Monday, 31 August 2009
Mountfitchet Toy Museum
There is quite an extensive collection of Star Wars toys and memorabilia on display including several full sized outfits such Dark Vader and this Storm Trooper.
This Interceptor Fighter from the TV series UFO was one toy I had as a kid and brought backs lots of memories.
Amongst the toys there was also a lot of items of Militaria such as insignia, medals and documents. I was also intrigued by this copy of P.F.Westerman's "To the fore with the Tanks!" c.1935. This is a collection of adventure stories in the same style as the Biggles books.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Having stumbled into a fight with a sizable groups of arcs under the command of a dark elf we tried to retreat. However we then found ourselves outflanked with orc reinforcements arriving to block our escape route. At this point negotiation would have been a good idea... so instead we attacked!
It might be timne to consider what we want for our our next PC's.
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Space Hulk returning soon
There were also a whole raft of other GW games that my friends and I played at one time or another. Oi! Dat's My Leg! was a 'fun' game aimed at younger players. Rogue Trooper was a cool game based on the Blue skinned genetically enhanced warrior from the pages of the Comic 2000AD. Super Power was a complex resource attainment and strategy game with impossibly tiny game pieces.
I've whetted my appetite for a few of these old games and I think I'll have o find my copies and introduce my kids to them. It certainly beats watching TV.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Military Odyssey this Weekend
Here are a few pictures from previous events and a taster of what to expect this weekend. I'll be there at last one day over the weekend (probably Monday, weather permitting) and of course will post my pictures and any video on this blog. If you can get to Detling this weekend I heartily recommend it as a good day out for all the family.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Ultimate Painting Station
Darkmantles are Fun
These dark fleshed, octapoid looking creatures hide on the ceilings of caves and look for all the world like a Stalactite. Using echolocation just like a bat they find their prey and when it passes below them they drop down wrapping their tentacles around the head. The article Weird & Wonderful Darkmantles on the Wizards website provides variations on the Darkmantle (for 3.5e) that make this creature much more deadly and difficult to deal with.
I used Darkmantles against my players during the last campaign I ran. The PC’s were exploring a dank and fungus filled cave of stalagmites and stalactites. The group were attacked by group of four Darkmantles which cause chaos and much muffled screaming for the duration of the battle.
"Runc leaped forward, and began to tug wildly at the creature covering Karisima but as they fought that one the other three Darkmantles launched themselves up from the floor.... As the party fought them and cut into their flesh so the blood splashed about – burning acidic, it did as much damage as the beasts themselves.... Eventually three of the creatures were killed, leaving the last once covering Asgar.
Already the former farmhand tuned ranger had dropped to his knees, his air having been cut off by the constricting creature about his head. It was causing him to blackout. In a concerted effort the group directed their attack, and finally cut the creature from Asgar’s head. But the blood from the creature covered the already unconscious man."
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
The Myths of D&D
"Dungeons and Dragons is a tragic and tangled subject. It is essentially a
feeding program for occultism and witchcraft." (Source: http://www.chick.com/)
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
I'll end with a few words from the Evil GM : "I still want magic items to be special - something to quest after and treasured when obtained (My Precious...) but the approach of 4e is to make them disposable upgrades, when you get your flaming sword +2 you sell your +1 sword and use the cash to help buy another. Magic items are commodities rather than rare rewards.
Of course it is still possible to run a low magic/low loot campaign, as long as you bear in mind that the PC's are relatively weak compared to what the game designers assume when creating monsters. Hence you need to either pit your PC's against foes of a level or three lower (which in turn will slow their advancement from the expected norm) or drop defenses/attack bonuses etc to compensate. It's still possible, but takes much more work. Mind you, 4e lends itself very badly to a low magic campaign anyway so perhaps the point is moot."
Monday, 24 August 2009
Wargames Illustrated 263
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Pure Werewolves (those that have been infected in the normal way i.e. A bite) normally know what they are after their first turning. They have no control over the change, it happens at set times. Euda has no moons but there is none the less a mechanism that periodically causes the victim to change roughly every 28 days.
Half-breed Werewolves are the offspring of a werewolf (untransformed) and an uninfected human. Half Breeds may grow to adulthood unaware of their true nature. Most succumb to the 'infection' at puberty although the stronger willed may unconsciously resist the disease well into adulthood. Once they turn, like true werewolves, they have little control over the change. However they are not limited to a 28 day cycle and can change at any time, usually in times of stress or danger, or when the urge to feed overcomes them.
