Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, August 21st, 2016 - Clarifications

People from the past, eh? :)

I can say that this has been a very good week on The Workbench; I've been cleaning and sorting things out in the game room, and working on fixing the alarming dip in the deck of the vertical table extender - the sheet of Masonite I used has a concave bowl effect, at the moment, so I'm fixing that as well as remounting the LED lighting to get rid of the sharp points of the tiny wood screws that I used in the original installation.

I have also been slowly working my way through the piles of figures, getting the ones that I'll never use sorted out for shipment, and the ones that I will use into the stack for painting. I've also repainted some figures that never really found their place in my campaign; some Reaper figures that never got fully painted have finally been finished - oddly enough, I find myself needed some Elves from Blackmoor for the campaign.

Filing the archives also continues; I was delighted to find my little collection of Mughal paintings and documents, as well as the collection of Egyptian papyri, and these are now properly filed and indexed. I like stuff like this; like Phil, being able to hand players things in the course of the game is a delight, for everyone.

"To Serve The Petal Throne" continues to move ahead, and I am pleased with the progress I'm making.

I have also now finished my Events Guide; I am dithering about putting photos of the games in in, but the text and information is all done. The purpose of this Guide it to let events organizers know, in some detail, what I can and cannot do for them - my energy and stamina is limited, and so I thought that it would be a good idea to spell out what I am and am not able to do, these days.

The bottom line on this, purely and simply, is that I can either organize an event or run programming at it; I can't do both. I've been asked to come to events and run things, as well as run games, and I - as I've found out the hard way - can't. So, since I would much rather run games then anything else, I've provided a guide on how to do this.

To be clear, I will not organize an event; I will show up and run games, but the event organizers will have to do all the background work for things like providing hotel rooms, crafts services, badges, and the like. These are the same terms that I had in place when I had my own production company, doing show production, and I'm simply reusing the information. There are some pretty basic space and time requirements that I have, so as to make the event and games run well, but they are all spelt out in the Guide. E-mail me for a copy, if you'd like to see it.

Still catching up on e-mails; I'm slowly grinding away at the replies I owe all of you...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, August 17th, 2016 - Whew! Busy Again!

A short post, for now; I had a 'double-header' this past weekend, with "The Fantasy Trip" on Saturday - I had a guest appearance as a bandit chieftain - and "Close Action" on Sunday. Both game sessions were a great time, due to the people running and participating, and I'll have longer reports this coming weekend; I have two full days off, with no appointments, so plenty of time.

Internet connectivity has also been very spotty, due to a combination of weather, time, and foliage, but I will be back to everyone as soon as I can. My Missus has gotten me a chainsaw, which should help.

One lesson learned this past weekend was that I really do have to pace myself; I got off my medication and eating schedule, and got pretty wiped out at about four on Sunday. I'm better now, but I will have to be more careful in the future.

Looking ahead into the future, I have two 'bookings' for events being put on by people; one this fall, and one this coming spring. In order to make sure that people are best informed as to what I can and cannot do for events, I have an 'Events Guide for Chirine' done, and I'll see if I can't get it posted here. It lists games that I like to run and have the resources to do, as well as what equipment and resources that I have available for events runners to use.

So, lots going on, and lots more to come!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, August 9th - Much, Much Happening!!!

Mostly personal news, so a personal photo... :)

There's quite a lot happening at the moment, so this will be a very short post...

The BIG news is that my Fifth Daughter will be moving back to the United States this winter, to go back to school, and will be staying with us here at the little house. It'll be different; we'll once again have the pitter-patter of little feet about the place, and it'll be a lot of work to get her room ready - but that, when all is said and done, is what being a parent is all about.

Of lesser import, probably, but a big deal for me is that "To Serve The Petal Throne" has now broken through 125,000 words; some small additions to Books Three and Six moved us along nicely. I am getting more writing time in, and I am very pleased with how the book is going.

In gaming news, TRE Games has updated their website with more new kits. I have had a chance to look them over /in person', and I am hugely impressed. New 28mm buildings, new accessories, and some very - and I do mean very! - tempting skyships. Have a look; I think you'll be impressed.

I found an interesting little 'dungeon tile' set, the other day; very nice plywood with a stone finish and a 1" grid engraved on the faces. See it at:

And it's their catalog number BPN07070.

My brother has been off to Gen Con this past weekend, and has been sharing lots of photos on Facebook. He had a great time, and from the look of it the costuming has gotten a lot more sophisticated then back in my day. Wonderful stuff, and a joy to behold.

Mopre to come, with reports and photos, when I have a few moments. Be seeing you! :)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Weekly Update - July 31st, 2016 - This and That

Life on the Lushomon Canal, near Butrus. More boats...

It has been a pretty nice week, here at the Workbench. I am getting used to my new work schedule, and it's dovetailing nicely with the new(er) gaming interests that have been coming my way. I am very pleased with things; the weather has been nice, I've gotten in some very good gaming, and projects that have been hanging fire are finally getting done.

I have, for example, finally finished painting and basing the Foundry 'Assyrian Siege Mantlets' (Foundry #ASS038) that I had gotten in a series of E-bay auctions almost a decade ago. I like doing siege equipment - which is all Phil's fault, I think - and I have pavis and mantlet sets for the Tsolyani and Yan Koryani, with more 'generic' sets for everybody else. The archers that I got went into the Salarvyani army; as Craig Smith's original drawings look very Assyrian, I thought that they'd be most useful there.

