Down the Bumpy Road

After a few false starts, including a long search for my silicone mixing bowl, I’ve started working on my new Descent table.  It’s a good thing too, because I sold the cavern one to a friend who was moving to a new city, and wanted the set to help kick-start his own C&C campaign.  I’m using two molds, the #201 and #205 gothic floor tiles from Hirst Arts.  I’ve cast each about eight or nine times, so I’ve got a ways to go, I reckon.  But at least it is a start.

I also ran my last C&C adventure for Frankie and Kiera’s players, who are leaving for a new home.  We did a fun adventure, the “Challenge of Champions 2” from an old issue of Dungeon Magazine.  CoC2 is a lot of fun puzzles primarily designed to challenge the intellect, but with a teacher, a doctor, a computer programmer and an engineer as a team, it was pretty much a breeze.

Some bad news, though.  My digital camera got broken so I will not be able to take any photos for a while.  It will be fixed (or replaced) soon, so the photos will continue to flow…

The First Day Report

I didn’t get as much done today as I hoped (surprise, surprise) because I ended up babysitting my nephew most of the afternoon. No regrets, though, he’s a great kid and I enjoy spending time with him.

Also, I seem to have fewer gothic floor tiles than I thought too. I thought I had a bunch cast, but appear to have used them all. That means more time casting, and perhaps pushing my plaster supply to the limit.

On the upside, I did get a good game of Warhammer in: 3000 points of my dwarfs vs. 3000 points of Tomb Kings and 3000 points of Tzeentch Chaos in a “Last Stand” scenario. Well, my dwarfs folded faster than Superman on laundry day, mostly because I was facing Setra on the TK side, and he moved his army into close combat in one turn, denying me the two rounds of shooting I was hoping for. But I’m a big believer in the “Go Play” philosophy: that playing is better than any other dimension of the hobby, not the least of which is the fact that it feeds the energy to do the painting and building and all the other stuff. That’s even true when you get clocked pretty badly.

The Hobby-palooza

I’m back from vacation, sporting one of the worst sunburns that I have ever had, period.

Not that I’m back, I’ve got quite a bit of free time on my hands. I’m going to spend it doing some projects that I haven’t had the time to do previously. These include:

  1. Doing a Gothic version of the Descent tile set
  2. Taking apart a HO-scale train table my son was given, and reconfiguring it for something more useful (note: this may sound ruthless or destructive, but the table isn’t really attractive or appropriate for a young child. I’ll post a pic)
  3. Play lots of Warhammer and C&C
  4. Clean up the house (I got to do something non-hobby related in there)

I’ll also be watching Farscape: Season One on DVD, a recent gift. That will keep me occupied between casts.

The $4 GameMaster kit

A while back, I kicked around the idea of organing my RPG campaign information into a format other than the traditional “gazetteer” layout, i.e. a bound 8.5″ by 11″ notebook with each entry/encounter/adventure following the next. I’m a big fan of index cards, and use them pretty extensively at work to organize information, so I wanted to do something similar with my game. I also wanted something I could take on the road, both to games and when I am traveling about and get an idea I want to put down for a later gaming session.

After fooling around with several different formats, I’ve come up with something I think works very well. Better yet, it is remarkably inexpensive. I came across a “MiniPadFolio” at Staples, which costs $2.50 each if you buy more than one (I did). The MiniPadFolio measures about 5.5″ by 7″, and contains pockets for index cards, a small tablet, and a pen holder. The cover has an elastic clasp to hold it together.  The index cards cost a dollar, bringing the whole kit to just under $4 total.
GM Kit 1

GM Kit 2

The cards (which can be up to 4″ by 6″ as seen in the photo) are organized by topic like “Location,” “NPC,” “Encounter,” or “Monster Stats.” For a gaming session, I have the cards organized with places the PC’s are likely to go, monsters they will encounter, etc. that I can just pull out as necessary without flipping around pages. I use the tablet to keep track of hit points, initiative, etc. for each combat.

What’s really nice is that it tucks nicely into my laptop bag, and travels easily. I have the second MiniPadFolio for my wife to use while she’s on call, scoring those extra karma points for when I have another gaming session go longer than expected.

Some recent games under scrutiny

I’ve had a love affair with Mordheim for years, but I’ve always had problems with how restrictive the game is in terms of warband composition.  Naturally, Games Workshop wants to sell their own minis, but I’ve always enjoyed the idea of playing what I’d want to, as long as it was balanced against everything else.

That has meant that I’ve looked at a lot of other games, including such luminaries as Warlord by Reaper and the aforementioned Chaos in Carpathia.  Right now I’ve got three at which I’m taking a close look.  Both games have built-in limitations about what you can play, though.
The first in No Quarter, which is free, but has a bit of complexity to it.  Sort of Warhammer+1.  It is also built for Warhammer-sized armies, although it can be brought down to a pretty small number.

The second is Ares, by Majestic 12 Games.  Open ended like No Quarter (with sample creations in their oddly-named Beastiary), Ares is a lot more simplistic, and even features an open-ended magic system as well.  It does feature different dice (d6, d12, etc.) which is an odd quirk you don’t see too often these days.

The third is a dark horse, in fact it is so dark that light can not escape it, called Iron Arena.   I’ve got a copy of their sci-fi game, Storm Front, but honestly haven’t read through it with much detail, because the layout is almost visibly painful, with a too-dark watermark blurring every page.

There’s another blog out there where the blogger is trying to paint 1000 points of No Limits (the sci-fi version of No Quarter) in a single month.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be too big a task, apparently, since the blog has been inactive since April, and he didn’t even finish his first 1000 pts.  Nothing against guy–apparently he’s trying to juggle a new job, classes, and scratchbuilding parts of his army.  But I like the idea well enough, especially when I’ve got a bit more free time on my hands coming up this summer.  More later…

I Saw Lon Cheney down at Trader Vick’s…

I’ve had a huge up-tick in work this past week, sidelining both my Naresh warband and a lot of other projects as well.  In the meantime, though, I picked up Chaos in Carpathia by Blue Moon Publishing.  It’s sort of like Mordheim, set in the late 19th Century (or rather the Hammer Film equivalent) with human bands battling vampires, werewolves, and their followers.  Each warband has a (somewhat limited) option regarding composition, usually with the werewolf or vampire being the cornerstone of their respective groups.

I could see how campaign play would be harder than one-shots, because warbands could be tooled to defeat their specific opponents.  I’ll have to put together a couple of small bands and do some practice games and let you all know how it looks.