Friday, 31 July 2009
I have been to several conventions this year and in conversation with attendees and clubs I would have been forgiven for thinking that most people were part of (and therefore gamed exclusively) at clubs. Draw your own conclusions from this admittedly limited set of data but I do find it reassuring that home grown games are still going strong.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
I bought a Panzer IV H Platoon from the Stafford Games stall (with the usual 10% discount on FoW). This should keep my busy once I start painting. The Panzer IV was the most common German tank in the Normandy area during and after the D-Day landings. Consequently it was the most often encountered by allied troops. Maybe not as glamorous as the Tiger or as affective as the Panther this tank formed the core of German panzer divisions right to the end of the war.
I also bought a Panzergrenadier Platoon for support but I won't start on these until I have finished the Panzer's. I also picked up two resin Opel Maultier just because they looked so good.
As regular readers know I've not played 15mm before so in addition to building up forces to fight with I am also having to buy all the scenery I need as well (most of what I currently have is 28mm fantasy). I bough a pack of resin Destroyed building pieces, enough to make 4-5 buildings. The painted examples on display looked excellent and I look forward to working on these.
I also bought several books from the Bring & Buy stall including "Panzer: The Armoured force of the Third Reich" by Cooper & Lucas for £3.
Another bargain was "Tanks & armoured Fighting Vehicles of WWII" by Surmondt.
Keeping with the theme I also bought the Flames of War supplement Villers-Bocage by Battlefront. Finally the best bargain of the day has to go to my Brother-in-law (who accompanied me to the show). He found this little booklet "Armor in Normandy:The Germans" by Thers which is full of full colour pictures making it an excellent guide when painting.
For such a small show I managed to come away with quite a few purchases which will keep me entertained for months to come.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
The Bring & Buy stand was a particular highlight for me as items for sale were turning up during the day (I went on Sunday but the show had already been open one day by this point). I popped back to look several times during the days and picked up a few bargains, mostly books. My best buy of the day has to be a mint copy of the Rapid Fire rules, a snip at £3! Inside the fortress itself (in each of the casemates) and situated amongst the existing exhibits and displays were a number of games run by local gaming groups. This game run by the West Country Originals was particularly good to watch. Based on the French and Indian Wars this game was titled The Harrowing of Quebec and was set during the summer of 1759. The British General Wolfe has launched a campaign in the area around the town of Quebec in a bid to convince the Canadian Militia (working for the French) to desert. The Museum itself has an excellent Diorama of the Battle of Quebec which took place in September 1759, during which Wolf was mortally wounded. Another excellent display game was The Italian Job run by the South East Essex Military Society (SEEMS). This was based on the Normans in Italy and at the time I turned up a vicious struggle was taking place in the crest of a hill.
There is also a nice display of uniforms and other items from the Crimean War.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
This is the second year I have gone to this event and have enjoyed both times. The combination of traders, display games and the museum itself makes for a very enjoyable and interesting day out.
Monday, 27 July 2009
While on holiday I got a chance to visit the excellent Muckleburgh Collection in Norfolk. I'm working through the pictures I took (editing, cropping and changing file names to something more descriptive than just a number) and hope to have these available to view later today. The plan is to get an album put together in Picasa and feature it here (on the right) as a slide show. I'll then feature some of the best pictures with some commentary over the next few days.
In the meantime here's a bit of video I took in the WWII tank hall. This was only a fraction of the museum and gives you some idea of the impressive scale of this privately owned collection.
This collection is well worth the visit and is the best tank/vehicle museum I've seen outside of Bovington.
Update: The pictures are now in a Picasa Album and a slideshow can be seen on the right.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
However, having barely unpacked, I'm off out all day again today. This time I'm going To the Redoubt, the wargames show at Eastborne Redoubt. It's their 25th anniversary event and not to be missed if you're in the area. Of course I'll be accompanied by my camera and will write a review later in the week.
