Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm not dead yet!

I know I haven't been keeping up with my postings as of late and I apologize but things have been pretty hectic around here. Aside from some personal stuff, we have a contractor coming in tomorrow to start demolition on our first floor. I'm excited for the final result, and a little more than nervous to have strangers roaming my home while I'm at work.

As a means of self medication I have begun work on painting the twenty orks that came in that warhammer set from my last post. I don't know how wargamers do it! I enjoy painting, but painting the same thing over and over becomes tedious. I've changed it up here and there, but when it comes down to brass tacks, they are all the same figure.

Anyway, I've got to get to bed, don't want to be cranky at work in the morning.

Until next time, Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wargaming and Free Junk!

I have been thinking about giving wargaming a shot. If you ask any of my friends they can tell you that my dream is to one day open my own gaming store - and if there's one thing that all shops have in common, it's Warhammer 40k. Well, that and Magic tournaments. Fate must have heard my call because my cousin Ed recently discovered an old box of 40k rules and minis collecting dust in his basement. Apparently his sister's boyfriend left it there years ago when he lost interest in the game. Knowing how much I enjoy miniatures, Ed was kind enough to give me the set free of charge!

Not too shabby!

Now I know the rules are outdated, but I'm pretty sure you are allowed to use old mini's in the newer games. Plus how cool would it be to show up and field an army of old school figures? Anyway, once I get these painted up I think I'll head to my favorite game store and see if I can't learn to play.

As a bonus, the box also had a bunch of pieces from other games. I know the small red pieces in front of the 40k box are pieces from the game "Tower of the Wizard King" because I used to own it! I actually use those same minis as statues in our Pathfinder games. I don't know what game the other pieces came from but they include skeletons, orcs, mummies, an ogre, a snake priest and a strange temple looking piece of scenery with a goofy sword feature. I think I'll add a bit of debris and paint the whole thing up as a diorama or better yet, for use in a future game!

Until next time, Happy Gaming!       

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TPK's and Painting Oldies

Well things have been busy since my last post. Saturday's game went great - if by "great" I mean that I slaughtered the party with a group of measly low level warriors. There was nothing I could do about it. All of our rolls were out on the table and I just rolled super high all night. As the final PC stood against my remaining 4 warriors, she was confidant that they couldn't overcome her AC even though her hit points were low.

Oh how wrong she was.

The warriors attacked: 16, 16, 20, 17! Brutal attacks that rendered the already wounded fighter dead. I did feel a pang of guilt, but this was part of our Group Two game, a campaign that is intentionally combat heavy and savage. The adventure was taken from an old issue of Dungeon magazine and although simple, was surprisingly fun. I like running old modules under Pathfinder rule sets, the new skills really add flavor to the game.

On the miniatures front I am currently painting my way through a variety of older miniatures I have lying around. While I am okay as a painter I feel like I am really on the edge of a breakthrough in the skill department. I recognize that my paint jobs are a little harsh and chunky, now I just need to learn to improve the technique. I am going to try painting slower and I really need to learn how to blend colors. I am considering upgrading my paint set (which is admittedly from a fabric/craft store) to something a little more miniature specific, maybe Vallejo paints. Any advice is appreciated. Here are a few of the figures I completed...

A two headed Ettin. I decided to make the eyebrows flesh colored, to look more caveman-ish.

The Gnome King. This figure came mistakenly in a box set of Grenadier minis called the Tomb of Spells. I couldn't have been more pleased with the mistake, I love this figure.

A young Dragon. I painted this figure to match a large dragon I painted not too long ago. Perhaps there will be some continuity in a future adventure?
And lastly, one of the figures I painted for the fortress diorama I created a few weeks back. I put him here just to show how great the figure is. It's from a company called Red Box Games. I really love their line of figures and plan on getting my hands on more in the future, although I should probably paint the twelve or so figures of theirs that I already purchased at my local gaming store. This figure is by far my favorite and is not available for purchase on their website which is a real bummer. I found painting him so enjoyable that I would probably buy him four more times just to practice different color schemes.

Plus how can I not love a company that makes a mini that looks just like me?

Until next time, Happy Gaming!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Heros... Pfft.

While reading an excellent post over at ROFL Initiative about the consequences of killing, I came to a realization. A lot of RPG material -in fact the vast majority of it- refers to player characters as "Heroes." This is something I don't normally do and I think this difference in thinking has an effect on the games that I play.

While some of the characters in our games could be described as heroes some of the time, I more often refer to them as adventurers or sometimes even just the party. When I think of the word "hero" I imagine the guy who jumps on a hand grenade to save his buddies. I think of Mother Theresa or Superman. I picture people and characters who go out of their way to do good for the sake of doing good, or to help others. 

I do not view PC's in the same light.

Most RPG characters are what I would call accidental heroes and at their worst - downright criminals. Let's face it, we are talking about people who have foregone the idea of getting a normal job and have decided that they would much rather adventure for a living. A profession that's primary focus is obtaining wealth and power through killing things and taking their stuff. 

