Busy Day [admin crap, LotFP]

Went through and updated the House Rules page, Occultism, the Savage, and a few other posts. Currently updating Physic to match my current offline rules, and reconciling firearms and Seamanship with my notes as well. Forgot how damn much some of this stuff has changed. Currently queuing posts for the next couple of days.

…also, I dropped the silverware drawer on one of my fingers and it’s pouring rain. So painkillers may be involved.


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.

yet another quick update.

Nothing super big going on for the last two days, just a lot of micro-progress. Still, I’m trying to publish at least once every two days right now, so here ya go.

As far as the ongoing cleanup goes, I sorted out the last of my terrain and materials into boxes, cleaning out and consolidating my three unsorted boxes of minis into one coherent whole. Still need another three to four plastic shoeboxes to finish storing everything (I need to sort the Mars Attacks suburbs and generic post-apoc terrain into its own box and clear out the big shoebox currently full of modular Necromunda and Russian industrial terrain so I can put my Space Hulk set into it). Bases are sorted for now as well, but I need to replace or repair the current Plamo case they’re in – the hinges on the lid shattered from UV degradation.

Less impressive-looking than perhaps it is. Top to bottom: Bases, Fantasy, Post-apoc, Warzone, Light Vehicles and Mecha. Gundams to the left, IG and moderns to the right.

Less impressive-looking than perhaps it is. Top to bottom: Bases, Fantasy, Post-apoc, Warzone, Light Vehicles and Mecha. Gundams to the left, IG and moderns to the right.

On the modeling front, I cleaned up, converted, and posed a Stalker, Wasp, and two RRPGT Valkyries, and did a photoshoot for my long-delayed review of the Destroid Tomahawk (which I need to finish now so that I can start on a Secret Project [tm]).

no soup for you

Finally, I’ve gotten the last bits of wood I need to do the paint shelf and finish restoring a bookcase I salvaged last month, so tomorrow’s gonna be a carpentry day.

About to be a couple of far more-impressive things.

About to be a couple of far more-impressive things.

Then I’m having guests for dinner. Should be a lot of fun.

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.

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…

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.

Reactor, Online… (Battletech, etc.)

Back online after the usual recovery/sanity period surrounding Sakuracon. We had a great year – it looks like we may actually hit our soft-cap next year – and my staff were as always pretty cool. Even got some game time in, along with the Gundam panel. I’ll have pics of S-con and ECCC later, along with commentary, but the posts are kinda stalled on my dashboard for now. Work is, as always, driving me slowly mad and ate the last week of the month; combine that with spring cleaning and you wind up with a month of dead blog. Sorry about the delay.

But enough about me, on to the content.

First off, a friend of mine had a birthday this week; he’s a big Seahawks fan, so I did him up a plastic Marauder in the 12th Donegal Guards’ colors, with a freehanded Seahawks logo.

Inn't she purty?

Inn’t she purty?

This is the first actual painting session I’ve managed to finish without cramping up or fucking up since I broke my hand last year. Now I need to get back on the stick..

Which is where the second part of this comes in. I’ve started work again on the Black Widows campaign I’ve been kicking around for months.

First step (yesterday and today) was finding the units, ‘Mechs, and planets used in each scenario, along with any special props and rules that might be required.

The next step, which should take about a week, will be updating the scenarios. See, Tales of the Black Widow Company isn’t actually a BattleTech book. It’s a BattleDroids supplement, crudely updated and shoveled out the door. Several things in it violate canon or construction rules (the Super Wasps and Griffin are infamous in this regard), and it was written using only ten standard ‘Mech designs throughout (plus two Mackies and the Supers). Hell, two of the units mentioned don’t even technically exist, nor do a couple of the planets. So.. yeah. I’m adding some iconic House ‘Mechs to each group (for example, swapping in Valkyries and Javelins for the Davion lights), altering others to give a slightly better balance, and swapping or enlarging the maps for a more tactical game (All of the scenarios use 1×2 or 2×1 setups of the original BattleDroids/BattleTech boxed set mapsheet with minor alterations).

