09 June 2024

Five Minutes from the Grave

Tra La La, Tra La La La

Campaign Turn 1 (part 2)
aka Five Minutes from the Grave

As documented in my previous entry, I finally dove into all the campaign steps for my Five Bananas From Home crew as a way to learn the rules i a lighthearted way. As described, our "heroes" landed on the sixth planet in the Tejas system after some minor difficulties. Bingo hit the starport, got lost, gambled away some of the team's stash, while the other three bananas made plans to meet up with Snork's contact.

Today the three active Bananas hit the econo-lot a the Arlington Memorial Spaceport on a gloomy afternoon. However they found their fake IDs were missing (thanks to Bingo) and encountered a few guards. Not a major problem, right?

Click to enlarge.

Snork's contact is left of the toxic pool. The Bananas are labeled in the background (Fleegle is hidden behind the orange transformer station) and the three guards are in the foreground.

Click to enlarge.

There was a slow start due to limited visibility. There's not a lot of details to be had. The battle lasted about 6-7 turns. First a bit of movement, everybody darting from cover to cover. Snork met his contact, the first part of the mission accomplished. Noe they just had to hold the field in the firefight. The first two turns the Bananas dodged rifle shots while landing a few non-lethal shots. Fleegle had to use his luck to avoid becoming a casualty right out of the gate. But within two more turns it was over.

Three Banana casualties bleeding out in the econo-lot, one unconscious in a gutter somewhere.

A noble start.

Maybe I'll write up the narrative later. Hopefully the next turn goes better.

Post battle wrap-up:

Fleegle: Minor Injuries
Drooper: Minor Injuries
Snork: Gruesome Fate (rerolled) Minor Injuries
Bingo: A Pounding Headache and a scar where his left kidney used to be.

03 June 2024

Six Flags from Tejas (Campaign Turn 1, Part 1)

 Tra La La, Tra La La La

Campaign Turn 1 (part 1)
aka Six Flags from Tejas

After lively and mildly violent debate, the crew of the Suspect Device arrived in the Tejas system and landed on the sixth planet from the sun, Arlington. They were there to follow up on a rumor with one of Snork's contacts as well as check in on the legendary entertainment district just outside of Arlington's core spaceport.

Although the crew failed to con their way through licensing procedures, they did manage to buy off the official and dock without attracting too much attention from either Unity troops, planetary law enforcement, or local crime syndicates.

After securing dock space in the main port of Arlington, the crew set about their business. Snork worked the rumors from his prior contact and immediately generated additional cachet with the locals. Drooper went to work in the markets and landed a sweet deal on a glare sword. He was already carrying his father's sword but thought he might teach Bingo the art of fencing as an alternative to bludgeoning enemies with the huge rusty pipe he had been carrying around the past few years. Unfortunately Bingo wandered off into the seedier parts of the spaceport and passed out in a dark corner of some gambling den after losing all of his personal credits along with the fake Unity ID that has got him out of past complications. Fearless leader, Fleegle, stayed on ship working out in his quarters insisting that the most important thing was buffing himself up  to impress the locals. 

Snork gathered the Splits together -- well, the 2 other Splits who were not unconscious and robbed blind in some sleezy casino -- and proposed a simple plan to check in with one of his new contacts in the "economy parking" field outside the main spaceport. Yes, it was in a restricted zone governed by the Interplanetary Transit Security Authority.... but they had Bingos fake Unity IDs. What could go wrong?

So the set-up is an opportunity scenario outside a gloomy spaceport with limited visibility. Perfect for the Banana Splits crew! But the fake ID gambit failed since Bingo lost his in a dice game. In fact, Bingo -- the strongest close combat fighter -- won't even show up because he's lost for the turn. OK, fine. Nothing that some extreme violence can't solve. The other 3 Splits face off against 3 corporate security mercs. The mercs better trained, and better in a long range firefight, but the Splits may still be do OK in the limited visibility even without their close combat beast.

25 May 2024

Five Things From A Place

Real Life is still a bit hectic, but another quick update!

First, I finished the five mercenaries I had been working on. Along with the two I previously painted as tests for color scheme, I now have enough to make a solid faction for Five Parsecs. I do have a bunch more of these figures (from Satyr Art Studio/Drew Williams) and will definitely get back to painting the rest of them. But first I want to keep getting a larger variety of small 5P factions done. 

I also finally painted this figure that I've had for ages. I think it's from Ramshackle. There was a horrible mould line (mould slip?) along the back that I had made a couple of attempts at sanding/filing off a various times over the past ten years or so. Probably longer. I finally just took a fresh blade to it and carved it out of all the folds of cloth. I thought they deserved a colorful hat and a splash of blood on one of the "scissor hands" to give it a pop of color.