Think about this: Indiana Jones conquered the Temple of Doom, saved the nearby village, rescued his friends, destroyed the Thugee and recovered the Sankara stones all for the sake of research! I would categorize that under heroic any day of the week, but that's only because he didn't sell the Sankara stones on eBay to buy a +5 whip and a few potions of snake repellant. 

That's the difference for me. Heroes help, adventurers help for profit.

I believe this way of thinking adds a lot of flavor to our games; it gives the players more to work with in the role play aspect and keeps the ego's from getting too big. Townsfolk aren't always willing to help and some are downright untrustworthy of adventurers. While the local fletcher might beg for help with a spider infestation, the blacksmith next door is making sure his family mausoleum is locked safe from any wandering "treasure hunters."

I wanted to post more but it's late and I have a solo adventure to run soon.

Until next time, Happy Gaming!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sex and Sexuality in Gaming

Have you ever spent an hour or two writing a post only to delete the whole thing and start over? I just did that with this post. So please, allow me to re-start.

I don't contribute to the WoTC forums, although I do read them from time to time. Recently, I discovered a topic concerning in-game sexuality. As always, the thread exploded into a flurry of insults, blabbering and "intellectual elitism."

- On a side note, I wish there was a "sarcasm" text style, as italics just doesn't seem to cut the mustard in some cases. Maybe call it italicsXtreme.

It did get me thinking though. So I ask myself -and anyone who cares to read- how do you view sex and sexuality in your game? Is it something intentionally included/excluded? How do you handle it when it comes up? Do sexual preferences besides heterosexual exist in your world? If it is included, how far do you take it?

I am fortunate to game with an open minded group of players who seem to handle anything I throw at them. While sexuality rarely appears in my authored adventures, it has occasionally popped up from time to time. It can take the form of a serious plot point while other times it can be used as comic relief.

I guess in that sense it's kind of like real life! (insert rimshot!)

I try not to exclude any possible character traits from my games or players and this includes their sexual behavior. I don't actively encourage it, but if a player decides to pursue sexual goals it's not my job to say no. A bard in our current campaign slept his way through quite a few taverns in his travels. While it had little impact on the game, it did wonders in the development of his character. A few charisma or bluff checks and the situation was resolved. No role play needed (thank god!) and his character got to maintain his rather sleazy reputation.

The newest Dwarf Body Sprays garaunteed to drive she-dwarves crazy: Battle-Axe!

As handling sexuality goes, it has changed for our group as we get older. Looking back through the years it's funny to see how we have matured as gamers. In our teenage years we had stuff like Whore the Boar -a rather tasteless animal companion, or hour long debates on whether "buttcheeks counted as 'closeable objects' in conjunction with the Fire Trap spell." Now that we are older there are still occasional blue jokes but more often than not sex takes a more serious tone. We have had adventures where the party solved the mystery, and eventually avenged the rape and death of an innocent woman. The party has also infiltrated a temple of perversity  hidden below a brothel in search of a kidnapped bureaucrat only to find him there willingly, charmed not by magic - but by pleasures of the flesh.

Concerning sexual preferences, the simple answer is: we don't care. That's not to say that our group is indifferent to preferences besides heterosexuality, in fact I am saying the complete opposite. I have placed gay NPCs within many games as both mundane and plot-critical characters and have discovered that the party acts like they do in real life, they treat the NPCs like any other person. Or in this case, character. 

So how do you deal with these topics in game?

Until next time, happy gaming!          

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You know it's gonna be a bad month...

Well things have gone from bad to worse. Not only did we have to shell out four hundred bucks for a plumber, but I was much more ill than I realized. I made a trip to the emergency room at around 3am this morning where they pumped me with fluids, took x-rays, blood work etc. Turns up I was dangerously dehydrated so they kept me there until 9am with all sorts of tubes and needles stuck in me.

It was not pleasant.

They eventually sent me home with a prescription and suggested sleeping as much as possible. I had no problem filling that order, especially after taking the medicine they gave me, woo!

On a side note, I have an inkling that my boss at work may not believe me. Granted, I'll be taking both my doctor's note and plumber's bill just to cover my bases, but who knows how they will take it. It's times like this that I wish we could just pack up and move somewhere with universal healthcare and greater worker's rights. I shouldn't have to to be afraid to call out of work in an emergency.

But I digress...

In my spare time I haven't been doing much game writing, as my brain was a little fevered. Instead, I did a bit of painting and put the finishing touches on a group of figures intended for the small diorama I displayed a week... (two weeks?) ago.


I think my painting skills are improving as I do it more and more. I really liked these figures, and while I've never played any GW tabletop stuff, they reminded me of Khorne's berzerkers so I painted them in a similar scheme. 

In addition to the rank and file, I wanted the leader to stand apart. I painted his helmet gold, gave him icy blue eyes and a magical weapon. This is my first attempt at blending colors together for a magic effect. I don't think it's too shabby.

Anyway, it's late and I need to get to sleep. Let me know what you think!

Until next time, happy gaming! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sickness and more!

I'm not dead, but my wife and I have spent almost the entire weekend in bed.

And not in the good way.

I think we ate some bad indian food. It has been less than enjoyable and to top it off, our bathtub is leaking into our living room. Ugh!

Well, at least I should have plenty of time tomorrow to post while the plumber is here.