about thirty of us at the panel, which made me kind of sad, but he told several stories about his early work with Artmic and Gainax. He kept focusing on me while telling the stories (I suspect it was because, other than the translator, I was the only one in the room using aizuchi), which was disconcerting but awesome.. My questions were about Cannon God Exxxaxion and its realistic protrayal of PTSD – which has actually helped a couple guys I know deal with it more effectively – and thanking him for his work. Other questions focused on his work on Gall Force, Otaku no Video, and Gunsmith Cats; Bubblegum Crisis got a bit less love – although apparently his favorite character ever was Priss’s hardsuit, followed by Catty from Gall Force. Most of the reason he liked the Riding Bean/Gunsmith Cats OVAs was the level of creative control (which actually explains a lot, looking at his work as a whole). He’s working on a new series, for the sake of which he exhorted us all to pester Bandai.
We also got to talk briefly after the panel; dude is cool as fuck. One more box checked off the bucket list :3
Now if only I can find some way to get Takada Yuzo dragged over here…

Michael Dorn’s pics didn’t come out either :/
Panel was fun but I don’t remember much of it, due to lack of sleep and caffiene: he helped with a proposal as well earlier in the weekend. Told some amusing stories about prune juice, reminded us to push for Captain Worf (which I want to see happen rather badly).

 

My mancrush

My mancrush

Ron Perlman:
Quote of the night, “It wasn’t lying there in the BLOOD that was the problem, it was the other guys’ piss, really.”
He really, really does not want to fucking talk about Sons of Anarchy and/or his exit from that show, and people just wouldn’t stop asking him questions about it. We’re talking visibly furious by the time the third idiot asked him how he felt about the show. Apparently, during the filming of his death scene, they made him lie perfectly still in a pool of fake blood, and several people felt it was an appropriate time to whizz on him.
On what turns him off on a film: “Shitty fucking dialogue. I became an actor to do Ernest Fucking Hemingway.. not this crap.” Talked a lot about his relationship with Del Toro and City of Lost Children. I was too busy swooning to remember a lot of what he said :b

More ECCC (cosplay/Legos/models) next post.

Some Generators I wrote (LotFP, Magic-users)

The kindly folks over at Last Gasp Grimoire have created a random generator maker (you don’t know how hard it was not to type “generated a generator for generating generators”..), and I have availed myself of same.

Click the following 2 links to generate:
A name for your (presumedly foul) Wizardly organization*
&
The Spells which they teach to initiates
(or, “what spells your first-level Mage doesn’t have to seize from others”).+
EDIT: These links break WordPress (one contains over 1000 entries..). Go to the 7th order page and look for “wizardly schools” under “names” and “Random 1st-level Spell Generator (LotFP)” under “Spells”

*”–” means “nothing”, and (and?) is an optional element. Skip it when writing down the name if it makes sense.

+Wizards may choose one spell in addition to those generated: if a spell is doubled in the generator, they may either memorize it without access to spellbooks, or select an additional spell. It’s weighted to always provide at least one each of an attack and non-combat spell, although my definitions of either might be.. debatable. It uses spells from the Spell Contest booklet**, Gingerbread Princess, Better than Any Man**, and God that Crawls. If you don’t have one of the above, make something up.

** These two are PWYW/Free, so you have no excuse :b

Have fun, and poke around – there’s a lot of entertaining stuff in there already.

“The Forgotten” Session 3 (Actual Play!)

Continuing on from Sunday’s session..
Damn, this got ugly. If it weren’t for the henchman sacrificing her armor, the services of a (startlingly tolerant) wizard, and the blessings of Buckshot, the party would be dead right now. As-is, several of them are permanently scarred physically and all of them mentally. God I love this job. (From one of my rogues: “That was the most Metal game of D&D I’ve ever played”.)

As you may recall, I’m running the new module Forgive Us”, by Kelvin Green (Full review coming tomorrow, after I have time to digest it all). Spoilers after the break.

We left our “heroes” as they released a competing party’s magic-user (bound and gagged) to his fate in the dhimmi quarter of Tangiers. It was now 12:30, and they had about 5 1/2 hours until sunset and the probable seizure of their ship..

—————-Here be spoilage————–

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“The Forgotten” Session 2: Delicate Negotiations.

Or, “There is no such thing as a Diplomacy Crowbar”.
AKA, “I’ve got three fluid ounces of Diplomacy right here.”

In this session, I ran the first half of Forgive Us, albeit heavily Arabicised. Spoilers coming up after the fold. I used various random generators on Abulafia  (link goes to the primary one) for the quick name changes, and changed the tavern to a whorehouse, but kept almost the entirety of the module intact.

On returning from their revels, the party were met on the deck by Sailmaster Miguel, who revealed:
• the party’s contacts were nowhere to be found
• they had 5 tons of liquor on board in a Dry port
• And the bribe to the customs inspectors would expire at sundown.
The party quickly agreed to head to the local smuggler’s den and investigate. They found the location abandoned, with a strange blue flag flying from the warehouse, and the locals mostly surly. Mostly…

[Hence there be spoilers and shit]——————————————
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