Walking through Target last week I noticed some clearance items and scooped up a few for my sci-fi gaming....

Buzz Lightyear toys for cheap! The drop pods are very.... Grimdarkhammer. Even the robots that came with them can probably be put to use as security bots or something like that. The spaceships are a little on the small side, but I'm thinking about painting them with solid canopies and calling them pilotless drones. Reflecting real life, I've read a few articles about AI piloted fighters recently, and remotely controlled drones have been in use for a while, so this doesn't seem like a stretch for the grim dark future of stuff.

Two other impulse purchases.... My new brush holder. I feel like I need a legion of these...

I just received these limited edition figures from founder of the A Forest of Kings Facebook group. If you're interested in Native American, Messoarmerican, and/or pre-Columbian gaming and miniatures you should check it out (and get a couple of sweet figures). 

I discovered the group because of my interest in doing "new world" style fantasy skirmish game. I've not made much progress, but the idea was something like Mordheim but with oldschool froggy Slann, new-world undead, some Marienburg explorers, Sea Elves, and maybe others like Pestilens Skaven.

Back to the source.... Check out the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273828859831681/

Back to Five Parsecs and sci-fi gaming, I've finally made some progress on my "Five Bananas From Home" project. I also rolled up the first battle and (painted or not) I hope to FINALLY play my first game this long holiday weekend. I would prefer to get outside, but it's supposed to rain the whole three-day weekend here. 

Speaking of bad weather timing, there is a local joke that every time there is a celestial event, we will be entirely covered with clouds and/or storms. But we had a pretty decent full solar eclipse (see my previous entry) and last week we also witnessed northern aurora! This has actually happened a quite a few times in my life but -- as the joke goes -- every single time it's completely overcast. Until this year! My wife came home and texted me that we needed to come outside. Even with semi-urban light pollution, it was really visible. But we got in the car and braved the unusual traffic to get to a spot along the lake (Erie) to get a better view. Very cool to have two big celestial events visible in Ohio within a short span! First pic is from our house, the other two are from the lake (very near by)

06 May 2024

And Just Like That... Three Months Go By!

Apparently it has been three months since my last update. There has been a bit going on lately. For one, I had some down time due to a thumb injury...

I have also done a bit of travelling (survived a tornado near Chicago, an earthquake near LA, and less dramatic visits to Palm Desert/Joshua Tree NP, and Miami) for work. On the topic of work, I have also made a significant career change and taken a new job. To be honest... I've also been a bit uninspired lately. I think my head has just been elsewhere with everything else going on. Really, I'm not terribly good at keeping up with this blog lately either.

But there has still been painting going on, though no real gaming.

I wasn't very successful with my "Five Months From Painted Factions" but I did make some more progress. I built and painted some mutants!

I also painted Ambassador Khan Cern. He has no patience for your shenanigans.

Following up on my previous Five Bananas entry, I purchased my crew. Just tonight I started putting a bit of paint on them. More to come on that soon. "Soon." Like maybe in a few months again?

For now, I have also returned to painting the mercenaries that I had started working on before my thumb injury.

On the fantasy side....

Satyr Art Studio zombies...

...and some old Ral Partha zombies.

The middle figure is my D&D character, if the family D&D campaign ever gets started. Nettie Coldwater, middle-aged empty nester forest gnome turned druid. This is the second time I have painted this figure from Reaper Miniatures. The one on the left is the "stock" figure, and Nettie was converted a bit to more accurately reflect my character. The dog on the right was painted previously but I was thinking that it would be interesting if she brought her dog along with her.

Random daemon. Daemonette. Had the figure, figured I would paint it for my mixed-daemon horde. 

D&D figure, Grick. 

Dwarf With No Name.

Giant flies/stirges.

Painted a couple of tiny bunny toys, inspired by the Black Rabbit of Inle.

Fungus infected ant swarm.

I was fortunate to live within the path of the recent total eclipse in the US. I could not get a good pic during the total eclipse, and really didn't want to spend that brief time messing around with my phone trying to take pics instead of fully enjoying the experience. But here's the closest thing -- I got a couple of decent pics of the approach to totality.

04 February 2024

Five Bananas From Home

When I first played Sellswords & Spellslingers I went through some big misunderstandings of the rules through the early campaign, but I really liked the characters so just fudged my way through it and corrected course the rest of the way.

I keep stalling on this Five Parsecs campaign but have really been itching to give it a go. Or maybe just learn the rules on a mini test campaign? Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. So I rolled up a random crew of four. I ended up with two ferals, a K'Erin, and a hooman.

Then this started repeating in my head.