Part of the ‘Mech cataloging process will be going through my collection and massaging the two to fit each other. Much as I love the Griffin, I don’t have twenty of them I can allocate to the pile (although the two booster boxes of Dougram gashapon I just picked up are certainly helping..), and adding in, say, a few Wolverines will certainly help matters.

After the cataloging comes the painting. Some are already painted (the Super Wasp, a couple generic Davion ‘Mechs), and I’ll be posting the WiP shots of the rest as I get into it.  88 total unpainted ‘Mechs at the moment, although with some list tweaks I can probably cut that down to ~80, and at least 10* different color schemes. I even get to paint the better part of a company of pirates (from the Santander Killers). If that doesn’t get me back on form, not sure what will..

For the edification and amusement of myself and my players, I’ll be playtesting my Random ‘Mech Quirks document as well (after the break, along with the unit breakdown).


Off-line for a couple days (also, Vance, and Wizards vs. Magic-users)

Heading out of town for a few days.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading me some Jack Vance – it’s amazing how many things, subtle things, that D&D jacked from him.

You hear “Vancian Magic” way too often in this hobby from people who don’t understand what it means. Yes, the disposable spells and imprisoning/memorizing them is Vance to the core.
It also implies a bunch of other shit. Research, experimentation, Lost Spells in the Dark and Weird places of the world, barely-controlled Tech and Nanotech. One of the reasons I’ve always had a problem with the 3x + (and even 2e to an extent) is that they simultaneously make research less-attractive/non-existent, and make magic too mundane.

See, a “Wizard” is different than a “Magic-User”. Magic-users, what the common folk call “wizard”, simply have magic. I’ve used several in the past that were 0-level NPCs and/or other classes, but had access to a magical tool, even a toy, or some internal mutation that gave them power.
A Magic-user is a deceptive bastard who uses fear and magic to keep himself off the pyre and serve his needs. Magic-users wield nothing more than a tool; they are laborers, not craftsmen, of Magic – and by 4e, they are all that remains.

(Reginald Balfour) This guy? Candles of Hypnosis and glasses that let him read any code. Boom - "Wizard".

(Reginald Balfour)
This guy? Candles of Hypnosis and glasses that let him read any code. Boom – “Wizard”.

Wizards and Magi, though? They almost understand magic, even are magic to some degree. A Wizard hunts power, knowledge, tools. He hoards as the Dragon, jealous of power, laboring to keep it hard by and thieve it from the less-worthy. A true Wizard does not have equals, but enemies, masters, inferiors, puppets; those with a hold on his soul or his power, and those who depend upon them. Wizards deceive, yes, but also play with Magic in a way a simple “user” never will.
Wizards study, and often die for, their Art – for a Wizard is an Artist, a Craftsman, a maker of Wonder.

The longer or more tightly-regulated the spell description (with limited exceptions), the closer you move to nothing but Magic-“Users”. When Grease stops conjuring a layer of bacon fat in an area and starts becoming “You can but make someone slip, or disarm them”, a Wizard isn’t the only one who loses out.
The entire game feels the hurt, for creativity and “breaking the rules” with magic are the very substance of the fairy tales and sagas we draw from.
More importantly, these acts should be part of the stories we write on our own every time we hit the table. Our tales are of finding wealth and creeping under the weight of dread, exultation and mourning, and above all being clever gits who do what we shouldn’t with every tool we have, because that’s the way Humanity works. It’s what we’ve done ever since we rejected the Garden, and it’s our fucking inheritance right alongside the weight of Adam’s Curse.
The Game shouldn’t be an endless walk down a barren corridor, whose seamless and indestructible walls lead into an unbranching infinity forever interrupted with doors, should not consist of hunting for the one and only key on our collective belt that will fit this lock.

