gothy gamey hobby stuff, Wednesdays and Sundays

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Shopping List for a Mordheim Warband

“I have kept thee long in waiting, dear Romuald, and it must have seemed to thee that I had forgotten thee. But I come from afar off, very far off, and from a land whence no other has ever yet returned. There is neither sun nor moon in that land whence I come: all is but space and shadow; there is neither road nor pathway: no earth for the foot, no air for the wing; and nevertheless behold me here, for Love is stronger than Death and must conquer him in the end…”
— Clarimonde (Théophile Gautier, La Morte Amoureuse)

Avatars of War – Vampire Countess

At one moment I believed myself a priest who dreamed nightly that he was a gentleman, at another that I was a gentleman who dreamed he was a priest. I could no longer distinguish the dream from the reality, nor could I discover where the reality began or where ended the dream. The exquisite young lord and libertine railed at the priest, the priest loathed the dissolute habits of the young lord. Two spirals entangled and confounded the one with the other, yet never touching…
— Romuald (Théophile Gautier, La Morte Amoureuse)

Warhammer Quest Necromancer – if available. If not, cf. Avatars of War.

It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs – and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.

[…]

The Paris slums are a gathering-place for eccentric people – people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent. Poverty frees them from ordinary standards of behavior, just as money frees people from work.

— George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

Freebooter Miniatures – Eugen

Freebooter Miniatures – Fith’Aarch the Spider

Freebooter Miniatures – Romerto the Strangler

And the people—ah, the people,
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone —
They are neither man nor woman,
They are neither brute nor human,
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A pæan from the bells
— Edgar Allen Poe, The Bells

Heresy Miniatures – Ghoul Tribe

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
— The Wolf Man

Citadel Doom Wolf (OOP)

Zombies will, as required, be plundered from elsewhere in my collection – assuming I have the good fortune to roll the spell which summons them. There will only be a singular Dire Wolf; the error made with previous warbands was the surfeit of henchmen who were unable to gain experience during campaign play, which robbed me of precious Warband Rating and the opportunity for free heroes. Dire Wolves are the bomb and have one of the best inherent statlines in the game, but five of them was too many. One, as a headhunter and finisher for tricky targets, seems reasonable.

Heroes

  • Vampire with sword – 120
  • Necromancer with sword – 45
  • Dreg with short bow – 25
  • Dreg with bow – 30
  • Dreg with bow – 30

Henchmen

  • Dire Wolf – 50
  • Ghoul – 40
  • Ghoul – 40
  • Ghoul – 40
  • Ghoul – 40
  • Ghoul – 40

Game Over – Multimedia Edition

gameover_v5

All right, let’s get this show on the road.

I want to make more podcasts. I want them to be archived (rather than deleted when I run out of space) and easier to record. I want to have more people, and guests, and interviews, and STUFF. Chuck a few pennies in the old tin pot and get yourself a shoutout, a gamey question once a month, or a 10-minute mini-cast where you call the shots.

Some of you will doubtless be wondering why Patreon, and ready to excoriate me for rattling the can under the noses of people who have, up until now, been in receipt of free stuff. Here’s the thing. This blog is free. It hasn’t cost me a penny in five years and I haven’t spent a fabulous amount of time on it – a couple of hours a week. The Necron Codex Review, on the other hand, basically took a working day to put together, and Podomatic only allows me enough free space to house maybe three podcasts of such dimensions before I have to start deleting stuff. In other words, if I’m going to do a decent job of this it’s going to cost me money and time and I’d like some sort of recompense for that.

As for why Patreon – because I’m like the BBC and not like ITV. Rather than taking paid adverts from people with products to sell, most of which I probably think are shite, I prefer the thought of being funded by an audience, of their own free will. If you don’t want to pay, don’t. If you don’t think my content is worth paying for, don’t. If you find the sound of my adenoidal British sperg-droning offensive in some way, believe me – I don’t like it either, but apparently we’re in the minority. The sky will not fall in if you want nothing to do with any of this. I will probably be producing the podcast anyway but there are limits to what I can do for free. If people like it and want it to improve they can make a very modest investment and make that happen – or not.

