symbol_of_chaos_by_schunki-d4rljxh

All Stars are Lawful

A couple of weeks back, Zak reposted an idea that Zzarchov had tossed out about “Each star is a sun in its own right.”

This sounded really cool to me… some ideas were tossed around about it, but none of them really clicked for me.  Last week, stuck on a plane, I noodled out my take on that gem and, since things have been pretty dead around here, I figured I’d regurgitate them here.

symbol_of_chaos_by_schunki-d4rljxh

ALL STARS ARE LAWFUL

  • Lawfulness varies from star to star; no two stars are the same.  Lawfulness is harmony with the natural order of a star.
  • Chaoticness is disharmony with a star, because it is an expression of harmony with a different star.
  • What is natural to Sol, our sun, is unnatural to all other stars, and vice versa.
  • Chaos of one star is different from that of every other. Every star’s law is unique.
  • Chaos is common. Specific types of Chaos is rare.
  • Places, people, and creatures can be Chaotic.
  • The more divergent a type of Chaos is from the Law, the more extremely different a place, person, or creature obeying it will be.  A Chaotic human: subtly different. A demonic, seven-headed Gnoll, unsubtly different.
  • Although this means that monsters and such are Chaotic, it also means that, by the light of a different sun, Lawful characters and creatures are the monsters. Perhaps subtly, perhaps not.
  • Stars are not conscious of this. Chaos is the radiation of another star’s rules, not an active, deliberate incursion.
  • This is why the Chaos symbol is the 8-pointed star.
  • Laws of nature behave differently around Chaotic places, people, and creatures, as they’re beholden to their own laws. This differs from one to another. Gravity works wrong, colors shift, synthesia occurrs, etc. as their Chaos subverts local Law.

I don’t know that that results in anything especially gameable, beyond maybe insisting that strange things be strange and have strange things happen around them. Maybe there’s something going with the idea of PCs getting dumped on a different world and radiating their own strangeness on an unwitting far-flung land.

four-humors-granger

WFRP: Temperamental XP

four-humors-granger

Back when, I started running a game set during the Thirty Years War using WFRP 2E. I love WFRP 2E: it’s such a straightforward system, and I figured it’d be negligible to pull stuff in from any of the 40K RPG books to help make things Weird without any real effort.

The one place where it’s emphatically not held up is the career system. I mean, clearly it works great for what it’s supposed to do, but for a band of misfits on the run, it doesn’t offer much past “Okay, you can transition into the Vagabond career; don’t expect many opportunities to get out of it.”

I took a run at removing it without breaking the system too much a while back, messing around with Aptitudes, a la Only War (and now Dark Heresy), but it felt like a whole lot of mess for not enough payoff.  A couple of weeks ago, I took another stab at it: working off of Black Crusade this time.

Black Crusade (if’n you don’t know), is a precursor to the OW/DH Aptitude-based system: each advance is associated with one of the Chaos Gods: load up on too many in one category and similar advances get cheaper and dissimilar advances get more expensive.  So: a Veteran of the Long War who’s loaded up on talents related to stabbing will end up dedicated to Khorne… and will have a hard time buying talents favored by Slaanesh.

I’m doing a similar thing here, with the four temperaments.

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Tauran

Tauran Space Marine

(I meant to throw this up the other day, then got distracted.)

Mrs. Rushputin and I hit the GW Pender opening the other week. There was a pretty good turnout (really, it was super-crowded), which isn’t a bad thing.

The new location’s somewhat less convenient: I used to be able to pop in to Fair Oaks on the way home (just a quick detour off and then back onto 66), now I’ve got to push down a bit further down the Fairfax County Parkway.  It’s not enormously out of the way, mind you, but it is a ~600% increase in out-of-the-way and a jump from 0 lights to 3.  And, since an extra five minutes at that end of the commute turns into ten by the end… it’s less convenient.

Anyway, among everything else, they were doing a grab-bag thing: take a grab-bag, paint the tactical marine in it like a pre-chosen chapter on the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes Poster to bring in the next day.  I figured “why not,” saw all the low-hanging fruit was already taken, and ended up settling on the Taurans.

Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes - Taurans

I figured the I could do the black and bone and do something interesting with it.

Tauran

I’m pleased with it.  The black is 1:1 Black and Cryx Bane Base base, 1:3 Black and Cryx Bane Base layer, Cryx Bane Base highlight.  The bone is Cryx Bane Highlight base, Khaki layer, Menoth White Base highlight. So, the black’s not that black and the white/bone is more khaki than anything.   The freehand on the pauldrons is so-so, but it was a quick turnaround, so who cares?

Not in any danger of starting a new Space Marine army or anything, but I enjoyed knocking it out.  I think it took, like, four episodes of The Americans, to get it from on sprue to varnished (not counting time spent letting glue, primer, or paint dry).

I’d forgotten there was a contest component to it, which (as it turns out), I won.  So that was cool.