Branch the corridor, tear down the walls. Give your players toys, not just tools; marvel at what they make of broad, Weird powers instead of simple rayguns and a really big sack they fill with FPS-style first-aid kits.


(From John William Waterhouse)
When’s the last time one of your PCs had to do this to use a magic item?

Most bummed

Gary’s, my favorite store in Seattle, is closing down. It hurts to see one of the few communities that made me feel at home up there dying – especially since I wasn’t able to go back this year to defend my Pinewood Derby title (see this post).
They’re having a sale to pick over the bones, not sure how long it’ll last.

…I’ve been working on a review of “Forgive Us“, but I’m actually able to integrate it into the next session for my gaming group (change the city to Tangiers and run the names through a randomizer..), so that’ll have to wait.

Personal Update

Been deeply occupied with Star Trek again of late – I can feel my obsessions shifting, which is always weird. I think I may watch DS9 again this month, or try to slog through some more Enterprise to see if I can stand it this time around. Of course, Robotech Tactics is probably going to devour my brain in three or four months, but that’s well within the borders of the Undiscovered Country.
Reactivated my ST:O characters (Andorian separatists, as if anyone cares) although I’m kind of remembering why I quit in the first place – too much grinding and not enough actual fun, the which I find primarily in space combat. I’ve dug out my FASA Trek Tactical Combat Simulator rules, ACTA Star Fleet, and even SFB (God help me..). It’s time to horse around with those new models I picked up.

Debating going down to the LGS and doing a test run/backdoor demo for ACTA next weekend. Lord knows ADB and Mongoose could use the help, even if the rules are currently completely up in the air and the basement-dwelling SFB trolls keep trying to tell the ADB devs what is or is not consistent with the Star Fleet Universe.
*Ahem*  [/rant]
Still looking forward to the revision, since I recall the Gorn being insanely broken.

On the movies front, I finally watched Pacific Rim, and it is frigging awesome. As an old-school kaiju-flick fan, there was just sooooo much to love. Yeah, it’s a little stupid and inconsistent in places, but I’ll forgive a lot for a movie that uses a container ship as a melee weapon. Let alone the number of shout-outs and references..

Home Again &c.

Back from my sister’s place. Acquired much miniature conversion fodder and Pokemon Y.
I now own 6 of the 11 total mini types created for Crimson Skies (too bad they still ignored 3 of the original 14 planes, but hey..), as well as a surprise bounty of 1990’s-era Star Trek Micro Machines – which used the same molds as many of the modern Star Trek Attack Wing and Clix models. It’s on. I’ve also got kitbashing materials for the DS9 Tech Manual/Star Fleet Tech Manual/Wolf 359 & Unification ship variants, not to mention the “Phoenix” variant of the Nebula-class. All I’m missing for the Feddies is a Miranda, an Enterprise Class/Constitution Refit (depending on what side of that particular divide you fall), and an Olympic – I imagine pretty much everything from First Contact is going to be pretty commonly available in the Clix sets.

Then it’s Klink time…

My Romulan fleet is actually in pretty good shape. Right now I’m also using several “modern” ships to proxy for stuff in ACTA Star Fleet. For example, the Romulan “Science Vessel” is a pretty decent Hawk, the “Old” BoP from Enterprise is an excellent Snipe or War Eagle (with the larger BoP then standing in for the King Eagle), and the KBoPs make great zipperhead Frigates for either side.

Anyway, I’m gonna go clean up and sleep. Tomorrow’s a busy day, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some photos together or something.

On Pact Magic. Also, Pokemon.

I was musing on Rumplestiltskin earlier and had a realization – it makes an enormous amount of sense if demons and/or devils can only work magic at the behest of others.
I mean, usually it’s already assumed that any bargains they make are for their “own benefit”. Why are the wishes perverted? Not just because they have their own fury and eternities of repression to work out. It’s also steps toward the long-term goal. And no matter how many mortals you fuck over, there’s always another wizard who thinks he’s clever.. or thinks the wishes he has rattling around in his head are his own doing.


