Monday, 23 February 2015


If you've been reading long enough you might well remember the old growing a tabletop posts. That's a thinking I've taken in other directions since, but this is a closely related idea, if a bit more general.

It's an underlying rock-paper-scissors system for this brave new world of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock. I've been thinking about statless rules, the tile-based tabletop game Hive and 40K's Tyranids.

How it works

Friday, 20 February 2015

The meta-part kit and character corporealisation

If you've followed the discussion on kitbashing at the House, now moving on to Lego, and the one at Tenkar's Tavern on using miniatures in roleplaying, you might be interested in the set of posts going up at Iron Mammoth's Studio showing a miniature being made up from scratch.

On the subject I have a question, and a thought about character creation, or generation.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

In the House, or hanging out in the shed for now...

Not content with one sporadic gig here, I have a first post up over at the House, probably the start of a weekly series looking at what the member blogs have been up to, and going off on tangents.

This one covers basing miniatures and how it can be seen as an element of roleplaying, plus a potentially hobby-shaking development in the understanding of what miniatures might be, then representing low gravity in games. There's some interesting discussion in the comments as usual.

It's also worth saying that if you're a blogger and not a House member, but you want a bit more traffic, have a think about joining up. The info's all here. There's no widget to add and the essay is just a joke, but you can play along if you feel like it. You don't even need to link back to the House or put up the network logo, but it might be neighbourly.

This could be especially relevant to your interests if you're primarily a roleplayer and the blog is listed with the RPGBA, which looks like ceasing operation in a couple of months.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Dragoncrawls and behavioural deployment

Still here. One of the posts I put up ahead of the lull was Dragons & Dungeons, on reversing the standard emphasis, and since then Red Orc and Jens D. have given the idea a bit more thought.

Suggested reading order would be the original post, Red Orc's follow-up then the latest.

I'm still wondering how it might work in wargaming. Maybe the forces would be set up based on likely unit activity, and the terrain simultaneously? Each force could be divided into a few categories, say Special, Scout, Column, Support and Patrol, which already happens to some degree in various games, with organisational charts, special rules etc.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Edition whoring; fifth and seventh; and things unseen

So we've lived to see a fifth D&D and a seventh 40K. Who'd have thought it, back in 1974 or '87?

I've been reflecting. The more editions, the more I think the magic, and the truer quality, was in the first, in OD&D and Rogue Trader; and the more I think that after any new thing appears, if we love it, the way to honour what it represents is to carry on truly developing, to push the limits in corresponding ways, not just rework.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Return of the Jedi and/or the Rise of the Galaxy

I'd think that in a leg of western history that looks heavily shaped by and for the internationalist, disaffected and atheist 'nerd' with a moderately idealistic view of nature - I'm generalising and conflating a bit - the Ewoks would be more popular.

After all, they're an ungainly, galactic everyman, underdogs who come good, mastering a tyrannical aggressor with their own tech, even taking the first steps in a new paradigm.

And if not absolutely popular, at least relatively, compared with, say, the Jedi, presented as physiologically favoured, aristocratic alpha warriors not so much seeking progress by intelligence as led by an abstraction to restore a presumably established religious order.

Why this dissonance? Is it just the Jedi having more readily identifiable individuals, or traditional hero figures? Or is it the personally empowering mysticism of the Force, or the Jedi access to not just spiritual but worldly power? Or is it something more subtle..?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

When worlds collide! or share a barycentre for a while

I've not done a funky link set for a bit so here are some recent crossover posts, or more intricate combinations of theme, you might not have seen.

There's a lot more weirdness going on, especially in the upper three blogrolls on the left.

Making bones about Nagash

The 'leak' is here for the new official miniature for Nagash, the necromancer in the Warhammer setting. It looks like a sleek, comfortably variable plastic kit, nipped and tucked neatly using CAD.

