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Sunday, 10 December 2017

End Of The Week - Dark Age Men In Black

It's been an odd week for me but I have in the end reached my goal and then some so The New Cruelty is happy. You might have noticed from some of my posts it's not been the happiest week of my life. As I didn't start painting until Thursday I am prey happy.

My usual goal is five figures per week and despite not starting until Thursday I was pretty confident I cold handle ten figures in all. Given that they were men in black and they were spray painted black, there was always going to be a limit to what was needed. There are still a few bits and pieces that need doing but these are mainly required on the shields which I don't normally include within my challenge for the week.

the shield are white for a reason. In the plan, these guys have white shields. If I do plan to change the shields in the future, white is a could undercoat for shield transfers which is what I would probably use.

As I mentioned yesterday I have done a fair bit of work on one of my RPG backgrounds. Whilst this strikes me as a project that is destined never to be finished it is approaching a more acceptable state of incompleteness.

As usual I have no idea what I want to paint next week. There is nothing obvious in the queue. There is plenty of The Walking Dead stuff to do but I am not feeling and all the other stuff is odds and sods or stuff that has big gaps in the figures available (like the Blood Bowl Skaven Team for instance). I have some bigger figures to do and some swarm bases to finish off so I might get to that instead. Come to think of it there is a few of those that need attending to. I have been putting this off because I have nowhere to put them when they are finished. Sadly the weather is looking cold so I doubt I can do any more priming any time soon or I would move on to some other Titansgrave figures I have been planning in doing.

And speaking if The New Cruelty I had another look at what I actually wanted to do. When I looked at it again last week I recalled that I had told myself that I was going to take some exercise. So I ordered myself a Fitbit/ I haven't worn a watch in years so just the feel of the thing is odd. It is however having a positive effect already. Hopefully what get too Bridget Jones's Diary on you but maybe I will start thinking about it more often/

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Writing Your Own RPG Background Or All Is Vanity

I have been working on what I have called the Viking Game for about five years now even though in my head it's called Northmen. I made a couple of key decisions back when I started the project and I have pretty much stuck with them. The world expands but the central idea does not. Some of this expansion has been down to ideas that I have had and some is down to the figures that I have or have painted during the process.

In the past I have gone as far as writing my own rules so that I could make the world I wanted. These days I more or less stick with the Savage Worlds rules. It's simple and generic enough that it is easy for the players to follow and for me to run. One fairly basic rulebook does all you need it to. If you want a bit more flavour then there are other books to buy but none are major pieces of work. What the game does do is encourage you to use other backgrounds inspired by rules and media that you like as well as creating your own.

This is where the vanity bit comes in.

The game started as a bit of a cobble. I took some inspiration from elsewhere. Computer games, books, regular fantasy, films and RPGs. the only ideas I took from anywhere became section headings but I was clear with myself right from the beginning that I wanted it to be all my own work. You never know, I might get round to publishing it. What I really wanted was a pdf I could give to the players with all the rules in it right from the get go. This kind of happened but having a complete document starting to delay things so I thought I would start with what I had. This was a bit of a mistake but it was one I was prepared to live with.

Over time though I ran into a problem. What I had was great but I just kept tinkering with the book. At the front of the document is a table of contents. This has been a big waste of time as I keep adding things in and deciding that the sections need to go in a different order.

So after a year of cursing my judgement I decided to bite the bullet today. As a way of getting out of painting, I thought I would just get on and chop it into bits.

The core rules haven't changed significantly in well over a year but the background has. There were basically two bits to the background as I saw it. The world (or worlds, all nine of them plus a few extras), the town in which the game was based, it's surrounding region, the kingdom it's part of and then the other peoples of the world. the second part is the sagas and legends for the world. These have now become two separate books.

