Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tales of the glory of Christmases long long ago...

Two of the things that I associate the most with Christmas presents from the past are Atari games and Dungeons & Dragons.  Now I can play a lot of those games in a browser.  :-)

I need D&D in a browser too.  Maybe I should look more closely into Roll20.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas (A bit early)

 On this day one hundred and seventy years ago, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was first published.  17 December 1843.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the Barbarian Horde!

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter Results

I finally unpacked all of my new Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles last night and used them to build a test dungeon.  This dungeon was built entirely with my kickstarter rewards, and I would say that the results were quite good.  There are certainly enough pieces to do a decent sized layout.  I was tempted to break out my old sets and just keep going, but I think I'll save that adventure for over Christmas. :-)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Miniatures Monday

In benighted chambers far beneath the earth rests this altar of evil, stained with the blood of countless sacrifices!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

50 years in time and space

Happy 50th anniversary to Doctor Who.  That I remember the 25th anniversary makes me feel a bit old though...  :-)

Well, I've seen the 50th anniversary special, and they cheated.  Of course they cheated.  With time travel you can always cheat.  It's not the same show from my youth, similar yes, and still tied to it's heritage, but it's different.  That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it.  I did.  But they still cheated. :-)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Miniatures Monday

A dreadful cyclops hurls the skulls of his victims at his enemies!

Another of my very old miniatures.  I got this one for Christmas in 1982 as part of one of the Grenadier Dungeons and Dragons Action Art sets.  Those were the sets that came with paints.  I was always very excited about the idea of painting this one, but it still ended up taking me 31 years to get around to it. :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

The Kickstarter rewards for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls continue to arrive.  Yesterday I received the commemorative coin set.  I have to seat that they are way cooler than I had even hoped for.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miniatures Monday

A fearsome hill giant prepares to smash his foes to jelly with with his mighty war club!

Today's miniature is a hill giant from Grenadier Miniatures dated 1985.  I picked it up from the bargain bin at Games Unlimited sometime around 1990 and have been waiting to paint it for many years.

It is fitting that my 300th post would be a Miniatures Monday post. :-)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Miniatures Monday

Keeping with the Runequest theme, here is another miniature that while not an official Runequest mini certainly could pass for one.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Miniatures Monday

Today's entry is from a long way off and a long time ago.  All the way from Glorantha back in the 1980's.  It's one of Ral Partha's official line of Runequest miniatures.  Runequest is one of those games that while I've owned multiple editions of it, I've never actually played it.  I may need to check out the new 6th edition.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dwarven Forge Dungeon Tiles

Yesterday, my Dwarven Forge Kickstarter dungeon tiles arrived.  I had pledged for three sets of the painted ones and have really been looking forward to their arrival.  As an aside, kudos are in order to Dwarven Forge for hitting their planned ship date of October 2013.

Shipping box from Dwarven Forge

Treasures within!

The box that they arrived in was about the size of the box for one of their smaller sets, but was packed full of goodness.  Some of the selling points for the new tiles were that they were to be lighter and more durable owing to the new Dwarvenite (aka. PVC) material from which they are cast.  These arrived packed closely together in small cardboard boxes rather than in the large styrofoam trays that the resin sets shipped in, and I didn't break my back getting them in the door.

Comparison:  Original Resin cast on the left and the new Dwarvenite cast on the right
Bases:  Felt pads the resin cast and none on the Dwarvenite cast

In terms of size, the tiles match up nicely with the existing resin casts, but they are stylistically a bit different with square brick walls instead of oddly shaped stones and floors that are more similar to those found in the old cavern sets.  The new tiles also don't have adhesive felt on the bottoms like the resin tiles did, so you may want to invest in your own if you miss that.  The paint jobs on the new tiles is acceptable, but not as nice as the old ones.  This isn't a complaint, rather just an observation.  You are free to get the unpainted sets and paint them yourself if you don't care for the paint scheme.  As I understand it though you have to be careful about the paints that you use and some won't adhere well to the Dwavenite (PVC).  For more information on painting the tiles yourself, check out this link at the Dwarven Forge website.

Floor differences:  Resin on left Dwarvenite on right
I don't plan on doing a durability test, but the new tiles are definitely lighter.  For the two pictured above, the resin cast weighs in at 2.6 ounces while the Dwarvenite cast weighs 1.9 ounces.  Overall I'm pretty pleased with the new tiles.  I don't feel like I have to treat them as gingerly as the old ones, and they were certainly cheaper.  I'll have to give them a test in actual play before I render my final opinion, but I have a feeling that they will work out quite nicely.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Miniatures Monday

 A daring knight braves the frightful depths!

This miniature is from the old part of my collection.  It's from a long extinct company called Wizards and Lizards, and I bought it somewhere between 1983 and 1984, so it's made from lead, and it's also true 25mm scale.  It sort of makes me feel like playing Pendragon.

Happy Birthday Ursula K. Le Guin

To one of my favorite authors, and one of the few who writes back, Happy 84th birthday!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wow, has it really been 35 years?

The ABC Sunday night movie on 17 September 1978 was Battlestar Galactica.
That hardly seems possible...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Miniatures Monday

A gigantic barbarian warrior stands beneath the blazing sun in an ancient ruin!

So I took a clay golem miniature (a copy of last week's miniature) and made some slight modifications, adding a sword.  The result was an ridiculously huge barbarian warrior.  Overall, I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Savage Worlds: Creating a Character (Step by Step)

This week, we will create a character for savage worlds.  So that we can see how the same character looks across game systems, we will once again be creating Korgrym the Unrelenting, barbarian hero extraordinaire.

In Savage worlds, you first begin with the character's race.  Korgrym may be savage, but he is still human, which means that he will start with one free Edge, which we will explain later.

Savage Worlds characters have five attributes:

Agility - How nimble, quick, and dexterous the character is
Smarts - How smart the character is
Spirit  - How much wisdom and willpower the character has
Strength - How physically strong the character is
Vigor - How tough and resistant the character is to disease and harm

Attributes are associated with dice.  the Larger the die, the better the attribute.  Each attribute starts out at a d4 in each attribute and has 5 point with which to raise them.  Each point spent raises the attribute to the next larger die, d4 -> d6 -> d8 -> d10 -> d12.  No attribute may be raised above a d12.

Korgrym is strong, and tough, and quick, but not very bright, so his starting attributes are as follows:

Agility -    d6  for 1 point
Smarts -   d4
Spirit  -     d4
Strength - d8  for 2 points
Vigor -      d8  for 2 points

Now it's time to choose skills.  Each character has 15 points to spend on skills, and each die type costs 1 points, starting with d4 as long as the skill is less than or equal to the attribute that it is linked to.  Korgrym chooses the following skills:

Fight -             d8 for 3 points
Climbing -      d8 for 3 points
Riding -          d6 for 2 points
Stealth -          d6 for 2 points
Intimidation - d6 for 2 points
Swimming -    d6 for 2 points
Survival -        d4 for 1 point

Next, we figure Korgrym's Derived Statistics.

Charisma is 0 unless you have Edges or Hindrances that change it.  We haven't chosen Korgrym's Edges or Hindrances yet, so we'll say that is 0 for now.

Pace is 6" for humans

Parry is 2 plus half of Korgrym's Fighting skill, so it's 6.

Toughness is 2 plus half Korgrym's Vigor plus Armor, so for now it's 6

Now, it's time to chooses Edges and Hindrances.  Edges are special powers/skills that can be purchased by buying flaws or Hindrances.  Each character may take 1 Major Hindrance worth 2 points and 2 Minor Hindrances worth 1 point each.

For 2 points the character can:
   Raise an attribute one die type, or
   Choose an edge

For 1 point the character can:
   Get another skill point, or
   get additional starting money equal to their starting funds (normally $500)

Korgrym decides to get the maximum amount of points possible and takes 1 Major Hindrance, and 2 Minor Hindrances.  For his Major Hindrance, Korgrym takes:

Bloodthirsty - He can never take prisoners, and suffers a -4 Charisma penalty if his bloodthirsty ways are known

For his Minor Hindrances, Korgrym takes:

Illiterate - since he can't read or write
Outsider - to reflect his status as an outland barbarian

In exchange for these Hindrances, Korgrym raises his Spirit by 1 die to a d8 and takes the edge:

Loincloth Hero - which allows him to make a free soak roll against damage whenever he is unarmored.

Korgrym's final abilities are:

Agility -     d8
Smarts -    d4
Spirit  -      d4
Strength -  d8
Vigor -       d8

Charisma    0/-4
Pace            6"
Parry          6
Toughness  6

Fight -             d8
Climbing -      d8
Riding -          d6
Stealth -          d6
Intimidation - d6
Swimming -    d6
Survival -        d4

All that is needed now is to buy some gear and go adventuring.  Here is Korgrym's final character sheet:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miniatures Monday

I have no idea what this guy is supposed to be, but I'd hate to meet him in a dark alley!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Gamers: Hands of Fate

The Gamers:  Hands of Fate, the new film by the creators of The Gamers and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is available to watch for free until August 31.  It can also be purchased DRM free for $10 at the link above.  If you're at all interested in gaming, I'd say that it's $10 well spent.

Update:  The free to watch has now been extended until 15 September!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Miniatures Monday....of the future

Here are 26 miniatures that are in various states of near completion.  Hopefully each of them will make it into a future Miniatures Monday. A couple of them, the elf in particular have been completed since this was taken, but most of the rest have not.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Barbarians of Lemuria: Creating a Character (Step by Step)

Today, I decided to try actually creating a character for Barbarians of Lemuria from Beyond Belief Games.

The first step is to select the character's attribute ratings.  There are four attributes:

Strength - Physical strength and toughness
Agility - Speed and coordination
Mind - Intellect and knowledge
Appeal - Looks, persuasiveness, and likeability

The player has 4 points to spend on these attributes, but no attribute may start higher than 3. A 0 in an attribute is considered to be average, and if the player wishes, one attribute may be reduced to -1 to get an extra point to be allocated to another attribute.

I decided to create Korgrym the Unrelenting, a mighty-thewed barbarian hero, so I focused on Strength and Agility.  I decided to buy my Mind score back to -1 because I didn't envision Korgrym as a particularly bright fellow.  Thus, his starting attributes were as follows:

Strength: 3
Agility:   2
Mind:     -1
Appeal:   0

Next, it was time to choose Korgrym's combat abilities.  The process is very much the same as attribute selection.  There are four combat abilities:


Again, the player has 4 points to spend, with a maximum score of 3 in any on ability and only one ability permitted to be reduced to -1.  I saw Korgrym as a sword and axe fighting kind of guy who wasn't very good with bows, so I decided to go with the following:

Brawl:     1
Melee:     3
Ranged: -1
Defense:  1

Next, it was time to select Korgrym's careers.  Careers in barbarians of Lemuria are what provide characters with their skills.  There are no skill lists, but chosen careers are intended to give guidelines as to what the character is able to do.  Each character has 4 points to spend on 4 skills.  As with attributes and combat abilities, the maximum is 3, but unlike previously, carers cannot be bought down to -1.  The minimum for each career is 0.

I decided that Korgym began life as a youth in the barbarian wastelands, but longed for adventure and set out for civilization.  Upon reaching civilization, he took up as a mercenary, but grew weary of military discipline and drifted into thievery.  After being arrested for thievery, he was forced to fight in the gladiator pits from which he has only recently escaped.

Korgrym's careers are as follows:

Barbarian   2
Mercenary  1
Thief            0
Gladiator    1

Korgrym's Lifeblood score, which is how much damage her can take, is 10 plus his Strength, in this case 13.

Next, it was time to choose Korgrym's origin.  I decided that he would be a Valgardian, just like good old Thongor for those Lin Carter fans out there.  The character's origin allows him to choose one boon, or two boons if he also takes a flaw.  I decided that Korgrym was hardy and took Quick Recovery, which allows him to recover an additional Lifeblood point  after combat.  I decided that he was also the master of the Valgardian Broadsword, and took the Valgardian Blade boon.  Having taken two boons, Korgrym was now required to take a a flaw.  I chose Illiterate, as it seemed to be keeping with my dumb barbarian theme.

Normally characters begin with 5 Hero Points, but as Korgrym chose an extra starting boon, he only got 3.  Hero points allow the character to dig deep within themselves when the chips are down.

