Author Archives: Rushputin

Online Game #1

I ran my first game since Feb 2020 this past weekend. Did it online, just to try it on and see and how it felt and

I had some friends who’ve been at my table regularly over the years on, mostly because they’re used to me screwing stuff up at a rapid pace and have displayed an admirable amount of tolerance.

Going in I printed up little DM screen braces to set the DM screen over my monitors and a little brace to set my webcam on (my work laptop has a built-in camera, but my personal desktop; not so much).

I used Discord for voice, video, and screensharing and owlbear.rodeo* for maps.

As I’ve noted: I more than a little live in web conferences, and it’s funny how different teams rapidly developed different customs around video on them. Some teams: cameras are usually on. Some teams: cameras are always on. (I’ve got a specific person up the chain who insists on seeing people’s faces, so you even though you’re working from home you know there’s a baseline level of how you need to dress.**) My teams: cameras are always off. So, it was nice to have cameras on during the whole thing and see people’s faces.

Despite my love of minis and the fact that I cut my teeth on D&D 4E: I find I don’t prefer particularly tactical combat when running RPGs… but I needed some way to show the maps because I’d rather just show “Here’s the space” than try to dictate room directions and bungle it. Being able to just have the map on the screen and shave back fog of war seemed like the least-effort, lowest-risk way to communicate space. Owlbear.rodeo was perfect for this: I just uploaded the maps that came with the electronic version of the adventure, fog of war’d everything, and erased as we went. I don’t have experience with other VTTs, but the fact that there are purchases involved with them signals that they bring a larger breadth of features than I want to engage with. This bowl of porridge was just right.

I used Old School Essentials Classic Fantasy, and ran The Incandescent Grottoes. I cannot emphasize how much I love the Necrotic Gnome house style for laying out dungeons: it’s so incredibly clean and usable at the table. All modules should follow this approach (and all megadungeons should synthesize it with the approach of Stonehell and/or Maze of the Blue Medusa).

We were rolling at 7PM and it was past midnight before we knew it: I think that’s a great sign! Unfortunately, I’d been up at 6 that morning (and really tossing since 4:30 thanks to the dogs), so to say that was past my bedtime was an understatement… I spent the next day feeling like roadkill.

I think everyone had a good time, though there was some expectations friction: I can see getting a little whiplash going from a 5E-style game to an OSR one. That’s why I insist so much on 3D6-in-order: it feels like its one of the clearest indications available of how expectations should be calibrated.

They got through maybe about a third of the space. Lost a party member early when they didn’t check the ceilings before entering a space, and two more near the end when they decided to engage a Gibbering Mouther in melee (the surprise there was that it was only two!).

All in all – definitely a success. I had a great time (and it was wonderful seeing those friends again; it’s been a minute!), and will definitely be doing it again.

I’m noodling up a manifesto to make more clear what I’m trying to get out of it and what players should expect, but my hope is to kick off Stonehell run that can accommodate a larger set of folks with a more flexible quorum. It’ll also have to be a school night because my butt is too damn old to game until midnight.

* I used the free, 1.0(?) version; I think I’d be happy to pay for the 2.0 version if I could figure out how to find the grid alignment tools (specifically the Manual Alignment rulers) they describe in this video.

** I don’t normally dress down unless I’m going to be painting, so “work appropriate” for me is pretty much “don’t wear a 40K t-shirt, just in case someone gets The Wrong Idea about what’s going on that.”

Workbench

This Kill Team / Boarding Actions table is, as noted, taking forever… but now that I’m done with the metallics, everything else has started to roll out pretty quickly. Total process is:

  • Prime white
  • Airbrush GW Sons of Horus Green basecoat – this took way more than I expected! SoH Green has terrible coverage!
  • Airbrush Magos Purple along bottom / from below
  • Airbrush Sybarite Green along top / from above
  • Drybrush VMC Neutral Grey – if I could go back in time I’d probably use GW Gauss Blaster Green
  • GW Wraithbone on door panels – this took forever
  • GW Leadbelcher on metal parts – two coats sometimes needed
  • GW Runelord Brass on brass parts – two coats probably needed
  • GW Wraithbone on skulls – two coats definitely needed here
  • GW Leadbelcher cleanup on skull eyepieces
  • GW Wraithbone + GW Sons of Horus Green arrows over the doorways
  • GW Corvus Black on batteries
  • GW Kabalite Green highlights on black batteries
  • Black on bottom of terrain
  • VMC Neutral Grey on wires
  • Gloss varnish
  • Ivory Black + Burnt Umber oil washes everywhere
  • Burnt Sienna + Orange oil washes in some places
  • Dullcote
  • Titanium White on unbroken lights
  • VMC Neutral Grey on broken lights
  • Contrast (TBD) on lights
  • Aibrush Contrast above over lights

Workbench

This is taking FOREVER. The end result had better be worth the LOE. I’m through getting the steel down (likely the longest step) on everything; far table has copper, near table is getting it. Left to do: skulls, wires, battery covers, base for lights. Then oils, then lights.