Friday, 24 July 2009
The second picture is from the 2007 Military Odyssey event and shows a US M3 armoured vehicle.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I think any setting built with a solid myth/back-story can be enjoyable because the world has a dimension beyond the narrow viewpoint of the PC’s. A setting with a history, a creation myth and distant lands is by definition ‘larger’ than the view of the characters, and therefore feels more real. I decided to canvas the opinion of my gaming group and here are there views on this matter.
Derek – “Creating a world with history, mythology and timelines is very time consuming and not something that can be achieved for a quick get together and play. However, if you have the time and imagination to work on this then it can deliver a full and rich gaming experience for both the GM and the players. It allows you to live in worldscape not restricted by other writer's view of right and wrong, or in the case of predefined game settings what can or can not happen to certain lands or characters. I suppose it depends on how seriously you take your escapism.
A character that has been fleshed out with a decent back story, a bit of history and mystery gives a much better gaming experience and you tend to feel more affinity towards the character whether they be lawful good or chaotically evil. Creating such a character is even more fulfilling when they appear to have a place in the world in which they live. The world exists, their ancestors exist and this breeds legends that can filter forward into the campaigns giving both the characters and the campaign much more depth.”
Peter - “If the world is constantly being created five feet in front of the PC's and ripped up again as soon as they have passed you're really playing a version of hero quest. While the PC's actions should be the main focus of the story, it's good to know things are going on elsewhere, [it] gives the impression there is more to the world than the bubble of space the PC's currently occupy.
Having a less detailed world gives the DM far more flexibility - you generally only detail the bits around the PC's and if they do head into a new area of the map you create terrain and cities etc that are tailored to your current needs. Also results in a far easier set up and the GM doesn't have to do anything like as much work, and also means less waste
I do think home-grown worlds, however sketchy, do need both a strong background, and also a lot of background activity. The background ties everything together, gives shape to the campaign and gives the players a sense of their PC's place in the world”
Both make good point's but I have to say I tend towards the more detailed end of the spectrum. I wrote a campaign guide for my Isles of Ethos Setting that went into lots of detail, but I definitely see the benefit of the more flexible approach of Peter. I drew heavily on the resources and ideas from the Mythopoets website, and I heartily recommend it to any GM considering writing a world setting.
Monday, 20 July 2009
These two shots show the vehicle from the front and in profile.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
But fear not, this blog will not be idle while I'm away. I have scheduled posts for the 'missing week' and while I'm AWOL I'll be taking pictures of anything vaguely game related to post on my return. Trust me when I tell you I may be on holiday, but my hobby never sleeps.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Anyway here's the ceremony/ritual I devised as the Cure for Lycanthropy.
Materials that need to be used:
~A chalice of pure silver - Wolf motif decorates the interior
~The blood of the cursed - Small sample from patient.
~Wine made of the fruit of the afflicted's homeland
~The blood of a member of the same family as the afflicted
~A Remove Disease or Remove Curse Potion
~A small quantity of Powdered silver - Prepared 'fresh' during the ritual.
The Ritual itself must be performed by a Mage rather than a Cleric:
~Only the Magi performing this ritual must touch the ingredients
~During the preparation he or she must chant an appropriate "Chantra"
~The afflicted will need to be Magically bound at this point.
~Next clean the silver chalice thoroughly using a Bless spell.
~Pour the wine into the chalice while maintaining the Chantra of Gould.
~Next, the blood of the afflicted must be poured into the wine.
~The Magi must add the magical potion to the Chalice and then the powdered silver.
~The afflicted has to drink (or be made to drink) the solution.
The Effects will be dramatic:
The Afflicted will be wracked with spasms and pain. Their blood will seem to boil and they will have a dangerously high fever, at least in the beginning. Six to twelve hours later the Patient will awake and all presence of the contagion will have been eradicated from their blood. The Magi performing this ritual will be mentally & physically drained all spell casting ability for at least 24 hours.
This ritual could be simplified or added too depending on what you wanted to achieve with it.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Some time ago I trawled the Internet trying to find a Chronology for the Drizzit books. I never found a single definitive list that I was happy with but found several sites that had lists of varying completeness. The following Chronology is a mish-mash of the information I found on sites such as the FR Wikipedia page; the Amazon.com 'True Chronology'; the excellent FR Library; and the Wizards of the Coast Official FR Page, so I take no credit for compiling this. So here's my version of their lists, focusing on the Novels specifically about the famous Dark Elf renegade.