This is part of a long-term plan to rebase and refurbish / refinish all of my siege train; it's been years since this has had any attention, and I'm finding that if I take the process in small steps, things tend to get done a lot faster. I'm at a point in my gaming life where all the really large projects are mostly done - with one exception - and so taking things more slowly has been a pretty relaxing way to unwind.

I am also getting back into writing, and moving along with "To Serve The Petal Throne". The two areas of activity are very closely related - the book gives me ideas for miniatures, and the miniatures bring back memories of the adventures that they were created for. As I have noted elsewhere, one of the main reasons why my collection is so large and diverse is that I had a week between game sessions out at Phil's to make whatever had happened or been seen in the game sessions. After a while, it all added up as you can see from the various photos here and on my Photobucket page.

Another project / activity has also been pretty satisfying. There's a thread I'm doing over on the RPG site ( called "Questioning Chirine ba Kal", where I try to answer any and all questions as best as I can. The thread has been active for about a year, and it was pointed out that we are now up to over 400 pages, over 4,000 posts,  and over 70,000 views. I'd like to think this is because of the sheer excellence of Phil's Tekumel, and not anything I've done; as I've said on a number of occasions, all I'm able to do is tell you what I saw Phil do in his campaign when I played in it; it's up to you, as he himself said, to make of that what you will... :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, July 24th, 2016 - A Nautical Diversion

Nemesis comes alongside; Harchar's on his quarterdeck, and all's right with the world. Dreadnought to the left.

Maritime Mayhem Game, with much of the fleet in action. Lady Caroline's Revenge got in Harchar's way...

We're going to have a small diversion from our course, and talk about ships and boats for a bit. One of our Regular Readers, who has a very nice blog entitled 'Adventures in Lead', asked about the ships he'd seen in the various photos of my game room. He recently posted an excellent article on an excellent model ship of his own; please do have a look:

I do have a lot of ships and boats that I use in games as needed; this goes all the way back to my getting a copy of "Bireme and Galley" from Fantasy Games Unlimited and a copy of "Sea Steeds and Wave Riders" from Judges' Guild. I mounted all the lovely deck plans included in these publications onto foamcore sheeting, and used them for years in our adventures out at Phil's. (I still have all of them, too.) I also drew up the plans for dear old Captain Harchar's various ships for our adventures; we spent several years of game and real time afloat.

Gaming technology has come a long way since those days. I was able to get a pair of solid foam galleys and a merchant ship back in 1987, and then in the middle 200's several companies came out with cast resin ships of various sorts. Grand Manner, Old Glory, and Flagship Games / Scale Creep Games are all represented in the fleet; I have also built a number of ships for specific scenarios and games. (Commercially available ships used to be available for very modest prices on Ebay; the Missus, Queen of the Internet, really deserves a lot of credit for building up the fleet for what was a very modest investment.) Laser-cut wooden ships and boats are also coming in to the market, and these are very nice; you might have to do a bit of gluing and assembly, but it's worth it. TRE Games has some very nice boats that make great cargo lighters, for example. And, interestingly enough, the gift and novelty shops also can be a useful source of boats; I got a half dozen very nice little fishing boats / rowboats from a company that specializes in table decorations, for example.

The flagship ship of my fleet is the mighty Nemesis, a gaming model of one of the packet galleys that go up and down the Missuma River between Jakalla and Bey Su; I built her in a weekend for a game session, along with the Prince Ahmed, a smaller sailing ship that can be seen in the lower photo - she's the red and white ship with the lateen sail. She has a removable quarterdeck, as access to her cabin was an important plot element in the game session.

Usually, when I build ships, they are intended for specific games and so usually have to be built pretty quickly. I normally cut a solid 'plank' of wood to the basic hull shape, and then wrap card stock around that shape to form the sides of the ship. (Glue. Small nails. Trim up as needed.) Nemesis is three planks, stacked on on top of the other; the railings were the most time-consuming part of her build, as was gluing 96 (!) Foundry shields to the railings. Similarly, Harchar's big merchant ship is also stacked planks, but this time of the pink extruded styrene foam I used for a lot of scenic projects. Her arch foe, the Hlyss nest ship, is built the same way.

The rest of the smaller ships and boats are resin, from various manufacturers; look in 'pirate' ranges, and you'll often find some very nice bargains. I prefer to buy the smaller boats, as they take just as much work to make them look good as larger ships, so for me it it simply more cost-effective to buy commercial products then make them; it's certainly possible to make them, though.

Serious ship modellers will note that I usually don't put a lot of detail into my ships. I've found, over the years, that while doing so makes for great models, it also makes for trouble in games; the details usually get in the way and get broken, so I usually put in only the stuff that's going to get used in a game. Masts, yards, and sails all fall into this category, as the players are forever shooting them off, hacking them off, setting fire to them, and doing all the things that heroic players do in the movies. I generally don't do holds and cabins, and prefer to supply separate plans to the players - it seems to keep the games moving faster, and adds more of a surprise factor when somebody breaks doen the cabin door or falls down through and open hatch.

And yes, I do have grappling hooks, in both artillery-fired and hand-thrown sizes; look in fishing supply shops for treble hooks, and then make sure to file down the barbs on the hooks before you try to use them in a game. Stout thread for rope is always nice; I like to supply my ships with lengths of thread for ropes, just in case of need. More then one ship has had to be towed to safety, over the years. :)

I think, if people don't mind, is that I'll alternate a post on painting figures with a post on a specific ship or boat; I think it might be fun to do so, als get more information out to all of you...