Also, all the scatter and small 1-wall pieces are unprimed as of yet.

New Plan for Gaming in 2023

I’ve been feeling a little isolated lately.

That’s kind of my fault. Rejecting the major social networks is both healthy and righteous, but it closes a number of windows to keeping up with people. We’re COVID-cautious, which means a lot traditional avenues of socialization are closed to us, especially while we’re in Winter.

For example:

I’m not gaming at game stores, and that means tournaments are entirely out of the picture. They’ve fired up Infinity tournaments at Huzzah Hobbies again and, although I’m not doing tournaments… if they’re gonna do tournaments, it’s a good thing they’re doing Infinity tournaments. I might feel some residual possessiveness, but I’ve been not running Infinity tournaments longer than I ran them, so it’s unquestionably good that the scene is moving on. I want it to be successful! So, I swung by to say hello, wish everyone luck, and drop off some prize support.

I feel like: every time I crawl out of my hole, I quickly smack into evidence that what we’ve been doing is absolutely the right thing. I was the only person masked. A stranger decided to lecture me on an understanding of herd immunity that isn’t applicable here. Friends said they’d had COVID-19 three times, five(!) times. I got some “It sucks,” “It’s no big deal,” and “I’ve had serious short-term memory issues since” from the same people.

(How you reconcile “no big deal” and “serious memory issues” or “once everyone gets it it’ll go away” and “I’ve had it many, many times”…)

They’re doing what’s right for them… but clearly I won’t be playing in the game store again any time soon.

Anyway that’s the problem. So, solutions:

RPGS – I’m going to give online RPG gaming a shot. I’m years behind everyone else on this, I know, but remember: my normal workday is 6+ hours trapped in web conferences. The idea of doing that recreationally is… challenging… but I miss people, I miss RPGs. So, I’m going to give it a shot next week – my old gang, OSE, Discord, and owlbear.rodeo.

I hope it works. I’m optimistic. Wish me luck. I want it to be successful enough that I just keep doing it, week to week.

Wargaming – As I’ve said: gaming at Huzzah’s not on the table. That’s a bummer… but a couple of times over the past two years, I’ve had someone over to game on the porch (we’ve got a lovely screened-in porch) or (masked) in the basement and it worked great. I need to do that more! I almost certainly would be doing it more if it weren’t for inertia: work tends to be pretty draining and I spend most of my free time painting and it’s just easier to keep doing that. So, I’m going to make an active effort to get folks (especially folks I haven’t gamed with in a while) to come over to the house for some porch gaming or masked basement gaming.

(Well, once I’m done with this damned Arks of Omen terrain: working on terrain really screws up my gaming space.)

2022 Year in Review

Year in Review

As with 2021 and 2020, I spent pretty much all year hermiting.

I won’t belabor this too much but: I know gaming’s really picked back up in stores, and conventions are happening, and I think that’s nuts. COVID-19 lethality is thankfully extremely low, but with a 1/5 chance of Long COVID symptoms and a new case rate that’s remained pretty high (it can only look low compared to last year’s Delta wave)… it feels pretty reckless to be pretty reckless about COVID-19.

But – I did game a little: everybody masked in my basement works just fine. I need to actively try to make more of that happen in 2023; it’s really good to socialize and it’s a struggle against inertia to do it.

I’ve been feeling sufficiently isolated that I’ve been considering firing up some online D&D; that says a lot as I spend my days on WebEx/Teams/conference calls professionally and the thought of doing it recreationally is a tough pill to swallow… and yet. Now I just need to determine if I have the energy for it.

In 2022, I was done with Twitter for the same reason everyone else who was done with Twitter was done with Twitter… I’d only gone back to it as a kind of Facebook methadone anyway, so this wasn’t any sort of great loss.

