Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's Father's Day today, so to all you fathers out there, happy birthday!

The title is a paraphrase of the great Ralph Kiner.

My father is a great man. Whenever I hear those Old Testament Bible verses about there being "giants in the earth," I think of my dad. Not because he's descended from the Nephilim, necessarily, but because that's the kind of stride his life has had across the landscape of my own.

So I decided to write up some stats for him for "In Her Majesty's Name."

Why? My dad's not a gamer -- he'll neither understand nor be able to appreciate what I've done here. It'll just join the other million, million things I've done during my life that he'll have to shrug at and go, "OK, if that's your thing ..."

I've left the era particularly vague. If you wanted to run him as a Victorian character, as I certainly do, he'll work, but you could just as easily drop him into his actual modern era using the stats and description I've written. My web fu doesn't feel particularly strong right now, but offhand I think the figure I might use for him as a Victorian mechanic/tinkerer would be Capt. Arland Strangewayes from the Cygnar faction of Warmachine. (Although then you'd need to up his Armor from jack/lined coat.)

The human field mechanik in the unit set might work as well, although Dad's not bald. He just has a mustache.

If you want to use him as a modern survivor, the nearest analogue as far as the kit he's carrying would be Raoul from Zombicide. Here's his picture. Just make him older and give him a mustache, but no beard, and that's a pretty close image for how my dad might face the zombie apocalypse.

Here's a Google Docs link to the pdf: My Dad

And in Dropbox: My Dad

So Happy Father's Dad, although I doubt you'll see this, unless one of your granddaughters points it out to you. Love you much!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker"

A while back I stumbled across this great thread in the Workbench section of the Lead Adventure Forum.

A group was rounding up orders for, or gauging interest in, a Victorian version of a certain nemesis of a caped nocturnal vigilante.

Well I was in for it immediately. The sculptor, who goes by Vermis but is, I believe, named Warren, was even doing alternate heads -- one based on Conrad Veidt, the star of the German Expressionist silent film "The Man Who Laughs," from the Victor Hugo novel (and a big inspiration for Bob Finger's original design of The Joker), and the other with the skinned and reattached face we've seen in recent comics.

There had apparently been an earlier drive to craft the Gentleman Vigilante himself. I opted not to purchase one of these, but they do look good.

So I had to get two of Mr. Grins, and they arrived at my secret base in the heart of a dormant volcano yesterday. And they are every bit as wonderful as anticipated.

Here's a pic of my two minis in the metal. These are really clean casts. There was one tiny piece of flash attached to one of the top hats, but I took care of that with a judiciously applied fingernail. The only mold line of any significance runs along the underside of the figure's right arm, but a file should get rid of that with minimal effort.

I don't exactly have a plan to slot him into the world of "Brass & Blood" yet, but it'll come to me, no doubt. I mean, every setting can use a psychopath disfigured by a Glasgow smile, right?

And the vigilante haunting Victorian smokestacks and alleyways to stop him is already in my collection.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This week's "Penny Dreadful"

Having now seen episode 5 of Penny Deadful season 2, "Above the Vaulted Sky," I don't think I'd amend anything in my company list based on any of this week's revelations.

(Unless there were a roll to put Barry White music behind everyone's actions. Almost everybody got to break off a little sumpn-sumpn.)

The only thing I might add would be giving Madame Kali/Evelyn Poole the Curse spell from IHMN Gothic, based on how she's got Sir Malcolm ensorcelled. It's a 12-point spell, which would push her total to 83 points. Given Madame Kali's age and apparent level of power in the show, I'm OK with that.

If you wanted, you could swap Curse in for the Chameleon Skin spell, which I gave her for consistency's sake with the other Nightcomers, but we've never seen her use that particular talent. That exchange would leave her as a 71-point character.

If you need them again, here are links to the company list: Google Drive or Dropbox.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dreadful developments

As fans of the ever-expanding world of "In Her Majesty's Name" await the release of IHMN Gothic, we craft what we can from the delectable morsels of the work that Craig and Charles have released on the official blog.

One of the hottest properties in the Gothic genre right now is Showtime's "Penny Dreadful."

I loved the first season, and the second season is proving to be quite the roller-coaster ride.

So I have taken upon myself the task of converting the main cast into IHMN stats.

Please note that I have not tried to build them as a starting company with the traditional 250-point cost. I have tried to include or replicate their abilities as seen or hinted at on the show, taking some liberties here and there to improve their survivability in-game.

F'rinstance, I have given several of the characters magneto-static bodices, where other characters have no armor at all. This is almost entirely at my whim. In addition, I have given Victor a Faraday coat because it makes sense, despite the lack of arc weapons on the show.

I've included the math in adding up the character costs below each entry, so you can check behind me or more easily make changes for your own games.

There are two main changes I can see people wishing to make. One is upping the steampunk quotient, which I have tried to address in part in the optional armaments at the end of the list.

The other is dropping the points cost of some characters to something more "livable." Here are some suggestions to that end:

· Drop Sir Malcolm's Hunter skill and Hunting Rifle.
· Raise Malcolm's Pluck and lower his SV.
· Drop Ethan's Lightning Draw.
· Lower his hybrid form's FV.
· Drop Ethan's Bless Person power.
· Drop John Clare's Strongarm talent.
· Drop Dorian's Erudite Wit talent.

Again, these are things I included to be true to the characters from the show or to enhance their viability on the tabletop.

Here's a link to the list as a pdf on Dropbox and another on Google Drive.

Let me know how you like them! Back to the boards, everybody, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Guess what I got?