The previous one gets a lot of stick and seems widely regarded, online at least, as one of the worst ever Citadel miniatures. There's mention in this thread of the idea the skull was badly sculpted on purpose. If true, not badly enough for me. I've always been quite fond of the model, and I'd argue the skull's the key feature.

So this is an alternative perspective, a reappraisal for posterity, or possibly Midhammer.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

From the Osteolix to the Inner Clumps

Underworld Lore #4 is coming this week, which means the Arcane Dwellings table needed to be done faster than expected, so I did the last nine myself, to be sure there are 30 ready to go.

If you want to add any, like Red Orc did with the Threshold of Eternity on Monday, go right ahead, and Greg can push that many of mine off the list.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Firepower of that magnitude: FFG, GW and licensing

Fantasy Flight's X-Wing has been causing a great disturbance in the FLGS, being unusually accessible with its well-known setting, light rules and prepainted miniatures. And soon there'll be Star Wars: Armada, for battles with capital ships.

Monday, 11 August 2014

At Offalmongers' Folly

I'm going to finish the Arcane Dwellings table at Gorgonmilk entry by entry. This is the first. If you want to jump in, no need even to ask: post here.

Here it is then, weird and maybe a little gross. If it's a mealtime, you might want to stop right now.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Unused, but useable die sizes

If you wanted to out-DCC DCC and recapture the magic and disorientation of early D&D with a new set of die shapes and ranges, what dice are left?

The classics of course are the d4 and d6 - the d2 and d3 included - the d8, d10, d12 and d20, plus the d100. Most are fairly useful, for the spread of factors. DCC uses the d5, d7, d14, d16, d24 and d30, which are still solid. We covered the d1 here.

The d9, d15, d18, d21, d25, d27 and d28 could all be useful, the d18 and d28 most of all, and maybe the d22 and d26 as well, but the rest up to 30 less so: the d11, d13, d17, d23 and d29. The d31 has a certain cracked old school charm, but does it exist? And of course, when rolling with larger ranges, extracting smaller factors can slow the reading.

The shapes would likely play a key role in the decision, given how analogue the hobby has been and is at heart - you might want that d9 and d15, say, for being more distinct.

Does unfamiliarity mean lower practicality from now on, or is there another way to do it?

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Waiting for Ragnarök - Oldhammer to win by default?

It's true. There's a new Space Wolf codex out for 40K, the fourth since the codex cycling began, and all three original characters - Ragnar, Ulrik and power armoured Njal - are still available, over 21 years after they first appeared in White Dwarf.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Fifth edition thoughts - the depriving background?

A quick comment on a piece of fifth edition D&D.

At first I was generally positive about the idea of the so-called 'background' - the personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws. Now I'm not so sure. It seems more gimmicky as time goes by, more predetermining of narrative as if establishing the characters for the first chapter of a novel, a set narrative, rather than supporting an exploration of another world - and ourselves - wherever it leads; and a shortcut avoiding the need for fuller player engagement, or further restricting player freedom.

Why play to someone else's prewritten background if you can decide one for yourself or start vague, as light as in a DCC funnel, or with a single word or less, and let specifics emerge in play, based on choice and the elaboration of the world in the interaction between players and GM, and characters, factions and landscapes? I'm genuinely curious as to the justification. Surely not just to save more of that increasingly precious time..? If so, I've got a suggestion - do less. None of us have to do everything we're sold.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Pro-millinerial tension

Hats can be big in adventure fiction. Best known of all maybe is that myth made for Indiana Jones.

But how do we know how important they are, or more importantly when they've fallen off? In mass wargames, who cares? In skirmish games many might, and in tactical roleplay it could be critical, not least because there could be things under them. But where's the rule, or rather that option?

And what about wigs, bandannas or weirder, grimdarkling-ish things? The navigators of 40K have a third eye with an effect that in D&D and related games could be save or die: if it slips, we really need to know. They might be the season's must-have accessory - or not - and affect reactions. Here's a simple approach: