Sunday, 29 January 2012

Romano-British Archers and Games Workshop

We had a family trip to the Bluewater shopping centre this afternoon. Not my idea of a cup of tea but at least there is a Games Workshop to lose myself in whilst the Mrs does some girly stuff. I popped in in the hope of seeing the new Lord of the Rings releases. Unfortunately they didn't have any in to show me, but I picked up a White Dwarf, some paints and brushes, and some movement trays for my LotR Rohan force whilst there anyway. Now, I won't be using those movement trays for War of the Ring (I don't have the rules and doubt I will pick them up after seeing them in action a year or two back) but to put my Rohan forces in so they don't slide around so much in their storage trays. Also, I rarely buy White Dwarf these days (once a year maybe?), but as it seemed to have a wee bit of LotR content I decided to take the plunge. There is quite a bit of new stuff coming out for LotR next month, so I for one am glad they are now devoting some time and effort to what I think is by far their best mainstream game. Apparently they are going to be filling in quite a few gaps from Legions of Middle Earth - about time we all say!

Also, as I hadn't quite finished the Gripping Beast archers I bought last year when I went into action yesterday, I completed their bases today upon my return from Bluewater. Half-a-dozen have now been completed, but there are 2 more still on the paint station. I also have about another 15-20 heavily armoured chaps to round out the army. I will probably just need to buy one or two leader and sorceror types to completely finish what I require. Anyway, here are those six I finished today...

I am hoping to get those Splintered Lands minis finished next weekend, and I have just started work on basing those Chronicle Hobgoblins I dug out a few days back. I also have a HotT stand of barbarian archers that is almost completed too. There is also some work still to be done on that Village of Hommlet map. Hopefully I will get the time to complete quite a few by next post.

Romano-Brits vs. Saxons in the Land of Tangent

The roiling sea mists beagn to evaporate under the baleful glare of the morning sun. The weary Saxon warband were returning to their ships after a night's raiding, longing for ale and meat to break their fasts. The silence was shattered on both flanks by a roar from many throats. They were being ambushed! Thus began the tales of Hengist and Ambrosius; war leaders beyond compare.

Ambrosius (on left) and his fleet footed support...

The ground pounders...

The artillery...

The entire warband...

I spent a wonderful afternoon of gaming in the company of Dunc and the rest of the Tangent clan. Dunc got his own back this time round after my string of victories last time. The never ending sixes didn't materialise and normal service with the dice was resumed. We played three games; two of Songs of Merlin and Arthur and one of Splintered Lands. They were all tight games with several reversals of fortune, which can be read on Dunc's blog. His write up and photos being far more eloquent than any efforts I could make.

After bashing lumps out of each other we took to discussing our earlier gaming lives, with D&D featuring large for both of us, over a sumptuous banquet provided by Mrs Tangent - fantastic fare again, many thanks. Dunc also showed me his upcoming map for an air battle game (more details on his blog) - very impressive, and although WW2 is not ordinarily my gaming scene, my appetite has been whet. (Looking forward to seeing it finished Dunc).

We parted on the promise of more to come - perhaps a campaign would work next time? 400 points is a goodly amount for 28mm scale on a 4x4 table. It gives plenty of room to manouevre and lots of scope for tactical shenanigans (from me? haha!).

Again, a fantastic afternoon's gaming - thanks Dunc.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dungeons and Dragons

I thought I’d collect my thoughts and recent research on Dungeons and Dragons, the first RPG I played.

I started playing back in about 1978/9 with a friend from school. I was around his house and came across a couple of really old White Dwarf magazines. This got me hooked from the get-go. The two of us played for a good couple of years in our own campaigns using the Basic set of rules (the blue books in a boxed set if I recall correctly).

In 1981, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons came out so we moved onto that version. This is when my gaming really took off. I recall my friend’s mum took us to a wargaming group in the local ‘village’ of Northumberland Heath in Kent. It was here I met many of my long term gaming buddies and sampled the delights of many other games (Traveller, Runequest, Superheroes and so forth – but that is another story).

We played AD&D for several years, until I left school when I then concentrated more on our own house-ruled version of Traveller, and Runequest. I then left the D&D scene until 3rd Edition was released in 2000, which I got on advanced order. I hoped to get back into it by joining one of the players guilds but never plucked up the courage or had the time. As a result I didn’t play the game, and just put the rulebooks away until just a few months ago. I then did a few searches on the internet recently to rekindle my efforts and was amazed at how much the game had changed/developed over the years. As mentioned in a previous post, there are several different editions and flavours of D&D out there now, and I don’t presume to have written a complete list of editions; only of those editions that affect my gaming life.

1977 – Basic D&D - I started playing in around 1978/79
1981 – Advanced D&D (aka 1E) – I started playing in 1981
1989 – Advanced D&D 2nd Edition (aka 2E) – I never played this version
2000 – D&D 3rd Edition (aka 3E) – I have the rules but never played
2003 – D&D 3.5
2007 – D&D 4th Edition (aka 4E)
2012? – D&D 5th Edition

Now, here is where I start to get confused as various licences were released to allow other companies to produce what I call clones of D&D – many players will probably gasp in horror at my choice of words, but without having bought/read most of them I hope I can be forgiven any errors or faux pas (please correct me where I go wrong).

0D&D – Presumably one of the original D&D games like Basic, Expert, and a few others prior to and alongside AD&D

B/X – Not sure what this stands for, but presumably a Basic/Expert continuation version. The B/X Blackrazor blog has more details

2001 - Hackmaster by Kenzer and Co – Uses the AD&D 1E system

2004 - Castles and Crusades by Troll Lord Games – Uses the d20 system from 3E

2007 - Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games - Uses the AD&D 1E and Basic D&D systems

2009 – Pathfinder (aka 3.75E) by Paizo – Uses the d20 system from 3E

I have now reached a crossroads - which version of the game do I go for? Do I stick with the official D&D rules for 1e and/or 3E that I own, or do I go for one of the 'clones'? If I go for a clone, which one? Labyrinth Lord is a freebie and I have downloaded the rules already, but I must admit I like shiny, so I may purchase one of the other rulesets. Dunc has kindly invited me down to his for a few games of D&D using the Labyrinth Lord rules, so I will probably stick to LL until I want to DM my own campaign. Then the world is my mollusc.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Update and Chat

No photos on the blog this week I'm afraid. I did do a fair bit of painting and finishing off work though, but nothing was actually completed fully. So, hopefully there will be pictures either next weekend or the week after.

I was hoping to get the Splintered Lands stuff completed this weekend but I remembered I needed to get some Arthurian archers sorted ready for an encounter with Dunc's Saxon Dogs of War next weekend. We will be playing 400 point armies from the Songs of Merlin and Arthur Legendary Welsh rules. So, seeing as the Saxon interlopers have been espied with a shaman aboard their red sailed long boats, the Cantiaci have requested help from the local forest mage. Maybe he will turn up, maybe he won't, but the Romano-British warriors are certainly spoiling for a fight after the bloody nose they suffered last time out.

I managed to finish the above mentioned archers to the point of basing and varnishing, which I can hopefully complete during the week. I also finished off some Heroes of the Dark Ages archers too, which will make up part of a HotT Barbarian archers stand. Hopefully these will also be ready for display next week.

I spent the greater part of my online time last week reading up on D&D stuff again; I am becoming a lot more interested in the game now and will be looking to roll up some PCs and NPCs over the coming next few weeks to get a feel for the combat systems etc. again. I also did a bit more work on that Hommlet map I started on a couple of weeks back.

I also managed to have a quick look through what miniatures I still have to paint up from my lead/plastic piles. I have a goodly amount of EBob's Tribes of the East range (a unit of 10 of his foot and 9 cavalry) which I am going to use as the LotR Easterling tribe called Balchoth. I also have a stack of Games Workshop's Easterlings on foot and mounted to be used as adversaries for my growing Rohan army along with Saruman, Grima, Uruk-Hai, warg riders and orcs. I will probably pick up just a few more to round out those forces, but I don't actually need that many. I will probably not bother doing a Mordor army, but use all of my orcs as orcs of the White Hand. My only nod to the southern realms will be a reasonably sized Harad force who could be used as mercenaries to bolster any of the above evil armies.

I have also sorted out my old Chronicle Hobgoblins. I will clean these up, mount them on my standard bases and start painting them as soon as I am able. I really like these Old Skool miniatures; they don't have as much fine detail as modern figures but they more than make up for it in character.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Shadow and Flame

This is an old Citadel Greater Demon or something similar. I don't think they could use the term Balrog as it may have been copyrighted by Tolkien Ents. The Advanced D&D Monster Manual had them down as Type VI demons if I recall, and there were only ever six of them. I have painted him/it (?) as a red and black skinned demon with a fiery coloured fur coat. I tried to get a flame effect but was unable to, so settled on it being fur. From a distance the paint job looks pretty good but up close it is very messy - the camera has taken no prisoners on this one!

Anyway, here is a front view, showing the dealy array of weapons at his disposal; sword, whip and teeth.

And, here he is from the rear.

I also did well with getting the Splintered Lands minis a bit closer to completion; hopefully they will be finished by next weekend. I also sorted out the Arthurian archers in readiness for a bit of paint so I can take them down to Dunc's at the end of this month (weather permitting).