The last thing I need is a new game to get into but ...

when I heard that Wayland was going to have a few copies of the special Joker edition of Knight Model's Batman Miniatures Game rulebook on their stand at Salute, I decided I just had to have one.

I'd passed when they were up for pre-order, most likely because I was overcommitted to kickstarters at the point (who am I kidding, always).

It didn't help that I used to have a T-shirt with the design from the cover. Here's my copy:

Given that I live in the States, retrieving this from Salute would've been terribly difficult without the amazing assistance of my Facebook friend and fellow member of the Tabletop Skirmishers group Andrew Bussey. Thanks again, Andrew, for being such a superb ninja shopper!

I haven't sat down with it in great detail yet, but let me say this is perhaps the most beautiful gaming rulebook I own. (Note: I haven't bought any of the recent wave of slip-covered, gold-foil bedecked rulebooks or codices from anybody. If I'm scared to put it on the table, I don't want it.) The full-page photography and full color throughout make this a pleasure to read. It's a sturdy hardback, too, and I think its price is totally justified.

I also received the limited Red Hood figure, which neither of us expected, but neither of us was going to complain. Here he is:

So I've returned to the Arkham City Limits Facebook group (I'd joined early on but left as I wasn't really doing anything with Batman.) If you're on FB and interested in the Batman Miniature Game, or any supers gaming, really, you need to check it out. It is among the most friendly, resourceful, knowledgeable groups I've had the pleasure of taking part in. It's right up there with A Wyrd Place and the aforementioned Tabletop Skirmishers for quality membership.

I was really going to try and pick and choose very carefully from Knight's releases for this game and only purchase figures of characters I really love -- Harley (Arkham version), Killer Croc (because alligator, obviously), Swamp Thing and Victor Szazs (because asylum lunatics -- I get them for every system I can find). But now I think I'm going to have to get all the Gotham Sirens, some of the various versions of the Joker, and I want to track down the Alfred Pennyworth that came with the Batman cover of the rulebook.

I saw in the new releases they're putting out Joker's Daughter in her New 52 incarnation. Here she is:

But I much prefer the previous version where she was all steampunky and known as Duela Dent. (The new one is Duela, but they haven't revealed her last name, I don't believe.) She's become pretty famous because of the cosplay meme involving someone slagging off the cosplayer and everyone else shouting that person down for not knowing what they were talking about.

But here she is from the comics:

And here's that cosplay meme:

Now, if they'd make a miniature of that version of her, I'd buy them by the truckload. OK, not really, but I'd buy several, most likely. As it stands, it shouldn't be too hard to find one of the many female steampunk figures out now and do a conversion, or maybe just a paint job would be enough, depending on the figure.

Suggestions for figures for Duela Dent's steamy goodness, anyone?

While you think about that, I've got to head home.

Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A word to say ...

I am not gone.
I just tend not to say anything when I don't have anything to say .
When I do have something to say, I want to make sure it is worth your while and appeals to your eyes and ears, and also your minds.
Rest assured, my lovelies, I think of you every day.
We'll talk soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Goodbye, Sir Terry

Like many others, I find myself deeply affected by the news today that Sir Terry Pratchett has died at age 66.

It was so unfair, as it always is, that he was suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's. His diagnosis hit me hard too. That disease was going to ravage so rich a mind ... I wept then, just as I do now. That he kept writing up until the end is his triumph. Our world is a poorer place without him.

This is the man who gave us the definition of the thaum, the basic particle/energy unit of magic. A thaum is the measure of magical energy required to produce three billiard balls or one live dove.

This is a man whose last few tweets were his conversation with Death, who had always been one of his greatest characters. That he took the time to share how he pictured that moment, in the terms of the fantasy world through which most of us knew him, is a great gift from him to us, his fans. I, of course, heard Death's dialogue in my head in Christopher Lee's voice, with an appropriate amount of reverb.

You can see why I love him.

His early works were pulp pastiches of Conan tales, and as his career progressed, he crafted some of the best satires in the English language. More than 70 books, 40 or so of them in the Discworld. The BBC says his works have been translated into 37 languages and have sold over 70 million copies. Well done, sir.

If you've not read any of his works, I recommend "Man at Arms" as a start. (Don't read them in order, please! Going back and catching up those early books is easy, once you've really gotten enamored of the world.) Then read "Small Gods." Then one of the books with the Witches -- "Maskerade," or "Wyrd Sisters" maybe. I don't think you can go wrong on that one. Hold off on reading "Interesting Times" until you've encountered Cohen the Barbarian in other books, so it'll make more sense. There are some short stories about with Cohen in them, too, I believe.

I warn you, though, the end of "Interesting Times" made me cry. If you care about warrior culture, bravery, honor and loyalty, it will probably make you cry as well.

I will miss his books, just as I will miss his opinions and his antics. The Discworld is one of those many fantasy realms in which I feel at home. And within that world, within the beautiful counterpointed structure of his satires, I often learned things. Things about life, and things about myself.

Those characters are old friends. Sam Vimes and Corporal Carrot. Detritus, Nobby and Fred Colon. Gaspode. The Librarian. Rincewind, Twoflower and The Luggage. Death, Albert, the Grim Squeaker and Susan. Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat. And then Agnes and Tiffany. The Bursar and his frog pills. Brutha. The Great God Om. Mustrum Ridcully. HEX. The Nac Mac Feegle. The Hogfather. Cheery Littlebottom. Moist von Lipwig. Lord Vetinari. The Great A'Tuin. So many, many, many characters I know and love.

Thank you, Sir Terry. For those of us who follow in your footsteps as scribes of our imaginations, may we populate our worlds as warmly and as well, and may they last as long.

The Turtle Moves.