Saturday, August 15, 2015

And Now, The Good News!

Ral Partha 'Chaos" soldiers, from Iron Wind Metals

 And we're back.

Let's have some good news, shall we? As previously reported in these pages, Ral Partha, the miniatures company that I grew up with and which set the tone and look for our game sessions out at prof. barker's for years, is back. I don't know if I gave the link to their new website, so I'll do it again:

having had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the boys and girls behind this effort are adding some new packages that will interest both miniatures and RPG gamers; they've introduced sets of these classic figures to the webstore, and these sets give a nice assortment of figures - and a very good price. You can now get a selection of good figures, what will work very well for either RPGs, skirmishes, or the big battles, and all with the same figures. Much more 'bang for your buck', and in a good solid metal that's nice and durable.

There are seven sets up  the webstore now, with a lot more on the way. Ral Partha had one of the most diverse and well-sculpted lines of figures in the industry, and they're all on the way back. Bookmark the site; you'll want to keep looking in on them!

And I can say that I am very, very pleases with the figures I've gotten from them; I am in the process of rebuilding my units, getting them up to full strength, and the newly-cast figures look just as good as the old ones. Crisper, too; the new metal they are using, plus the advances in modeling and casting technology, have combined to make these figures some of the very best in the business.

Ral Partha is also committed to staying in touch with us gamers, too. Here's another link I think you'll find useful:

Take a really good look at this, if you would. A bunch of really cool and talented people are reaching out to all you equally cool and talented people out there in the world to come and participate in what they are doing. Give them a shout - I don't think you'll be disappointed with the response you get...

And am I excited about all this? You bet I am; this is some of the best news I've had this year, and it's been keeping me going through some pretty trying times. Ral Partha was a huge part of what we did, back in the day, and I am simply delighted to see them back with all of us.

First, The Bad News...

The Missus, in better days...
Right. Let's get this over with, so I can get to the good news in the nest post. There is some good news, I am happy to report.

 I've been asked - politely - why I haven't been posting on this blog lately. Well, here's the deal:

I try very hard to keep the personal stuff out of this blog, but sometimes it's really hard to do so. At the moment, it's impossible. My beloved Missus, she who has supported Tekumel for nearly three decades with her time, money and energy, has suffered some sort of neurological 'incident'. The motor controls on the left side of her face no longer work. The doctors says it's not a stroke; they checked, and did a CAT scan. Nothing; they are baffled. In the meantime, The Missus's health has been declining for the past three months, and so I've been a little distracted.

On top of this, I am no longer on third shift; my department at work has been reorganized, and I now work a 3:30 pm to midnight shift. I have been on third shift (10:00 pm to 6:00 am, more or less) for almost a decade, and it's odd to be back out in the sunlight. I've been exhausted, and as a result not a lot has been getting done here at the Workbench. I've had to adjust my own medications schedule and thus my sleeping and eating ones as well, and it's been tough. From what my doctors tell me, I seem to have suffered minor damage to the 'lizard brain' at the base of my skull during the brain bleed I had three years ago, and I am having difficulty with extremes of temperature. As I work outdoors, the recent high-heat-index days have been very tough, and have added to my exhaustion.

We'll survive; she and I have had worse. Let's move on, shall we? And thank you all for all your good wishes and patience!

- The Management

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

25 Years of Patience

The Missus loved this;
I think Mr. Frazetta would have, too.

This is a post that actually does have something to do with gaming, but you'll have to be patient.

Today marks the twenty-fifth year The Missus and I have been married.

The Missus has survived a lot, over the years. Surgery, cancer, my brain bleed, a fire, some tornadoes, and all of the slings and arrows that life delivers. Through it all, she's been my anchor, helping me navigate life's adventures.

She's also been the one who's supported me and my love of Tekumel, and also been the one who's brought you so many of the products and publications that we did over the decades. She first came to me and to Tekumel when she came to work for us at the old office, where she transcribed all of my copies of Phil's index cards onto our first-generation computers. She's been the one to do all the nasty little jobs that nobody else wanted, like transcribing all of the Professor's articles to create the anthology of them that we published. her most recent publication was for the Tekumel Foundation, the side-by-side edition of the 'mimeo' play-test version of EPT.

Throughout all these years we've been together, her patience and her support have been crucial to keeping Tekumel alive. if it hadn't been for her unstinting support and help, we would never have been able to keep things going, and have a wonderful time adventuring in Phil's wonderful creation.

