Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random miniature projects

Being a gamer with both ADD and gamer ADD I always have additional projects going, almost the point of distraction. So in an effort to atleast organize the ideas its time to make another list; mini, system (if applicable) and some quick notes or status.

  • Firestorm Armada Dzindrezi box set, Firestorm Armada - currently working on converting the battleship and building the little destroyers (?)
  • Vikings, Song of Blades and Heroes - predominately Wargames Factory hard plastic, though I found a Reaper female viking that just needs the wings removed from her helmet and the paint touched up to be ready to join the army. The plastic figures do unfortunately have some flat spots where the mold lines and mold seperation show through (as chainmail is miserable to try and clean lines from)
  •  Corrupted powered suit, possibly AE-Bounty or Flying Lead - I picked up most of a Suit (I think an Infinity TAG of some sort) that was missing the right arm and any antenna like add ons to the body. In my bits collection is the pincer thing from the Soul Grinder. Using that as the right hand I remembered the Flood from Halo. Yes, I never played more than one level of Halo 1, but Ive heard most of the plot. That means sculpting a right arm and adding grotesque things hanging from the body and tentacles or tendrils.
  • SS Germans, AE-WW2 - Pulling out this project due to the reorganization of the workbench and picking up the Bolt Action/Warlord Late War Germans. Mostly just needs paints.
  • Blood Angels Space Marines, Warhammer 40k - these figures are partly an experiment at learning how to paint reds well and then they will be traded or sold off.
  • Battlemechs, Battletech - this is a long term and ongoing project. The current mech thats getting attention is a Deva that I need to scratch build upper arms for.

[FA] DS Reginleif - work in progress pics

I briefly mentioned that I had a Dzindrezi fleet box that I picked up cheap because it was second hand and badly put together. To be a little more accurate the Battleship was assembled badly, as the two hull sides are designed to be assembled with a space between them. However I was not that lucky - the prior owner did his damnedest to lock the two hull sides together, and I was missing a small piece intended for the very aft of the model. While the battleship wasnt as badly warmed as the cruisers (which I have not even touched as that will involved alot more work then I want to deal with right now.

Anyways - on to the conversion Ive started for my "battleship" which I think I'll count as a dreadnought.

As the pic shows Ive added an extension to the chin, reminiscent of the Super Star Destroyer Eclipse from Star Wars: Dark Empire. The small grey dots in the slot are magnets that Ive glued in with the hopes of creating at least 2 versions on this hull.

The view above shows off the much expanded width of the vessel, as I used three 1/8" balsa sheets to create a much bulkier and hopefully brutal look. The primary version Im hoping to build for this will have a design concept of a heavily armored, heavily gunned sledgehammer. A major inspiration, equipment wise at least, are the Warhammer 40k Battle Barges. Short ranged, even more reinforced than usual, totally lacking fighter or mine capabilitys but with extensive close in weaponry. The magnets will mount blisters that mount both broadside gun racks and quad barreled point defense units as well. The magnets are there for the possibility of the blisters being swapped out for winglets mounting some sort of weapon assemblies or subhulls.

Still got alot to do, much less figuring out a base and painting. Right now I am thinking of using a pack of the "googly eyes" you can get at craft stores as the bodies of my turrets and just mount brass rods as gun barrels. Once the kit is fully built I can look into statting up the model using my buddy's Firestorm Armada rulebook, unless I just get it next time Im out at Legions.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

[SoBH-Vikings] Spare us from the fury of the Northman

I recently picked up Wargames Factory's Viking Huscarls and Viking Bondi boxes. These are very nice minis, injection molded plastic with great options for weapons and equipment, and a great price point with 32 figures for $20. With my copy of Song of Blades and Heroes and the additional books I got for Christmas I have the perfect little rules for a Viking warband in 28mm. Two more pewter figures from Reaper for my heroes and I'll have my initial warband plenty ready.

