Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why do I wargame

A recent post on Bob Cordery's Wargaming Miscellany has made me think about what it is that I enjoy about wargaming and on a related subject roleplaying as the two do overlap significantly in my opinion.

To me I think the elements of playing games with miniature figures is a mixture of the physical aspects of painting figures, creating terrain and then using them on the board as well as the imaginative aspects of creating stories from how the games resolve themselves. The modelling side is not my greatest pleasure though I do enjoy painting miniatures as I find it relaxing and I do not aim to achieve a 'competitive standard' as they are only being used as playing pieces for a game.

Another aspect is being able to use my interest in history, particularly military history for research on specific projects and periods to play games in. This includes both the conduct of battles and campaigns, tactical methods as well as the uniforms and weapons.

For me the imaginative aspects are a much stronger part of my enjoyment as I am happy enough to use figures that have only been undercoated or even unpainted to get a game running with terrain represented by cut outs of coloured paper or cloth. Indeed one thing I enjoy with roleplaying games is the fact that you can start a game with just a few ideas noted down on paper and conjure up how things will appear as mental pictures.

One thing that I haven't done much of in the past but is likely to be a feature of my games in future will be writing After Action Reports for my blog even if I end up the only person reading them as it will add to the enjoyment of playing the games.

Friday, June 24, 2011

First Hobbit film stills released

Hobbit Stills - so we get to see Sir Ian McKellen reprising his role as Gandalf and Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo Baggins.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A mutant future NPC

Another character in my series of creating characters for every RPG I have.

A Mutant future character - this will be a mutated human as one of the real defaults for the setting. So rolling 3d6 in order for the characters attributes I get 12, 13, 14, 10, 8, 8 - so good physical attributes but weak mentally. Starting funds: 3d8x10 = 16 x10 = 160gp, which is pretty good. Mutations: 2 physical, 1 mental - 16 Echolocation, 10 Dual headed, 89 Dual cerebellum (defective) - this means a further 1d4 mental mutations with half being defective rounding up - so one further defective mutation. I'm houseruling that the defective mental mutation cannot be another defective dual celebellum and I found that I had 14 points so used a d20 re-rolling any score over 14. I ended up rolling a phobia. A roll of 3 on the phobia table gives me an animal type which I'll work out as part of fleshing out the character. The dual cerebellum means that a secondary personality exists for the character that will take over once a month for 24 hours.

The mutations actually work quite logically for the character which is something that I don't mind as having contradictory values can be fun for a short while, but often presents difficulties in actually playing them as a PC or NPC.

Bobo Ferell
Race: Mutant Human Level: 1
Experience: 0
HP: 49 AC: 5/6 (with/without shield)
Move 60/20/60
Alignment: Chaotic

Strength: 12+0 to hit, damage and open doors.
Dexterity: 13-1 to AC, +1 to hit with missiles, +1 on reaction
Constitution: 14+0 to saving throws, 14 d6 hd
Intelligence: 10- +0 to technology roll
Willpower: 8
Charisma: 8+1 on reaction rolls, max 3 retainers morale 6

Bobo comes from a village of largely mutated humans that has survived by farming and hunting in the wastelands. Bobo has had to flee after his secondary personality, Equill emerged and committed murder to steal a set of gems. He now tries to earn a living as a travelling merchant selling and buying what he can and avoiding staying too long where Equill might emerge and bring him into conflict or get him hung from a tree.

Warhammer +0 1d6
Dagger +0 1d4
Shortbow +1 1d6

Shortbow 25gp2lb
Quiver and 20 arrows 5gp3lb
Studded Leather 30gp20lb
Shield 10gp10lb
Backpack 2gp2lb
Bag of smoked insects2cp-lb
Flint & Steel2gp -
3 flasks oil3sp3lb
5 days trail rations25sp5lb
qill pen1sp-
1 oz vial of ink8gp-
5 sheets parchment10sp-
map or scroll case1gp.5lb
2 lb tobacco2sp2lb
1 lb ginger2gp1lb

The total for all the equipment is 109 gp 2sp 4cp meaning that leaves Bobo with 50gp, 7sp, 6cp as funds. The total encumbrance is 66.5 lbs which would give him a movement rate of 60 ft/20 ft/ 60 ft per round - turn/encounter/running.

As normal with this series of characters created I'm happy for other GM to use them as NPC or even as player characters and I'd love to hear what you have done with them.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Excellent RPG Blog

And I'm not talking about my own as I know that it needs work.

Dyson Logos' blog has lots of useful maps that you can try and interesting NPCs. I recommend a visit if you are a player of RPG, particularly from an old school background.

I've got a few of the maps which are going to be used for some Mutant Future and Labyrinth Lord sample encounters by me, which I'll publish here when I'm ready.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Book Review - I May be Some Time. Francis Spufford.

Captain Oates' famous words provide an apt title for this cultural history. Certainly for Britons of my generation and earlier, where the story of the doomed Scott expedition was frequently repeated. Personally I think that it was probably from either primary school or Blue Peter on TV that I first heard it and that would be a similar experience for many others. Strangely Shackleton's expedition, which may have had less success in reaching the pole but was far better at preserving the lives of its team was less heavily discussed in the media. I also remember being at a school where the different houses were called things like Parry; Ross; Franklin and other names of British explorers showing their memory stretching into the 1970s.

Spufford provides a certain amount of potted history of the efforts at polar exploration, with the early searching for the North West Passage and the loss of the Franklin Expedition in the Georgian and Victorian eras followed by Antarctic exploration by Edwardian explorers. The exploration of the North and South Poles created a fashion in British intellectual life for images of the icy wastes in literature, theatre and art.

Scott's doomed expedition to the South Pole is given a prominent place fitting how strongly it became part of 20th Century British culture. This includes looking at the expeditions life from diary entries and examining how even from its outset there was a strong creation of myths around the explorers and their task. This mythologisation of the Edwardian polar expeditions owed much to Clements Markham, but also to the work of Kathleen Scott  in helping to promote her husband's interests at the Admiralty and in preserving his memory.

Spufford examines the fictional representations and imagery of the Artic and Antartic in works, such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and The Water Babies. This includes American writers like Poe and Jeremiah Reynolds, who created a hollow earth theory with entrances at the poles. This hollow Earth idea was taken up by UFOlogists like Brinsley Le PoerTrench, 8th Earl of Clancarty. Hans Christian Anderson's Ice Queen is also discussed as an image of the ice being appealing.

Spufford has created an interesting work here and I would say this is well worth reading as it does have insights into British views of heroism in the 20th Century (and indeed in contemporary culture). Highly recommended.