For equipment, I chose a Battle Harness and a Helmet (Light Armor), along with a Valgardian Broadsword and a dagger.  I was ready for adventure!

Here is Korgrym the Unrelenting's character sheet:

Tunnels & Trolls: First Edition

I recently received my signed and numbered reprint of the first edition Tunnels & Trolls rulebook.  It's a fun read, and I love the awesomely old school art, particularly the little wizard guys who show up quite a lot.  It's looking to be a fantastic year for T&T.  I can't wait to get ahold of my Deluxe edition!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Miniatures Monday

An old school orc who looks like he should be hanging out in a Tunnels & Trolls or Fighting Fantasy adventure!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Choosing the system for the world

The other day, I was going through some of my old gaming notes, and I came across the notes for my Savage Sorcerers of Sungor campaign.  It was a straight up sword and sorcery campaign with no elves or dwarves.  If it wasn't human, it was a monster.  Nothing shockingly original, and not particularly good unless you were into barbarians killing wizards in spider haunted towers and the like, but the notes got me thinking.  I had originally done it as a Hero System campaign, but as I grow older, my interested in crunchy games system continues to wane at an accelerated pace.  So if I were to dust it off today, what would I use?
The first game that came to mind was of course my current go-to system Savage Worlds.  It's got enough crunch to make combat interesting, but is still streamlined enough to be easy to prepare for.  The next game that came to mind was Fate Core.  I've really been wanting to try this, but just haven't had the opportunity.  I'm not sure how well it would doe sword and sorcery though.  It might just be too abstract to do it well.  the last system that came to mind was Barbarians of Lemuria.  This might actually be the best choice as the game is designed for a world almost exactly like Sungor, but like Fate Core, I've never actually tried it out in practice.  It might make for an interesting exercise to  stat-out the same adventure for all three systems and see which one looks best.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Mysterious and Magical Device

Should you find yourself at the Crazy Mocha on Liberty Avenue, stop in and visit the wondrous creation.  For only $5 it will dispense one of it's locally hand made treasures into your eager hands.  I absolutely love finding things like this.  They bring a little magic to the world, and make me happy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The magical quest game!  I've always had a soft spot for Talisman.  Sure, it's essentially a simple race game.  Roll dice to move, do what is written on the board or the cards, and be the first one to the end.  Nothing deep, nothing complicated, and it can go kind of long sometimes, but I still find it fun, even though it gets a bad rap as a kids game.  I think the first thing that struck me about Talisman, was the artwork.  Ever since the box cover of second edition, I've loved the artwork.  Just look at that dude fighting the dragon in front of those winding stairs which lead to some mysterious tower, no doubt filled with riches!
I had the poster from the box hanging in my dorm room in college for ages.  

Of course when Fantasy Flight Games released a new version with cooler components, I bought that too.  And what an upgrade it was in terms of production value.  It got the typical Fantasy Flight treatment making it the most impressive looking version yet, IMHO.  The game is pretty much the same, and there are quite a few expansions available for it, all of which add new cards and characters, while some introduce whole new boards to add on to the main one. 

An now I can play Talisman Prologue on my iPad.  Life is good.  Now if only they would make a mobile version of Dungeonquest! :-)

Of course, I still want this..

I should see if anyone wants to play some Talisman this weekend.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Miniatures Monday - Number 100!

Wow, 100 Miniatures Monday postings.  It's kind of hard to believe that I've painted that many miniatures of the past two years.  So, for my special 100th Miniatures Monday posting, we have a very special guest.  Yes, he's a barbarian, but, he's a very special barbarian.  Does anyone recognize him?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Inspirational Imagery

I've always loved the cover of Different Worlds magazine issue 5.  The weird tower-like hill, with the strange cyst-like dwellings is eerily evocative.  The barbarian warrior with the spear also has a great Conanesque feel.  This is what fantasy roleplaying looked like in my mind back in the late 70s and early 80s.  In truth, this is what is still looks like to me today. :-)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Miniatures Monday

Here is a rather odd creature.  Some sort of rhinoceros / centaur.  A Rhinocetaur perhaps?  Of course, with an axe that size, I guess he can call himself whatever he likes.