Right now I am look at/have built
  • 1 Armored warrior with axe and shield
  • 1 Armored warrior with 2 handed axe
  • 1 Armored warrior with spear and shield
  • 3 Unarmored warriors with spear and shield
  • 3 Unarmored warriors with bow
I want at least 5 bow man, 5 of each version of spear and shield and 5 hand weapon and shield, then add in my Reaper heroes and see where I stand.

This brings up some wonderful terrain options for me;
  • A Viking long house
  • Rune stones
  • Stockades - as stealing livestock is aways good for scenarios
  • Sacrificial tree, with bodies hanging

[SFD] Preliminary changes to the character sheet

More on Savage Fallout: Detroit rules

I've found an interesting blog with some good Savage Worlds material for Fallout. One of the big changes from Savage Worlds Explorers Edition rules is a shift in skills, as Im starting with the Savaged Fallout list as it makes sense to me and fits the source material. So here are the lists, my additions are bolded to keep in line with SWEX;
  • Attack skills
    • Fighting (Ag) (including thrown weapons)
    • Small Arms (Ag)
    • Heavy Weapons (Ag)
    • Explosives (Ag)
  • Tests of Wills
    • Intimidation (Sp)
    • Taunt (Sm)
    • Gambling (Sm)
  • Skills
    • Notice (Sm) (including Investigation)
    • Stealth (Ag)
    • Lock-picking (Ag)
    • Climbing (St)
    • Survival (Sm) (including tracking)
    • Science (Sm)
    • Repair (Sm)
    • Medicine (Sm) (replaces Healing)
    • Drive (Ag) (replaces Boating, Driving, and Piloting)
    • Ride (Ag)
  • Interaction - add Charisma to all
    • Persuasion (Sp)
    • Streetwise (Sm)
    • Barter (Sp)
Now these skills are straight out of the computer games so Im highly favorable to these. The problem I have is a mechanic for barter, as bartering should be very important in the game. Characters never have everything they want so trading needs to be important. But I also wanted this to be at more roleplaying than rollplaying. That said this group of skills is actually 4 choices less, so skill ranks should be a little higher than usual, which Im ok with as the Fallout world would weed out the less skilled pretty quickly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

[SFD] More resources and some thoughts

Ive started fleshing out material and ideas for Savage Fallout:Detroit and Ive found some additional materials.

Thanks to Wikipedia
Known as the world's traditional automotive center,[6] "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown.[7][8] Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including City of Champions beginning in the 1930s for its successes in individual and team sport,[9] Arsenal of Democracy (during World War II),[10] The D, D-Town, Hockeytown (a trademark owned by the city's NHL club, the Red Wings), Rock City (after the Kiss song "Detroit Rock City"), and The 3-1-3 (its telephone area code).[11][12]

Ive managed to find some maps of Detroit, predominately downtown so Im starting to look into some of the major landmarks marked on the maps. But some early emerging trends/groups
  1. Automotive production
  2. Automotive workers
  3. The former canadian border
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. gangs
  6. musicians
  7. Red Wings fans - random tentacly creatures too?
  8. Gross Pointe

And its quite strange to see "is it Detroit or a Fallout 3 screen capture" games online...

Random Material

  • The construction of Detroit's skyscrapers began after World War I. Hudson's department store, the tallest in the world, was completed in 1924, the same year as the 29-story Book-Cadillac Hotel, the city's most exclusive and then the world's tallest hotel. The Buhl Building was completed in 1925; the Penobscot—the city's tallest building for half a century—followed in 1928; the Guardian Building opened for business, along with the David Stott Building, in 1929.
  • In 1919 Henry Ford declared history to be “more or less bunk.” A decade later Outlook magazine proclaimed Detroit to be “the most modern city in the world, the city of tomorrow. There is no past, there is no history.” Derided and dismissed, historical laws have nonetheless had their say.
  • Midwest BoS Citadel, a pre-war motor/ammunition factory that built some of the first fusion powered cars for America and Ammunition for the Alaskan Frontline and American Army stationed in Canadian cities to "keep the peace."
  • Climate - Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan have a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa) which is influenced by the Great Lakes. Winters are cold, with moderate snowfall and temperatures at night occasionally dropping below 0 °F (−17.8 °C) around six times per year, while summers are warm to hot with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 12 days.[33] Snowfall, which typically peaks from December to through February, averages 43.3 inches (110 cm) per season. Monthly averages range from 24.5 °F (−4.2 °C) in January to 73.5 °F (23.1 °C) in July. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (40.6 °C) on July 24, 1934, while the lowest recorded temperature was −21 °F (−29.4 °C) on January 21, 1984.[34]