[Read and Respond] HoP’s Rob on Campaigns and Cat Herding

Been a while since I did one of these.

Timetables have killed every attempt at a regular long-form RPG campaign since university, with one very notable exception; the Vampire group which accepted a compromise. A few face-to-face sessions a year plus a lot of chat about what the characters were doing in between times. It’s not the classic but it works – it gives the two couples involved an excuse to come and see each other (we’re all lazy tarts and who’d want to go to Wolverhampton anyway?) and because everyone involved is some sort of actor/writer/hardcore roleplayer/artist thing we generally synch up and assume roles with reasonable ease.

I had a revelation, not so long ago. I was struggling to re-establish a dormant roleplaying guild in WoW-land, i.e. to make people actually log into their undead alts and do some undead roleplaying. Events (that’s ‘sessions’ or maybe ‘modules’ to tabletoppers) were dying on their arses, players were shying like thoroughbred horses from the material provided, and even rounding up four of the blighters took a week’s work and enough messages that one player defriended me for spamming. A couple of the more active players took me to task over this and I learned two things about campaign management.

The first thing: if you build it, they will come, but whether or not they stay depends on whether you’ve built the right thing. When I thought of ‘undead RP’, I thought about… you know, the usual tabletop stuff. Adventures, excitement, exotic enemies, convoluted mystery plots, where the player characters happened to be undead. When many of the other players in that guild thought of ‘undead RP’ they meant… life as undead. Smaller, domestic stuff, pottering around being undead at each other, living the day to day lives of people who don’t have to eat, sleep or even breathe unless they want to speak.  This is what a lot of WoW roleplayers seem to enjoy (I still think it’s because a majority of them are college or university students, myself) and it’s something I find utterly baffling. I don’t want to RP having a day job and going down the pub (well, maybe if I’m too ill to actually go down the pub) – I want the other stuff. The point is – people stopped turning up because they weren’t getting what they wanted and they weren’t getting what they wanted because I wasn’t interested in providing it.

This segues nicely into the second lesson, which I was taught with absolute bluntness by a member of the server’s highest-quality RP guild. Just because you had the idea doesn’t mean you have to do all the work. It’s really hard for tabletop GMs to grasp that. We’ve been told since we started that we are responsible for everyone else’s fun, that we have to arrange and schedule everything and prepare the entire environment, that we are the last resort in cases of dispute or misunderstanding…

What Calister tried to explain to me, at great length, is that a GM – Master of Games or Master of Guild, it doesn’t matter – is a facilitator. They bring people together for fun and they present a concept around which that fun will be formed and it’s up to players to bring something to the table.

If the GM is always rounding everyone up, host the events, players will get used to not doing things for themselves. They will lapse into the top-down, single-point-of-failure model of roleplaying and IF the GM burns out or gets bored or simply runs out of ideas they will sit, inert as tubers, silent as the grave until someone tries to suggest a change. Then they’ll resist, because there’s a dim prospect that they might have to do something for their bloody selves for once.

WoW RP is a very different experience to my old familiar favourite the tabletop game, but I wonder if it doesn’t have something to teach me about those. In the past I’ve always felt responsible for everyone else’s good time, like I’m the one who has to sort the schedules, find the venue, book the table, bring the snacks AND RUN THE ENTIRE DAMN GAME. I used to enjoy that sort of thing back when it was easy and I was even more of a control freak than I am now, but in these the times that try men’s souls I am weak and sickly and just want to play a damn RPG now and then.

In the Dark Ages Vampire game I have been asked several times to provide a venue for between-sessions storytelling – a space for characters to interact via correspondence, documents to be produced of their affairs, downtime to be charted and key relationships to be established so that we don’t have to waste time on in-between days when we DO get to play face to face. I have tried twice and failed twice and, in the spirit of my new ‘Why Do I Have To Do Everything?’ principle, the player who is most enthusiastic about these things has been invited to set it up himself.

He hasn’t, of course, but it’s early days yet. At least it’s not my problem now.

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