The Dark Elf Trilogy
Homeland (1990) (Between 1297DR and 1328DR)
Exile (1990) (Between 1338DR and 1340DR)
Sojourn (1991) (Between 1340DR and 1347DR)
The Icewind Dale Trilogy
The Crystal Shard (1988) (Between 1351DR and 1356DR)
Streams of Silver (1989) (1356DR)
The Halfling's Gem (1990) (Between 1356DR and 1357DR)
Legacy of the Drow
The Legacy (1992) (1357DR)
Starless Night (1993) (1357DR)
Siege of Darkness (1994) (1358DR)
Passage to Dawn (1996) (1364DR)
Paths of Darkness
The Silent Blade (1998) (1364DR)
The Spine of the World (1999) (Between 1365DR and 1369DR)
Servant of the Shard (2000)* (1366DR) - Now in The Sellswords Trilogy
Sea of Swords (2001) (Between 1369DR and 1370DR)
The Hunter's Blades Trilogy
The Thousand Orcs (2002) (1370DR)
The Lone Drow (2003) (1370DR)
The Two Swords (2004) (Between 1370DR and 1371DR)
The Orc King (2007) (1371DR and 1471DR-prologue and epilogue)
The Pirate King (2008)
The Ghost King (October 2009)
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Friday, 10 July 2009
The problem was I never liked the idea that they could just stroll into hell, complete their mission and go home unaffected by the ordeal. This was Hell after all. So I adapted an idea - culled from countless films and books - and came up with the idea that all who enter hell are Helltouched. This means that if they survive long enough to leave Hell, they leave changed by the experience.
I wrote the guidelines with 3.5e in mind but can be adapted to 4th Edition easily. All PC's gain +4 Knowledge - The Outer Planes. This should be treated as Bonus Skill. Players may spend skill points to buy further ranks in this skill and can treat it as a Class Skill for that purpose. However at the same time they also pick up a flaw. Some ill effects are purely physical, others mental. Some are curiosities while others are serious weaknesses of body and mind.
1-10% White Hair The PC's hair turns completely white or develops a white streak.
11-19% Vivid Scar The PC has a scar that never fades and often throbs painfully.
20-28% Colorblind The PC See's everything in black, white, and shades of gray.
29-37% Pupilless Eyes The PC's eyes are clear white orbs. The PC's vision remains as it was before despite the change in their appearance.
38-46% Second Sight The PC may have flashes of vision when in contact with other people. However the visions are only ever those of death, misery & depravity.
47-54% Death Sense The PC can sometimes 'sense' death before it happens. This is not an exact skill and is often vague and misleading.
55-62% Withered Limb The PC's right hand always appears to them as withered and ancient. There is nothing wrong with the limb and only the PC can see the illusion.
63-69% Tick The PC has an uncontrollable tick that gets worse when they are under stress. 70-74% Catatonic You cannot speak or even make noises. Physically there is nothing wrong.
75-79% Amnesia You are unable to remember anything about your past, yourself, or your family. Your life is a blank slate.
80-83% Post-Trau Stress The PC relives the trauma of their time in Hell through persistent thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks.
84-87% Obsession The character cannot help thinking about an idea, image, or impulse incessantly, often involving violence and self-doubt.
88-90% Hamartophobia The PC has an unreasonable fear of sinning. The existence of hell cannot be denied & the PC knows what is in store for them if for their evil ways.
91-92% Bleeder The PC's blood is thin & wounds bleed more. If the PC drops below 0HP blood loss is now twice as rapid (2hps per rd) until healed or treated.
93-94% Stutterer The PC's speech is broken by occasional bouts of stuttering. Charisma based skill checks that rely on verbal communication suffer a -2 penalty.
95-96% Broken Will The PC has a nervous disposition. You take a -2 penalty on Will saves.
97-98% Shaky Hands You have to concentrate to stop your hands shaking. You take a -2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls.