New Title additions

As Im trying to organize my pile of projects and ideas into something that remotely approaches a list, Ive noticed a need to tag my posts simply. Posts should break into one of the numerous miniature/wargame projects and my RPG projects. Here is a tentative list, and anywhere a lowercase x is at, think of it as a placeholder to further narrow projects.

[SoBH-x] One of my several warbands for Song of Blades and Heroes.
[WWW2] Further adventures of weird world war 2 germans, predominatly for AE-WW2
[FA] Firestorm Armada Dindrenzi fleet (this was purchased half off, because someone made a hamfisted attempt at assembling it the battleship - to the point where I have to convert the battleship)
[BT] Battletech - my baby, my first wargame and still the one I play the most
[SFD] Savage Fallout: Detroit - Savage Worlds rpg set in the world of the computer games of Fallout
[LoFP] While Bridgeport was not chosen for my GASP gamesday game, I do want to explore the city more

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some history research for Savage Fallout: Detroit

Ive started on my research in Detroit, as Ive never been there and Im trying to extrapolate a new version of the city for the game.

So here are the salient historical features I want to include;

  • Industry spurred growth during the first half of the twentieth century as Detroit became the USA's fourth largest.
  • Consolidation during the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased competition for jobs.
  • An extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s and 1960s had facilitated commuting.
This will give me a major, ruined urban wasteland to work with. Along with massive freeways for quick, but dangerous, travel paths.

Neighborhoods - well Wikipedia has a whole article on that - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhoods_in_Detroit - have to ferret out some cool details and post some well know Wasteland information for different communities. This is about the detail level Im looking at http://www.world-guides.com/images/detroit/detroit_map.jpg
On the off chance someone from the Detroit area comes across here please let me know if Im missing a website for info.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another project

I've been working on another project, to open up a whole new boat load of projects.


Its still got a massive amount of organizing but most of the building is done

New Game at GASP

Well the people have spoken and the next game I run at GASP will be a Fallout based game using Savage Worlds. Right now the game will start in the general area of Detroit, and it will be about 250 years after the war.

The initial party consists of;
The Vault Dwellers
A damaged, decrepit robot sent out by the Vault's computer
2 naive Vault Dwellers sent out to escort the robot

The Scum
A tech-worshipper scavenger
who hired
A chaotic scum sucker
A "Tame" Supermutant
A exceedingly sneaky shifty fellow

There are still 2 slots open that I have sent invites to.

More will be posted as I come up with it - I still need to find maps and such
http://savagefallout.blogspot.com/ - I'll be reading this closely as its a new conversion, hopefully its better than has gone before.
http://www.peginc.com/Downloads/SWEX/TD06.pdf - here are the free test rules for the game

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social Strata in an rpg

How important should social strata really be in a game? Ive been reading an older book on medieval technology and its effects on social change, and one of the recurring themes is how there was a clear line between the peasants and just about everyone else. Which leads to the question - does that kind of line really belong in an rpg? Should it be a mechanic or is it just enough to roleplay it?