I like to tinker but in this game it is really about adding  more new bits. The details of the town already amount to about four pages. I expect to extend this so I have allowed space for about a page and a half of extra writing. For the time being I will fill this space up with a few pictures. There is supposed to be a map but there are supposed to be a number of maps. Originally I had planned to put all the maps in an appendix but this is more faff when it comes to rewriting the contents so I will add the map at the end of the section.

The region the town is in is called the Symark. This has had a similar amount of work as the town. Again I can see that this was going to get expanded in the future so I have allowed more space for this and for the map at the end. Early on I did a rough map and then I spent some more time on a more details map. Integrating it into a world map (chunking up) proved to be all but impossible. Starting with a world map, which is at this point not totally fixed, is a better idea. The region fits into the world much better.

The myths is the second big part of what I have been doing. Mostly I trying to ape the myths although I am not averse to taking some myths and bending them to fit into my needs. To my mind at the heart of every good fantasy story and rog scenario is a piece of history or a myth. As I have played about with the world in the game, the myths need to reflect the changes in that world. All of the scenario elements I have planned are also rooted in myths, even some that might take a long time to happen. The build up can be important.

This all plays to my ego. I want to be a good GM and for the players to have "fun" in the worlds I create. As a place to start I want them to have a firm base in the documents I provide. Rather than have a major piece of rambling work, it better to reduce it down into books or supplements. People, even the author, can get their heads around it better.

Friday, 8 December 2017

End Of The Week - Well The Week That Was

After what has been a fairly brisk week I thought it was time to put up some pictures of last week's work. 11 orcs for Titansgrave or maybe shadowrun.




Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Slump

I'm in a line of work where the work/life balance is normally pretty good. This is something that has tuned my life around. In the last two years or so I have had cause to want to savour that time as much as I can. There is only a finite time for us all so I should probably give up blogging.

I finally got my workbench back today. Well I got as far as opening it and putting a cup of tea on it. It's Thursday today and so far I haven't picked up a brush since Sunday. I still think I am going to make my weekly target though and I may even get to smash it. There are ten dark age figures on the workbench and they are mostly black. As they have already been primed black I just need to do the heads and hands and a few bits of detail. These were brought as Arthurian British but with a few changes they are going to double as the men-in-black for my Viking game. Just another opfor for the players to get their teeth into.
Headless Spearmen
The title of the post isn't really about the above. Before anyone can say humbug I am going to bring it back around to Christmas. In between the gas engineer turning up for his third and sadly, not yet final visit, I have been doing my bit to prep for Christmas. Not for me the relative joys of putting up decorations. I get the more mundane jobs. These usually involve me being in the coldest room in the house and getting dirty or dusty. Today might only be one day but this is what the last three days have been like and is probably what the next two at least are going to be like (hopefully with some time for painting).

Over the years I have come to think of myself as a simple man of simple pleasures. Well maybe a complex man of complex pleasures (usually involving a rulebook and some dice or a paintbrush). Despite the way I make it sound I have things pretty good. So when Christmas comes around, the apple cart gets a little upturned.

So tomorrow is going to be a me day, at least as far as I can make it a me day. Hopefully we will get the snow we have been promised and it will keep the chaos from my door just a bit longer.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Blood Bowl Eldheim Eagles & Other Stuff

Although the Elfheim Eagles have been in the offing for a while there are been some genuine publicity for them today and alongside that there are a few other new releases pending.

In the first supplement for the game, Death Zone all the elf teams got a mention. It seemed odd to me that they haven't come out earlier as they tended to be one of the more popular teams especially if you liked passing plays and dying players. I was expecting the other elf teams at some point but as GW came up with a kitbash way to do Dark Elves and High Elves could easily use this box (well maybe with a bit of conversion) leaving the wood elves to do, so they may not be hitting the website any time soon.
The Full Team
The box set has all the usual stuff. In order to field a reasonable team you are still going to need a couple of boxes. This is probably going to leave you with four of the twelve figures in the second box (two blitzers and two throwers) being pretty much useless but this has been the case with the other boxes as well. There are a couple of deals including one with all the new elf releases and another with just the team and the dice. Neither of these seem to have any cost saving though.
It's the look of the figures that is all important and they do look good. They have the distinctive elf style and grace. I thought the catcher was nicely posed and the thrower and the blitzer look pretty good to.
Not a Nazi salute