99-00% Panic Attacks These culminate in palpitations, sweating, trembling, & difficulty in breathing. Will save (DC15) or suffer an attack lasting 1d10 rounds.
I had my players make a random dice roll to determine the effect applied to their PC but other GM's may feel it more appropriate to pick effects based on the PC's experiences in hell. Either way it means the characters will go home to the Material Plane with more than just XP and Duty Free.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Now imagine trying to replicate it on a 15mm miniature. Utterly bonkers! But totally fun as well.
I followed the excellent guide to painting Pea Dot camo on the FoW website and I'm really happy with the result. The Stug Platoon is nearly finished and I'll try and get some pictures up by the weekend.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Gaming groups now often keep a campaign journal or at the very least detailed set of notes to record events during the course of a campaign. This is especially important if your sessions are irregular or players miss games because of work or family commitments. As a GM I also find that a Journal is often the only record of a campaign, long after the original notes have been thrown away.
With this in mind here are a few of my top tips for writing and maintaining a Campaign Journal.Header Your Notes & Number each page. When note taking I always start the page by recording the Session date (and number if possible), the In-Game date and time and who attended. I then finish every set of notes with the XP awarded for that session.
Only record the important stuff, don't get bogged down with mundane details. Try to stick to key details such as names, dates, distances, key events & encounters, enemies fought, NPC’s met and treasure found. It's also important to record the actions of the PC's as this will make the notes relevant on a personal level to each player. Record memorable quotes, heroic deeds and key PC actions such as who took the lead in parleys, negotiations & battles.
Use Abbreviations & Symbols as a form of shorthand to make notes quicker & easier. In particular use Character Initials to identify PC's rather than full names. Whether your a player or GM you don't want to spend the whole game making notes and not participating yourself.
Record by Encounter. Separate your notes into sections, one encounter at a time and Identify journeys between encounters with blank lines. In fact its a good idea to space your notes to allow for additions/amendments later.
Probably the most important thing to do is always review your notes at the end of each session. This is your chance to go back and add little details you missed during the game. Or maybe at the end of a session something stands out as important but didn't get recorded because its significance wasn't clear at the time.
If you like to type up your notes after a game, try to adopt a system to Colour code key facts such as names, foes, NPC’s, treasure found, and key locations. This will make the notes easier to scan and will make them a much better aide-mémoire during later game sessions.
A campaign journal can be both a useful tool and a permanent record of your gaming sessions. As such I consider it a vital part of enjoying - and getting the most out of - the game.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Here's another video from the vaults. This was the 2007 War & Peace Show and features the replica Tiger I've pictured on this blog before plus some German half tracks. Also in the background is a replica V2.Enjoy!
Monday, 6 July 2009
There are a few scaremongers out there and one mention of illness and they suspect Swine Flue. Panic not my gullible friends, I have a plan. And like all good plans I have taken my inspiration from the great tactician, Winnie the Pooh....
OK, so maybe I am a little delirious.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
The other experiment I tried was how to get the camouflage pattern right. I painted a blank patch of Middlestone and tested different methods for applying the two colours (Chocolate Brown 872 and Reflective Green 890). I don't have an airbrush (yet) so I'm looking for a technique that will produce soft edges. Battlefront's painting periodical, The Art of War (Issue 2), suggests a watered down technique applied in multiple layers. However I found the paint pooled too much and left a 'tide mark' around the outside edge. So I tried it again diluting the paint using my 'special water' (Water & Flow Improver 1:4) but again it didn't have the soft outline I wanted. So I made a third mix, this time with the paint diluted about 4:1 with stronger water mix (This time 50% flow improver). Disaster! Far too much flow improver and the paint just spread across the surface uncontrollably.
Back to the drawing board. This time I reverted to my regular 1:4 water mix and applied one part paint to 2 parts my special water (1:2). This looked better but still not quite where I wanted it. The final test produced the best results with a 3:1 ratio of Special Water to Paint. The resultant patch was soft edged and slightly opaque. It's not as good as airbrushing but it might be a suitable alternative.