So there it is. I need to find four new anthropomorphic figures for my test crew, I need a dog, ape, lion, and elephant. Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky. I'm disregarding my randomly rolled background for the crew (but adapting the individual crew backgrounds that were rolled as a writing exercise). They will simply be violent anarchists posing as a pop band. Their ship's AI (and thus, name) will be Banana Vac. But I am also considering the AI named Banana Vac but the ship to be named Suspect Device. Maybe note and that will bleed into something else in the narrative....

Thinking rapidly, O'Neill said, "Don't check any of them. The factory's undoubtedly ready to test and resample. It'll make its own analysis and then ignore us." His face glowed as frantic inspiration came. "Write in that blank at the bottom. It's an open space for further data."

"Write what?"
O'Neill said, "Write: the product is thoroughly pizzled."

"What's that?" Ferine demanded, baffled.

"Write it! It's a semantic garble -- the factory won't be able to understand it. Maybe we can jam the works."

(From Autofac, by Philip K. Dick)

I remember the Banana Splits from my childhood. But in searching for a few reference photos I found some interesting facts that I never knew. Mainly because I haven't really considered the Banana Splits at all since I was maybe 6 years old. I never even made the connection with memorable scenes  Kick Ass  & Nimona - in spite of being very fond of both movies.

  • Produced by Hanna-Barbera,
  • Costumes created by Sid & Marty Kroft. This kickstarted them into their own (awesome) psychedelic productions soon after.
  • First season directed by Richard Donner
  • Was rebooted in 2008.
  • Was used as the basis for a horror film in 2019. (Pic below, great vibe for my crew

 So I have limited ideas for figures. They will all be converted to some extent, so I am looking for base anthropomorphic figures. I appreciate aby suggestions! Here's what I have in mind so far. (Not endorsing any of the specific Etsy 3D printers, these are just a first-pass of me looking for ideas. There's usually multiple printers of each figure .)

  • Fleegle (dog/hound)
    • No idea outside of wolf ro werewolf type figures. But I would like something more hound like, referencing the original a bit more.
  • Bingo (ape)
    • https://www.reapermini.com/search/ape/sku-up/50031
    • https://www.alternative-armies.com/collections/ganesha-games-scifi/ape
    • https://www.reapermini.com/search/Orangutango
    • GW Jokaero Weaponsmith.... haha, no, just kidding. It was overpriced when it was new, the secondary market prices are 10x as stupid.
  • Drooper (lion)
    • https://www.reapermini.com/search/lion/latest/50312 (this would be the "human" crewman)
    • https://www.etsy.com/listing/1436945798/king-deepcut-the-kings-of-karmaaz-leonin
    • https://www.etsy.com/listing/1441992402/king-dawntredder-kings-of-karmaaz-32mm
  • Snorky (elephant)
    • https://www.reapermini.com/search/elephant/latest/77588
    • https://www.etsy.com/listing/1342116621/elephant-man-harawat-beastmen-army-32mm

I also have these to use for Drooper and Snorky. But I don't think I'm willing to do any further conversions, repainting, or even rebasing for either. So they would be sort of proxy-ish. This will be just a test to learn the rules, so maybe I shouldn't be so focused on specific figures.... 

21 January 2024

Warhammer The Old World Ramblings

The new Warhammer: The Old World seems to be making a big splash. I've only been keeping up with it a little bit, and while there seems to be quite a bit to like about it, I'm not really sold on it.

Instead of getting into some of the heated social media discussions, I'm just going to put my general opinions here. By opinions I possibly mean the grumblings of an old nerd. ;)

Like I said, it seems like there's definitely some things I like about it.
  • GW going back to a "ranks & flanks" battle game.
  • Incorporating some old mechanics that I missed from later editions.
  • Bringing back players who won't play non-current editions of the game. (I have never understood why players would stop playing a game that they enjoy just because it's not being sold new anymore!)
  • Putting old models into production again. I already have two of the Marauder giant, but I love the idea that more people can get their hands on such a classic!
  • Exploring a different time period of the in-game history.
  • I actually like the idea of scaling up bases to 25mm, even if I have a ton of old 20mm based figures. Plenty of easy ways to deal with this since it's ranked units. This probably would have been difficult to do previously, but this "reboot" was a great opportunity to make it happen.

