Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why I Like It

I don't have a lot of time, but I saw this bookmark and was thrown back to high school where I was a Sailor Moon snob.

And I'm talking VHS fansubs of Sailor Moon, not the overly censored BS they churned out for us American's benefit. (apparently, I'm still a snob).

The reason is because it was GOOD at dicking around with your emotions. SPOILERS (not that any of you care) : The last season (Sailor Stars, for those of you curious and uninitiated) STARTS OUT with one of the main characters DYING IN A PLANE CRASH on the way to studying in America AND SOMEHOW NOBODY TELLS HIS GIRLFRIEND. She doesn't find out till like the end of the season...WHEN EVERYBODY DIES ANYWAY.
Those three chicks in black? They're actually dudes. Well, they're actually chicks who disguise themselves as male pop's confusing.

So yes, I bought that bookmark, and I will use it to mark my place in rulebooks I'm reading to remind me that toying with the emotions of your characters is what makes for good gaming. Even if they kind of hate you for it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Need to Mark Something?

Here's a quick post for you guys:

I like to mix up my hobbies. By now, you know I train horses but you probably don't know I knit. One of my favorite gaming aids has come from this hobby: a box full of stitch markers. These handy babies are great for plopping on a mini to keep track of any status effects you may need, along with special loot you may be carrying, determining who is carrying a high-profile object, etc. etc.

Here we're using them as loot trackers for a board game idea we had.
So, there's that link up there for an example, but there's a ton of different styles. Search 'stitch markers' and you'll find them. I'm thinking of getting some of the swank triangle ones. There's also hearts, which I think could be fun for marking who's bloodied. At any rate, you can buy from Amazon, go to a craft store that sells knitting stuff (we have Michael's and Hobby Lobby around these parts) OR support local businesses and search out an actual yarn shop near you!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Say Goodbye to Today's Plans

Hey guys, I'm in agony that I won't discuss here, but that means I'm farting around on the computer instead of working! And you know what that means... BLOG TIME!

Sorry, I'm a little loopy. I thought I'd share with you some pictures of terrain I've done so far since I thought it would be possible to get cracking on the Malibu Dream Dungeon if riding wasn't do-able but that turned out excruciating as well.

This is a great little dungeon I built using Hirst Arts' brilliant Basic Tomb project. I've got a few other pieces made that still need painted to add to it:

Super not creepy at all, right?

Anyway, these are fun. The faces are from some polymer clay molds for making dolls. This one happens to have the ears molded separate, so I'm thinking of making a whole wall of creepy ears. Things to ponder.

Here's some terrain I made for my bro-in-law's wargaming.

Then there's my ever-growing super-modular dungeon that sometimes, I just set up for fun.

And let's not forget the dice cup towers I made for my gamer friends a couple holidays ago. Sadly, they turned out a bit fragile. Needed to epoxy these bad boys.

Last, but certainly not least, a horrible picture of a cool piece. This was the outside entrance to an underwater entrance to a long lost temple. My Girls' Game had a battle here, got owned, then more or less followed their opponents to the underground entrance which led to a puzzle room. Pro Tip: don't ever assume a puzzle is too easy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Intro to Horses for Gamers

You probably don't know this, but I majored in Equine Studies in college and I train horses and teach riding lessons for a living. I'm telling you because I get this look every time horses come up in a game; the look that says "I have no idea what I'm talking about and you'll probably hate me for being wrong." I hate this look. I'm not that much of a know-it-all. So I've had this idea of making a quick informative guide to horses so you don't sound like an idiot. (Ok, maybe I am that much of a know-it-all. Whatever.)

 Let's start with some terminology.

photo by Nikki

This is an adult horse with her foal. A foal is a generic term for a baby horse. A male foal is called a colt and a female foal is called a filly.

A female adult horse is called a mare. A male is a stallion unless they've been castrated, in which case they're a gelding. Gelding goes back a loooooong way in history, so it's certainly appropriate to use them in your game if you want to be that detailed. As a gross generality, horses are gelded so they'll be more manageable.

Guess which one's the pony. Photo by Erlene.
A pony is really just a short horse. I won't bore you with technical details, but they are not just baby horses. You can have a pony foal or an adult pony. Most gamers are more knowledgeable about this than your average city-folk as ponies figure prominently in Tolkien.

Now that we've got that cleared up, I'll give you this lovely anatomy guide in case you really want to show off when you're screwing your players over: "Your horse stumbles and falls, depositing you in the mud. Once you've regained your feet, you see through the sheets of rain that his cannon bone is clearly broken, protruding through the skin."

Of course, if you're really mad at your players, tell them their horse has colic and may not make it. (Did you know horses can't throw up? Crazy, huh?)