Mechanically this can get really messy really quickly. In all honesty the higher up the social ladder someone is dramatically affects vast numbers of things, from what they are allowed to own, to who they can marry and what they are allowed to do. But Im very conflicted as to how much that should be involved in a game. While Im sure there are "vegan wrap eaters" out there in the blogosphere that think playing a realistic peasant would give you a wonderful story, I for one play rpgs to have fun, and playing someone who is all but legally tied to the land, probably married before they are 18 and legally not allowed to own "real" weapons doesnt sound too terribly fun to me. You see, I want to play a character who can, or run a game where characters can, sally forth to save the day or wrest booty from the clawed hands of the enemy. While combat can be enjoyable, I use it more as an ends to a means (much like most of history has used it). Im somewhat interested in what the PCs do during a combat but Im much more fascinated with what they do after it. Prisoners, booty, wounds and the dearly departed tend to involve a much more intricate story then any sort of sword thrust or parry.

But I entered the hobby with AD&D 2e, I remember the issues some of the kits had (kits for you youngin players were a fascinating concept where picking a kit let you narrow down a class to a more specific archetype), where mechanical advantages where NOT balanced by mechanical advantages. Instead they were "balanced", by and large, with roleplaying disadvantages, and they are not the same thing.

In an ideal world every gamer would be fine being restricted by roleplaying disadvantages, chosen to fit a specific concept they created, with a wonderful and compelling backstory that explains motivations and provides story hooks to interact with the campaign world. And also in an ideal world I wouldnt have to work and could spend my time expanding and perfecting my abilities in anything I wish. Since that isnt reality I have to pare back to a more realistic view, perhaps something as simple as players willing to buy into a world I craft, willing to name their character, and try and explore a few of the plot hooks I toss out.

So what does this mean for social strata? First of all there needs to be some sort of mechanical representation of the differing statuses, and in mechanics simplicity is a virtue. Second, there needs to be some sort of advantage to pick a lower class or some sort of random mechanic, unless the game is intended to be began with the party all being roughly one status. Third there needs to be some sort of system for increasing or decreasing status. One key idea I thought of to help with this is a list or chart showing the where races and classes stand relative to each other.

While bored at work I started plotting out some of the strata Id use in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess game I'm prepping for call "Bridgeport Blues". As the game is fairly heavily based on Lankhmar stories and Garrett P.I. stories, there are some similarities to Late Medieval and Early Renaissance social groups.

Racial Strata
1. Humans - humans are top dogs in the city. Rumors of decadent parties and orgies among the noble families are constantly circulating
2. Dwarves - dwarves are less powerful than human nobles, but the difference becomes much less the lower down the social ladder you go. Rumors have every dwarf rich by human standards but their unpleasant habit of slowly and painfully executing thieves has kept most from discovering if there is any truth to the rumors.
3. Lizardfolk are accepted but actively disliked by many humans in power, and dwarves view them with distrust due to their arcane powers. Rumors are spoken of dark rituals on moonless nights, and lizardfolk are often blamed when people go missing.
4. Golems do exist in Bridgeport, though most people never see them. Most are not mystical protectors of treasure but rather unsleeping, unceasing manual labor around and mostly under the city. The major reason more are not found is the hideously high cost and impressive skill needed to produce them.
5. Ratmen are usually treated just better than animals, trusted with dull, menial, but necessary tasks in a city of Bridgeports size, like waste management. Regardless of their actual intelligence the average Ratman is treated like a dim witted child by most, when they are noticed.

Class strata
1. Nobles
2. Rich Merchants
3. Warriors (noble scions serving as officers)
4. Working merchants and Master Craftsmen
5. Soldiers and Yeomanry
6. Craftsmen
7. Workmen
8. Peasants
9. Slaves (yes Im going to deal with them)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Zak does it again

One of the RPG blogs I follow and enjoy reading the content, but not the comments to, is Playing D&D with Porn Stars (yes it is very NSFW, so watch where you read it).
And in the last week or so there have been a bunch of good posts - so I'll try to spread Zak's words.

His take on social interaction, here, suits me perfectly. I've been having this conversation ad nauseum lately and my patience is never my strongest suit for people like that, so I've alot of respect for Zak for handling it so often. And finally, since random charts rock in old school play, here is a wonderful little treasure generator.

While Im not a huge fan of the mechanics he uses for his games, and neither is he from some of the comments he makes, but they work. And a good game with eh mechanics is better than no game with perfect mechanics.