However, there are some things I'm definitely not crazy about.
  • The format of the game/rules. I think it originally went downhill after 3rd ed. where you bought a rulebook and an armies book and you had everything you needed to play, and could spend the rest of your cash on shiny, shiny miniatures. Those days are long gone and the new edition seems to be continuing the later trend of a constant stream of army books in order to "keep up." So far there is a $70 core book, plus two $50 books for the basic lists. So that's $170 for 3 books just to get started. Then the stream of additional army/faction books, two of which are already out now (bringing the actual starting rules-only investment to $224) with more to come.
    • Or $156 for all digital. I actually buy more digital books than physical books these days But they better have a decent price break.
  • Figure prices are insane, especially given that they've already been sculpted & molded long ago. I hope the artists are getting a fat commission! :D
  • "Legacy Factions." 🙄
  • As long a history as I had playing Warhammer (3rd ed. through 8th ed.) it was ultimately never a great "wargame." It always seemed stuck somewhere between a battle game and a skirmish game, but didn't do either thing well. I feel Warmaster was a much better large battle game, and Mordheim was a great skirmish game. Still are. I'd play either of those any day! And there are also other games on the market, made by (*gasp*) other publishers that also do what Warhammer does... but better. It's a golden age of wargaming, with a ton of options available. It will take more than nostalgia to get me to invest in WFB again, and from what I've read/seen I'm not sure there's enough here to bring me back.
  • Competitive play. Highly competitive play and an obsession with tournaments, winning at all costs, and *shudder" "the meta" seemed to dominate from at least 6th ed. onward. I've had my fill of that. Narrative play, campaigns, and "fun" scenarios were almost completely missing. This is something I've rediscovered in newer solo games, retro wargames, and a possible re-entry into RPGs with my kid. This may not be part of the game as sold, but I expect this to continue, especially since it's the focus the big post-WFB/AOS successor games took (9th Age, Mantic, Kings of War...)

I think the only way I would buy into the new game would be if I could get a bootleg PDF to "try before I buy" the physical game and find at least one, if not more, players interested in non-tournament gaming. The idea of picking up some old figures I missed back in the day seems appealing, but based on the prices I've seen so far, that's not terribly likely either.

This is 2024. There are a lot of options for both games and figures. 

15 January 2024

Adventures in Adventures

 Some more figures painted now for D&D, but pretty good for general use....

These cheap, plastic Halloween spiders were a great investment!

Following on my last entry, here are some photos of the real-life dogs that inspired the painted figures!

10 January 2024

New Year New...?

2023 ended not with a bang, but a whimper. But over the last week of the old year and the first week or so of the new year, I did get a little painting time in. 

I did some more painting and basing of "unaligned chaos daemons." I've been thinking about that idea since I received the Drachenfels figure a few years ago. It/he has long since been painted, and I even (finally) finished the novel! Lately my mind has turned back to the idea of chaos as chaotic, like in old Moorcock novels & early fantasy gaming. Not a bunch of organized, uniform creatures.

This will be a slow, ongoing project. I'll just keep adding any odd figures that seem like they belong as I continue to work on other projects.

Since I started this entry a week or so ago, I've added some more. Most are actually for a potential D&D campaign, but I feel they will fit the chaos vibe. The undead gnoll things I just got because I thought they looked cool. :)

The ochre jelly is homemade from some wire and melted hot glue, similar to some I did previously with different paint. The flameskull is just a plastic skull with some crudely sculpted flames. I liked the floating skull thing I did the same with a Bones cow skull painted blue. The rest are soft plastic D&D figurses

I also finally painted a pair of figures to represent our current two dogs. I had one but had been searching for the other for over a year before painting. On the left is Moji-Tater, our Corgi-Sheltie mix. He's the youngest. In the center is Cookie, a shelter rescue dog who we think may be a mix of Boxer & Border Collie. On the right is Sasha aka "Muffin Butt", another shelter dog who passed away almost 10 years ago. She was a German Shepherd-Husky mix. Cookie was the tough one to find, but since I was recently looking at D&D figures I found a pack of three dogs, one was a pointer with a pretty close body & head shape, but I had to cut off the ears and re-sculpt them to fit the real thing.

I've also painted a few sci-fi figures of mixed quality & complexity. The first is an Eru-Kin and jagual figure from Knightmare Games. I will be using Eru-Kin for K'Erin in Five Parsecs From Home. You can almost rearrange the the letters to shift between teh two names. Maybe the apostrophe is for the "u"? This one will be a member of my crew. 

I also finished the space goblins/Malig from Alternative Army's Ion Age range, which will serve as pirates in Five Parsecs. I painted a test figure earlier in 2023, but never got any further until December. One more faction down, and another month of "Five Months From Painted Factions" under my belt!

Lastly, my slacker painting from this week. First is Orbus, a sentient sphere of what appears to be some sort of plasma like matter. No one knows for sure. Orbus is literally a pearlescent bead on a stick. I didn't even paint it. Just drill a hole, make a base, and glue it on the stick. Next to that is the second of the two D&D nothics that came in the pack. One is for D&D, the other I thought would make a good sci-fi alien or mutant. Super quick paint job, mostly just abase coat, wash, then a few details. I almost want a whole squad of them now.