As I said earlier there is plenty of other new material and some "new" material which is also on pre-order. There is obviously a set of dice. As all teams now have a set of dice I guess they are just following form and they do seem to make money. There are card sleeves for the special play cards. At £7 for fifty they are no prohibitively expensive and are almost value for money. There are three team decks also due out. Obviously the elf team deck is there as is the deck for humans and orcs and I assume decks for other teams will follow. There is also the Almanac which is everything from Death Zone 1 + 2 plus a few extras. I haven't seen a copy of DZ 2 so this book might make it on to the shopping list.
The full Monty
There are also several new boards. Along with the Elf Team release the is a nicely manicured elf pitch on one side and a wintery pitc on the other. This comes with suitable dug-outs. Also out is the Blood On The Snow board with orc and human themed winter boards. Then there is the goblin board which has two fairly mashed up looking pitches. Both of these also come with dug-outs. Forge World have also done a couple of neoprene boards.

All in all they seem to have made it on to the wishlist.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gifts Or Presents?

I use the phrase Christmas Is Coming a lot in December. Not much of a surprise. When I say it out loud, I say it in a way that would lead you to believe that ten thousand white walkers are just on the horizon would be a more appealing prospect. As an adult Christmas becomes little more than four weeks hard work followed by a whole load of indifference and disappointment.

Do I sound a little cynical? Well I am. After trying to think of a word that is a little stronger than humbug to convey my feelings, I decided that this is a nice blog and I should probably stick to humbug rather than the words that are springs to mind. I am definitely a bit of a cynic but it's a cynicism born out of real word experience. Does that make it better? Perhaps not. What it has taught me is that you might not get what you want but you usually get what you pay for.

This is the good bit. What I am talking about is do it yourself. I am not talking about hanging doors, I did that I while ago. 

Even yesterday I was talking about having a list of presents to avoid getting gifts. It has now become clear to me that this is going to be a Christmas of gifts. Mugs, socks and that I don't want and don't have space for. This is despite having a conversation where I thought I had steered the other half away from making the wrong choice.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try,  the message just isn't going to get through.

So if I want presents I am going to have to go out and do it myself. I started of with a good sized list. After today, that list is going to get bigger. If I have the money why should I get what I actually want. If there were consequences then I probably wouldn't but the money is in the bank so why not use it.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Gifts For Gamers

What do you get the nerd in your life?

I was talking to one of the lads earlier about the buying of presents. It is that time of year after all. The nature of the conversation was about the difference between men and women. It has been my experience that women like surprises. Nice surprises. A light activated electric spider would probably not count as a nice surprise for my other half as an example. Men on the other hand are not all that keen on surprises.

If I might slightly misquote Dave Gorman, there is a world of difference between gifts and presents. My fear is that I am going to get all gifts and no presents. A gift being the kind of thing that someone buys out of a sense of duty. In my childhood this was socks, anything that could be vaguely useful for school such as pens and copies of the Guinness Book of Records. Presents on the other hand are things that people actually want. At Christmas gifts are pretty much anything purchased without much thought that are not on somebody's letter to Santa.

A while back I mentioned that I had made myself a birthday list. I didn't get much off that list so it's still floating around. What I tend to do is put things on the list that I probably would not go out and buy. As an example, I am a big Blood Bowl fan but I can't see me spending a huge amount of money to get some of the single Star Player figures from Forgeworld. This is definitely a present.

So the time is coming where gifts are getting ordered. Don't leave things to fate. If you want something let people know. If you want a surprise, give them a big list. You might just get all of it.