Having played around for a couple of hours its now time for me to hit the forums and see if anyone else has a better technique.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
So I took the painting tray outside (at last, an advantage to not having a fixed table space!). I've never painted outside before - UK weather doesn't usually cooperate - and its a different experience to painting under a lamp. The heat made my paint dry quicker than normal but a little water mixed with slowdry sorted that out.
This was a productive afternoon, keeping an eye on kids in the pool, enjoying a cool breeze and getting started on my painting project.
"The StuG was an assault gun based on the chassis of the panzer 3. This example was restored by the Sd.Kfz foundation, it had sat on the bed of the black sea for 60 years after its transport ship was torpedoed by a Russian submarine. Two were raised a few years ago but the other one has not been restored yet."
Friday, 3 July 2009
The Sturmgeschutz III was originally conceived as a close-support and mechanised artillery vehicle. However it swiftly migrated toward the anti-tank role after the Germans encounter with the soviet KV-1 & T-34 tanks on the Eastern Front. In line with the general trend toward heavier armour and armament, a new vehicle based on the StuG Ausf. F was designed, mounting the 105mm FH 18 howitzer. This version of the StuG was designated Sturmhaubitze (StuH 42) and saw its first action in November 1942. Coming off the assembly-line in December 1942, the Ausf G was fitted with a 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 anti-tank gun and was produced until the end of the war with no major changes to the design.
"The vehicles of the Sturmgeschütz series were cheaper and faster to build than contemporary German tanks; at 82,500 RM, a StuG III Ausf G was cheaper than a Panzer III Ausf. M which cost 103,163 RM to build. By the end of the war, 10,619 StuG III and StuH 42 had been built. This was due to the omission of the turret, which greatly simplified manufacture and allowed the chassis to carry a larger gun than it could otherwise." (Source: Wikipedia)
Thursday, 2 July 2009
The fine robes that marked him out as a Mage Acolyte were streaked with filth. Blood, from a cut above his eye, flowed freely down his face staining the high white colour of his shirt. He had been lucky to have survived this long. When he had been surrounded by the Followers of Manifest Destiny fear had immediately filled his heart. But he had kept his mind clear and when they attacked he was able to use his arts to buy time for escape. Favion’s legs felt like lead now. He couldn't run for much longer and when he stopped the mob would be on him. He skidded into an ally and made one final effort. His legs gave way and he crumpled down in a doorway totally spent. He was now too exhausted for tears, each breath was agony and with each moment he could hear death approaching.
How had it come to this, he asked himself. He had started the day full of optimism. His new robes had arrived from the tailors and having now come of age the way was open for him to take his studies to the next level. Proud and eager he had donned his robes and gone out to buy new materials. He had almost finished his shopping and headed down to the dockside. Heading off of Fish Street and into the maze of little shops Favion crossed into the market square. Immediately he was aware of many eyes watching him and it was clear they were not admiring his gold and purple robes. Mumbled words quickly turned to angry shouts and then Favion found himself surrounded. He knew he was in trouble immediately. The followers of Manifest Destiny, the Manifestors, hated wizards and blamed them for the cataclysm. Some cities were virtual no-go areas for wizards but Deephaven had always been cosmopolitan and tolerant. But down here by the docks many sailors from other islands mingled with the crowds of city folk. It was a tanned and scarred sailor that roused the crowd against him and sent him running for his life through the streets of a city he called home.
Lost in his pain and self pity he was caught completely off guard when the door behind him swung open. Panic entered his heart as several hands gripped his robes and he was hauled unceremoniously inside the building. The door was quickly shut plunging Favion into utter darkness. He struggled free of the hands and shuffled back across a polished wooden floor. Brief thoughts of fighting his way out were quashed with the sound of the doors bolts being thrown. Whispered voices echoed in the dark and when he tried to speak a hand was thrust over his mouth. "Be quite you fool or you will kill us all" hissed a woman’s voice. Favion’s eyes were by now growing accustomed to the darkness and in the cave like gloom he could make out two adult figures, one obviously a woman. His captors stopped whispering as the sound of running feet approached. Many people were passing by and from their tone it was clear this was the mob that had hunted Favion.