Anyway, that diagram:

Lastly, let's talk about some generic equipment. Depending on your genre/era, some things will change, but there's some basics that hold true and are important for sabotaging someone's chances at riding successfully.

photo by Jean

This is a modern bridle (the round white thing is a competition number, added to a bridle at a competition.) There are many varieties, but I'll just give you some basics. The things you hold and steer with are called reins. You can hold them all in one hand or divided amongst two hands. They are attached (usually) to a piece of metal in the horse's mouth called a bit.

photo by

Here's a modern jumping-style saddle. Again, much variation comes into play depending on style and time period, but the basics stay the same. There's stirrups for your feet to go into (of important note here, stirrups were developed for mounted combat to make it possible to stay astride your horse as you whacked someone with a weapon), a girth to keep your saddle on the horse, and somewhere to sit your booty. The metal things here are the stirrups and the strap around the belly is the girth. Damage the stirrups, your ride check just went from easy to moderate. Cut the girth, your ride check just went from easy to difficult. Some saddles have a thing across the horse's chest that helps the saddle stay in place, called variously a breastplate, breastcollar, or occasionally breastgirth. This piece of equipment would help out a bit in the occasion of girth failure, but not a lot.

There's some basic info for you guys, I hope it helps you seem vastly superior in your equine knowledge. If you have any questions or requests for anything, leave a comment. I'll be doing a few more of these, covering gaits (different ways horses travel), colors, and some types of horses.

Friday, April 5, 2013

And So It Begins...

Sorry for the delay my dears, but weather has gotten tolerable again and work has picked up...not to mention I've had the pleasure of gaming in several different games in different systems. Right now, I've got a Monsters and Other Childish Things game on Sundays, a Pathfinder game on Tuesdays and at some point, I'm sure we'll get back to our D&D 3.5 game soon. (Seriously, you don't need a link for that.) We've gone through three characters in as many games in Pathfinder, one of which was my own Didd, the Doppelganger (yeah, he allowed that) Bard. Up next for me is a Half-Orc Barbarian/Ranger (we're playing with gestalt rules) which is much more my usual than the bard I had and the cleric I've got going in 3.5.

But I digress. Progress has stalled on the Malibu Dream Dungeon; highlighting neon pink is apparently much more difficult than expected and is currently sitting in the corner in timeout. What is taking up most of my gaming attention is my Beginner's D&D Campaign. Campaign may be a bit grandiose, but my intention is this: teach people the ropes of a system through a tutorial-style adventure, then let them loose and teach a different system. My hope is that they would start up their own gaming group, with someone taking over as DM, or be more confident in finding another gaming group to join. After months of agonizing over which system to run, I settled on D&D 4e. Many of you may be horrified but in response, I give you this. 4e is technically still what is 'current' for Dungeons & Dragons. D&D Next is in constant flux and I could not justify doing that to new players. I still wanted to play D&D and I wanted it to be as accessible as possible. The next system I run for beginners will probably be Pathfinder, though I have copies of Iron Kingdoms and Eclipse Phase crying out to be thoroughly read. I'll also admit, GURPS has my favorite magic system and I love it thoroughly.

That's all for now, folks.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Serious Post. Seriously.

I'm not running a game right now. After finishing up the last game of my nWoD (new World of Darkness for the uninitiated) adventure, a feeling of relief washed over me and I basked in the praise my players bestowed upon me for entertaining them satisfactorily. I was now off the hook for a few months while somebody else took over GM duties in a different system. That's how we roll, ever since our D&D 4e Dark Sun campaign came crashing to a TPK-style halt in our boss fight just before Epic Tier. I hadn't even managed to land a hit with my Halfling Monk's Draconic Avatar power yet. We all went home in a foul mood that night, but as the smoke cleared we agreed that such an uninterrupted span of time was rough on a GM and we had the means to make it work out better.

 From the end of the following Sci-Fi Steampunk GURPS campaign on, we decided to switch out GMs and systems as often as we pleased. My nWoD game only lasted three sessions as it was set up to be a prelude style game wherein everyone was set up to get their super-awesomeness. It took a couple months to get through those three games, what with holidays and all but the end of that game tasted sweet. It was now time to look forward to not only a continuation of the Big Reveal (what I have dubbed my nWoD campaign,) but other ideas and projects. I'm very interested in starting the Pathfinder Adventure Path Kingmaker campaign and also forming a beginner's D&D campaign to get new folks interested in the hobby (should I run 4e and open with some classic Keep on the Shadowfell, or just dive right into some D&D Next?) but the big idea is the Malibu Dream Dungeon.

 Some context is in order, I understand. About a year ago, I was running a Girls Only Pathfinder campaign of my own design (we eventually allowed a boy in, but only because he was SPYING ON THE PARTY) and we often joked about super-girly stereotypes; when you forgot your dice, there were the pink Dice of Shame to borrow, Awesome Tokens were sparkly pink (more on those another time,) and somehow or other we stumbled across the joke that the dungeons we'd be delving would be pink, as well. A Malibu Dream Dungeon. Well, that was it: the Malibu Dream Dungeon must be made. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to actually get around to it, but I'm in the middle of test painting and construction from my Hirst Arts blocks.

Deciding on what style to use...

Here's the final decision:

Test painting, woo!

Hi there.

Stuck with yet another day of truncated work load due to weather, I have decided to start blogging about my major hobby time-sink. Let's cut the crap and go right to it: GUYS I LIKE TO MAKE STUFF FOR GAMING CUZ IT'S FUN. Blogging may get serious when I am not stuck in a funk of depression that comes from realizing how much money I'm not making right now.