Ekkeko-Supay Header

The Ekkeko-Supay Disk

Ekkeko-Supay Header

With all the talk about the LotFP Magic Item Call, I’m reminded of my submission  to the LotFP Anniversary Contest a while back (a year and half? yeesh).  I don’t know that the PDF ever went out, so I might as well put it up here. Not enough RPG content here, anyway.


The Ekkeko-Supay Disk

This round disk, a handsbreadth across and less than an inch thick, is made of an unusual metal that is neither copper nor gold. In relief, it shows a man and a demon standing beneath a large, many-breasted woman, holding their arms to her womb. The style of the carvings clearly indicate that it’s of the New World.

If studied by an expert of Incan culture, the man is Ekkeko (god of wealth), the demon Supay (god of death) and the woman Mamma Allpa (fertility goddess). Why wouldn’t a character have sunk points into “Incan Culture?”

If a character sleeps with the disk under their pillow, they’ll awake remembering two dreams with perfect lucidity: the specifics aren’t necessarily the same (though they do tend to be specific), the themes are always the same.

  1. The character sees themselves stumbling across a windfall of wealth. This dream will always become a reality the following day. If these fruits are fleeting… such is the nature of wealth.
  2. The character sees death. Most often, this takes the form of a messy stillbirth… but not always.

The death is always that of one of the character’s descendants, always the farthest out into the future. A line destined to run one hundred generations… becomes one destined to run ninety-nine. If yet unborn (or even unconceived): the final scion of the line dies in the womb. If the character’s legacy is not to be a long one (ie: there are no future, unborn descendants) , the death will be that of one of their children; sudden, violent. If the character has no children, and will have no children: they’ll dream of their own sudden, violent, inescapable death.

As with the dreams of wealth, the dreams of death will always become a reality.

A character can dream above the Ekkeko-Supay disk as many evenings as they’d like. Until they run out of descendants, of course.

MacReady

2014 Year in Review

MacReady

Year in Review

As I’ve mentioned before, 2014’s been rough.  Way too much work and not nearly enough Stuff I’d Rather Be Doing.  It absolutely feels like it was a failure in a number of ways.

But, when I look at the numbers and not how beat up I feel: it really wasn’t as grim as I want to say it was.  I mean, I’m going to just cut ahead and put this here:

2014 Overall - Points Per Month

Pretty much from start-to-finish, this was one of, if not the (and by a significant margin) most productive year I’ve ever had.  I realized that that’s the track I was on in early August: just in time for me to hit work exhaustion.  That was a very positive realization; not only did it help keep me motivated, but I pretty much went into overdrive.

  • January through April (and even a on into March) had me working on Deadzone minis.  The Kickstarter stuff showed up mid-December, and I’d gotten to work on it right away.  I pretty much just painted everything I thought I could paint: Plague (since I figured it’d go quickly– it did), then Rebs, and finally Mercs. Enforcers weren’t (and still aren’t) on the table, because most of the faction’s been delayed until recently, and I can’t help but prefer GW Orks to the Marauders.
  • May was “goofy idea month.”  I got a bug up my butt about doing a ghostly Romans warband for Saga, with some pretty clear goals around what I wanted to do with them in terms of focusing on speed and getting them done.  Although they were successful (about a week?), I’ve only had the chance to play with them all of twice.
  • June and July had me primarily doing NoVA Open prep.   My thoughts around getting ready for NoVA Open 2014 are hauntingly similar to those for 2013 – Shortest path to playable, etc.  To get to ready for 2014 involved more models, but they were (generally) less involved.Also, Historicon was good to me:
    19-2014-07-19 16.56.00
  • August hit, and hard. For some tragic reasons, a vacation was cancelled and I hit a wall.  Shut myself up for a bit over a week and didn’t see anyone but the pets. Also, I built a Bolt Action army, which I then almost entirely painted in September.  Like, I painted a test model in August, and had nine bodies that I wrapped up in early October, but I pretty much painted the whole damned thing in a single month.This is more than a smidge significant.  I painted a Saga warband in about a week, but although I think it’s Clever, it’s not Golden Daemon quality.  The USMC starter+ (I added a handful of models to the Warlord starter) was somewhat larger, also (kinda-sorta) painted within a timebox, and is significantly higher quality.  I was satisfied enough with them to decide to drop my first batch into the Capital Palette, with some success.
    2014 Capital Palatte Bronze
  • The second (but regrettably not final) Deadzone wave showed up in October, so that’s how I spent most of the month.  Since the second wave included some more terrain, I’d held off on assembling or painting any of it until the rest showed up… and I no longer had any reason to hold off.  So, the bulk of November was spent painting Deadzone terrain.
  • In December, I wrapped up my first Infinity warband (squad? team?).  I’m pleased with them, and am looking forward to pushing them around.

Hobby Activity

So, like I said: this past year was nuts for getting stuff done. Nuts.  Forget building stuff (which I’m fast starting to consider Uninteresting in terms of progress), I painted:

  • A Saga warband
  • A Bolt Action army
  • An Infinity team

plus a bunch of just other stuff.

