Tuesday, August 6, 2013

68. Bits and Bobs

Hello, again.  I won't bore you with my usual excuses of how Real Life (©®TM) has totally, completely and very effectively interfered with my gaming and painting life.  It's the same thing as ever:  summer is very busy where I work (and I am very grateful to be working), family events are fast and furiously close together, and there just aren't enough hours in the day.

So with the whining over, I'll move on, shall I?

I don't have much to report.  I've had some Reaper Miniature pirates on my painting table for far too long already that I have not yet finished, and 200+ new Reaper Bones Kickstarter miniatures waiting their turn, plus all the rest from my lead mountain.  They ain't a-gonna paint themselves, you know!

The Reaper pirates are the boxed set "Pirates of the Dragonspine Sea" (although my box is cardboard and not the plastic seen in the link, I've had it that long).  Something about them is both good and boring.  I can't seem to muster the painting courage to finish them off, and yet I really want to be done with them.  Ah well, pictures when I'm finished.

In addition to the Dragonspine Sea pirates I added Maria Roseblade from Reaper.  Her, I really like and want to paint well.  But I'm so tired of the rest of them I might end up simply finishing her without taking the proper time to do her justice (as well as I can).  She is a beautiful sculpt with a lot of fine detail ("fine" in both senses of the word).

* * * * *

I managed to play one game with my friend Tom.  We gamed the Battle of Rorke's Drift from the 1879 Zulu War.  This was a re-game of the same game we normally play when he comes into town to visit, using our hodge-podge rules mostly cobbled together from the generic rules that came with the miniatures when I bought them!  You may recall that I requested a referee's call on the outcome of our last game (here and here), where it was generally decided that the British had squeaked a win.

Well, in this case, we feel that the Zulu squeaked the win, as you can see in the picture below.
Rorke's Drift, a disaster for the British.
Generally speaking, the rules provide a pretty good but random game.  A few poor dice rolls on either side and you're playing catch-up!  Yet it's pretty well equally distributed in terms of randomness, so it all evens out in the wash.  It's fun for those once- or twice-a-year visits.
* * * * *

Here are some pics of my Reaper Kickstarter being opened and spread out on my table.  All the other kids out there have been posting when they received their Bones, so I thought I would too.  I actually went and got mine, living as I do roughly 30 miles from Reaper HQ.  I did have to wait on one extra I ordered, but everything else was ready (and it has since arrived:  the Clockwork Dragon).  I traded in my Sophie for a figure case, and then added three more.  The price was too good to pass up!
This is what my Kickstarter looked like when I got it home.
This is when I opened the box.  Yes, everything was bagged inside of bags.
Here are the bags as they came out of the box, plus some extras I bought for my son (rather, he bought, through me [...er, that is, I think he paid me for them]).
The bags were numbered 1 through 6.
This is what 200+ Bones look like when spread out on my table, in roughly the order they were shown on the Reaper Kickstarter webpage.  Yes, I am the kind of guy who checks every single one.  Hey, I'm sick, I need help.
These are the only two I found that differed at all from what was "advertised."  These two were originally sketches, and I don't really think the final miniature looks like the art; whereas with all of the other sketches they look almost exactly the same.  I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing it out.
This is a size-comparison shot.  On the left, a Bones.  On the right, a D&D pre-paint.
Overall, color me HAPPY with my Bones.

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I've also been reading and LOVING learning about the new wave of Old School Renaissance gaming burgeoning on the internet regarding Original Dungeons & Dragons (Oe, 1e, Bx).  I would list all the websites I've visited over the last six months or so, but it's certainly in the double digits and would be incomplete; far too many to remember but I'll do my best with the best ones.

First, go here:  Solonexus.  This place is a solo-gamer's best friend.

That led me here:  a Mythic/Free Universal RPG write-up on rpg.net.  A lot of fun, and it began to open my eyes with what can be done PLAYING RPGs SOLO.  Did you get what I just said?  PLAYING RPGs SOLO.   What?  How?  Who?  Huh?   I had no idea.  I never, ever would have thought you could put the two together.

Now, I had seen Mythic used as an aid to solo-playing a Colonial wargame, and while I own the Game Master Emulator rules, I have to admit their application baffled me.

Eventually I ended up at Tabletop Diversions and his Ever-Expanding Dungeon.  This fellow is a true genius of solo-gaming; there's no two ways about it.  Go.  Read his epic fun.  I have been inspired.

During the course of all this searching and reading, I discovered that there are many, many new D&D re-writes (or "clones" in the vernacular) out there, and have been for several years.

I direct you here, the OSR Resource Center blog to start, as it's an excellent, well, resource.  Many of these OSR games are free, too, and can be found on RPGNOW.com (also known as DriveThruRPG.com, one and the same).  What's more, many of the Original D&D titles are available as PDFs on dndclassics.com (which itself is part of the afore-mentioned sites).

There are so many variations!  Just go to the OSR Resource Center and look at the Rules/Systems tab.  I ended up buying several different sets, just to support the companies, but all the same many of them are totally free with no guilt.  Did you know you can buy the "Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game" on Amazon for $4.62, printed with a color cover?  I mean, how can you beat that?  Granted, some of the other games are not that inexpensive (I'm looking at you, "Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG") but they are still worth a look.

There are interesting differences between them, which I might post if I ever have time.

It's been really fun.  The Internet has been a stand-in for me for actual play:  I substitute my own gaming for reading about everyone else's gaming.  Through the great blogs out there, I live vicariously!  Long live the Inter-web-tubes-net!

Thanks for reading!


  1. "Labyrinth Lord" (a free download . . . well actually several of them) by Goblinoid Games is essentially "D&D B/X" with just a few spells and critters re-named and with the experience charts for character advancement tweaked just enough to satisfy the lawyers (but easily untweaked).


    -- Jeff

    1. Thanks, Jeff. LL is one of the first I found, in addition to OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry, and Basic Fantasy RPG. LL was one of the ones I bought in pdf to support the company (although I do think I caught it on sale somehow). It's really quite fascinating how similar they all are, and yet how different, just with very small tweaks.

  2. Great post. I love solonexus and Table Top Diversions. Like you I live vicariously through them. I'll have to take a look at the other resources you linked to.

  3. Glad to see you're back. I need to get in a post or two on my recent activities.

    Got a few Bonez myself through a friend's order.

    I love Mythic, although I haven't had time to do much with it.

  4. Just got a new post in, K.C.. Come check it out. =)

  5. Thanks for the shout out!

    My Reaper box contained some unexpected duplicates - sadly nothing I was really excited about.

    As for your pirates, if they're causing a backup on the painting table, move em aside and paint something else and come back to them later. YMMV but that works for me when I just can't get excited about painting whatever I'm "supposed" to be painting.


    1. I know, but I'm so close to finishing them that I can't just move on. It's really more a question of time than anything else, but the lack of motivation doesn't help.