Hereditary Werewolves are the offspring of Half Breed Werewolves and carry the infection in their blood all their lives. Because the disease is 'diluted' some may never succumb to the contagion. Others will turn at puberty. Occasionally victims will spontaneously succumb to the infection in times of extreme stress or danger. But there are no hard a fast rules here. For those that do change however the result is similar to that found in Half-breeds. However most Hereditary Werewolves do not initially know that they are werewolves. Its almost as if the 'wolf' side of their personality will not consciously reveal its true nature to the 'human' side. For some Hereditary Werewolves this strange double life can go on for years or even decades.
For all werewolves the transformation is more than just a change of shape. Regardless of their human alignment all werewolves act like animals in relation to their prey. They do not differentiate between friend and foe and have no conscience or morality to stop them. For the Pure or Half-breed werewolf, aware of their true nature, this can prove a terrible burden that drives some to madness and others to suicide. But Hereditary werewolves may never know their true nature and in this they are fortunate in that they are usually unaware of the horror they have become.
Traditionally Lycanthropy is considered incurable. Death by a magical silver weapon is the best one can hope for. However some powerful clerics and Mages believe a cure may be possible for half-breed or hereditary werewolves. Indeed I made the search and attainment of the 'cure' central to the development of the Player Character involved in my campaign.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
Panzer book review
Starting from the pre war years the book looks at the development and use of the Panzer divisions throughout the war, through the rise (Poland, Flanders, France & the opening of Barbarossa) and eventual fall (North Africa, Russia & Western Europe) of the Third Reich.This chronological discussion of historical events was in and of itself quite interesting but it was the interpretation of command decisions and their effects on operational success that proved most interesting.
During the Russian Campaign for instance it is argued that the faults in structure, equipment and leadership were of little consequence so long as the initiative lay with the Wehrmacht. But when the invasion went on the defensive all these faults combined to make defeat almost inevitable. In short so long as the war was a war of maneuver Germany had the upper hand but when it because a war of defence the Soviet unions massive advantage in terms of manpower and equipment ground the invaders down. (Source: http://www.onwar.com/ )
I found this book very readable and although it contained lots of statistics and troop numbers etc it was never overwhelming (this isn't a technical manual). Indeed the use of information such as production levels and divisional numbers are only used to illustrate the conclusions of the given section or chapter they appear in. Overall I found this a very good starting point for my understanding of the Panzer Divisions of WWII. My only gripe with the book was the lack of an Index which makes this hard to use as a reference source. However the Bibliography is very good and would make an excellent place to start when considering further reading in this fascinating subject.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Classic Dragon Joke
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
More Hollow Earth with HEX
This looks like a fun game with plenty of elements from my favorite B Movies.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
When Zombies Attack
"If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively."The study "When Zombies Attack! : Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection" was carried out by students at the University of Ottawa. Personally I'm quite happy that research grants are being spent like this. So when the inevitable Zombie Plague hits we will be fully prepared to respond to the new threat. I'm guessing that a dose of Tamiflu won't be much help though...The pictures by the way are from the comedy film "Stag Night of the Dead" co-staring one of my friends (and fellow gamer) Rez Kempton.
Sherman's & Destroyed Buildings
The Decals were the hardest part as they were very small and delicate.
Monday, 17 August 2009
Too Cool for School
On Saturday my wife & I had a pleasant day 'book shopping' in Rochester (Kent). It was our 17th wedding anniversary and decided to treat ourselves to a day out without the kids. Bliss. I love my kids but you just can't go book shopping with young children. We both picked up a few bargains, mine included a history of the German Panzer division Das Reich and its infamous march across France to meet the allied invasion after D-Day.
Yesterday we took things easy in the garden and I used the opportunity to get a lot of painting done. I was finishing off a couple of painting projects including a set of resin Sherman Tanks that I got with the Open Fire boxed set of FoW rules. I also worked on some destroyed buildings I bought at To the Redoubt. I got as far as the first Varnish but still need to apply a coat of Dullcoat (Testers) and then a little flock/grass to finish off. Once done I'll photograph and post the pictures on the blog.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Present Arms 09
Friday, 14 August 2009
Regrets, I have a few
Like the time I forgot to move my biggest baddest unit in a 40k game... and only noticed when I tried to use it to fire on a target that was outside its fire arc. Or the countless times our D&D group decided the GM wouldn't possibly pit us against an enemy we couldn't defeat... ignoring the subtle hint to turn back.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Beating a Hasty Retreat
He is packing it in and packing it up
The Ballad of Brave Sir Robin (Monty Python: The Holy Grail)
- When the DM can't keep the grin off his face when he says "roll for initiative"
- When the GM starts looking more worried than the players
- When your PC is the only one left standing - and you're holding the loot.