I’ve started up on Mastodon, and I’ve been very pleased with it. It’s a little harder to get into (you need to find the right server and get into it), but it’s got a great vibe there. I’m on warhammer.social, which means I’ve got my feed, I’ve got the local feed for painted minis, and if I need to doomscroll I can check the federated feed. Discourse is much, much less snarky / shitty / screaming, as the fediverse seems to be doing a great job of just flipping the switch on folks who want to make things awful. Recommended.

Finished Projects

  • Aeronautica Imperialis Crimson Fists – I painted these guys up and I’m pretty satisfied with them. They’re not as slapdash as my other AI stuff, either.
  • Genestealer Enforcers – I’m extremely proud of this project. I think they conversions look really good as do the paintjobs.
  • Masters of the Universe Battlegrounds – I haven’t gotten to the expansions yet, but the base game is fully painted and looks really, really good!
  • Fellowship of the Ring – While not the largest possible MESBG army, it was a fun little project that I think looks great.
  • Warcry Battleborn – Yes, it’s basically just two Underworlds Warbands, but they’re great looking warbands.
  • Kill Team Table – Between MOTU:BG and Kill Team, I painted more terrain this year than I have in a while.
  • Stormcast – A third AoS army in three years? What the heck? These guys are probably the best looking (and smallest) of the three.

Hobby Charts

Held pretty steady with last year: 243 models painted. Not quite one a day, which would have been nice.

That December number had everything to do with the longest leave I’ve taken in 18 years of my professional life.

This one is all of the place, and I’m OK with that: I painted what I felt like painting, absent any real push to “be painted” for any particular game.

This ain’t great. I definitely had a shitty ratio for painting vs buying stuff. If I factor in stuff I sold, I end up breaking about even, but I’d like to see less red and more green here.

Goals

2022 Goals:

  • Finish Success – I painted a bunch of stuff, including a pretty big Kill Team project and a third AoS army to completion. High fives all around.
  • Paint Success – No complaints here! I’ve slowed down a bit in what I’ve painted but I’ve also cranked up the quality on it. Early pandemic I was just churning stuff out and that’s less in effect here.
  • Declutter – Partial Success – I think I was technically successful here: I sold off a bunch of Flames of War and Bushido models, which is great ($900 worth of stuff, guys) but fuck, my hobby space is still cluttered as heck.

2023 Goals:

I see folks rattling off specific projects they want to finish in 2023, and that’s not my speed. Nowadays, more so than ever, I want to follow my bliss and paint what I want to paint when I want to paint it. I can see myself planning a month or two out but not much more than that.

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Declutter – Like I said, my space is still cluttered as heck. My wife’s been watching Hoarders, so I’ve got some good motivation to Just Get Rid Of Stuff. I think in the next month or so I’m just going to start pushing stuff out the door as fast as I can.

Things I Enjoyed: Dec 2022

Mission Impossible series

I watched a promo video for some stunt they’re doing in the next Mission Impossible movie and it reminded me that I don’t think I’ve seen a single MI movie more than once and that I don’t remember anything whatsoever about any of them. I had time, so: I rewatched all of them.

Only one of them is bad (2), and even that I think that’s a factor of it aging very, very badly and vaguely recall it landing ok enough when it came out. The rest are, at minimum, entertaining with high-end action.

The first, in my opinion, was the best. It’s the least Cruise-y of the series, but I liked it the most.

I’d rank them 1, 5, 6, 4, 3, 2 and I won’t lie and claim I’m not looking forward to 7.

The ‘G’ Word

The ‘G’ word in question here is “Government” – this is an Adam (Adam Ruins Everything) Conover, Barak Obama funded semi-adaptation of Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk, which I rate very highly.

Where Lewis’ book is about the vital, literally life-saving services the US federal government provides and how dangerous it is to hand the agencies that provide these services to Trump-appointees who are at best unqualified to supervise them and at worst actively working to undermine them… Conover takes a somewhat different tack. Instead of centering things around a no-longer administration, he themes each episode around a service, discusses why it’s important and what good the federal government provides, and then talks about where how it falls short on that service.

It was an easy, entertaining watch that I’d recommend especially since The Fifth Risk is a little less timely.

House of Styx

I’ve really enjoyed all of Derek Künsken’s books, and this one was no exception. I wish he could develop the post-heist a bit more, but the world building he does is so interesting, and the heisting is always fun. They’re squarely in the Alastair Reynolds space where the science might as well be space magic but he’s convincing enough to make it feel hard sci-fi if you’ve got a BA in English.

Dec 2022 – Painted Models

I’ve seen some folks posting photos of the models they finished in a month. That sounds like a fun way to track progress, so here’s my first.