She's taken a lot of crap and abuse from some 'big name Tekumel people' for doing that, sad to say. She's risen above it all, and kept on supporting Phil and his work - she was instrumental in making his last months comfortable, helping his wife navigate the mazes of the health care system and getting Ambereen and Phil all the help that she could. She took a lot more crap and abuse for doing so, but she did it anyway along with two of her five adopted daughters because it was the right thing to do.

We're hoping to have twenty-five more years, and maybe something after that. We'll see how it goes, and we'll keep you posted.

Here's to my Missus; all my love, and all my best!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back From Vacation, and More Changes Hereabouts

From the archives...

I am now back at work after a very nice vacation; it's a little hard to go back to a night shift, but it's only for a month - I am being moved to a day shift in August, which means some very big changes to my and The Missus' life. I will be working afternoons and evenings, which means I will have mornings free for writing, painting, and gaming.

In the meantime, things are going to be a little chaotic; I will most likely not be doing the Sunday updates, and instead doing an update a week when I have something interesting to say. there will also be lots of other posts as well, as this blog becomes more of a campaign newsletter. Expect to see more 'how to' articles on how I make and do things, with references back to how we played back in Ye Olden Dayes. More photos, as well, as I get all of the backlog of photos in the archives up on the Photobucket page, and more figures in the collection photographed. It's a bit of an effort, but I hope you'll think it's worth it.

So, lost of changes, lots of new stuff, and lots of new activity on the way!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Six Month Summary - The End Of An Era, Here At The Workbench

It has been a wonderful vacation!

I had mentioned, back at the beginning of my week's vacation, that I had organized my scenery and terrain into 'home' and 'away' games. I've had a few questions about this come in over the transom, so here's a little essay on where I am and what I'm doing.

The 'away' games are the ones that I had originally built to play at outside venues - the classic FLGS, conventions, etc. - and were all some with a set of either painted canvas drop cloths or a set of large (22" x 42") 'tiles'. The idea was to use these venues and the room that they offered to run games that really could benefit from the larger tables that were available in them. 60" x 90" and 60" x 120" were the standard sizes for most of these, and you can see the photos I took of these games on my Photobucket page.

However, these games are - let's face it! - pretty labor-intensive to stage and run, and the logistic support that I need to run these after my brain bleed in 2012 has been on the decline. Not that people are not willing to help; they simply don't have the spare time in their lives that they used to. This kind of came to a head in June of 2013, when I last ran a miniatures game at a public venue, and I would up quite exhausted afterwards. I also started running into problems getting the games themselves booked into spaces, and it all just got to be too much of an issue to be fun.

To try and address this, some time back, I sorted everything out into plastic tubs and then built shelves for these tubs in the garden shed. I cut out the now-obsolete large tiles into smaller ones, and then built the new and more permanent game table in the game room to use these tiles. It is, admittedly, a smaller table, but then small tables make for faster games - again, this took into account their very limited time that people have for games. I want to make the most of what time people have, hence the faster play time for my games.

So, the 'away' games are, in effect, deep storage; if people express an interest in them, we'll play them. If not, then they'll sleep in their storage until they hear a future call to arms.

The 'away' games also share their scenery items - like trees, buildings, temple complexes, etc. - with the 'home' games, so I will be getting the most efficient use out of my collection of stuff. The 'home' games are really more of a system of game tables, rather then a series of game scenarios; my thought has been to create as flexible a system as possible, so as to allow us to play anything we want with a minimal set-up. This seems to be working; the last game I ran took a whole fifteen minutes to set up an be ready for play, and less then thirty minutes to tear down and put away. And the effort involved is really quite minimal, which is a huge help to me as I am limited in my energy and stamina.

And a very positive side effect of this is that I have much more time to paint and to write. A lot of what I'm doing with the miniatures collection these days is centered on my writing; to a large degree, the miniatures and scenery will be serving as 'photo models' for the second edition of my rules - I can do something that I once only dreamed of, and that's illustrating the rules with color pictures of the miniatures on the table. It's also getting me more time to keep writing "To Serve The Petal Throne", too, I got a quick 8,000 words done last night, for example.

So, in some sense it's the end of an era - the 'big table' games will be few and far between. Will this mean the end of gaming here at the Workbench? No. I will still be open the second and fourth Saturdays of the month - doors at noon, game at one - for what might be called skirmish gaming, as well as the games generated by the play-by-(e)mail campaign. It's just a different emphasis, that's all; I'll still be here, rolling dice and pushing lead...