John William Waterhouse – depicting a mortal about to do something incredibly stupid.

One of the reasons I’ve been so quiet the last week is that I finally started that Platinum Nuzlocke run. I’m using a modified ruleset (but doesn’t everyone?).
• Can only save at the end of a play session.
• Release any fainted pokemon, and can’t use HM’s on a fainted one.
• Only the first ‘Mon on any route can be captured, although trades, breeding, and gifts are okay.
• Can’t use items in combat. Can only use items picked up from the ground, no buying. Berries can be grown and held.
• Can’t leave an instance to heal until it’s completed.
So far it’s been a hell of a lot of fun, although I had to restart twice before the first gym after my starter got killed by crits in the rival duel >.>. It’s interesting being forced to use utter crap, and having severe weaknesses in my team because of the dual-types I’m rocking (grass/poison, fire/fight, normal/fly, normal/water, and rock/ground).

Folio project progress

Finished the first part of the Folio, adding and cleaning up all the spells from the original contest and some other stuff. Did you know that Lamentations has nearly 80 first-level spells, not counting my own?
Now I’m teaching myself to use InDesign to see if I can print it up in signatures or I’m going to have to do this the hard way again. I’ve reformatted the pages, going through on another editing pass before I start adding in all the Open Content stuff from the R&M .pdf.
Folio 2
Finally starting to look good.

Now back to cleaning my library and working on my next post (it’s pontificating about Treasure and RPG philosophy!).

Craft Fair Aftermath

Didn’t manage to sell my book, but the wife sold off essentially her entire inventory, and I used some calligraphy to barter for goods. Then we got free bookcases on the way home, so hey. $60.

The finished product

The finished product

IMG_20131204_080850_149 IMG_20131204_080916_511Vinyl cover, hemp thread, and Japanese rice endpapers. Not bad for a first effort, I think.

IMG_20131204_160256_118Our table, after the stampeding hordes made off with all our finished offensive cross-stitch. I embroidered “be a dick” on the Wheaton’s Law patch, which I found somewhat ironic.
IMG_20131204_160317_425My wife briefly abandoned me at the table.
In the Student activities building of an extremely progressive college.
With gigantic, framed cross-stitches of an uncomplimentary Saxon word for a latrine and/or female genitals, of a short tube for the conveyance of fluids, designatory terms for female dogs, and various other “helpful” things.
I instantly became the Gingery White Male Oppressor.
The sign deflected most of the filthy stares once people actually read it..

The highlight was the aged Yiddish woman who bought all the dirty words on the table and snapped up the rest as fast as we could sew them.

Hiatus due to broken wrist

What it says on the tin. Busted my wrist when I fell on Monday, and I can’t type for long stretches. What with needing to pay the rent by typing, that means the blog is gonna be down for a few more days.

Okay, I Lied (A Little) (also I updated stuff)

Just got back from Seattle. Hurt myself a bit during the trip, so posting tomorrow may be delayed depending on how I feel when the painkillers wear off. On the other hand, it was surprisingly profitable, both in connections, and in picking up the deposit check from my old apartment.

I picked up a foam sword with a really nice 1862-pattern Cutlass hilt. Going to see if I can’t get it cleaned up and resculpted a bit by Hallowe’en, and make a scabbard/blade for it. Hell, I might have an actual costume sword again for the first time in ages.

Apparently my Alpha Strike book came in, so it’s time to pick it up and run some large-scale stress tests with my brother. More on that as events warrant.

I also went through and cleaned up my Resin Casting tutorial posts, adding Step markers to part 2 and removing some naughty words. Now they’re SFW!  (Yeah, I did it because my boss’s daughter is going to go through them shortly, don’t judge me.)

Out of town

I’m up in Seattle taking care of some business. Back posting on Tuesday.

I leave you with a bit of poetry.

What is the distance between two crowns?
(We pray it to pass without strife).
As broad it can be, as five-score of years
Or as thin as the blade of a knife.