Tuesday, August 18, 2015

He Who Laughs

Today I bring to you another company list for "In Her Majesty's Name."

If you follow Craig's main IHMN blog, you'll have seen his list for a certain Dark Knight and his retinue. Every hero needs a nemesis, and the bat-winged one certainly has one in the guise of a psychotic killer clown.

Lovely sketch by Leonardo Paciarotti I found using Google's image search.

A few weeks ago I showed you the mini of a Victorian Villain sculpted by Vermis over on the Lead Adventure Forum. With two alternate heads, he can be the classic Man Who Grins or echo more recent manifestations of the Joker after having his face removed and reattached. 

A very crisp painted version of He Who Laughs (as I call him) that Vindice shared in a thread on LAF.

Also found on the LAF, this painted version of the Man Who Grins shows the alternate head.

(There's a thread following the development of what are hoped to be the next two figures, a "Dark Knight Returns"-style bat fellow and Spring-Heeled Jack.)

This was the original Victorian Vigilante figure from Vermis. Again, Vindice's paint job, and photo lifted from one of the response threads about the minis.

And where would the clown prince of crime be without his Harley? I had to stat up a version of her, seen through my particular screampunk lens. One of the Ronin figures from Malifaux is often given a Harley paint job, as is Lady Taelor (since she wields a big ole hammer).

From GMort's Chaotica, painting attributed to a "Matt,"
which could be Matt Slade, but I don't know for sure.
To fill out the company, I've gone with generic "Family" followers to account for the various thugs, hangers-on and crazy folks that Harley's puddin' uses in his schemes. Shades of Manson, as well. It is intentional.

Ditto on this paint job. GMort gave away a prize, and the winner chose the ME2 Viktorias from Malifaux and had his friend Matt paint them. We have  now exhausted my knowledge on their provenance.

So here are links to a pdf of the company list for the man I call He Who Laughs, the Smiler, and Mr. Sardonicus. I hope you enjoy. One is in Google Drive, the other in Dropbox.

Next up, I'll bring you my twisted (more like tangled) take on the Plague Doctor. I've already started writing.

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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My own tormented artifact

You're all familiar with the work of Dmitri Arbacauskas, right?

If not, head over to his site at Tormented Artifacts. I'll wait.

He's a master craftsman with leather, and his sense of humor tends toward the morbid and bizarre. Check out the humorous broadsides he prints that include propaganda from the "League of Extraordinary Bastards."

Here's an example for those of you who ignored my earlier advice:

He's a Facebook friend of mine now, though ours has been a relationship confined to digital space thus far. I've been a fan of his work for a long time, but we first corresponded when he got rather, um, snarky that I, not him, won some zombie clown figures from Mad Clown Miniatures. (I think that was the contest. Right, Dmitri?) I felt so bad that I told him I'd get him to craft me the Plague Doctor mask I need later this year.

In the mode of daytime TV shows, here's one he prepared earlier:

Follow your nose. It always knows.

Dmitri is at Galacticon 4 in Seattle this weekend, and look what happened. I don't think he'll mind me lifting this from his Facebook feed:

For those of you suffering head trauma, that's the gorgeous Dmitri flanked by the equally gorgeous Claudia Christian of "Babylon 5" fame. My jealousy knows no bounds. She will always be Ivanova, the right hand of vengeance, to me. God sent her.

Well, Dmitri is moving house right now and has shut down custom orders through his shop for a brief time. When he announced that, I decided to slip in under the wire and place an order for something he calls an "exorcist's hand wrap."

The one thing I asked is that, instead of the Thelemite magical symbol he showed on the catalog piece, I wanted the Yellow Sign on mine. I'm indifferent to Crowley but an ardent subject of the King in Yellow. My madness protects me.

It arrived super-quickly and, let me tell you, I was blown away. Knowing he's an honorable and upright artist, I expected the piece to be well made. What I did not predict was the superior quality of the components and the exquisite attention to detail. The photos on Dmitri's web site, though accurate, do not do this piece justice. There's no way my wonky pics are going to show you how wonderful this is, but trust me, it is great. I intend to get another one very, very soon. I'm thinking of getting the runic version of the Elder Sign on it.

Ignore my sexy Medic Alert bracelet below the hand wrap.

Tell me, have you seen the Yellow Sign?

There it is, right there. That's the Yellow Sign. Now you've seen it. So I can stop asking.

I don't know what this glyph under the buckles is, but I like it. Looks like an eye, looks like a globe.
Who knows? Dmitri, I guess, but I haven't bothered to ask.

I especially love that the handwrap leaves my fingers free for typing but does a great job of hiding the hideous wounds and scars that criss-cross the back of my left hand.

This is great quality leather. It smells SO GOOD. It's supple yet strong, and Dmitri's design work and edging really stand out. The hardware is of top quality. These are not the kind of notions you pick up at the corner craft store. These top-quality rivets, buckles and rings possess genuine heft and hardiness.

This is not a piece of a costume. This is an article of clothing. I've worn it every day since receiving it to get it broken in, and it already fits my hand almost exactly, curve for curve, and is nearly to the point where it seems weightless, that I don't feel it at all.

Based on this evidence, I can only say that Dmitri is a master fleshcrafter of the highest order, and I'm honored to own this product of his labor, and even more honored to call him my friend.

Thanks again, Dmitri, and you'll see another order from me cross your transom shortly.

OK, that's it for today. Back to the boards, everybody, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Penny Dreadful: the Summing Up

Hello me droogies, I'm back with real horrorshow content about a real horror show.

OK, I'm crap at imitating Alex's speech patterns from "A Clockwork Orange." But I do have what I hope is the final version of the Season 2 stats for the "Penny Dreadful" company for IHMN.