This week also saw me reading a lot of blogs about D&D. I am ready to start playing again, but I have since found out the D&D side of the hobby has split into a variety of factions: OD&D, OSR, 3E, 4E and soon to come 5E on the official side, as well as Pathfinder, Hackmaster, Castles and Crusades and so on. This has left me feeling rather confused, as I am not really sure what any of them are or what the acronyms mean. I guess I'll stick to what I know, unless any of you guys out there can help me out with what is what.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hordes of the Things - Magic User base

This HotT base has taken a long time to put together. I finished the Amazon priestess a year or so back but wanted to put something else on the base as she looked a bit alone when it was just her on her horse. One of the wargaming magazines had a cover mount of some Mantic Ghouls a few months back and I thought they'd fit the bill nicely (I was going to initially do skeletons, so the undead theme worked wonders), as the priestess had a skull-tipped wand. Anyway, here she is summoning the undead from their graves to put against her foes.

Here is another shot from a different angle that shows one of the ghouls actually clambering from the ground. I quite liked the affect and it makes a change from all of the figures on a base being on their feet.

I also put some paint on a really old Citadel Balrog/demon-type figure. Hopefully I can get that finished by next weekend.

I also got further into the map mood I am in and decided to try to make something of the map I got with a pdf version of the AD&D module T1 - The Village of Hommlet. I have the original 1979 module, but it is safely put away somewhere, so I used the pdf version of it for a bit of reminiscing of games of yore. So far I have managed to ship the map out of the pdf and add some colour to the trees and river. I will work on this over the coming weeks and show you the results of my electronic brushwork when it gets to a presentable stage. I will probably do the same for the village of Nulb map too, but tidy it up and make it look more compatible with the Hommlet map. I would dearly love to play some AD&D again, but may convert the module to 3E (the only other D&D set of rules I have). I may try an ePBM style of play, but will have to figure out the way to go on that though.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Doggerland - the Final Turn

Peace, at last, comes to Doggerland. Bran mak Morn, the lord of Cantwara, managed to win the support of the other warlords to become overlord of Doggerland. Here is the final map of the campaign which includes all details of how the forces lined up in that final turn before the capitulation of the lord Bjarni...

Here is a skeleton map of the final land divisions. Each empire has its own colour to distinguish it from the others...

Finally, here is the map with all territory names and the fortresses and earthworks that were still standing at the end of the game...

I am currently playing in Tavern Knights of Legend 2, run by my one of my long term gaming buddies. This will probably run throughout the summer, but when this ends I will be starting on the next game in the land of Dogger. This will be on a smaller scale where individual armies can be represented on the tabletop. In Doggerland, the armies were just known as 'warbands'. These warbands were an imginary unit that consists of vast swathes of either footmen, cavalry, mercenaries or a mixture of all with chariots thrown in - not really something that could be represented easily on the gaming table despite my best efforts. The next game will be far more easy to represent as each 'county' will be part of just one of the above territories, so an economic unit will buy a points value of troops to be chosen from set lists that relate to that particular county's peculiar troop type. The game will be set more on a village scale within one 'county', with each player having a set amount of villages from which to draw their revenue an dthus build their troops. Combat will be different and most likely will be able to be run on the tabletop - better get my 15mm figures painted by then I suppose!

I didn't get any painting done today, but should get back into the swing of things from next weekend when life returns to normal in the Odo household.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

Here's wishing you all a very Happy New Year...

I didn't get up to much this New Year's Eve - just watched a few episodes of the BBC Frozen Planet series with Mrs Odo and had a couple of glasses of wine. We saw the New Year in and went straight to bed - I had a very poor night's sleep what with the fireworks and, for some unknown reason, copping a bad case of indigestion - I hope that is not going to be the way of things for the rest of the year!

I don't usually make any resolutions, as I rarely stick to them, so will probably have an unofficial one to paint as many figures as, and to play more games than, last year. The credit crunch is keeping things a bit tight in the Odo household, so new purchases will be a rare thing I imagine. Maybe a new set of rules (Saga?) and a few figures, but mostly just restocking of paints/glue etc that I use up in the interim.

Since I last posted, I got out the computer (we always shut it down for the Christmas period) and my half-finished figures again. I managed to varnish a few, glue a few onto some bases and think about what needs to be done to complete them.

Yesterday, Alex bought himself a 250Gb X-Box out of his Christmas money and pocket money he had being putting aside. I spent an agonising 4 hours this morning trying to set this and our wireless network up to work with each-other - why are these things never easy? After the simple set-up failed, I tried to set up everything manually for the IP address/DNS etc. - again with no success. I resorted to the restore Factory Settings and switch off/on again - this worked much to my bewilderment and Alex's joy. He is now glued to his new console interacting online with his mates on some shoot-em-up. And to think, in my day, I used to interact in the same way but over the kitchen table with games like D&D, Runequest, Traveller etc. The old saying is true; the more things change, the more they stay the same.