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.