- When the first Kobold has taken 56 points of damage and still doesn't look worried
- When you realise you actually missed on the last attack, you tell the DM so he can undo the damage you caused and he says "don't worry, it doesn't make much difference"
- When you defeat your enemy only to find reinforcements chatting amongst themselves in the wings.
- When the only spell component you have left is half a bayleaf and some navel fluff.
- When you realise there are more enemies facing you than arrows in your quarrel.
- When the PC guarding your flank goes "arrgh...thump"
Been there. Done them all. Rolled a new PC!
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
One Line NPC's
I came up with a simple list of 'One Line' NPC's. Basically each NPC is described in the simplest of terms (Location, Name, Race, Occupation, Description, Character). Enough information is available for the GM to portray a seemingly 'real' character and form the basis of a more detailed description if that NPC becomes more important to the unfolding story.
Here are a few examples of Simple NPC's I have used in my own game:
- Market, Eyrion, Dwarf, An entertainer, Thin, Talkative
- Market, Yarenrian, Human, Peddler, Scarred, Knowledgeable
- Market, Qarrian, Dwarf, Poet/minstrel, Stout, Very Helpful
- Citadel, Ilonrian, Human, Guardsman, Filthy, Arrogant
- Citadel, Atjtur, Human, Guardsman, Tough looking, Quiet
- Palace, Malanyon, Elf, A groom, Well dressed, Knowledgeable
- Palace, Quanuard, Human, A noble, Very obese, Calm & Aloof
- Trade Quarter, Errian, Human, A Fletcher, Young, Likable
- Trade Quarter, Malwen, Human, A glassblower, Neat, Morose
- Trade Quarter, Quanam, Elf, Innkeeper, Refined features, Friendly
For me the biggest advantage of a prepared list like this is consistency. I can craft some simple characters that fit with their location and the message I want to convey. This sort of NPC is easy to prepare, quick to develop and helps give a location a sense of 'realness'.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Damyns Hall Military Fair
Aside from lots of Living History groups there were also a group of veterans meeting and talking to visitors. There were also a group of traders on the site. One item that caught my attention was this 1944 MP's helmet selling for just £30.Another eye catcher was this PkwIII. I'm not sure if this was an origional or a replica but it certainly looked good. I've posted the rest of my pictures on Picasa.
Monday, 10 August 2009
Damyns Hall Military Vehicle Rally - Video
The first is a newly restored US 'Hellcat' Tank Destroyer.
The second video is a British 'Scorpion' Lt Tank.
I'll post the rest of my pictures when I have finished processing them.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
V1 Flying Bomb
The thing I find fascinating about these machines is that while they represented the cutting edge in rocketry in the early 1940's, up close they just look so primitive. Not only that the explosive yield of the V1 seems ridiculously small for the expenditure of resources and manpower.
I'm currently reading about the creation of the Panzer regiments and the authors (Matthew Cooper & James Lucas) argue that the early Panzer regiments were under resourced, poorly developed and that the vehicles themselves were not all that superior to the British & French tanks. This didn't matter at the beginning of the war when the Germans caught pretty much everyone with their pants down, but later in the war this proved a crippling deficit. The new generation of heavy tanks (the Panthers and the Tigers) came along too late and in too limited quantities to turn the tide against the allies. Meanwhile money and effort was being squandered on projects like the V1 & V2.
I recently listened to a radio article (on Radio 4) about a new 'history' of WW2 in which the author insisted that the war was winnable for the Germans but for one essential factor: Hitler. The ultimate weakness of the National Socialist state of the 30's & 40's was its despotic leader who regularly ignored the advice of experts and for whom political fanaticism had replaced pragmatism. This was what ultimately proved the undoing of the Third Reich.
For me the V1 and of course the V2 illustrate this perfectly. While I can marvel at the technological achievement one cannot help but think what would have been the consequence of redirecting all that effort and science into developing existing weapons. Had such material effort not been wasted on these and countless other projects - pursuing some deluded vision of Aryan superiority - what would have been the consequences for history?
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Assault on Park Lane
Here's the sad bit... I was playing against my Niece (aged 12) and my daughter (aged 13). I was slaughtered with such cold blooded efficiency that it sent a chill down my spine. All I can say is if Monopoly is the training ground of tomorrow's ruthless business people then watch out world!