This is what, the fourth iteration of these stats? I think we're done tinkering until next season rolls around, when I plan to do a whole new list. I daresay our characters will be much changed and will warrant a good rethink. The producers have also said they've going to introduce another literary character to the show. I wonder who that will be. Any guesses?

The few changes I made this time are based on the finale, so while I'm not intentionally spoiling any details, I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone who's not yet seen it. Maybe steer clear until you've watched it.

I felt we had to up Brona/Lily's FV given how she tosses John around. I also armed her with the same "Terrible Blow" he has, which is equivalent to a walker's steam claw.

I also bumped Mr. Kyle's shooting value to +1 given how he came through with that little derringer in some rather adverse circumstances.

And last but not least is the Tome of the Scorpion, my name for the book Vanessa inherits from her teacher, the Cut-Wife. It's a relic, akin to the regalia Akhenaton hunts. It would make a great prize for a scenario, but it is so powerful I would severely limit its availability. As it is, I've tried to mimic its effects from the show while still making it playable.

So here are links to the PDF, one in Google Drive, and one in Dropbox.

I'll also put a copy in the Files section of the Facebook group.

That's it for now, folks. Back to the boards, and your good and faithful narrator will see you across the table soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tonight the part of Peter Cushing will be played ...

... by Vampifan!

Peter Cushing, not Vampifan

Well, I hate that it happened this way, but a week after the close of my giveaway, I still have not heard from the winner of the "Lost World" prize. I feel I have done my due diligence and made a good faith effort to contact him.

Therefore I'm vacating his win and rolling down to the next name on the random drawing list, which was Vampifan's.

I've already informed Bryan via personal message of his win, and I've contacted Andrew at Antediluvian with Bryan's shipping info so he can send the two dinos he so generously added to the prize.

Maybe I'll be fortunate enough to run another giveaway in a couple of years. Hmmmm. Maybe for our fifth anniversary?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

We have winners!

Ladies and gentlebeings, we have winners, and I'm happy to say that each winner was able to receive his or her first choice from among the prizes.

The winners are:

· MARS: Finn Morgan

· Lost World: Michael Morales

· Old Blighty: myincubliss

If these goodly readers will comment below and tell me how to best get in touch with them, I can begin making shipping arrangements.

And, of course, the big winner was me, because I got to share with you the joy I feel in sharing this hobby and this blog with you. You are all wonderful people, and some of you have become my dear friends over the years.

Additionally, I was floored by the generosity of Andrew Taylor at Antediluvian Miniatures. When I was messaging with him on Facebook about the great quality of the minis I'd ordered for the Lost World prize, he volunteered to add in the Megalosaurus and the Iguanadon models for the winner. Thank you again, Andrew.

I don't know about you, but I hope that says something about the reputation of this blog (and its writer.) It feels, to me, that it really acknowledges that we've reached the next level and can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best gaming blogs out there. "Dispatches from the Rim" is a niche publication for sure, covering steampunk skirmish wargaming, the occasional zombie infestation, and whatever else bright and shiny attracts my attention, but now I feel our quality can compare favorably with the blogs out there that inspire me ... like Vampifan's World of the Unded, like Hendybadger's Tales of a Tabletop Skirmisher, and even ones that came along after I started, like Gordon's "I have wrought my simple plan." I am so proud to be among their company.

The contest brought in new readers and, while we didn't break the 100 mark for public followers, we got darn close. 97! Woo hoo!

I also got to find out more about the international reach of the blog. Most of my readers are in the U.S. and U.K., with a strong contingent in New Zealand and a pocket in Poland, but it was really nice to here more from Europe, with new readers in France, Belgium and Sweden.

Thank you all for enjoying this ride with me, for the many compliments about the blog's content, for the birthday wishes and for granting me your time and attention in this oh-so-busy world when you could be doing other things.

OK, that's it for now. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It's "Dispatches"' birthday, but the presents are for you!

Thanks to the generosity of Andrew Taylor and Antediluvian Miniatures, the "Lost World" prize has been augmented by an Iguanadon and a Megalosaurus. While the explorers will ship from my place in the States, the dinosaurs will ship from Antediluvian central in the UK.

July 8 is the third blogiversary of "Dispatches from the Rim," and I've decided to do a giveaway to celebrate. It's also a celebration of my upcoming birthday (next Wednesday) and a milestone that I overlooked about a month back -- "Dispatches" passed 50,000 pageviews!

There are going to be there different prizes, each geared toward different areas on which we steampunk skirmish wargamers tend to focus.

A boxed set of Games Workshop Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii. They can be assembled as either rangers (hoods) or as vanguard (helmets).

I know plenty of us are planning to use these figures as some faction on Mars. Here's a chance to get a jump start.

A set of the three new Lost World explorers from Antediluvian Miniatures. Who doesn't want Peter Cushing, Doug McClure and a fur bikini-clad Raquel Welch fighting dinosaurs in the Earth's interior?

A set of five Victorian firefighters from Brigade Games. Set to defend Trumpton or wherever you decide, these firemen bear a certain unkempt dignity. Are they putting out fires or setting them? Up to you!

So, how do you get in on this giveaway? Simply comment on this post and tell me which order you would rank them as your favorites, or which you would want most. You don't have to be a public follower of this blog, but it would make me very happy if you were. We're nearing 100, and it would be cool if this were the event that pushed us over.

On July 15th, my birthday, I'll randomly select three commenters and award the prizes as best I can in order of their preferences.

All the minis are brand new, unpainted plastic or white metal.

When you comment, don't forget to tell me the order in which you would prefer the prizes. All you have to put is "Lost World. Blighty. Mars." for example.

Feel free to share this around on your own blogs, Facebook pages and groups, or other social media. The more, the merrier.

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

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!