I don’t think I’m going to wrap the following chartdump in much text; I think it’s all pretty self-explanatory.  I got a lot done this year.

2014 - Cumulative Points Per Year

2014 - Points Per Year

2014 - Hobby Points by Month

2014 - Models Painted by Year

2014 - Models Built by Year

One thing I did do new this year was track how much I spent on models vs. how much the models I’d painted were worth.  Because this is a hobby that encourages one to have tubs of unpainted minis, the thought was it’d encourage me to 1) paint about as much as I buy (reducing unpainted minis) and 2) spend less on minis (a built-in cheat was that I’d list how much I paid when I bought a model and how much it retailed for when I painted it… ).

This chart shows two things: the relative spend per month (a negative number meant I painted more minis that I bought, a positive number means I bought more minis than I painted, a flat number that I kept an equilibrium) and the overall number from month-to-month.

Numbers have been obscured to hide my shame.

2014 - Overall Spend by Month

I actually think this was pretty effective.  Really, the worst thing that happened was the By Fire & Sword: Deluge Kickstarter.

Also, the need to just move all of this stuff out of a Google Spreadsheet and into an actual database is increasingly pressing. Half the time Google chokes on this thing… and need to update the above graph to be a rolling one: things shouldn’t zero out at the beginning of the year, you know?

GOALS

2014 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success. As I’ve mentioned, I got a lot of stuff Done this year.
  • PaintComplete Success. Hells, yeah.
  • Compete – Failure. I hit NoVA and played in a mini Bolt Action tournament, but that’s it.  I don’t consider that enough: I even missed Dragon Wars this year.
  • GameFailure. According to my sheet, I played 28 games, total, in 2014. This is awful.
  • HIstoricalsSuccess. Like, huge success!
  • Continue Dumping StuffTotal Failure. I don’t think I eBayed anything in 2014.
  • Finish a Deadzone warbandSuccess.  I got two factions fully painted until Wave 2 showed up.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks warbandFailure. I’ve got one built, but it’s another silly idea. I have the minis for a normal one, I just have to build them.  Oh, and paint them.
  • Post more RPG content – Technical Success. I mean, I posted RPG content. Precious little.  My Rogue Trader NPC generator from, like, a year ago, was the most viewed poste this year.
  • Organize a Charity RTT – Failure.  I didn’t get to game, much less organize.

2015 Goals

The standard:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete – Though this will be less key to me.  Tournaments matter less than actual gaming at this point.

And:

  • Game – This is going to be my number one goal for 2015.
  • Dump Stuff – And this will be my number two goal.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks Warband – I have no excuse not to get this done.

I’d love to have some more specific goals, but really: I just want to get my painted : unpainted ratio more sane and roll more dice.

Mantic Plague

A very specific form of not particularly famous

Mantic Plague

 

The photo of my Plague I posted back in January is the thumbnail on a Mantic Blog post.

Very cool.

(The image isn’t on the post, and either they filter comments or their comment system is busted ’cause I don’t seem able to post there to give them permission to use it.)

Wednesday Workbench 20141217

To Infinity… almost

Wednesday Workbench 20141217

It’s been a bit over three weeks since I got all of these guys assembled, and I’ve made excellent progress on painting them.

They’re pretty close to being all done: I need to do a couple of finishing touches on the Healer (though I’m not happy with her and am half-inclined to strip the paint and start over), and I’ve got to wrap up the Iguana(s).  That’s it!

I got the chance to muddle through some how-to-play games with Chris S last week.  It’s not the full rules or anything (yes, the Mobile Brigada will have a flamethrower and a techno-rifle, but for this: he just has a gun), but enough to convey how the game plays, how the dice mechanic works, etc.

I like what I see so far… but I’m utterly boggled how anyone would or could play this in a tournament environment.  Given that A – my experience with “competitive” 40K and Fantasy is that you cannot assume your opponent will play his rules correctly (deliberately or accidentally) and B – (to make a wholly unfair generalization that I’m going to try to make as least awful as I can) competitive skirmish game players skew towards taking full advantage of every advantage than can wring out of a situation: Infinity’s expectation that you don’t even know what models your opponent has taken until they turn up just makes me tense up.

Like: there’s a whole “optical camo” thing where a model is invisible until they do something.  That’s facilitated by just not putting the model on the table and, when you decide to do something with them, put them down and say, “This guy’s been here, all along.”  In a vacuum, casually, that’s cool.  Hella cool, even.  With prizes or money on the line, though… We used to have a guy around for Fantasy who’d have Magic Standards on his units… that magically changed what they were from game to game to whatever was more appropriate against their opponent and situation.   There is no way that that guy’s list wouldn’t end up shifting from game to game, and no way his dudes wouldn’t uncloak in the most advantageous place, always.

What I’m saying is: I’m looking forward to actually playing Infinity (grown-up, all the rules Infinity, whenever it decides to come out), but I don’t think it’ll be what I play at NoVA this year. (Which is a shame, ’cause I’m still trying to figure out what that’s going to be.)